There are a lot of tough jobs in the NHL, particularly when it comes to selling tickets for teams who aren’t dominating the league.
One of the toughest of all might be selling tickets for the Dallas Stars this summer. The team wasn’t exactly selling like hot cakes last year, but after losing two long-time fan favorites in Mike Modano and Marty Turco, the uphill battle is turning into scaling a mountain.
Perhaps it’s a strategy born out of necessity, but the Stars are promoting team … in fact they’re putting it in ALL CAPS. Here is more about the Stars TEAM marketing campaign via Mark Stepneski of ESPN Dallas.
It’s a message that GM Joe Nieuwendyk and Marc Crawford will push and it’s a message that the team’s marketing staff will capitalize on as well.
“Your marketing message for the year has to flow up from an authentic place; it flows up from the team because you are trying to encapsulate the best of your team. This year it is: ‘It’s About TEAM’ and team will be in all capital letters,” Geoff Moore, executive vice president for sales and marketing. “It’s because the Dallas Stars were not built by one player. Certain players had more to do with it than others, but it was always about a team. “
That emphasis on team was a staple of the Bob Gainey-Ken Hitchcock era, when the Stars had their great run in the late 90’s and it continues as the Stars move into a new era.
“What did Bob Gainey and Ken Hitchcock preach every single day? It was about the team,” said Moore. “With Dave Tippett it was if everything you do is for the best of the team then you can’t go wrong. That’s what Joe and Marc are pushing forward – that if you work hard for each other every day then you can’t go wrong.”
Aw, does that mean that TEAM isn’t some contrived acronym? That kind of bums me out.
The Stars organization must cope with plenty of hurdles – from departing heroes of the past to bankrupt owners and maybe even a questionable coach and GM – but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any positives to look at. While their defense is suspect and their main goalie lacks consistency, they have a nice group of forwards to build around.
Some might even say that they have a pretty good TEAM, but I’d ask that they stop screaming.
The Calgary Flames signed Finnish defenseman Jusso Valimaki to a three-year, entry-level contract on Friday.
Valimaki, 18, was the 16th overall pick of the 2017 NHL Draft. He was selected in that spot after a nice year with the WHL’s Tri-City Americans, scoring 61 points in 60 regular-season games and then added an assist in four playoff contests. He also played for the Tri-City Americans in 2015-16, putting up 32 points in 56 games.
Apparently he’s capable of at least one nifty shootout move, too:
People are pondering how Valimaki may fit into the Flames at the end of a three-year window Johnny Gaudreau recently cited. That seems a little far-reaching, although this nugget makes you wonder if Calgary might want to drag a little extra value out of his rookie deal:
Interesting. Either way, the Flames locked up a future piece, whether he can make an NHL impact sooner or later.
It turns out that Tomas Tatar‘s days are numbered with the Detroit Red Wings by almost 1,500.*
After a salary arbitration hearing and concerns that he might leave after a single season, “Band-Aid” sort of deal, a wide variety of reporters state that the two sides instead agreed to a four-year deal with a $5.3 million cap hit, which would total $21.2 million.
Those figures come from MLive.com’s Ansar Khan, the Detroit News’ Ted Kulfan, FanRag’s Craig Morgan, and Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman. The Red Wings confirmed that it was four years, but didn’t mention the financial details in their release.
Here’s the reported yearly breakdown (cue ominous music for that lockout-protection drop in 2020-21), via Morgan:
Again, this feels like a change in viewpoint, as even just yesterday it was reasonable to wonder if Tatar would only stick around for 2017-18. Now, it is possible that Tatar might get traded at some point, but a four-year deal is a bit surprising. The forward himself speculated that a one-year deal would be it.
This contract makes Tatar, 26, the Red Wings’ second-most expensive forward from a cap perspective, trailing only Henrik Zetteberg’s $6.083 million.
Even with this deal out of the way, Red Wings GM Ken Holland still has some work to do, including re-signing speedy forward Andreas Athanasiou. And the situation is tight.
* – Four times 365 is 1,460. Get it?
The good news is that Tommy Wingels is expected to be ready for Chicago Blackhawks training camp. The bad news is that he’ll be limited in his training regimen … although that very regimen caused him issues in the first place.
Dr. Michael Terry, the Blackhawks’ team doctor, released the following update regarding Wingels:
“Tommy Wingels sustained a left foot fracture during his off-season training. We anticipate a full recovery in six to eight weeks and in time for training camp. We do not anticipate any long-term issues.”
It’s unclear what caused the specific injury. Dropped weight? Unlucky fall? Perhaps a stress fracture? Without knowing the exact issue, it’s tempting to picture various painful scenarios.
(Probably because we’re in the dog days of the hockey summer, too.)
Wingels, 29, is on a one-year deal with Chicago, carrying a $750K salary and cap hit. He last played for the Ottawa Senators, though Blackhawks fans are most likely to remember him from his lengthy stay with the San Jose Sharks.
Six-to-eight weeks seems like it wouldn’t give a ton of room for error, so we’ll see if he’ll actually be ready for training camp.
Defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, potentially the NHL’s first overall draft pick in 2018, will suit up for Sweden at the World Junior Summer Showcase in Plymouth, Michigan.
Dahlin, who doesn’t turn 18 until April, has wowed scouts with his skating and puck-moving ability. At the 2017 World Juniors, he participated as a 16-year-old, garnering tantalizing reviews in the process.
Top-10 picks in the 2017 draft, Elias Pettersson (5th, Vancouver Canucks) and Lias Andersson (7th, New York Rangers), will also be in Plymouth representing Sweden.
Click here for Sweden’s and Finland’s Summer Showcase rosters. The tournament runs from July 29 – Aug. 5 and also features players from the United States and Canada.
Among the draft-eligible Finns to watch is 17-year-old forward Jesse Ylonen, who could be a late first-rounder in 2018.
Related: USA Hockey invites 42 players to World Junior Summer Showcase