Yzerman and Stamkos not worried about a contract extension just yet

stevenstamkos2.jpgWhile we’ve paid more than enough attention to the players that are restricted free agents this year, next year one of the biggest names in the NHL is set to become a restricted free agent. Steven Stamkos of the Lightning is in the final year of his entry-level contract and after scoring 51 goals last year, it’s time for the Lightning and GM Steve Yzerman to step up and lock him in for the foreseeable future. The contract process hasn’t begun yet with Stamkos, but as Erik Erlendsson of The Tampa Tribune finds out, neither side seems to be worried about getting something done.

Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman, who has plowed through plenty of other items on his docket in his first summer at the helm, wants to ensure Stamkos never hits the free agent market. Although there have not been any discussions between the Lightning and Stamkos’ agent to this point, Yzerman said re-signing Stamkos remains a priority.

“I haven’t had a chance to really start on that, but once we get into (training) camp … I will start to get prepared and make contact with Steven’s representation at some point,” Yzerman said. “I would prefer (it didn’t linger) but you can never be really certain as to which direction it will go, but he is an important part of the organization and we will make our best effort to get it done as quickly as possible.

“Our goal is to get Steven re-signed and he is an important part of the franchise, which is an understatement.”

Whether a new contract gets hammered out quickly or it takes time to come to terms, Stamkos said the process won’t weigh heavily on his mind.

“There is no rush for me, I’m not pressing on anything to get done on a certain timeline,” he said. “I have thought about it, for sure, but not to any kind of big extent. It’s obviously a big year because it’s the last year of a contract, but … there have been some others in the past who struggle in those years and let it get to them.

“For me, I’m lucky to have great guys on this team to be here with and our team is looking really good. I’m just excited to get the season going, contract or not.”

Must be nice to have a situation that isn’t fraught with anxiousness to get something done and squared away. With what we’ve seen this off-season concerning Bobby Ryan in Anaheim and Marc Staal with the Rangers, having both Yzerman and Stamkos say that they’re not concerned about things and eager to get something done is a nice change of pace. Yzerman has yet to make a seemingly bad move as GM, seeing how he handles a contract extension of this magnitude will be interesting to watch. It’ll also be interesting to see what Stamkos does for an encore following his breakout season.

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    Report: Ducks’ Stewart suffered broken jaw in fight (Video)

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    Per the Columbus Dispatch, Anaheim winger Chris Stewart reportedly suffered a broken jaw in his fight on Thursday night with Jackets d-man Dalton Prout.

    Stewart, who has eight goals and 18 points in 47 games this year, left the game following the scrap and didn’t return from the third period. Head coach Bruce Boudreau didn’t provide any update on the veteran’s condition following the contest.

    Assuming Stewart misses time with the injury, it would be a blow to the Anaheim lineup. Though he averages just 10:40 TOI per game, Stewart is a physical presence and has played pretty well of late, with three points in his last five games.

     

    With Price possibly done for the season, Scrivens has Dubnyk-like opportunity

    Montreal Canadiens' Devante Smith-Pelly , center,and Brendan Gallagher, left, celebrate their victory over the Carolina Hurricanes with goalie Ben Scrivens at an NHL hockey game Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Montreal. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
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    Last year, it was Devan Dubnyk who saved the Wild and salvaged his career.

    This year, could Ben Scrivens do the same for the Montreal Canadiens, and himself?

    Admittedly, the odds are against him. But with Carey Price possibly done for the season, there’s at least the potential.

    Scrivens, you’ll recall, was acquired from Edmonton in late December. While his first four starts did not go particularly well, he’s been downright solid lately. On Tuesday, he won his third straight, stopping 37 of 39 shots in a 4-2 win over Tampa Bay. His save percentage in those three wins was .959.

    The 29-year-old will make a fourth straight start tonight in Buffalo, getting the nod over Mike Condon, whose save percentage has fallen to a lowly .905 for the season.

    Like Dubnyk prior to joining the Wild, Scrivens has had success as an NHL goalie. In 2013-14, he boasted a .931 save percentage in 19 games for the Kings, before he was traded to Edmonton (right after the Oilers had traded Dubnyk, oddly enough) and things started to fall apart.

    Also like Dubnyk, Scrivens had to spend some time in the minors before he got another shot with an NHL team.

    Look, we’re not saying this is definitely going to happen. Scrivens has only had three good games, and the Habs’ issues since Price went down have extended beyond goaltending.

    All we’re saying is that there’s the potential.

    Tonight’s game is the first of three on the road for the Canadiens. They play Monday in Arizona and Wednesday in Colorado, before returning home to face Philadelphia next Friday.

    Avs waive veteran d-man Guenin, again

    at Pepsi Center on October 21, 2015 in Denver, Colorado.
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    Less than a month after exposing Nate Guenin to waivers, the Avs are at it again.

    On Friday, Colorado placed the veteran defenseman on the wire (per TVA), just hours after he was scratched from a 4-3 win over Ottawa on Thursday night.

    Guenin, 33, has only appeared in 29 games for the Avs this year, going pointless while averaging just over 13 minutes per night. It’s a far cry from the ’14-15 campaign, in which he posted career highs in games played (76), assists (13) and points (15).

    Guenin appears to have been passed on the depth chart by Andrew Bodnarchuk and Chris Bigras, both of whom played against the Sens (another defenseman, Zach Redmond, was a healthy scratch along with Guenin).

    Per General Fanager, today’s move might be more about shedding a contract than anything else:

    Preds entering key (and tough) stretch before trade deadline

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    Since an 11-3-3 start that saw them pile up 25 points in their first 17 games, the Nashville Predators have played 37 more times and gained just 33 points.

    For comparison’s sake, in all 30 teams’ last 37 games, only the Montreal Canadiens (in the midst of a shocking collapse) and the Buffalo Sabres (just not very good) have gained fewer than 33 points.

    So yeah, it’s been a struggle. The goaltending and defensive play have been sub-par. Offensively, it hasn’t been very good either.

    The good news for the Preds is that they’re still in the playoff race. In fact, thanks in large part to the imploding Wild, Nashville currently occupies the final wild-card spot in the West.

    With just nine games remaining before the Feb. 29 trade deadline, the players know they’re entering a key stretch.

    “I’m sure David Poile and the management have a few different plans,” defenseman Barret Jackman told The Tennessean, “but our thoughts in this room are picking up points and being a playoff contender… and making this team better and making a run for the Stanley Cup.”

    By the way, here are those next nine games…

    preds

    Pretty tough, right? Only Montreal and Toronto aren’t in a playoff spot.

    Suffice to say, it would be a huge disappointment if the Preds ended up missing the postseason — especially after acquiring Ryan Johansen, the number-one center everyone kept saying they needed.

    Johansen has actually been very good for them; he has 16 points in 14 games.

    It’s the team as a whole that needs to pick it up, and soon.

    Related: Preds believe Vesey could ‘come in and play right away’