Kings name Anze Kopitar captain, Stars trade Alex Goligoski to the Coyotes & more in this morning’s collection of NHL headlines.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Los Angeles Kings yesterday announced Anze Kopitar will be their new captain, taking over from Dustin Brown. In announcing the move, Kings general manager Dean Lombardi said he’s not currently considering a buyout of Brown, stating he believes the left wing is “going to get his game back.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brown’s declining performance means he’s no longer capable of leading by example on the ice, whereas Kopitar (who’s only two years younger than the 31-year-old Brown) is consistently the Kings’ best forward. Given the decline in Brown’s play and his hefty contract ($5.875 million annually through 2021-22), don’t expect the Kings to move him via trade.
ARIZONA SPORTS/THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Arizona Coyotes yesterday acquired the exclusive contract negotiating rights of defenseman Alex Goligoski from the Dallas Stars in exchange for a fifth-round pick in the upcoming NHL draft. The Coyotes have until July 1 to re-sign the 30-year-old Goligoski, who’s eligible for unrestricted free agency. By making this move, the Stars are transitioning toward the younger blueliners in their system, such as Stephen Johns, Esa Lindell, Patrik Nemeth and Jamie Oleksiak. They could also pursue a replacement for Goligoski via trade or free agency.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes apparently aren’t done adding defensemen. Craig Morgan of Arizona Sports reports they could target a right-shooting defenseman, listing St. Louis’ Kevin Shattenkirk, Winnipeg’s Jacob Trouba and New Jersey’s Adam Larsson as trade candidate. Trouba, however, is reportedly keen to re-sign with the Jets, who aren’t actively shopping him. I doubt the Devils intend to part with Larsson. The Coyotes will have to win a bidding war for Shattenkirk’s services, but it’s believed his preference is to play for an Eastern Conference club.
AZCENTRAL.COM: The Coyotes also released their preseason schedule yesterday.
NBC SPORTS: It’s expected the NHLPA membership will vote to approve a five percent salary-cap escalator for 2016-17, raising the cap ceiling to $72.8 million.
CSN CHICAGO: The Blackhawks will carry a $3.07 million salary-cap overage into 2016-17, largely the result of bonuses paid to rookie star Artemi Panarin. Earlier this week, they shed salary by trading forwards Bryan Bickell and Teuvo Teravainen to Carolina for draft picks.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Evgeni Malkin will receive an MRI today to determine if he requires surgery to repair a nagging elbow injury.
DETROIT FREE PRESS: Pavel Datsyuk is expected to meet today with Red Wings GM Ken Holland. It’s anticipated Datsyuk will play in Russia next season.
PHILLY.COM: The Philadelphia Flyers yesterday confirmed they will buy out the final season of forward R.J. Umberger’s contract.
STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues yesterday re-signed forward Dmitrij Jaskin to a two-year, $2 million contract extension. It’s an annual cap hit of $1 million.
THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks yesterday re-signed forward Sven Baertschi to a two-year deal worth $1.85 million per season. In actual salary, he’ll make $1.7 million in 2016-17 and $2 million in 2017-18.
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Former St. Louis Blues assistant coach Brad Shaw joined the Blue Jackets’ coaching staff.