NHL Free Agent Updates – September 18, 2016



NHL Free Agent Updates – September 18, 2016

Ryan Strome has until Sept. 22 to re-sign with the New York Islanders.

Ryan Strome has until Sept. 22 to re-sign with the New York Islanders.

 A look at the status of several notable remaining unrestricted free agents plus the latest on New York Islanders restricted free agent Ryan Strome.

SPORTSNET:  Luke Fox recently provided an update on the top-10 remaining NHL unrestricted free agents. The Ottawa Senators and Calgary Flames were linked to defenseman Kris Russell, while blueliner James Wisniewski is on a professional tryout offer (PTO) with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The New Jersey Devils are speculated as a possible destination for defenseman Kyle Quincey. The Devils say there’s no timetable for a possible return of forward Patrik Elias, who underwent offseason knee surgery. 

The Ottawa Senators reportedly kicked tires on former Boston Bruins rearguard Dennis Seidenberg. Eight teams are apparently interested in offering a PTO to winger Tomas Fleischmann, while forward Tuomo Ruutu accepted a tryout offer with the Vancouver Canucks. 

Left wing Alex Tanguay isn’t interested in a PTO and prefers a one-way contract. Two or three teams reportedly have interest in him. Winger Kris Versteeg accepted a PTO with the Edmonton Oilers, while blueliner Christian Ehrhoff hopes his performance with Team Europe in the World Cup of Hockey bolsters his fading stock. 

TSN 1050 (VIA TODAY’S SLAPSHOT):  Bob McKenzie recently speculated Kris Russell could have a new contract “in the next number of days.” He claimed multiple teams have spoken to the defenseman, but the Toronto Maple Leafs aren’t believed among them. McKenzie also believes Russell could a one-year deal. 

NHL.COM: Dan Rosen recently suggested the Devils could be a potential fit for Russell because he believes they need another veteran defenseman. He thinks Russell, Kyle Quincey, David Jones, Lauri Korpikoski and Tomas Fleischmann will “definitely find work soon.” 

TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons reports the Ottawa Senators are closely following Dennis Seidenberg at the World Cup of Hockey. He speculates Seidenberg will likely sign with the Senators once the tournament is over. 

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the New York Islanders policy of cutting off contract talks when training camp opens gives restricted free agent forward Ryan Strome until Thursday (Sept. 22) to re-sign. GM Garth Snow also said that doesn’t necessarily mean he won’t match an offer sheet for Strome after that date. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Apart from Simmons’ report that Seidenberg could sign with the Senators, there’s nothing really new regarding those other UFAs. Russell’s agent recently said he expected his client be signed before the end of the World Cup of Hockey. One reason for the delay could be that the clubs with interest in Russell are waiting to see what the Anaheim Ducks do once they re-sign RFA blueliner Hampus Lindholm, as there’s talk they could put Cam Fowler on the trade block.

As for Strome, if he and the Isles fail to agree to a deal by Sept.22nd, Snow could decide to trade the 23-year-old forward. Strome had a promising 50-point sophomore performance in 2014-15 but managed only a disappointing 28 points last season. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 14, 2016



NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 14, 2016

Jonathan Quick made 30 saves to backstop Team USA to a 3-2 win over Team Finland.

Jonathan Quick made 30 saves to backstop Team USA to a 3-2 win over Team Finland.

 World Cup of Hockey updates, latest PTO signings and more in your NHL morning headlines. 

NHL.COM:  Ryan Kesler collect a goal and an assist while Jonathan Quick made 30 saves as Team USA opened a 3-0 lead over Team Finland and held on for a 3-2 victory in World Cup of Hockey pre-tournament play.  Patrik Laine and Jussi Jokinen scored in the final half of the third period to make the game interesting. 

THE BUFFALO NEWS:  Sabres forward Ryan O’Reilly will replace Tyler Seguin for Team Canada in the World Cup of Hockey. Seguin suffered a minor knee injury and has been ordered to stay off his skates for seven to 10 days, effectively sidelining him from the tournament. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A tough break for Seguin, who’s been hampered by injuries over the last two seasons. O’Reilly is a strong two-way player who can play center or wing. He won’t fully replace Seguin’s offense but his overall skills and versatility makes him a good replacement. 

NJ.COM: New Jersey Devils GM Ray Shero says long-time Devils forward Patrik Elias has no timetable for a possible return to action this season. 

TAMPA BAY TIMES:  Lightning center Tyler Johnson reveals he was hampered through the first half of last season by an right-wrist injury suffered during the 2015 Stanley Cup Final. He says he’s now fully recovered and feeling much stronger. 

DETROIT FREE PRESS:  Red Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson admits he’s battled a chronic hip ailment and an occasional lack of confidence in recent seasons. The hip ailment is bad enough to require regular treatment but not quite bad enough to require surgery.

VANCOUVER SUN: The Canucks have invited unrestricted free agent forwards James Sheppard and Tuomo Ruutu to training camp on a tryout basis. 

NBC SPORTS: The Columbus Blue Jackets have invited Mike Brown to training camp on a professional tryout offer.

LAS VEGAS JOURNAL-REVIEW:  The NHL’s Las Vegas franchise will have the name “Knights” in it. Silver, Gold or Desert will be prefix.

ARIZONA REPUBLIC/MONTREAL GAZETTE/DENVER POST/ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Arizona Coyotes have released their training camp schedule, while the Montreal Canadiens, Colorado Avalanche and Anaheim Ducks released their rookie camp rosters and schedules. 










NHL Free Agents Update – August 21, 2016



NHL Free Agents Update – August 21, 2016

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov is among several notable unsigned RFAs.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov is among several notable unsigned RFAs.

 Updates on the remaining notable NHL restricted and unrestricted free agents.

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

SPORTSNET: Following the Calgary Flames signing of restricted free agent center Sean Monahan on Thursday, Luke Fox reviewed the status of the remaining notable unsigned RFAs. Regarding Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov, Fox observes the last update from general manager Steve Yzerman on July 27 expressing confidence in getting Kucherov under contract before the start of the season. Fox wouldn’t be surprised if the winger gets a long-term extension comparable to Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon and Nashville’s Filip Forsberg

Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau reportedly doesn’t wish to negotiate during his participation in the upcoming World Cup of Hockey. Flames GM Brad Treliving maintains the winger will be taken care of, while team president Brian Burke recently said he believed Monahan and Gaudreau would be re-signed before the World Cup.

Fox believes a short-term bridge contract makes sense for Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba. Buffalo Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said negotiations are ongoing with blueliner Rasmus Ristolainen. Sabres GM Tim Murray recently said talks were progressing with forward Zemgus Girgensons. The Anaheim Ducks have just over $9 million to re-sign rearguard Hampus Lindholm and forward Rickard Rakell.

Ottawa Senators GM PIerre Dorion admits contract talks with defenseman Cody Ceci are taking longer than expected but remains confident of getting Ceci under contract in the next few weeks. Limited salary-cap space ($3.4 million) could make the Washington Capitals hesitant to re-sign blueliner Dmitri Orlov to a long-term deal.  Fox notes Dallas Morning News columnist Mike Heika believes the Stars will re-sign winger Valeri Nichushkin to a one-year contract. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect all of these RFAs will be re-signed before the start of the season. Kucherov will get a long-term deal worth around $6 million per season. That will bite deeply into the Lightning’s remaining cap space and could bring about a salary-dumping deal before the start of the season.

I expect Gaudreau will be re-signed before the World Cup begins, likely to a seven- or eight-year deal worth between $6.5-$7 million annually. Lindholm could also get a long-term extension, perhaps a five-year, $25 million deal. That could result in the Ducks clearing some cap space by shipping out a blueliner such as Cam Fowler.

As for the rest, I wouldn’t be surprised if most end up with two- or three-year bridge contracts. 

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

On August 18, prior to Jimmy Vesey signing with the New York Rangers, Fox observed UFA defenseman Kris Russell has attracted some interest from the “Boston Bruins, Florida Panthers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, and Vancouver Canucks” earlier this summer. Regarding the Leafs, they reportedly had no interest in Russell and never made him an offer.

The Canucks and New Jersey Devils were reportedly believed kicking the tires on winger Jiri Hudler. Earlier this month there was a report Hudler was close to signing a deal and the Canucks could be in the mix. There’s nothing new to report on forward Brandon Pirri, 

Defenseman James Wisniewski recently signed a professional tryout contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Devils were rumored to be linked to blueliner Kyle Quincey. Nothing new regarding a report last month claiming goalie Jhonas Enroth was close to signing with the Leafs. The Devils are taking a “wait-and-see” approach with forward Patrik Elias, who is recovering from off-season knee surgery. There’s nothing new to report on defenseman Dennis Seidenberg and forward Dominic Moore. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  Some of the clubs that lost out on Vesey could take a look at Hudler or Pirri. Russell is apparently waiting for a few teams to free up some cap space. If Elias is good to go, I expect the Devils will bring him back for one more season. Some of the players on this list could find themselves following Wisniewski’s lead and signing PTO contracts.