The Devils have salary cap problems and they’re in need of answers before the season starts next month. Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice finds out that one player who has been mentioned as a solution to the Devils cap problems, Brian Rolston, hasn’t been approached at all by the team to send him elsewhere. There’s just one problem, however.
But Roslton has a no-trade clause on the four-year contract he signed two summers ago and would have to agree to waive it to be moved. His agent, Stephen Bartlett, told me today that the Devils have yet to approach Rolston or him about waiving the no-trade clause.
“No, we haven’t had any discussions along those lines,” Bartlett said. “We’ll see how things shake out. They’ve got some work to do. It could be any number of combinations, but I have not had that conversation about anything to do with that with Lou.”
Generally, you aren’t going to ask a player to waive their no-trade clause until you’ve got an interested party or two. I can’t imagine why there isn’t a team interested in a player that’s making over $5 million the next two seasons against the cap and saw his production fall off a cliff last two seasons (35 goals, 34 assists). When the Devils signed Rolston two years ago, those were the sorts of numbers he was putting up in one season and at 37 years-old the outlook doesn’t exactly look bright.
Finding a new home for Rolston would provide the easiest solution to the Devils’ salary cap problems. Unfortunately for them, Rolston with two years left on his overwhelming contract, makes it virtually impossible to move him unless the Devils sweeten the pot with high draft picks. Whether or not Devils GM Lou Lamoriello has another trick up his sleeve remains to be seen.
From the NHL:
Pretty veteran crew, including three returnees from last year’s final.
Per the NHL, O’Halloran and O’Rourke will call tonight’s series opener from Consol.
PITTSBURGH — When Pete DeBoer was hired to coach the San Jose Sharks, he wasn’t totally cognizant of how much heartbreak the fan base had experienced throughout the years.
Now he knows.
“First year in the community, I didn’t realize kind of the baggage that was carried around,” DeBoer said this morning ahead of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. “Twenty-five-year season-ticket holders coming up to you with tears in their eyes and crying.”
The Sharks, of course, have never been this far in the playoffs. Prior to this year, they’d made it three times to the Western Conference Final, losing each time.
More painful were the first-round exits. Like in 2009 when they won the Presidents’ Trophy and got knocked out by the Ducks, and two years ago when they led the Kings 3-0 before dropping four straight.
It was only after the Sharks beat the Blues that DeBoer fully realized the “gravity of what they’ve been through” as fans in San Jose, and “how important this is to them.”
Not that he’s satisfied with getting this far.
“The business at hand now is to get off on the right foot, plant the right seeds for this series, impose our game,” he said. “Every series is the same — it’s whatever team can impose their game on the other team the quickest and for the longest. That’s our goal here tonight.”
Related: For Pete DeBoer, San Jose was the perfect landing spot
Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar will spend part of his offseason trying to help Slovenia qualify for the Olympics.
RTV Slovenia has the story here.
The qualification games will be played September 1-4 in Minsk. Slovenia is in a group with Belarus, Denmark and Poland. The winner of the group will qualify for the Olympics.
The NHL reportedly has no issue with Kopitar’s participation, even though the league has yet to commit to sending its players to Pyeongchang.
Slovenia made its Olympic debut in ice hockey at the 2014 Games in Sochi.
Kopitar will also represent Team Europe at the 2016 World Cup later in September.
Related: Slovenia beats Slovakia for historic win
PITTSBURGH — Matt Nieto is healthy, and ready to go.
But it doesn’t look like he’ll go tonight.
The San Jose Sharks are unlikely to make any lineup changes for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final in Pittsburgh — at Monday’s optional morning skate, Nieto stayed out late with the extras while the guy he’d (presumably) replace in the lineup, Dainius Zubrus, told NHL.com he was in.
Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer wouldn’t reveal any lineup decisions during his morning media availability, instead talking up both Nieto (for his speed) and Zubrus (for his “heavy” game), adding he liked the versatility the two give the club on a night-by-night basis.
Nieto suffered an upper-body injury in Game 6 of the Nashville series, and missed all of the Western Conference Final.
Prior to getting hurt, he had three points in 11 games — this after a regular season in which he scored eight goals and 17 points in 67 games.