College free agency isn't what it used to be

Shoalts of the Globe and Mail
has a great article up tonight on the
state of college free agency. The NHL has started to evolve in the way
the teams scout and draft players, and more and more teams are are
choosing to draft college players rather than wait until they can sign
college grads as free agents.

Shoalts mentions that with teams
limited to how many players they can draft each year, they are choosing
to go with players that give them more time for evaluation.

you have a player who gives you four years to make a decision or a
player with two years, you take the guy with four,” says Craig Button,
an NHL Network broadcaster and former Calgary Flames broadcaster. “So
the pool of free agents will naturally dry up. Everybody shifts their
time to the players they can keep the longest.”

This hasn’t kept teams from focusing on
signing college free agents as the NCAA season ends in March, but with
more of the top players being drafted right out of high school there is a
noticeably smaller pool of desirable players available.

The issue here is that players drafted that are in junior
hockey have a much more limited time of evaluation, as they generally
have just 2-3 years left of eligibility in the Canadian Juniors. Players
drafted out of high school or prep school have up to four years before
the team that drafted them must make a decision on whether to offer them
an entry-level contract or not.

That’s not to say there won’t always be a decent group of college free agents available. But with teams limited to how much they can pay rookie free agents, even after college, the bidding wars just aren’t what they used to be.

Report: Islanders cut first-rounder Barzal from camp

Mathew Barzal
Getty Images
Leave a comment

It seems Mathew Barzal has played in his last game in a New York Islanders’ uniform for a little while.

Barzal took part in the Islanders’ preseason finale against the Washington Capitals on Sunday, but after that contest the Islanders decided to return him to WHL Seattle, per Newsday’s Arthur Staple.

He was taken with the 16th overall pick in 2015 NHL Entry Draft. That selection was well-traveled as it originally belonged to the Pittsburgh Penguins, but was involved in the David Perron trade and then moved to the Islanders as part of Edmonton’s deal to get Griffin Reinhart.

Barzal is noteworthy for his skill and speed, but he may have slipped in the draft due to a knee injury he sustained during the 2014-15 campaign.

The Islanders also reassigned Kirill Petrov, Kevin Czuczman, Scott Mayfield, and Adam Pelech to the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Torres offered in-person hearing, potentially setting up long suspension

Torres hit

What will Raffi Torres get this time?

The 33-year-old forward that has become known primarily for his controversial hits has once again put himself in the sights of the NHL’s Department of Players Safety. They confirmed that he was offered an in-person hearing following his hit on Jakub Silfverberg Saturday night. He declined the opportunity to meet with them face-to-face, but the offer itself is an important detail because it gives the league the option to suspend him for more than five games.

It certainly seems like the stage is set for a lengthy suspension. While Torres is not considered a repeat offender as his last suspension came more than 18 months ago, the NHL still retains the right to consider his history when deciding on this matter.

Among other incidents, he was once was banned from 25 games for his hit on Marian Hossa in 2012, although it was later reduced to 21 contests after an appeal. The NHL found that Torres was guilty of breaking three rules for that hit; namely interference, charging, and illegally hitting the head. The NHL is reviewing Torres’ latest incident for the same three violations.

You can see the hit below:

And here it is slowed down:

Torres got a match penalty and Silfverberg left the game. Fortunately, Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said that Silfverberg could have returned, but was kept out for precautionary reasons.