Check out the latest collection of NHL headlines entering the final Saturday of the 2015-16 season.
COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Brandon Saad tallied his 30th goal of the season (the first time in his NHL career he’s reached that plateau) as the Columbus Blue Jackets downed the Buffalo Sabres 4-1 in the only NHL game played on Friday night. Both clubs will miss the upcoming Stanley Cup playoffs.
THE WASHINGTON POST: Braden Holtby is unlikely to get the chance to break Martin Brodeur’s single-season wins record (48) this season. Holtby is expected to play in only one of the Capitals’ final two games of this season. With 47 victories, Holtby has an opportunity to tie Brodeur’s record.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Blackhawks rookie winger Artemi Panarin could pocket a $1.725 million bonus by finishing among this season’s top-10 scorers. He’s currently in ninth place with 74 points. It will count against the club’s salary cap for next season. The club has no intention of sitting Panarin for the final game of the season to prevent him receiving that bonus.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That bonus will push the Blackhawks salary-cap payroll for next season to over $68.5 million. With the salary cap for 2016-17 projected at $74 million, that won’t leave much room for the ‘Hawks to re-sign key players such as Andrew Shaw and Andrew Ladd.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi will return to the lineup for the start of the playoffs next week, but the Blueshirts will have to rely on postseason novice Brady Skjei to fill in for sidelined captain Ryan McDonagh on the blueline.
TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild winger Thomas Vanek (upper-body injury) has been ruled out for the start of the upcoming postseason and perhaps longer.
NHL.COM: The St. Louis Blues re-signed rookie defenseman Joel Edmundson to a two-year, $2.1 million contract extension.
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Newly-crowned Hobey Baker Trophy winner Jimmy Vesey has little intention of signing a contract with the Nashville Predators and is keen to sign with one of the other 29 NHL teams on August 15, when he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vesey’s been linked to the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins, though he and his father denied a recent rumor claiming he’s decided to sign with his hometown Bruins. While his father said he’d prefer if Vesey started his NHL career outside of Boston, he didn’t dismiss the possibility of his son joining the Bruins.
TSN: Darren Dreger claims Montreal Canadiens management are poised to embattled head coach Michel Therrien a vote of confidence for next season. “There are a number of reasons why Bergevin continues to support Therrien, but most of it surfaces and swirls around the injury bug that plagued the Montreal Canadiens through much of this season,” said Dreger.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hate to say I told you so, Habs fans…
LA PRESSE: Speaking of the Canadiens, former head coach Jacques Demers is reportedly in stable condition following a stroke on Wednesday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Demers for a swift and complete recovery.
SPORTSNET: Caroline Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos claims he’s disgusted by rumors suggesting his club will relocate to Quebec City. While Karmanos is seeking a majority buyer, he insists the team won’t be moving from its current location.
TSN: Dr. David Lewis, the co-founder of the NHL/NHLPA substance abuse program, is under investigation over the care of former NHL enforcer Derek Boogaard, who died in 2011 after failing 14 of 19 drug tests during the final six months of his life.
ESPN.COM: The performance-enhancing drug meldonium, which is tied to a scandal involving Russia’s under-18 men’s hockey team, is currently not on the NHL’s list of banned substances. It’s expected to be discussed in the next meeting between the league and the NHLPA’s drug-enhancing substance committee.
NEWSDAY: Multiple sources claims the New York Islanders and Barclays Center each have an opt-out clause in their current 25-year lease, though there’s no indication either side will use it.