Derek Boogaard, the Wild’s 6-8 enforcer, remains unsigned two weeks prior to free agency. And, although General Manager Chuck Fletcher says he’s had “regular conversations going back three months” with Boogaard’s agent, Ron Salcer, Fletcher has indicated that he’s unlikely to re-sign Boogaard prior to July 1.
“We haven’t closed the book either, and maybe we revisit it July 1 or 2 if we don’t [re-sign him before],” Fletcher said. “But we have several areas we’re looking to improve. It comes down to, ‘How much cap space can you allocate to a certain area without compromising other areas?'”
Fletcher has been entrenched in trade talks heading into next weekend’s draft in Los Angeles. He wants to maintain salary-cap flexibility so it doesn’t inhibit any roster moves via trade or free agency.
While Fletcher and other GMs try to put a positive spin on these kinds of situations, it’s hard not to wonder if the Boogard-types are an endangered species (if not extinct). The post-lockout game is so dependent on speed and skill that dressing a player whose sole goal is to throw knuckles can be a serious drawback. Naturally, intimidation will always be a big part of the game, but maybe the big, mean enforcers are giving way to the pesky, middleweight guys who can play a little bit. They might be a bit despicable at times, but the Matt Cooke/Dan Carcillo-type pests tend to be much more useful than pure goons.
Either way, it’s been a bad week for glorified boxers on skates. The Montreal Canadiens started off the contract buyout period by letting Georges Laraque go and now it’s clear that Boogard’s future is in question.
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Jets’ Enstrom undergoes second knee surgery in 12 months
Enstrom’s had a difficult year health-wise and, at the time of surgery, was dealing with a concussion suffered on a Tom Sestito hit back in early March. Prior to that, he missed time while attending to a family matter in his native Sweden and, prior to that, was shut down late last season to undergo knee surgery.
It’s unclear if today’s procedure was related to the one Enstrom had last March.
It is worth noting that, at the time of last year’s surgery, head coach Paul Maurice noted the 32-year-old had been dealing with the injury for months.
“He’s been able to get through it because of blocks of days off. If he can get a two day block, he’d get a little better and it’s just getting worse,” Maurice said, per Global News. “It got to the point that he’s not recovering and he hasn’t been. He hasn’t been for almost a month now. He’s not recovering enough on his days off for the pain ever to subside.”
All told, Enstrom appeared in 60 games this year, scoring 14 points while averaging just under 22 minutes per night. Next season will be the last of a five-year, $28.75 million deal that carries a $5.75 million cap hit.
The 35-year-old allowed five goals in his first game back, a 6-3 loss to Anaheim Sunday, and five more in his second game, a 5-4 OT loss to San Jose Tuesday.
But Lundqvist is still the No. 1 in New York, and for that reason he’s scheduled to start four of the Rangers’ five remaining regular-season games, with the hope he’ll be able to play his way back into form in time for the postseason.
Lundqvist was not happy after Tuesday’s loss to the Sharks, even though the point the Rangers gained earned them a playoff berth.
“I’m extremely disappointed right now,” he told reporters. “I’m glad we’re in, but I want to get the job done. I want the win. We found a way to lose this one at the end.”
With the loss, Lundqvist’s save percentage fell to .911 on the season. If it finishes at that number, it would be the lowest save percentage of his NHL career.
Antti Raanta‘s save percentage, meanwhile, sits at .922. In his last start, he shut out the Kings in Los Angeles.
The Rangers host Pittsburgh tomorrow and Philadelphia Sunday. Next week, they’re in Washington Wednesday, Ottawa Saturday, and then they close out their schedule at home to Pittsburgh Sunday.
Raanta will start one of the final two games.
The Rangers are likely to face Carey Price and the Montreal Canadiens in the first round of the playoffs.
Discipline of this nature is pretty common, though the way Reinhart’s played out was a bit more dramatic. Rather than park him in the press box as a healthy scratch, the Sabres — who didn’t have an extra forward, as Kyle Okposo was out sick — dressed the 21-year-old, then sat him for the entire 60 minutes.
The Buffalo News said the move “would seem to send a deeper message than merely being scratch,” adding that “there has been friction between players and [Sabres head coach Dan] Bylsma throughout the season.”
Of course, each situation is unique and some will argue showing up five minutes late for a stretch isn’t on par with what Zadorov and Kane did. Which is fair. That could be why Bylsma said the club might consider a policy change.
And that could by why Reinhart’s teammate, Jack Eichel, tried to put things in perspective.
“We’re obviously not going to hold it over his head here,” Eichel said, per the News. “He didn’t really do too much wrong.”
Poolman, 23, was taken by Winnipeg in the fifth round (127th overall) at the ’13 draft. From the Free Press:
UND’s top defenceman was playing between 25 and 30 minutes per game and was the fourth-highest scoring blue-liner in the NCHC. He finished the season with seven goals, 30 points, 14 penalty minutes and a plus-18 rating in 38 games.
Poolman’s final campaign ended on a sour note. He suffered a shoulder injury during the NCHC championship game and was unable to play in North Dakota’s season-ending loss to Boston University in the NCAA championships.
Tucker Poolman is having shoulder surgery tomorrow, his deal with #NHLJets is for next season