The Atlanta Thrashers have disappointed me. I was hopeful that there
would be two ‘non-traditional hockey market’ teams in the playoffs this
year that no one expected to be there; Phoenix is making a bunch of
noise in the West and the Thrashers looked like they could sneak into
the playoffs in the East.
Of course, they’d most likely get tossed
instantly in the first round by Washington, but every team needs a
couple of home playoff games now and then.
This past week, the
Thrashers fell flat on their face. Call it lack of talent, bad coaching
or just plain inexperience, but it hurt to see Atlanta sleep walk
through their biggest game of the season against Boston, then lost in
overtime against Toronto. Two games, two chances for the Thrashers to
move up and overtake the Bruins and they muster one point.
morning, concerned with his team’s effort, coach John Anderson held a
closed-door meeting with players and coaches. From
Chris Vivlamore’s AJC Thrashers blog:
delivered a message today that the way we’ve been playing these
last couple of games was not acceptable,” goaltender Johan Hedberg said.
“We’ve been feeling that too. Why the reason is, I do not know. We had a
better quality practice than before. That’s the kind of intensity we
have to bring from the start. We have to make sure we don’t have any
mental lapses and we play determined these last eight games and see
where it takes us.”
I wonder how many times these
‘closed-door’ meetings with teams actually work? Usually these come when
there’s an issue in the locker room, things need to be aired out. Also,
is it really a ‘closed-door’ meeting if the coaches are there and the
coach is leading it?
Perhaps there isn’t a leader on the team
capable of rallying his teammates, who has the experience of multiple
Stanley Cups and playoff runs, who knows what it takes to get it done
this time of the season.
Wait, isn’t that why they signed Chris
Kurtis Foster, who appeared in over 400 games during a 10-year NHL career, is hanging up his skates to enter the next phase of his hockey life — coaching.
Foster, 34, has rejoined his former junior team in OHL Peterborough as an assistant coach, per the Examiner. The decision comes after Foster spent the last three years playing overseas in the KHL and, most recently, in the German League.
The 40th overall pick in 2000, Foster is often remembered for a horrific leg break while playing for Minnesota during the 2007-08 campaign, in which his femur was shattered by Torrey Mitchell after Mitchell tried to prevent an icing call.
The severity of the collision and Foster’s injury — he underwent emergency surgery, nearly bled out and almost lost his leg — prompted an immediate rule tweak from the NHL, and has since been viewed as a catalyst for the league’s adoption of no-touch icing.
Impressively, Foster recovered from the broken femur to post a career-high 42 points in 74 games with the Lightning in ’09-10.
In addition to the Wild and Bolts, Foster spent time with the Thrashers, Oilers, Ducks, Devils and Flyers.
Trevor Moore, an undrafted junior out of the University of Denver, has opted to bypass his senior campaign by signing a three-year, entry-level deal with the Leafs, the club announced on Tuesday.
Here’s what Moore, 21, has accomplished over the last three years:
[Moore] skated in 40 games with the University of Denver (NCHC) this past season, collecting 44 points (11 goals, 33 assists) and eight penalty minutes. He finished tied for sixth in the conference scoring race with 35 points (nine goals, 26 assists) in 31 games.
In 121 career games at Denver, the Thousand Oaks, California native registered 120 points (47 goals, 73 assists). Moore was named to the NCHC First All-Star Team and was the conference’s forward of the year during the 2014-15 season. In 2013-14, Moore was named to the NCHC All-Rookie Team.
Moore scored his ELC after performing well at Toronto’s prospects camp earlier this month, and looks to be on his way to the Marlies for next season.
If you’re wondering why Moore was passed over at the draft, do consider the Pioneers website lists him — perhaps generously — at 5-foot-9, 175 pounds.
Of course, Toronto does have a similarly diminutive player right near the top of the organizational prospect pool in Mitch Marner, currently listed at 5-foot-11, 160 pounds. It’s probably worth noting that Moore and Marner skated together at prospects camp.
Nashville has retained the services of depth defenseman Petter Granberg, inking him to a two-year, two-way, $1.225 million extension ahead of his Aug. 3 arbitration hearing, per CBC.
The contract will pay $575,000 at the NHL level in year one, and $650,000 in year two.
Claimed off waivers from Toronto in November, Granberg appeared in 27 games for the Preds last season, scoring two points while racking up 13 PIM.
He was a healthy scratch for all of Nashville’s playoff run.
Looking ahead, Granberg could be in line for a bigger role with the Preds next season. He only turns 24 in August, and the team did buy out the remainder of veteran Barret Jackman’s contract in late June.
That should open up some minutes on the back end, though Granberg will likely compete with free agent signings Yannick Weber and Matt Irwin for those depth spots.
There’s nothing too flashy about Danny DeKeyser‘s game.
“Basically,” he told reporters today, “my game, I just try to move the puck well, play solid defensively, chip in some points or goals here or there when I can, and just try to be a good team player and do things that help the team win.”
For that, the Red Wings gave the steady defenseman a six-year, $30 million contract, avoiding an arbitration hearing in the process. Yes, it’s a significant amount of money for a d-man that doesn’t contribute a ton of offense, but as we’ve already seen this offseason, players like DeKeyser have significant value. The Edmonton Oilers gave up Taylor Hall to get one.
Re-signing DeKeyser is not expected to stop GM Ken Holland from trying to add to his blue line. The Wings have a surplus of forwards, and Holland has said he’d “love to get a top-three defenseman” prior to the start of next season.
If Holland can’t swing a deal, Detroit’s pairings could look something like this:
DeKeyser — Mike Green
Jonathan Ericsson — Niklas Kronwall
Brendan Smith — Alexey Marchenko
It’s not a particularly young group. Kronwall is 35, Ericsson is 32, and Green is 30. The Red Wings chose not to re-sign veteran Kyle Quincey, and so far he has not been replaced. In June, they drafted a defenseman in the first round, but Dennis Cholowski is a ways away from playing in the NHL; he’s off St. Cloud State in the fall. There are a few other young blue-liners in the system, like Joe Hicketts, Ryan Sproul and Robbie Russo, but they all still have some developing to do.
At the very least, Holland now has some cost certainty with DeKeyser. The next step will be getting Petr Mrazek‘s deal done, possibly with the aid of tomorrow’s arbitration hearing. After that, it’ll be working to get that defenseman he covets.
Related: Blues GM says he might just keep Kevin Shattenkirk