31 players file for salary arbitration

The NHLPA announced today that 31 players have opted to go for salary arbitration with their clubs. While players and their teams can still negotiate for a new contract, if things reach the stage where an arbitration hearing is needed to settle things out, things can get ugly. At arbitration, teams present cases against the player to tell why they should pay them what they believe their worth is.

The list of players looks like this:

Anaheim Ducks
James Wisniewski

Atlanta Thrashers
Ben Eager
Andrew Ladd
Clarke MacArthur

Boston Bruins
Greg Campbell
Blake Wheeler

Buffalo Sabres
Tim Kennedy

Calgary Flames
Ian White

Chicago Blackhawks
Antti Niemi

Columbus Blue Jackets
Jared Boll
Anton Stralman

Dallas Stars
Fabian Brunnstrom

Detroit Red Wings
Derek Meech

Edmonton Oilers
Gilbert Brule
Jeff Drouin-DesLauriers
Jean-Francois Jacques

Los Angeles Kings
Brad Richardson

New Jersey Devils
Mark Fraser

New York Islanders
Matt Moulson

New York Rangers
Daniel Girardi

Ottawa Senators
Chris Campoli
Peter Regin

Philadelphia Flyers
Daniel Carcillo

St. Louis Blues
Cam Janssen

Tampa Bay Lightning
Nate Thompson

Vancouver Canucks
Tanner Glass
Jannik Hansen
Mason Raymond

Washington Capitals
Eric Fehr
Tomas Fleischmann
Jeff Schultz

There are some potentially interesting cases here. The main one involves Blackhawks goalie Antti Niemi, a case we analyzed here earlier today.

Others involve NHL plus-minus leader Jeff Schultz from Washington, Atlanta’s newly acquired duo from Chicago in Andrew Ladd and Ben Eager, Boston’s enigmatic winger Blake Wheeler, Dallas’ bust-like Finnish import Fabian Brunnstrom, and the ever curious case of Philly’s Daniel Carcillo. I’d enjoy being a fly on the wall for an arbitration hearings involving Carcillo and Brunnstrom as hearing their teams arguing against them would be popcorn-bringing-worthy events.

Teams have a deadline for Club-Elected Salary Arbitration of July 6th, tomorrow, at 5:00 p.m. EDT. Hearings will be held in Toronto from July 20 to August 4.

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    Report: Forsling signs with Blackhawks

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    A report out of Sweden says that defenseman Gustav Forsling has signed an entry-level contract with the Chicago Blackhawks.

    For the past two seasons, Forsling has been with Linkopings HC of the Swedish Hockey League. In 2015-16, the 19-year-old had six goals and 15 assists in 48 games.

    A fifth-round pick of the Canucks in 2014, Forsling was a star at the 2015 World Juniors, where he had eight points (3G, 5A) in seven games for Sweden. He was traded to Chicago in return for Adam Clendening.

    “He’s an offensive defenseman that plays very well on the power play and has a big shot,” said Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman upon Forsling’s acquisition.

    Assuming the report is accurate, Forsling can probably count on starting his North American career in the AHL.

    The Blackhawks are hoping to graduate Rockford d-man Ville Pokka to the NHL next season.

    Related: Three major challenges facing the Chicago Blackhawks

    Hendricks to captain U.S. at Worlds for second straight year

    OSTRAVA, CZECH REPUBLIC - MAY 01:  Matt Hendricks of USA celebrates goal of his team-mates during the IIHF World Championship group B match between USA and Finland at CEZ Arena on May 1, 2015 in Ostrava, Czech Republic.  (Photo by Matej Divizna/Getty Images)
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    Last year, Matt Hendricks captained Team USA to bronze at the World Hockey Championships, marking just the second time in the last 11 years the U.S. had medaled.

    So, why not go back to Hendricks again?

    That’s what USA Hockey opted to do on Wednesday, announcing the Edmonton forward would reprise his role as team captain for the 2016 tournament, to be held in Moscow and Saint Petersburg.

    Columbus’ Nick Foligno and Arizona’s Connor Murphy were named alternate captains.

    Hendricks had a pretty solid tournament for the U.S. last year, scoring two goals and three points in 10 games — an effort made more impressive by the fact it was his first time representing the U.S. internationally.

    The U.S. gets its ’16 Worlds campaign underway on Friday, with a game against Canada at 11:30 a.m. ET. The game will be broadcast live on NBCSN, and a live stream will be available on NBC Sports’ Live Extra.

    Prized Flyers prospect Provorov says he’s NHL-ready

    Ivan Provorov
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    Philly had one rookie defenseman burst onto the scene this year, as Shayne Gostisbehere‘s stellar play earned him a Calder Trophy nomination.

    Next year, another freshman blueliner will look to make his own mark.

    Ivan Provorov, the club’s first-round pick (seventh overall) at the 2015 draft, says he’s primed to make the Flyers’ roster for 2016-17 — despite the fact he’ll be just 19 years old when the campaign begins.

    “I think I’m ready,” he said, per the Inquirer. “But we’ll see what happens. I think I’m going to have another good summer and come ready in September.”

    The Flyers have been high on Provorov from the minute they drafted him. He signed his entry-level deal a week after being selected, and impressed onlookers during his time at prospect and training camps.

    “He showed us his play is efficient in all areas with and without the puck,” head coach Dave Hakstol said, per CSN Philly. “I thought his competitiveness was very good throughout the two days.

    “He was focused and relaxed. He is a composed young man with maturity and confidence. Those are very good traits in a young player.”

    This year, Provorov — who’s still playing with Brandon in the WHL playoffs — racked up a whopping 21 goals and 73 points in just 62 games. The potential of adding Provorov’s offensive abilities to a blueline that already features a pretty skilled guy in Gostisbehere is tantalizing.

    But, as Flyers GM Ron Hextall points out, Provorov is going to have to beat out an incumbent, and won’t just be gifted a spot on the Philadelphia roster.

    “They have to come in and be better than someone else that’s here,” Hextall said of young players looking to crack the lineup. “If that happens, we proved last year that we’ll make room in our roster for a young player that proves to us that he’s ready to play at this level and make our team better.”

    The Caps say they’ve ‘matured’ and have ‘good poise’ now — we’ll see tonight

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    The Washington Capitals — desperate for a win tonight in Pittsburgh — are vowing to stick to the plan, keep their composure, and not let a certain 21-year-old netminder get into their heads.

    “I think that’s where this team has matured,” said coach Barry Trotz, per CSN Washington. “We have good poise. You’ve seen that all year with our team. We don’t get rattled often. We do get, I would say, very determined at times and we’ve shown a lot of resiliency all year. That’s why we were able to have the record we did. We didn’t let things bother us too much. And we’ve got a good leadership group that when things maybe aren’t going the way you want, they seem to be able to put it back on the rails for us. I think that’s the growth of our team the last two years.”

    In Game 3, the Caps had every reason to feel like the hockey gods were out to get them. They put 49 shots on Penguins goalie Matt Murray, but were only able to beat him twice. They lost, 3-2, and now must win tonight in order to avoid falling into a 3-1 series hole.

    In Game 4, the Capitals will have a major advantage, as their opponents will be without two of their top defensemen, Kris Letang (suspended) and Olli Maatta (injured).

    So not only is it a game the Caps need to win, it’s a game they’ll be expected to win.

    That means pressure.

    And pressure, sometimes, can lead to panic.

    According to Trotz, the Caps used to be guilty of exactly that. They’d change the plan when things didn’t go their way. They’d play too much as individuals. They’d play right into the opposition’s hands.

    But not anymore.

    “I think what this group has learned is that you stay to the plan, you execute and do the job well,” said Trotz.

    “If you do that, it will turn your way.”