Zdeno Chara and P.K. Subban Announce Their Retirements
SPORTSNET: Zdeno Chara has signed a one-day contract with the Boston Bruins and has announced his retirement from the NHL after 24 seasons. P.K. Subban also announced he is retiring after 13 NHL seasons.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This may be the first time that two former winners of the James Norris Memorial Trophy announced their retirements not just on the same day but within minutes of each other.
Zdeno Chara (right) and P.K. Subban (NHL.com).
Chara became one of the best defensemen of his era. Debuting with the New York Islanders in 1997-98, the 6’9”, 250-pounder blossomed into a star after being traded to the Ottawa Senators in 2001, spending four seasons with them. He was a First-Team All-Star and a Norris Finalist in 2003-04 and was named to the Second Team in 2005-06.
It’s fitting that Chara is retiring as a Bruins. Joining them in 2006-07, Chara truly came into his own as a great all-around defenseman and a respected leader during his 14 seasons in Boston. He led them to three Stanley Cup Finals and one championship (2011), won the Norris in 2008-09 and become a finalist four times. He was also named to the First All-Star Team twice and was a three-time member of the Second All-Star Team.
Chara spent the final two seasons with the Washington Capitals and the Islanders. He holds the record for most games played by an NHL defenseman with 1,680, finishing with 680 career points and 2,085 PIMs, along with 70 points in 200 career playoff games. Don’t be surprised if he’s elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame on the first ballot.
Subban made his NHL debut in 2009-10 with the Montreal Canadiens. He quickly established himself as a gifted puck-moving defenseman with a hard shot from the point and was named to the All-Rookie Team in 2010-11. He netted 115 goals and 467 points in 834 career games and 62 points in 96 playoff contests.
A flashy, entertaining player personable with reporters and popular with fans, Subban’s seven seasons with the Canadiens were his best. He won the Norris Trophy in 2012-13 and earned a place on the First All-Star Team. He was named again to the First Team two years later and was also a Norris finalist that season.
Traded to the Nashville Predators in 2016, Subban helped them reach the 2017 Stanley Cup Final. He was named to the Second All-Star Team in 2017-18 and was again a finalist for the Norris. In 2019, he was traded to the New Jersey Devils where he spent the remainder of his career. He was honored with the King Clancy Memorial Trophy last season for his charitable work.
Updates on the notable players remaining in the unrestricted free agent market plus some cost-cutting Bruins trade candidates in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski took a look at the status of several noteworthy players still available in this summer’s unrestricted free agent market.
Former New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban (NHL Images)
P.K. Subban’s agent, Don Meehan, recently told the Montreal Gazette that the 33-year-old defenseman is being selective on where he’ll play next. He said there were “expressions of interest” in his client but those clubs also had other things in play.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wyshynski believes Subban is ready to be a difference maker if the right fit can be found. He might not be interested in signing with a non-contender. Boston Hockey Now’s Jimmy Murphy believes the Bruins should look into signing Subban to a professional tryout offer. However, it’s still possible he inks an affordable one-year contract with a club before training camp opens.
Evan Rodrigues hasn’t signed a new contract but it appears he’s garnered plenty of interest. His agent, Darren Ferris, told Wyshynski that there are “a good seven or eight teams” he’s having discussions with about his client.
Some of those clubs have cap constraints, including his former team, the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Calgary Flames have also shown an interest.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hockey News’ Mike Stephens suggested the Seattle Kraken, Colorado Avalanche and Ottawa Senators as potential destinations for Rodrigues. However, we don’t know if those clubs are among those talking to his agent.
Wyshynski expects Rodrigues will sign a one-year “show-me” contract and then try his luck for a more lucrative deal next summer.
Many observers felt last season was Keith Yandle’s last but the 35-year-old defenseman isn’t ruling out playing this season. His agent, Jerry Buckley, said he’s still talking to teams but his client wants to find the right fit if he’s to continue his NHL career.Buckley “highly doubted” Yandle will accept a PTO.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A PTO might be the only way for Yandle to continue his playing career if that’s what he wants to do. He’s the NHL’s reigning Ironman but his performance has declined in recent years.
No word on Joe Thornton’s plans. If his playing days are over, the 43-year-old forward reportedly could moving into a managerial role with the Spengler Cup Tournament.
Speaking of aging veterans, no word yet from 45-year-old defenseman Zdeno Chara regarding his intentions. He hasn’t announced his retirement but it’s assumed he’s played his final NHL game.
An NHL source claims “a lot of teams” are interested in Sonny Milano. So far, no one’s signed the former Anaheim Ducks winger.
Former Detroit Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser is healthy and hoping to land with a new NHL club. Agent Matt Federico is confident his 32-year-old client will have a one-year, low-dollar deal in place before training camps open.
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Matt Porter recently observed the Bruins are above the $82.5 million salary cap by $2.4 million. They can address this at the start of the season by placing sidelined stars Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy on long-term injury reserve. However, they must become cap compliant when those players are ready to return to the lineup.
It sounds like Nick Foligno ($3.8 million) will remain part of the main group this season. Defenseman Mike Reilly ($3 million) could be a trade candidate given the Bruins’ depth in left-shot blueliners. Winger Craig Smith ($3.1 million) could be shopped if a youngster such as Fabian Lysell or Jack Studnicka makes a push this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It could be Smith who gets moved. There was a rumor last month claiming a team had made an offer for the 32-year-old winger but the two sides couldn’t reach an agreement.
Ryan Ellis could miss the start of the Flyers’ season, the Islanders re-sign Noah Dobson, Alexander Romanov and Kieffer Bellows, an update on David Pastrnak and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ryan Ellis could miss the start of the coming season. A “multilayered issue” involving the “complex of the whole pelvic region” limited him to just four games last season.
“If you’re asking me right now, I doubt it,” said Flyers head coach John Tortorella when asked if Ellis will be ready to play. They start their season on Oct. 13 against the New Jersey Devils but Tortorella didn’t think the 31-year-old defenseman will be ready when they open training camp on Sept. 21.
Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ryan Ellis (NHL Images).
Tortorella indicated he’s had several conversations with Ellis. He said it’s been an “up and down process” for the blueliner.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ellis was acquired from the Nashville Predators last summer and was expected to skate on the right side of the Flyers’ first defense pairing alongside Ivan Provorov. His absence last season was a key factor in the club missing the 2022 playoffs.
Cap Friendly shows Ellis is signed through 2026-27 with an average annual value of $6.25 million. They’re above the $82.5 million cap by $2.53 million but will get cap relief by placing Ellis on long-term injury reserve to start the season.
This also explains why the Flyers signed Tony DeAngelo to a two-year contract last month. We’ll have to wait and see if general manager Chuck Fletcher has any other moves planned before the coming season. That could depend on how long Ellis is sidelined.
NYI HOCKEY NOW: The New York Islanders announced new contracts for restricted free agents Noah Dobson, Alexander Romanov and Kieffer Bellows.
Dobson, 22, got a three-year deal with an AAV of $4 million. The 22-year-old Romanov also got a three-year deal. His annual cap hit is $2.5 million. Bellows, 24, got a one-year, $1.2 million contract.
The trio will be restricted free agents at the end of their respective contracts. These deals leave the Islanders with $3.485 million in cap space for the upcoming season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wasn’t surprised by what Romanov and Bellows got. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman recently suggested that Dobson’s new contract would be a high dollar amount but it’s actually quite reasonable for a young defenseman coming off a 51-point performance.
Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello explained that he wanted to see a bit more from Dobson before committing to a long-term deal. In other words, a more lucrative contract awaits the young rearguard at the end of his current deal if he builds on last season’s breakout effort.
SPORTSNET: Lamoriello also defended what was considered to be a quiet offseason on his part. Earlier this summer, he had promised to be as active as possible to bolster the Islanders’ offense. They were linked to free agents Johnny Gaudreau and Nazem Kadri but both forwards were signed elsewhere. Lamoriello was rumored to be interested in acquiring J.T. Miller but the Vancouver Canucks aren’t in a rush to move the 29-year-old center.
Regarding trades, Lamoriello explained he wouldn’t have received in return what he would’ve had to give up to make his club a better team. He’ll continue to explore the late-summer trade market.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s doubtful Lamoriello will find a return that will significantly improve his club’s offense heading into this season. He’s going to bet on new head coach Lane Lambert finding a way to improve the Isles’ production with the current core players. I expect young wingers Anthony Beauvillier and Oliver Wahlstrom will be placed in roles where they’ll get more opportunities to score.
The Islanders have a projected $16 million in trade deadline cap space for the coming season. Barring any other moves, Lamoriello could have sufficient cap room to add a rental scorer by late February if his club is in playoff contention.
NEWSDAY’s Andrew Gross reported Lamoriello said he’s had no contract talks with UFA defensemen Zdeno Chara and Andy Greene. They are not currently under consideration for defense roles with the Isles.
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: David Pastrnak’s contract extension talks with the Bruins are currently on hold but the 26-year-old winger isn’t concerned.
In an interview with Czechia media outlet Blesk, Pastrnak acknowledged Bruins GM Don Sweeney had a lot on his plate this summer negotiating new one-year contracts for Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci. Pastrnak has a year remaining on his contract and is focused now on physically preparing for the upcoming season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sweeney will probably sit down with Pastrnak and/or his agent at some point during training camp to continue their negotiations.
An update on Zdeno Chara, Bruins finalize contract extension for GM Don Sweeney, Alex Ovechkin scored in pro soccer debut, the latest on Ondrej Palat and Andre Burakovsky, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Zdeno Chara’s agent said his client intends to make a decision about his NHL future in September. The 45-year-old defenseman is an unrestricted free agent after spending last season with the New York Islanders, setting the league record for most career games by a defenseman with 1,680. He had 14 points and was a plus-8 in 72 games with the Isles.
New York Islanders defenseman Zdeno Chara (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chara is no longer the perennial Norris Trophy candidate he was during his playing prime. Still, it wouldn’t be surprising if a club signs him to an affordable one-year contract as a third-pairing blueliner if he decides to return for one more season. His preference would likely be to skate for an Eastern Conference club.
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: cites the Worcester Telegram & Gazette’s Joe McDonald reporting the Bruins have finalized the contract extension for general manager Don Sweeney.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m sure the Bruins fans who are regular commenters to this site will have some interesting takes on this news. The deal hasn’t been officially announced yet though that could be coming at some point this week. I’ll post the details when they appear.
Under Sweeney’s management, the Bruins reached the playoffs in each of the last six seasons, reaching the Stanley Cup Final in 2019 and winning the Presidents’ Trophy in 2020. However, the club has declined over the past two seasons, raising questions about his efforts to maintain a contender. The recent firing of head coach Bruce Cassidy raised eyebrows around the league and the ire of Bruins fans.
WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: It turns out Alex Ovechkin is also a scorer in professional soccer. Signed to a one-game contract with FC Moscow Dynamo, the Capitals captain scored a goal against FC Amkal in a Russian Premier League friendly.
YAHOO! SPORTS: Ondrej Palat’s performance in the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs could help him cash in as an unrestricted free agent next month. Coming off a 49-point performance in 77 regular-season games, Palat leads the Lightning with 11 postseason goals and three game winners.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Palat is completing a five-year contract with an annual average value of $5.3 million. If he and the Lightning fail to reach an agreement on a new deal, he’s bound to draw plenty of interest from contenders looking for a clutch player like him. He leads all active players with 12 playoff game-winners.
COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar said winger Andre Burakovsky (hand injury) remains day-to-day but didn’t rule him out for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final on Sunday night in Tampa Bay.
PUCK PEDIA (via KUKLA’s KORNER): listed several upcoming key NHL offseason dates, starting with the first contract buyout window opening on July 1 and closing on July 12. July 11 is the deadline for teams to issue qualifying offers to restricted free agents. July 12 is also the deadline for teams to sign their pending unrestricted free agents to eight-year contracts. July 17 is the deadline for players to file for arbitration, which starts on July 27.
SIRIUSXMNHL host Jonathan Davis reports the Vegas Golden Knights have hired Sean Burke as their director of goaltending. Burke held that position with the Montreal Canadiens.
TWINCITIES.COM: The NHL is experiencing significant growth among female and young fans. 37 percent of its fans are female, a growth of 26 percent in that demographic since 2016. Nearly 40 percent of its fans are under 50.
NHL.COM: The Chicago Wolves defeated the Springfield Thunderbirds 4-0 in Game 5 of the Calder Cup Finals, winning the series in five games to become champions of the American Hockey League. The Wolves are the affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes while the Falcons are affiliated with the St. Louis Blues. Wolves winger Josh Leivo was awarded the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy as the playoffs’ most valuable player.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this was the first time the Calder Cup has been awarded since 2019. Congratulations to the Wolves on their championship run this season.
Could Claude Giroux join the Senators in the offseason? Why didn’t the Coyotes trade Jakob Chychrun and Phil Kessel at the deadline? What other interesting tidbits emerged from the recent trade deadline? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This isn’t the first time speculation has surfaced linking Giroux, an Ottawa native, to the Senators. It’s easy to dismiss the notion of the 34-year-old joining the Senators at this stage in his career given the club’s difficulties emerging from its much-ballyhooed rebuild. Still, never say never.
WHY DIDN’T THE COYOTES MOVE CHYCHRUN OR KESSEL ON DEADLINE DAY?
GOPHNX.COM: Craig Morgan reports no team will willing to meet the high asking price Arizona Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong set for defenseman Jakob Chychrun. Armstrong hinted some of the teams he was dealing with had the pieces to make the deal but they didn’t want to break apart their rosters. He anticipates greater trade opportunities for the 23-year-old blueliner this summer, expressing his willingness to listen to offers.
Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (NHL Images).
Morgan reports Phil Kessel wanted a trade to a playoff contender since the start of this season and his camp wasn’t happy that a deal failed to materialize. The Coyotes’ $6.8 million share of his $8 million annual average value was the sticking point, as retaining half of it would’ve left an acquiring team picking up $3.4 million. Teams weren’t willing to acquire that hit. The Coyotes weren’t able to retain any more salary after doing so to ship Johan Larsson to the Washington Capitals.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Morgan observes, Kessel’s next chance to join a playoff contender will be this summer as an unrestricted free agent. He’ll have to accept a significant pay cut to do so.
MORE RUMOR TIDBITS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “32 THOUGHTS”
SPORTSNET: Regarding the possibility of the Vegas Golden Knights trading Evgenii Dadonov to a non-playoff club following the deadline, league bylaws prevent him from playing for the remainder of the season. Friedman speculates the Arizona Coyotes could be a trade partner if they’re not blocked by the league. The Seattle Kraken could be another given their cap room.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind Dadonov wouldn’t be a rental player. He’s signed through next season with an annual cap hit of $5 million.
The Montreal Canadiens could be an offseason destination for Colin White. Canadiens GM Kent Hughes is White’s former agent and negotiated the 25-year-old center’s current contract with the Ottawa Senators. The Habs and Senators had some trade conversations before the trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: White struggled in the two seasons following his 41-point performance in 2018-19. He was sidelined most of this season with a dislocated shoulder. Perhaps a change of scenery will help him regain his promising form. He’s signed through 2024-25 with an annual average value of $4.75 million.
Zdeno Chara drew lots of interest at the trade deadline. New York Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello kept his promise to Chara and Andy Greene that they would finish the season with the club.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The 45-year-old Chara is an unrestricted free agent this summer. Perhaps one of those interested clubs will try to sign him if he doesn’t opt for retirement.
Zdeno Chara sets record for defensemen, Zach Parise reaches a scoring milestone, the Predators retire Pekka Rinne’s number, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The New York Islanders’ Zdeno Chara surpassed Chris Chelios for most games (1,652) by an NHL defenseman but his club dropped a 4-3 shootout decision to the San Jose Sharks. Isles winger Zach Parise also reached a personal milestone by tallying his 400th career NHL regular-season goal. Logan Couture netted the winning goal for the Sharks (52 points), who sit seven points behind the Edmonton Oilers for the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference.
New York Islanders defenseman Zdeno Chara (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to Chara and Parise on their respective achievements in what could be their final NHL seasons. Both are now well past their playing prime and could face retirement following this season.
A shootout goal by Mikael Granlund gave the Nashville Predators a 2-1 victory over the Dallas Stars after they honored former goaltender Pekka Rinne by retiring his jersey No. 35 in a pre-game ceremony. Rinne’s successor, Juuse Saros, made 27 saves for the win as the Predators opened a six-point lead over the Oilers in the first Western wild-card berth with 64 points. The Stars (59 points) sit just behind the Oilers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Winner of the Vezina Trophy in 2018 and a two-time All-Star, Rinne retired at the end of last season as the Predators’ all-time leader in games played (683), wins (369), save percentage (.921), goals-against average (2.43) and shutouts (60).
J.T. Miller scored twice and added two assists while Thatcher Demko made 29 saves as the Vancouver Canucks thumped the Calgary Flames 7-1, snapping the latter’s 10-game win streak. Elias Pettersson and Bo Horvat each tallied two goals as the Canucks (56 points) moved within three points of the Oilers. The Flames remain atop the Pacific Division with 66 points.
Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews scored twice to take over the NHL goal-scoring lead (36) in a 3-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild to snap a three-game losing skid. Petr Mrazek kicked out 29 shots while Mitch Marner collected two assists. With 70 points, the Leafs sit two points behind the second-place Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division. The Wild remain in third place in the Central with 65 points, one behind the St. Louis Blues. Leafs winger Ilya Mikheyev left the game early with a non-COVID-related illness.
The Boston Bruins got a two-goal performance by Jake DeBrusk, including the winning goal in overtime, to down the Seattle Kraken 3-2. Charlie McAvoy collected two assists while Linus Ullmark stopped 25 shots. Bruins winger Brad Marchand was held scoreless in his return from a six-game suspension. The Bruins hold the final Eastern Conference playoff spot with 64 points, one behind the Washington Capitals. The Kraken has dropped six straight games.
Speaking of the Capitals, they suffered a 4-1 defeat at the hands of the New York Rangers. Igor Shesterkin turned aside 36 shots for the Rangers while teammates Mika Zibanejad and Alexis Lafreniere each had a goal and an assist. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin netted his 32nd goal of the season. The Rangers sit in second place in the Metropolitan Division with 71 points, three behind the division-leading Carolina Hurricanes.
Patrik Laine scored a goal to extend his points streak to 11 games as his Columbus Blue Jackets upset the Florida Panthers 6-3. Oliver Bjorkstrand, Jakub Voracek and Jack Roslovic each collected two points for the Jackets while J-F Berube made 39 saves for the win. The Jackets have won four straight games and sit nine points behind the Bruins. The Panthers remain atop the Eastern Conference with 75 points.
Speaking of upsets, the New Jersey Devils rolled to a 6-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Jesper Bratt, Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes each collected three points while Nico Daws turned in a 37-save performance for the Devils. The Penguins sit one point behind the Rangers in the Metro Division.
IN OTHER NEWS…
NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Tony DeAngelo will be sidelined for at least a month with an upper-body injury. It appears he injured his midsection during a game against the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: DeAngelo was enjoying a solid bounce-back performance with the Hurricanes. Skating for much of the season alongside Jaccob Slavin, he’s third among Hurricanes scorers with 40 points.
THE ATHLETIC: Daniel Kaplan reports Evander Kane described his professional prospects beyond this season as “uncertain” and his pending contract grievance with the San Jose Sharks as “unclear” in a recent court filing in his ongoing bankruptcy case.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL Players Association reportedly filed a grievance on Kane’s behalf three weeks ago over the Sharks terminating his contract. A date for a hearing has yet to be determined.
FOX 13 SEATTLE: The Kraken placed winger Jared McCann (upper body) on injured reserve. He’s their leading scorer with 21 goals and 33 points in 48 games.
NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs winger Michael Bunting was fined $2,000.00 by the department of player safety for diving/embellishment during a recent game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
TSN: The Dallas Stars claimed forward Martin Studenic off waivers from the New Jersey Devils.