Last season saw the Detroit Red Wings deal with a host of injuries. Coming off of back-to-back seasons reaching the Stanley Cup Finals, it’s understandable that players could get tired and hurt as well and on a team that lost 40-goal scorer Marian Hossa, losing any kind of offense makes living a bit rough. Losing fellow scorer Johan Franzen for stretches of time didn’t help matters and the offensive flare that he showed in the playoffs proved that.
How are Franzen and his Red Wings teammates feeling going into this season? Pretty good it seems as Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press finds out.
“I’m feeling really excited to get going again,” Franzen said. “Last season was more of a rehabilitation for me to get my knee back in shape. I feel really hungry this year and in good shape and really strong. I’ve been working out from the day I got injured, pretty much, so I’m probably in the best physical shape I’ve been in. I needed this summer to get really healthy. Now I feel 100%.”
Though he had 18 points in 12 playoff games, Franzen scored only six goals because he couldn’t maneuver into position fast enough.
“I didn’t have that jump from the line to beat a guy to the puck and cut in front of him,” Franzen said, “so I ended up playing more on the outside and started passing a little bit more.”
The luxury of being on a team like the Red Wings means that there’s plenty of support all over the ice. While injuries can do in any team at any time, the resiliency the Wings showed last year was pretty amazing considering how down they were most of the season. With Jiri Hudler returning to the team and the addition of Mike Modano, the Wings are certainly primed to pack quite an offensive punch and having a healthy Johan Franzen all season long will only make things better.
While some folks will worry if Jimmy Howard will hit a sophomore slump or that the defense might run into issues or that the team could be too old to keep up, scoring goals is something that should not be an issue at all in Detroit this season.
The St. Louis Blues and Colton Parayko were scheduled to have an arbitration hearing this morning, but it sounds like that will no longer be necessary.
According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the two sides have agreed to terms on a five-year contract extension worth a total of $27.5 million ($5.5 million AAV).
Heading into arbitration, Parayko was reportedly looking for a one-year deal worth$4.85 million, while St. Louis was offering two years at $7 million total.
Obviously, the Blues paid a little more on this contract, but that’s because they were able to “buy” some of Parayko’s free-agent years.
The 24-year-old just completed his second season with the Blues. He managed to four goals, 35 points and 32 penalty minutes in 81 games.
Parayko also saw his average ice-time increase from his first year to his second year, as he played just over 21 minutes per game in 2016-17.
On top of his two solid seasons in St. Louis, he also opened some eyes at this year’s World Hockey Championship, where he had three goals and seven points in six games for Team Canada. He averaged 24 minutes of ice-time during the tournament, and Canada went on to win silver.
Nolan Patrick just can’t seem to catch a break when it comes to staying healthy.
Patrick was scheduled to skate at the Flyers’ practice facility on Thursday morning, but the team announced that he would be unable to do so because of an infection in his face.
Patrick missed a good chunk of games during the 2016-17 WHL season because of sports hernia surgery, but that didn’t stop the Philadelphia from making him the second overall pick in the NHL Entry Draft.
The Flyers recently announced that he had undergone a second similar procedure right before the draft, which kept him out of their development camp earlier this month.
Earlier this week, the 18-year-old signed his three-year, entry-level contract with his new team.
Of course, GM Ron Hextall would love for his prized rookie to crack the opening night roster, but he needs to show he can stay healthy before that happens.
—Nolan Patrick thinks he can make immediate NHL jump with Flyers
—Nolan Patrick dealt with two hernias
—Brian Campbell may have spoken to teams about continuing his career, but he didn’t start negotiating with any of them because he knew he wasn’t willing to continue playing. “I’ve been thinking about [retirement] for a while. At the end of the season, I didn’t know if I was ready to do it anymore. So that was only fair. But I will say July 1 was tough, a tough day. There’ve been some tough days. But I think we’re happy with our decision.” (CSN Chicago)
–The Hockey Writers ranked each team’s farm system from 1 to 31. Interestingly enough, the Vegas Golden Knights don’t have the worst system in the league. That honor belongs to the San Jose Sharks. The number one team on the list is the Philadelphia Flyers. (The Hockey Writers)
—Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has been with the Oilers for six years now, but he still hasn’t established himself as one of the dominant forces on the team. Per the Edmonton Journal, he could be skating on thin ice. “With Draisaitl likely to be paid next season and McDavid already signed to big money the following campaign, the cap budget at centre is tight. Whether Nugent-Hopkins stays or goes in the longer term, he needs a major bounceback next season to prove his worth.” (Edmonton Journal)
–On Nov. 1, 1959, Jacques Plante revolutionized the game of hockey by putting on a goalie mask for the first time. NHL.com contributor Stan Fischler wrote: “The legacy of Plante’s decision is evident in today’s game. Not only are all goaltenders required to wear a mask, but teams must dress two goalies for every game. And when a goalie’s mask comes off during a game, the whistle is blown and play is stopped.” It’s a remarkable story. (NHL.com)
–It’s always fun to think about how teams over in Europe would do against an NHL team. With the help of a couple of Russian hockey journalists, The Score put together a KHL all-star team, and asked fans to vote on where they think that team would finish in the NHL. Most people feel like the KHL all-stars would finish somewhere between 17th and 29th in the NHL. (The Score)
—Justin Williams signed a contract with the Carolina Hurricanes this summer, which means he had to move out of Washington. Some of his valuables got a little more attention than others:
From the sound of things, Kyle Okposo‘s presence at “Da Beauty League” was a beautiful sight for Buffalo Sabres teammates, former teammates on the New York Islanders, and friends around the NHL.
NHL.com’s Jessi Pierce was at that informal game, which apparently didn’t go well for Okposo’s team.
That’s not the important part, certainly not in July. While Pierce noted that Okposo wasn’t comfortable answering questions during his first on-ice action in almost four months, it sounds like the talented winger was looking good on Wednesday night.
Onlookers agreed with that sentiment, and also seconded the notion that he’s been doing well this summer, overall.
“Obviously seeing a teammate go through something like that and struggle to get healthy is tough,” Sabres teammate Hudson Fasching said, via Pierce’s piece for NHL.com. “He’s such a good guy and going through a lot with that whole deal, trying to figure out what was wrong.
“I’m just happy he’s healthy and happy for him to get back.”
It was already noted that Okposo is expected to be ready for Sabres training camp, yet nights like these make it clearer that he’s likely on course. That’s a fantastic turnaround from his health scare in April.
Pierce also has more here.