Lidstrom not ready to decide on future

Now that the Detroit Red Wings are out of the playoffs, so begins the
endless debate and hand wringing over the decision that Nicklas
Lidstrom must make this summer on whether to retire from the NHL or not.

He’s stated several times this season that he would prefer to go out
while still playing at a high level, not “pulling a Chris Chelios” and
seeing his minutes reduced each progressive season until he’s finally
done with hockey. Instead, Lidstrom has indicated that he could never
see himself not being a top pair defenseman and while he’s certainly far
from being just an “ordinary” player he has started to drop off a bit
the past season or so.

Of course, for Lidstrom, dropping off a bit means that he’s merely
looked great instead of legendary.

With Lidstrom’s season over and still without a contract extension
for next season, he says that he’s yet to think about his immediate
future. Per Eric
Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail:

“I haven’t thought about it yet,” he said. “It’s not on my mind right
now.

“I don’t have a timetable.”

Any other player, and you know it’s been on their mind. Mike Modano
enjoyed one heck of a tribute in Dallas and Minnesota in his final games
of the season, you know he was thinking about it. With Lidstrom, you
have no choice but to believe him he says he’s done nothing but focus on
his team and the playoffs; that’s just the way he’s been his entire
career.

If one had to guess, Lidstrom will take a bit of paycut
and sign an extension with the Red Wings. He’s still one of the top 5
defensemen in the NHL and he’s far from reaching the point where his
game has dropped and he starts to lose minutes. Of course, Lidstrom
still needs to have some long chats with his family, and with his son
getting accepted to a prestigious school in Sweden who knows what may
happen.

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    Panthers officially add Chris Pronger to front office

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    Earlier this month, it was reported that the Florida Panthers were talking to Chris Pronger about joining their front office.

    Exactly three weeks later, the Panthers confirmed the move during a conference call with GM Dale Tallon.

    Dan Murphy of Sportsnet is reporting that Pronger’s official title will be “senior adviser to the president of hockey operations”. So basically, he’ll be working closely with Tallon.

    Pronger has been with the NHL’s Department of Players Safety since the start of the 2014 season.

    “Chris has spent the last three years working for the League’s Department of Player Safety and is ready to move into a more competitive, executive role,” Tallon said in a release. “One of the most dominant defensemen of his era, Chris’ winning resume and wealth of hockey knowledge will be a great asset to our hockey club. We’re thrilled that he has chosen to join the Panthers organization.”

    The 42-year-old is now free to join a team because his last player contract has (finally) expired, and he’s no longer on anyone’s payroll.

    This move is hardly surprising considering Pronger has already mentioned on numerous occasions that he’d like to be a general manager one day.

    Plenty of trade chatter now that freeze is over

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    The NHL trade freeze officially ended at 8:00 a.m. ET on Thursday morning, but we haven’t officially seen any moves. Still, expect some transactions to go down in the very near future.

    According to TSN hockey insider Bob McKenzie, there are a few specific names that might find themselves in new cities sooner than later.

    Per McKenzie, the Carolina Hurricanes are very interested in new Golden Knights defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk, who they acquired from Chicago during the expansion draft.

    The former Blackhawk is 25 years old, and he had 16 points and 29 penalty minutes in 58 games during the 2016-17 season.

    McKenzie also mentioned the strong possibility of the Oilers dealing Jordan Eberle at some point, but he also added that a deal isn’t necessarily close. A trade could occur on Friday.

    Eberle had 20 goals and 51 points in 82 games, but he was nowhere to be seen during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, as he had two assists and a minus-6 rating in 13 games.

    The fact that Eberle comes with a cap hit of $6 million doesn’t help his odds of sticking around in Edmonton. After all, they’ll need all the cap space they can get for Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl‘s extensions.

    For over a week now, the Minnesota Wild have been at the front of the line when it comes to trade rumors. The Wild have bodies they can move on the blue line, as they were able to keep Matt Dumba, Marco Scandella and Jonas Brodin away from Vegas.

    Now, it sounds like Scandella may be the player most likely to move in the next little while.

    Going back to McKenzie’s Twitter timeline, he suggests that Brodin is the player they least want to part ways with, while Scandella is the one most likely to be dealt.

    The Arizona Coyotes have already made some noise this week. They traded for Nick Cousins, moved Mike Smith to Calgary and parted ways with Shane Doan. But TSN’s Darren Dreger believes there will be more movement in the desert.

    Now all we need is for two teams (or more) to pull the trigger!

    PHT Morning Skate: Expansion draft winners and losers

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    –As you’ve probably heard, the Vegas Golden Knights put their roster together last night. The Score looks at three takeaways from their initial roster. Landing Nikita Gusev from Tampa Bay was a nice acquisition for GM George McPhee. (The Score)

    –Sportsnet’s Luke Fox put together his observations of last night’s NHL Awards ceremony. Mike Babcock just can’t buy a Jack Adams Award, Connor McDavid left with a lot of hardware and actor Jacob Tremblay took a little shot at the Canucks. (Sportsnet)

    –Sean McIndoe looks at the five best goalies that have ever been exposed in an expansion draft (prior to last night). People forget, but the Sabres left Dominik Hasek unprotected in the early 90s, but the Anaheim Ducks and Florida Panthers opted not to select him. (The Hockey News)

    –Former hockey player Denna Laing suffered a devastating injury on the ice that left her paralyzed. Yesterday, she had the honor of presenting an award and getting a standing ovation. (NBC Sports)

    –Some teams took a major hit in the Vegas expansion draft, while other teams made out just fine. The Washington Post breaks down the winners and losers of last night’s expansion draft. It was a pretty tough night for the Panthers and Islanders. (Washington Post)

    –Sportsnet did a great feature on top draft prospect Nolan Patrick. Here’s a look at how Patrick became the player he is today:

    Vegas has 15 d-men, but won’t keep them all

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    The Vegas Golden Knights suddenly have 15 defensemen.

    Just don’t expect all 15 to remain Knights for long.

    “We’re going to have to move some defensemen,” general manager George McPhee said Tuesday, “because we’re going to claim a bunch.”

    So, who might get flipped?

    Well, a highly touted youngster like Shea Theodore, acquired in a trade with Anaheim, is unlikely to go. Theodore, 21, could be a core member of the Knights for years to come.

    Deryk Engelland probably won’t be going anywhere either. He just signed a one-year contract with the Knights, and he already has ties to Sin City.

    But a 32-year-old like Marc Methot? He could be dealt. The Dallas Stars are reportedly quite interested.

    A few others could be on the move, too, but we’ll have to wait to find out which ones.

    Here’s the full list of d-men that officially became Vegas property today:

    Jake Bischoff
    Deryk Engelland
    Alexei Emelin
    Jason Garrison
    Brayden McNabb
    Jon Merrill
    Marc Methot
    Colin Miller
    Luca Sbisa
    David Schlemko
    Griffin Reinhart
    Nate Schmidt
    Clayton Stoner
    Shea Theodore
    Trevor van Riemsdyk