Scott Hartnell was nearly traded for Sheldon Souray last season

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scotthartnell1.jpgIt’s said, sometimes to the point of it being done to death, that the best trades are often the ones that weren’t made. Late last night, Edmonton radio host Dan Tencer relayed a story from Global Sports television’s Kevin Karius on Twitter telling about how the Flyers and Oilers nearly made a big deal last season. That trade would’ve more than changed the complexion of the Philadelphia Flyers and would’ve eliminated one off-season headache this summer for the Oilers.

Last season Hartnell of the Flyers agreed to waive his NTC to come to Edmonton. Tambellini pulled out of a deal that would have sent Souray.

Scott Hartnell was cool with going to Edmonton and Oilers GM Steve Tambellini, who now can’t find anyone to take Sheldon Souray off his hands said “no” to it.  That’s stunning information. As with all stories and anecdotes such as these, there’s more to it than a simple summation can muster. Dan Tencer of the Edmonton Journal elaborates further on the stunning rumor.

After telling Tencer in an interview that Souray shouldn’t be allowed to attend Edmonton’s camp as things now stand, Karius said: “This could all have been avoided last year, Dan. Steve Tambellini offered Sheldon Souray to the Flyers for Scott Hartnell. And Hartnell has a no-trade clause and Paul Holmgren went to Hartnell and said, ‘Listen, the Oilers are interested in you. Would you waive your no trade?’ and Hartnell said, “You know, I’d like to, I woudln’t mind going to Edmonton and playing. He’s a Lloydminster guy. He’s an Alberta guy” He likes it here. I think it would have been a kind of a homecoming for him. A power forward, kind of what the Oilers need. So he said, ‘Go ahead.’ So Paul Holmgren phoned Tamby back and said, ‘Here is the deal. It’s done if you want it,’ and Tamby pulled out. So that could have been done last year.”

Mind you, stories like this are technically a rumor but there’s a lot of teeth to this one and unless Kevin Karius is itching to get fired out of Edmonton, there’s no reason for him to tell tall tales here. Depending on when, exactly, all this was playing out whether it was during a short window while Souray was healthy or while he was recovering from injury will help determine just how badly Steve Tambellini messed up on this whole thing. After all, finding a taker for Souray’s $5.4 million salary for the next two seasons is proving to be his biggest problem this off-season and if that could’ve been avoided by sending Souray away last year, the “what if?” game from Oilers fans would be off the charts.

As for the Flyers in this whole thing, they’ve got to be thankful that Tambellini did what he had apparently done because while Hartnell is a source of frustration at times, his work throughout the playoffs for the Flyers helped them get as far as they did. He was a menace around and in front of the net and did more good than bad. Souray would’ve been an extreme luxury on the blue line for the Flyers meanwhile they would’ve been a lot thinner up front.

While this trade that didn’t happen worked out really well for Philadelphia, it’s proving to be the burden of the summer for the Oilers because the inability to trade Souray is apparently slowing them down from doing anything else. I wonder if Steve Tambellini would like a do-over on this one.

Looking to make the leap: Daniel Sprong

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 15:  Daniel Sprong #41 of the Pittsburgh Penguins handles the puck in front of Kyle Turris #7 of the Ottawa Senators during the game at Consol Energy Center on October 15, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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This is part of Pittsburgh Penguins day at PHT…

Daniel Sprong was stuck in a difficult position during the 2015-16 season.

He ended up being just one of eight players from the 2015 draft to play in the NHL, spending the first two months of the season in Pittsburgh after earning a spot on the roster thanks to an impressive training camp and preseason performance. But once there the Penguins really didn’t seem to know what to do with him. He showed flashes of the talent that earned him a spot on the roster, but it was also clear that his play away from the puck needed work and that he never completely had the trust of then-coach Mike Johnston.

If he was not a healthy scratch, he was only playing limited minutes.

But because he was only 18 years old, he was not eligible to play in the American Hockey League during the regular season due to the AHL-CHL transfer agreement.

That meant if he wasn’t going to play in Pittsburgh, a league that was probably a little too advanced for him at the time, he had to return to the QMJHL to play for his junior team, the Charlottetown Islanders, in a league that he was probably too good for. It’s an agreement that works great for the CHL, but doesn’t really give prospects the best chance to develop that season because their only options are a league where they are overmatched or a league where they are probably the best player on the ice every time they go over the boards.

Eventually, the Penguins were left with little choice and did in fact return him to the Q where he, quite predictably, dominated the competition and recorded 46 points in 33 games.

At the conclusion of Charlottetown’s season, he was able to play for the Penguins’ AHL team in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton during the playoffs where he scored five goals and added two assists in only 10 games.

The problem he is going to face this season is that the Penguins’ forward group is already mostly locked in at the start as they are returning everybody from their Stanley Cup winning roster, which is going to make things tight for somebody new to break into the lineup.

But Sprong is clearly the team’s best forward prospect at the moment and one of the few players in the system that seems to have top-six potential. Whether it’s through his own play forcing his way into NHL action or an injury, he should have an opportunity to be a factor at some point this season.

‘He’s earned it’ — Jets name Wheeler new captain

CALGARY, AB - MARCH 16: Blake Wheeler #26 of the Winnipeg Jets in action against the Calgary Flames during an NHL game at Scotiabank Saddledome on March 16, 2016 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)
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It was widely assumed that Blake Wheeler would inherit Andrew Ladd‘s captaincy in Winnipeg and, on Wednesday, the club made it official.

Wheeler, 30, will become the second player to captain the Jets since the franchise moved from Atlanta in 2011, with Dustin Byfuglien and Mark Scheifele serving as alternates.

The Wheeler decision was something of a no-brainer, as he’s one of the club’s longest tenured player (seven seasons and counting), spending the the last three as one of Ladd’s alternate captains.

In the summer of ’13, Wheeler inked a six-year, $33.6 million extension with the Jets and has since established himself as one of the clubhouse leaders. He was a prominent voice during the Evander Kane saga, mincing no words when explaining what was expected of Jets players.

“There’s a standard that everyone needs to live up to,” Wheeler said, per the Sun. “We’re professionals, we make a lot of money. And we’re expected to uphold a certain standard. That’s the code we live by.

“If you don’t like it then there’s other places to go. This is the way we do things.”

Flyers unveil golden 50th anniversary jerseys

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It might seem inappropriate to release Flyers news on Pittsburgh Penguins day at PHT but, given the immediate backlash to said news, maybe it’s appropriate after all.

On Wednesday, the Flyers unveiled their commemorative 50th anniversary jerseys, which are basically regular Flyers jerseys, but with some gold on them.

Not sure what else to say. They’re gold. Guess it’s worth mentioning the inside collar of each jersey is emblazoned with “EST. 1967,” an homage to the year the Flyers entered the NHL as an expansion franchise.

Oh yeah, Philly will wear the new third jersey 12 times this season, per TSN.

Shortly after the release, the Internet went ahead and did what it does:

For more on the jerseys, click here.

Stars promote White, Janko to assistant GM roles

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 25: Jim Nill of the Detroit Red Wings works the draft floor during the 2010 NHL Entry Draft at Staples Center on June 25, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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The Dallas Stars made some front office adjustments on Wednesday.

Longtime executive Les Jackson, 63, has been “elevated” from his role as Jim Nill’s assistant GM to “senior advisor to the general manager” while Scott White, the GM of Dallas’ AHL affiliate in Texas, has been promoted to AGM.

White will work alongside fellow new AGM Mark Janko, who was promoted from his role as the club’s director of hockey administration.

What does it all mean?

Not a ton, though it’s interesting to note the club is shifting Jackson’s role after he was close to taking the Arizona gig earlier this year.

Jackson was believed to be the original frontrunner to replace the outgoing Don Maloney but, after he and the Coyotes were unable to strike a deal, the club proceeded to hire 26-year-old John Chayka, the youngest GM in NHL history.