(Yes, I know that is the most obvious headline possible. Sorry.)
Now that the first few days of unrestricted free agency are just about done, it’s time to start checking out the players who are on hockey’s version of the “clearance” aisle. One of the more interesting players is Miroslav Satan – even if his name has barely been uttered in free agent talks or even “What about that guy?” conversations.
There are plenty of reasons why the free agent market for the funny-last-named winger is lukewarm, at best. While there aren’t any concrete stories, rumor has it that Satan wore out his welcome in locker rooms, particularly with his former long-time team the Buffalo Sabres. He’s also put up some mediocre numbers in the regular season the last few years, scoring 14 points in 38 games for Boston last season, 36 in 08-09 and 41 in 07-08. Not exactly impressive numbers for a guy who doesn’t bring much more to the table besides scoring ability.
Satan is also 35 years old, so chances are teams aren’t interested in giving him more than a one-year deal.
That being said, we’re nearing that time when general managers are eye-balling that marked-down dented can of green beans, looking for a good deal at a lowered risk. Even if it means that the moves will fail to set the world on fire.
One thing you can say for Satan is that he played very well when the Bruins needed him the most. As Marc Savard and David Krejci dealt with some injury concerns, he scored some key goals even as the team failed to finish off the Philadelphia Flyers. The 10 points he put up in 13 games qualifies as his second best playoff performance ever, only behind his 13 points in 13 playoff games with the Buffalo Sabres during the 00-01 postseason.
Sure, 13 games is a pretty small sample and Satan failed to make it happen while getting a prime opportunity skating with Sidney Crosby during the 08-09 campaign. Going into the playoffs, I thought Satan’s NHL career was over, but after producing at a near point-per-game pace, he might be able to stick in the league for another season or two.
Should your team consider making a deal with Satan? Tell us in the comments.
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
The Ryan Nugent-Hopkins trade speculation may have died down since it peaked at the draft in late June, but it’s not entirely dead.
The 23-year-old former first overall draft pick was asked to address the ongoing rumors Monday at an Oilers charity golf tournament.
“I try not to pay attention too much,” Nugent-Hopkins said, per the Edmonton Journal. “If it happens, it happens. I know it’s definitely a different group than the one we finished with last season.”
Indeed it is. Most notably, Taylor Hall is in New Jersey now, traded for defenseman Adam Larsson. The Oilers also signed Milan Lucic and drafted Jesse Puljujarvi.
What’s still lacking is an offensive defenseman who can run the power play, which is why the names Tyson Barrie (Avalanche) and Matt Dumba (Wild) have been floated as potential targets.
The Wild in particular could use a good, young center like Nugent-Hopkins, and the expansion draft is looming for a Minnesota club that already has defensemen Ryan Suter, Jared Spurgeon, Jonas Brodin, and Marco Scandella locked up in long-term contracts.
Barrie, meanwhile, has an arbitration hearing scheduled for Friday.
Blues d-man Kevin Shattenkirk is another name that’s come up; however, he can become an unrestricted free agent after next season, and whether he’d re-sign in Edmonton is in doubt.
Chalk up another arbitration hearing that won’t be required. This time it’s Brandon Manning‘s. The 26-year-old defenseman has agreed on a two-year, $1.95 million deal with the Philadelphia Flyers, according to CSN Philly.
Manning’s hearing was scheduled for next Tuesday. He was the last restricted free agent on the Flyers, after Brayden Schenn re-signed Monday.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman was the first to report the Manning signing.
Manning played 56 games for the Flyers in 2015-16, his first full season in the NHL. He had one goal and six assists while logging an average ice time of 16:32.
The Chicago Blackhawks are reportedly parting ways with defenseman David Rundblad. The two sides have agreed to a contract termination, according to Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times.
Rundblad, 25, was set to earn $1.1 million this season, per General Fanager. His cap hit was $1.05 million, meaning the ‘Hawks will gain $100,000 in cap space by not having to bury his contract in the AHL next season.
Rundblad was unlikely to make the Blackhawks in 2016-17 — not after the additions of Brian Campbell and Michal Kempny, and also the re-signing of Michal Rozsival.
It remains to be seen where Rundblad will end up. One possibility is back in Switzerland, where he spent part of last season before dressing three times for the ‘Hawks in the playoffs.