While it seemed like a long shot from the get go with Chris Pronger coming back from knee surgery, he skated this morning with the team to see if he might, in fact, be able to start tonight against the Penguins. As it turns out, Pronger will need more time to get the knee healthy and will miss out on the season opener in Pittsburgh. Mike Morreale of NHL.com gets the update.
Pronger was one of the last players off the ice following the team’s afternoon skate at Consol Energy Center, a signal that his surgically repaired right knee remains a bit bothersome.
“I guess we’ll see how it feels tonight, but I think it needs to get stronger to play in an NHL-caliber game,” Pronger told the media after his skate. “I’ve only had two good practices and I’ll need a little more of that. Obviously, I’ll gauge how it feels. Some days I’ll rest and do strength training and other days we’re going to practice and try to get out there as much as I can.”
Morreale reports that Pronger would’ve joined the Flyers on their road trip to Pittsburgh and St. Louis no matter what and that testing his knee out is all part of the process. The Flyers enter tonight’s game against Pittsburgh without Pronger, Michael Leighton and will start rookie Sergei Bobrovsky in goal. The Flyers are certainly going out of their way to be accommodating to the Penguins as they open the season in the brand new CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh.
Former Flyer Arron Asham will not suit up for Pittsburgh, however, as he’s been placed on injured reserve by the Penguins. At least the Flyers won’t have to possibly deal with an important role player from their Eastern Conference championship team getting back at them in the first game of the season. Moral victories like that are fun. Or would that be a Pyrrhic victory? I’m not a scholar.
Teams drop the puck at 7:00 pm and the game will be carried nationally on Versus.
The Ryan Nugent-Hopkins trade speculation may have died down since it peaked at the draft in late June, but it’s not entirely dead.
The 23-year-old former first overall draft pick was asked to address the ongoing rumors Monday at an Oilers charity golf tournament.
“I try not to pay attention too much,” Nugent-Hopkins said, per the Edmonton Journal. “If it happens, it happens. I know it’s definitely a different group than the one we finished with last season.”
Indeed it is. Most notably, Taylor Hall is in New Jersey now, traded for defenseman Adam Larsson. The Oilers also signed Milan Lucic and drafted Jesse Puljujarvi.
What’s still lacking is an offensive defenseman who can run the power play, which is why the names Tyson Barrie (Avalanche) and Matt Dumba (Wild) have been floated as potential targets.
The Wild in particular could use a good, young center like Nugent-Hopkins, and the expansion draft is looming for a Minnesota club that already has defensemen Ryan Suter, Jared Spurgeon, Jonas Brodin, and Marco Scandella locked up in long-term contracts.
Barrie, meanwhile, has an arbitration hearing scheduled for Friday.
Blues d-man Kevin Shattenkirk is another name that’s come up; however, he can become an unrestricted free agent after next season, and whether he’d re-sign in Edmonton is in doubt.
Chalk up another arbitration hearing that won’t be required. This time it’s Brandon Manning‘s. The 26-year-old defenseman has agreed on a two-year, $1.95 million deal with the Philadelphia Flyers, according to CSN Philly.
Manning’s hearing was scheduled for next Tuesday. He was the last restricted free agent on the Flyers, after Brayden Schenn re-signed Monday.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman was the first to report the Manning signing.
Manning played 56 games for the Flyers in 2015-16, his first full season in the NHL. He had one goal and six assists while logging an average ice time of 16:32.
The Chicago Blackhawks are reportedly parting ways with defenseman David Rundblad. The two sides have agreed to a contract termination, according to Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times.
Rundblad, 25, was set to earn $1.1 million this season, per General Fanager. His cap hit was $1.05 million, meaning the ‘Hawks will gain $100,000 in cap space by not having to bury his contract in the AHL next season.
Rundblad was unlikely to make the Blackhawks in 2016-17 — not after the additions of Brian Campbell and Michal Kempny, and also the re-signing of Michal Rozsival.
It remains to be seen where Rundblad will end up. One possibility is back in Switzerland, where he spent part of last season before dressing three times for the ‘Hawks in the playoffs.
Darryl Sydor, after being let go by the Minnesota Wild, has joined the Chicago Wolves as an assistant coach.
The St. Louis Blues, the parent club of the AHL Wolves, made the announcement Monday. It was also announced that former NHLer Daniel Tkaczuk would join Sydor as an assistant on new head coach Craig Berube’s staff.
Sydor, who won two Stanley Cups as a defenseman, spent five years as an assistant on Mike Yeo’s staff in Minnesota. His time with the Wild was marred by an arrest in 2015 for drunk driving. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail and sought treatment.
“I know now that alcoholism is a disease and I’m powerless over alcohol,” he told Kamloops This Week in January. “I can never have a drink again and I’m fine with that.”