Mark Everson of the New York Post is speculating on a move the New Jersey Devils are going to make in order to accommodate the eventual addition of Ilya Kovalchuk’s salary. While there are many options the Devils could run with in order to fit under the salary cap in the wake of signing Kovalchuk (whenever that happens), Everson suggests that one of the team’s top centers is the guy that will go.
It’s difficult to fathom, but rumors are floating that Travis Zajac may be among the players the Devils will eventually sacrifice to get under the salary cap if Ilya Kovalchuk’s $100 million, 15-year contract is approved by the NHL.
Conventional wisdom suggests Bryce Salvador ($2.9 million) and Dainius Zubrus ($3.4 million) are the obvious candidates to surrender for the $3-5 million in cap space the Devils would need to clear by the start of the season if Kovalchuk’s deal is approved.
The one part of this that even makes any sense at all is that Zajac is the most attractive player to other teams that the Devils could move. Of course, giving up Zajac makes the Devils an older team up the middle and they’d be giving away a player who has really blossomed with the Devils.
They’ve got two players with obscene salaries that would immediately help the Devils salary issues if they were to depart in the aforementioned Dainius Zubrus as well as Brian Rolston (a $5.062 million cap hit the next two years). Of course, finding a team desperate enough to swing a deal for either of them would be nothing short of a miracle.
Finding a way to deal Zubrus would also give the Devils a chance to work prospect Jacob Josefson into the lineup. Dealing off Salvador would give Matt Corrente an opportunity to play or perhaps open the door to bringing back Mike Mottau. For now though, all we have is speculation but know that Kovalchuk signing will bring about change of some kind to the Devils roster.
The ‘Canes made a fairly big coaching splash on Tuesday, announcing they hired New York Rangers assistant coach Ulf Samuelsson to become the new bench boss in AHL Charlotte.
“Ulf has built a very strong coaching resume during a decade behind the bench in the AHL, NHL and Swedish league,” Carolina GM Ron Francis said in a release. “He has a proven history of helping to develop young players and understands the organizational culture that we are building here.”
Samuelsson, who won back-to-back Stanley Cups with Francis in Pittsburgh during the 90s, has spent the last three seasons as Alain Vigneault’s right-hand man in New York, helping the Rangers advance to the Stanley Cup Final in ’14 and the Eastern Conference Final last season.
Prior to joining the Rangers, he spent two seasons as head coach for Modo of the Swedish Hockey League.
Samuelsson will replace Mark Morris in Charlotte, after Morris accepted the head coaching gig at St. Lawrence University. Morris had only been on the job for one year, having inherited the position from former ‘Cane Jeff Daniels.
It sounds like Patrick Marleau won’t be suspended for his hit on Penguins forward Bryan Rust (top) in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday night, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
After the game, Marleau told reporters that he was pretty confident he wouldn’t be suspended and it sounds like he’s right.
Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan didn’t see things the same way.
“It’s a blindside hit to the head,” he said. “[Marleau] gets a penalty and I’m sure the league will look at it.”
Marleau was given a two-minute penalty for an illegal hit to the head on the play.
Rust played a single shift after taking the hit, but he went to the locker room after that and didn’t return. Sullivan said he’s day-to-day. It’s unclear if Rust will practice with the team on Tuesday.
Former Philadelphia Flyers forward Rick MacLeish passed away on Monday night. He was 66-years-old. The organization confirmed the news early Tuesday morning. MacLeish was battling meningitis as well as kidney and liver problems, per Philly.com.
“With the passing of Rick MacLeish, the Flyers have lost one of their legends,” Flyers President Paul Holmgren said in a release. “A good father, grandfather, teammate and friend, Rick will be missed by all who were fortunate to come and know him over the years. His happy and friendly demeanor was front and center everywhere Rick went. Today, our thoughts and prayers are with Rick’s wife, Charlene, his daughters, Danielle and Brianna along with his grandchildren. May he rest in peace.”
MacLeish first put on a Flyers jersey during the 1970-71 season. He would go on to score 349 goals and 759 points in 846 NHL games with Philadelphia, Hartford, Pittsburgh and Detroit. MacLeish also scored what is considered to be the most important goal in Flyers history when he netted the opening goal in Game 6 of the 1974 Stanley Cup Final against Boston. The Flyers would clinch their first Stanley Cup that night.
He won a pair of Stanley Cups with the Flyers and was named an NHL All-Star three times in his career.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
—Pascal Dupuis wrote a piece for The Players’ Tribune.
—Matt Cullen also wrote a piece for The Players’ Tribune called “Hockey Dad”.
—Dainius Zubrus is making his third trip to the cup final, but he still hasn’t won one. (Puck Daddy)
–Watch the highlights from Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. (Top)
–Here’s the Punjabi call of Nick Bonino‘s game-winning goal. (Streamable)
–Speaking of Bonino, he’s been pretty clutch this postseason:
–The NHL still wants to play an outdoor game on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. (Ottawa Sun)