With the Columbus Blue Jackets dealing with a mild injury to defenseman Kris Russell (out 2-4 weeks with a knee sprain) it appears there are discussions being had in Columbus about acquiring a big-name defenseman to help the team out. While the Blue Jackets missed out on acquiring Toronto’s Tomas Kaberle and Kevin Bieksa from Vancouver, Aaron Portzline of the Puck-Rakers Blog says talks are being had in Columbus about taking a major headache off the hands of the Edmonton Oilers.
The Dispatch has learned that there have been internal conversations within the Blue Jackets about trading for Souray, a three-time All-Star with record-setting power play ability and one of the most fear slap shots in the NHL.
The likely candidate to be traded by Columbus would be Mike Commodore, the club’s highest- paid defenseman.
To be clear, there is no deal on the table between the Blue Jackets and Oilers. If there have been talks between Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson and Oilers GM Steve Tambellini, they have not been extensive or specific, The Dispatch has been told.
This move is fascinating on a couple of levels. First off, Souray would solve a major issue in Columbus in that the Blue Jackets have no true power play threat on the blue line and Souray with his booming shot would be an instant boon to their offense. Giving up Commodore in the deal is intriguing in that he’s been a very loyal soldier for the Jackets in his time there and by all accounts he’s a great guy to have in the locker room. Commodore, however, is a tough, grind-it-out kind of defenseman with some skill, something the Blue Jackets are also rather thin on.
The money between the two sides is negotiable. Commodore’s cap hit is for $3.75 million over the next three seasons and while Souray’s is over $5 million for the next two, the Blue Jackets aren’t hampered by the cap to be able to make the move. The only thing that could hamper the deal financially for the Blue Jackets is that the outlook for ticket sales this year isn’t very inspiring. If the Jackets are dealing with a tighter internal budget (they’re at $53 million in payroll this year) then the extra couple million it would cost to bring in Souray (his actual salary due is less than his cap hit) could be an issue.
If the deal were to be made, it solves one problem with Columbus by giving them an offensive weapon on the blue line while taking care of a huge problem for the Oilers in getting Souray out of Edmonton and bringing in a more welcome personality like Commodore. Whether or not this actually happens is another story entirely.
The preseason is well underway and Josh Anderson is still without a contract.
Anderson, who scored 17 goals and 29 points last season for the Columbus Blue Jackets, is one of two remaining restricted free agents without a new deal. The other is Andreas Athanasiou of the Detroit Red Wings.
While there were reports this summer about Athanasiou potentially going to the KHL for this season, John Shannon of Sportsnet reported on Thursday that Anderson’s representatives have reached out to Hockey Canada’s staff about the 2018 Olympics.
Anderson’s entry-level contract, with an AAV of just over $894,000, expired at the end of last season.
Meanwhile, here is the latest on this ongoing contract situation.
Mikhail Sergachev has, over the summer, stated his belief he can play in the NHL this season.
He had a small taste of NHL action last season, appearing in four games for Montreal — the team that selected him ninth overall in 2016 — before getting sent back to junior and then being traded in June to Tampa Bay, as part of a blockbuster involving Jonathan Drouin to the Habs.
Well, Sergachev made a statement Wednesday in his preseason debut for the Lightning.
He scored once. He also played more than 22 minutes, which led all Lightning players on the night. That included time on the power play and penalty kill. If he was looking to make a favorable impression, to show that he belongs at the NHL level when the regular season begins, this seems to be another step in that direction.
“You watch this kid skate, shoot, stickhandle, he’s got NHL written all over him,” Tampa Bay’s associate coach Rick Bowness told the Tampa Bay Times. “Now we’ve got to give him experience. How much can he handle?”
There is competition on the blue line, with eight defensemen under contract in Tampa Bay for this season. That includes Sergachev, who is still only 19 years old. After getting sent back to junior last season, he recorded 43 points in 50 games with Windsor and then won the Memorial Cup that spring. That said, he’s made it a point of saying going back to junior “is not an option” for him.
Looking to make the leap: Mikhail Sergachev
Joffrey Lupul issued a statement Wednesday, saying he wouldn’t seek a second medical opinion after the Maple Leafs announced he didn’t pass his training camp physical.
A day later, reports have surfaced that the 33-year-old forward will, in fact, undergo another, independent medical test.
That is according to James Mirtle of The Athletic:
Earlier this week, Lupul made accusations against the Maple Leafs on Instagram.
“I’m ready … just awaiting the call,” Lupul wrote in the comments section of the Instagram post, per a screen grab. “haha failed physical? They cheat. Everyone lets them.”
Lupul, who didn’t pass his physical for a second year in a row, issued an apology yesterday. But those comments — which have since been deleted — seem to have grabbed the attention of the league.
Darren Dreger of TSN added to that, saying it’s the NHL pursuing a second medical opinion on this matter.
“The National Hockey League has that right to pursue the second opinion. That’s exactly what they’re engaging in right now,” Dreger reported Thursday.
“The reasoning behind it is because of the comment that Lupul made on social media. I’ll go back a year ago. The league didn’t step in a year ago but Lupul stayed quiet at that point. So they want to make sure — ‘They’ being the National Hockey League — that the medical evaluation from the Toronto Maple Leafs is 100 per cent above the board.”
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) General manager Jim Johannson has ruled out the possibility of the U.S. men’s hockey team having NHL draft-eligible prospects competing at the Winter Olympics in February.
Johannson tells The Associated Press he doesn’t view anyone from the 18-and-younger pool of prospects capable of cracking the projected lineup of non-NHL players, many of whom are opening this season playing in Europe.
USA Hockey’s assistant executive director says he’s also targeting a number of established college players, and would not rule out keeping a spot or two open for members of the U.S. team competing at the World Junior Championships this winter.
Johansson spoke in Buffalo, New York, on Thursday, where he is attending USA Hockey’s sixth annual All-American Prospects game. The game features the top 42 U.S.-born players eligible to be selected in the NHL draft in June.