How Blake Wheeler's arbitration could effect Tyler Seguin's immediate future

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seguinchiarelli.jpgWe talked a bit about the Bruins’ potential arbitration case with forward Blake Wheeler earlier today. What happens there, should he not sign before his hearing tomorrow in Toronto, will affect the Bruins immensely as far as their salary cap is concerned. While the Bruins certainly have many things to consider when it comes time to trim things down, one other area they’ll be concerned with is how the situation will effect matters with 2010 first round pick Tyler Seguin.

Seguin, if he’s to play with the Bruins next season, will likely sign an entry-level deal with the Bruins worth around $3.25 million a year. That’s not a number I picked out of the air, it’s the going rate for #2 overall picks in the draft. There’s no doubt that that salary coupled with what Blake Wheeler’s possible reward in arbitration will be will put the Bruins over the cap. Ahh, but there are always solutions and one of them is one that Bruins fans seeking immediate satisfaction on Seguin may not want to hear about. Neate Sager of Yahoo’s junior hockey blog Buzzing The Net says that things might not turn out so bad if Seguin isn’t squeezed into the Bruins lineup this year.

Much greater hockey minds seem divided on whether Seguin is ready now or could buy some time by remaining in a developmental league.

Point being, there is a win-win-win on the horizon. In Major League Baseball, teams and the media always talk about players’ controllable years and their free-agency clock. Having Seguin play in Plymouth keeps the clock rolling through a little more of what should be his NHL prime. He might have little left to prove in the Ontario Hockey League after beating out Taylor Hall for MVP honours, but that’s not really the question.

Mind you, this exact possibility for the Bruins to be able to have Seguin go back to Plymouth is something that they should be OK with doing. The Bruins are/were a playoff team, they’re a team with a lot of depth at center, they’re a team that’s pressed up against the cap. They’re a team with a lot of ugly money coming off the cap next season. Is there any harm at all in being patient while they’ve got the opportunity? No way.

As Sager notes, Seguin might not have much else to prove in the OHL but the Bruins have the option of having him return there if they so choose. The question for the Bruins then becomes: Are they better off with Seguin in the lineup regardless of whether he plays center or wing or can they wing it this season with what they’ve got having added Nathan Horton up front? I can say that I’m glad I’m not Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli and have to make these decisions.

Of course, the Bruins can always just send someone packing somehow and make the room for Seguin but trading guys is a bit tricky, especially in a market where finding buyers willing to take overpriced spare parts is awfully difficult.

Report: Stars make more changes in goal, hire ex-Detroit coach Bedard

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Suspect netminding has plagued Dallas for two straight years, and GM Jim Nill is switching things up accordingly.

On the heels of acquiring Ben Bishop and signing him to a long-term contract, Nill has reportedly hired veteran goalie coach Jim Bedard, per In Goal Magazine.

Bedard will replace longtime Dallas employee Mike Valley, who has been with the club since 2009 in a goalie coach/director of goaltending development role. In Goal reports that Valley told the club he wouldn’t be returning.

Bedard, 60, was with Detroit from the mid-90s to last summer, when he was relived of his duties. His unemployment didn’t last long. Within weeks of being dismissed, Bedard caught on as the goalie coach for OHL Windsor,

The connection to Dallas is quite obvious. Nill and Bedard worked together for years in Detroit, and won three Stanley Cups together.

Related: Bishop has ‘good relationship’ with Hitch, and that’s important

 

 

Penguins prepare for another Game 7, this time as favorites

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Two weeks ago, the Pittsburgh Penguins played a Game 7 that the oddsmakers expected them to lose.

But the Penguins didn’t lose. They went into Washington and shut out the Capitals to advance to the Eastern Conference Final.

Which brings us to tomorrow, and another Game 7.

This time, the game is in Pittsburgh. And this time, it’ll be the Penguins as favorites. 

At online sportsbook Bovada, the Ottawa Senators are +170 underdogs, meaning a $100 bet on the Sens to win Game 7 would pay out $170. Conversely, to make $100 on a Penguins win, a bettor would have to risk $200.

This is not to suggest that betting on Ottawa is the savvy move. It might be, given the potential payout, combined with the fact hockey games are often decided by a lucky bounce or hot goalie.

But just remember: the Penguins beat Tampa Bay in Game 7 of last year’s Eastern Conference Final. The defending champs have proven their worth in these winner-take-all games.

“It’s not something that’s new to them,” said head coach Mike Sullivan. “These guys have been involved in these experiences on a number of occasions, and they have those experiences to draw on. You know, I think they know what to expect, and now it’s a matter of going out and earning it and controlling what they can and doing your very best to get the result that we’re looking for.”

Veteran forward Matt Cullen added, “We’ve been there before. We’ve gone through this. We know what to expect out of our group. We have a comfort level with our plan and the way that we need to play. These are the fun games to play. So as a group, we go into it with a lot of confidence, knowing that we’re going to need our best game and expecting that we’ll bring it.”

For the record, Sens coach Guy Boucher has also experienced a Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final. It came in 2011 when he was coaching the Lightning, who fell to the eventual champs from Boston by the score of 1-0.

Though it wasn’t the result he wanted, Boucher felt privileged to have had the experience.

“It was a tough game,” he said. “It was 0-0 with seven minutes left in the game. It was quite a game and a lot of pressure. What I remember most is the excitement of an opportunity that very few people get in their lives, and I’m part of that. I can’t be blessed more than that.”

Related: The modern-day Sens have never won a Game 7

Weight ‘not afraid’ to say he wants ex-NHLers behind Isles bench

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With the interim tag dropped, Isles head coach Doug Weight is in the midst of retooling his staff.

It began last week, when Weight added longtime NHL defenseman — and former Oilers teammate — Luke Richardson as an assistant coach. That was followed by reports the Isles were interested in hiring another of Weight’s old teammates, Kelly Buchberger, as well as two-time Stanley Cup champion Scott Gomez.

Buchberger was playing as recently as 2004, in Pittsburgh, where he was teammates with the likes of Marc-Andre Fleury and Brooks Orpik. Gomez suited up for 13 games in Ottawa last season.

Clearly, there’s a trend at play here. Weight wants guys like him, veteran NHLers not far removed from their playing days (Weight hung ’em up in 2011). And he isn’t shying away from addressing it.

“I’m not afraid to say it, it’s something I’m looking for and chasing,” Weight said, per the Post. “But that being said, I’m not just hiring guys who play 15 years or 20 years.

“You have to sit with them, you have to see how they view the game, how they are, how they view the players, how I view the game.”

Bob Corkum, a holdover from the Jack Capuano era, won’t be brought back as an assistant. The status of Greg Cronin, another holdover — and who never played in the NHL, it should be said — is still up in the air.

Weight said he’s interviewed eight to 10 candidates to join his staff.

 

Detroit signs Czech d-man Sulak

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The Red Wings have added some depth on defense.

On Wednesday, the club announced it has signed Czech rearguard Libor Sulak to a two-year, entry-level deal. Sulak, 23, is fresh off representing the Czechs at the World Hockey Championship and, prior to that, spent the last two years playing for Znojmo Orli of the Austrian League.

There, he was named the league’s rookie of the year in 2016, and followed that up with a career-high 10 goals and 28 points in 54 games last season.

It’ll be interesting to see if he can push for minutes in Detroit next season. Currently, the club has six d-men under contract — Mike Green, Danny DeKeyser, Niklas Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson, Nick Jensen and Ryan Sproul. Xavier Ouellet is also in the mix, but a restricted free agent.

The Red Wings also signed ’16 first-rounder Dennis Cholowski to his ELC last month, and he played one game for their AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids.