It wasn’t a good night for the Florida Panthers, who’s three game win streak came to an end with a 3-0 loss to the Colorado Avalanche. But this was certainly one of the more amusing sequences of the night; it was a good save certainly, but the reaction of all the players on the ice is priceless.
Rasmus Ristolainen doesn’t have a contract yet, and he’s not particularly close to getting one either.
But the Sabres defenseman, a restricted free agent, doesn’t want to burn any bridges, so he arrived at KeyBank Center on Thursday as a “good will” gesture, reports The Buffalo News. He’ll practice with his teammates, head coach Dan Bylsma confirmed.
“Everyone knows how dedicated he is to his training, and he wanted to continue to build on the gains he made this summer,” Ristolainen’s agent, Mike Liut, wrote in an email to the News. “In the end, this made sense to him, at least in the short term.”
The eighth overall pick in the 2013 draft, Ristolainen had nine goals and 32 assists in 82 games for the Sabres last season.
“I still trust that we will make that contract happen,” Ristolainen told reporters a couple of weeks ago at the World Cup in Toronto, where he was representing Finland. “I like Buffalo. I want to be there as long as I can and I feel they feel the same way about me. I trust it’s going to be taken care of.”
It’s been the ongoing storyline over Charlie Coyle‘s four years in Minnesota — center, or wing?
This year, it’ll be the latter.
At least to start.
“I think I’m built more for that game,” Coyle said, per the Star-Tribune. “Long-term, I think they like me at center, I don’t know. It doesn’t matter to me, but it is nice to be able to consistently play one place and not go back and forth.
“Mentally, once you play one place, you feel more comfortable.”
Coyle has played center quite often, most notably during the ’14-15 campaign when he finished third on the team in faceoffs taken (behind Mikko Koivu and Mikael Granlund). And while it’s obvious he’d be able to impact the game more playing down the middle rather than outside, Coyle’s attributes on the wing are hard to pass up.
Specifically, his ability to find the back of the net.
Coyle scored a career-high 21 goals last year, many of them coming while playing RW. For a Wild team that isn’t all that dynamic offensively, such production is hard to pass up.
What’s more, the Wild do have options down the middle.
Staal and Koivu are there, as is Mikael Granlund. Erik Haula‘s proven to be a quality 3C or 4C, and Coyle could always flip back to center in a pinch.
Putting Coyle on the wing would also give Boudreau more balance among his forward group. Granlund — who, like Coyle, is also versatile enough to play wing — could move to the left side on the Koivu-Jason Zucker line, which would give Minnesota a nice third unite comprised of Haula, Nino Niederreiter and Jason Pominville.
Troy Stecher admitted he was “still shaking” when he met with reporters following last night’s preseason game in Vancouver. The 22-year-old rookie defenseman had just scored one goal and added two impressive assists in the Canucks’ 5-3 win over the Oilers.
Not bad for an undrafted, local kid who grew up a fan of the team.
“Something I’ll never forget, obviously,” Stecher said. “First game at Rogers (Arena). I grew up watching the Canucks, coming here. It was a different feeling being on the other side of it.”
It was only one game, but for the second year in a row, a defenseman who just finished his college career appears to be pushing for a spot on the Canucks. Last year, it was Ben Hutton, out of Maine, and he made it.
So, could Stecher, out of North Dakota, actually crack the Canucks’ roster as a right-shot, offensive defenseman?
Well, he’s already beaten out Jordan Subban, who’s been returned to the AHL. His main, remaining competition figures to be North America returnee Philip Larsen, who’s been in the KHL the past couple of seasons.
The answer has to be yes.
But again, it’s only been one game. He’s earned another one, according to head coach Willie Desjardins, so he’ll have to build on his first one.
“I’m a young guy, so confidence is huge,” said Stecher. “I think I played pretty well. If I have a poor game, then you kind of dwell on it all day tomorrow and it’s in your mind. At the same time, I’ve just got to put it in my back pocket. Tomorrow’s a new day and I’ve got to come to the rink prepared to work hard and just continue to do my thing.”
Details are starting to come out about the contractual impasse between Anaheim and prized young defenseman Hampus Lindholm.
Fresh off an appearance with Team Sweden at the World Cup, Lindholm — a still-unsigned RFA — is reportedly seeking “more than $6 million per season over eight years,” according to the O.C. Register.
The 22-year-old is currently in Sweden training with SHL club Rogle BK, the team he played for prior to getting drafted sixth overall in 2012.
Lindholm is coming off his three-year, entry-level deal, one that carried a cap hit of $894,166.
The Ducks are in a bit of a financial squeeze and also need to sort out another RFA — versatile forward Rickard Rakell — so it’s understandable why negotiations with Lindholm have been drawn out.
That said, they’re not going to want to drag feet much longer.
Lindholm is a budding star on defense, coming off a year in which he scored a career-best 10 goals and 28 points in 80 games, averaging 22 minutes per night. He was also a huge part of Anaheim’s run to Game 7 of the Western Conference Final the previous spring, scoring 10 points in 16 games while increasing his ice time to 23:15.
According to the Register, the “feeling” is that Anaheim’s closer to a deal with Rakell than Lindholm. And on that note, it’s worth mentioning the Ducks make their season debut in two weeks — on Oct. 13, with a road date in Dallas.