At the 2014 trade deadline, Michal Neuvirth was traded from Washington to Buffalo.
One year later, the Sabres flipped him to the Isles.
So it’s understandable, then, that Neuvirth — a pending unrestricted free agent — is plenty worried the Flyers might ship him out by next Wednesday.
“For sure, I’m scared,” Neuvirth said, per the Courier-Post. “The last three deadlines I’ve been traded twice. For sure, I’m scared, yes.”
The 28-year-old is probably right to be frightened. With an affordable $1.625 million cap hit and a history of solid stretches — including last year, when he went 18-8-4 with a .924 save percentage and 2.27 GAA — Neuvirth is a classic “upgrade your backup” option.
Like in 2015, when Isles GM Garth Snow wanted an improvement on Chad Johnson.
“Chad played some very good games for us over the course of the season,” Snow said at the time, per the Daily News. “But seeing Michal Neuvirth performing, especially in the last 30 days playing at an extremely high level, obviously goaltenders are hard to get in the NHL and the Eastern Conference.
“It was an opportunity for us to make a move and get a little better at the position.”
For a playoff-bound team, Neuvirth is a tantalizing add. His career postseason numbers are excellent — .933 save percentage over 13 appearances, with a pair of shutouts. (Yes, it’s a relatively small sample size.)
He was also terrific in last year’s opening-round loss to Washington, stopping 103 of 105 shots faced.
As for the Flyers, they’re in a precarious situation, sitting five points out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. They’d need to leapfrog Florida, Boston and the Isles to get there, and GM Ron Hextall hasn’t publicly identified himself as a buyer or seller.
What’s more, Hextall doesn’t want to address his goalie situation until the offseason. Steve Mason‘s a pending UFA as well, and there’s some believe neither will be back with Philly next year.
As for landing spots, one has to wonder if Boston will kick tires on Neuvirth. GM Don Sweeney said the club could try to solve its longstanding backup goalie problem at the deadline.
More bad news for the Arizona Coyotes in their quest to build a new arena and remain in the Phoenix area.
From the Arizona Republic:
A plan that would provide $225 million in public financing for a new $395 million Arizona Coyotes arena likely does not have the votes to pass the state Senate, key lawmakers told The Arizona Republic/azcentral Thursday.
Sens. Debbie Lesko, R-Peoria, and John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, said they definitely were going to vote against the plan, while Minority Leader Katie Hobbs, D-Phoenix, said there is little support among the chamber’s 13 Democrats. Meanwhile, Senate President Steve Yarbrough, R-Chandler, said he had “serious reservations” about the plan that would allow the National Hockey League team to build an arena in downtown Phoenix or the East Valley.
It would take at least 16 votes to pass Senate Bill 1149 in the GOP-controlled Senate, where Republicans have a 17-13 advantage. Statements from those lawmakers make it appear unlikely that there is enough support to move the plan to the House.
A vote before the full Senate could occur next week.
The financing plan is being championed by Sen. Bob Worsley, a Republican.
“I’m not a hockey fan but I’m a business guy and I want to save any business of this magnitude from leaving and impacting thousands of jobs,” Worsley said earlier this month, per Arizona Sports. “We would go out of our way in the Legislature to see what we could do if there was a company considering leaving so it’s appropriate to say, ‘what can we do to help?’”
In light of today’s news, Worsley’s words do not bode well for the Coyotes, who have no intention of remaining in Glendale long term.
The team, still holding out hope, told the Republic, “There are a lot of moving parts in this legislative process and everything is malleable and open for discussion until the very end. We will continue to educate lawmakers about a complex project that creates a true public-private partnership and offers the Coyotes an economically viable solution to remain in the Valley for the long term.”
Pittsburgh set a new weather record today, with temperatures reaching a summer-like 76 degrees.
But it’s supposed to cool down considerably tomorrow, with only a chance of showers during the day — good news with the Penguins and Flyers set to play outdoors at Heinz Field.
Game time tomorrow is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET (on NBC).
“It’ll be fun, and what the weather is, because it’s unpredictable, is one of the great intriguing parts of putting on these games,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a radio interview, per the Post-Gazette.
The last time the Penguins played outdoors at Heinz Field, in the 2011 Winter Classic, the threat of rain forced the start time from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Tomorrow’s forecast from The Weather Network:
Just a few hours ago, we passed along reports that St. Louis was in extension talks with longtime forward Patrik Berglund.
Now, the deal’s done.
Per the Post-Dispatch, Berglund has signed a five-year extension worth $19.25 million. It’s a $3.85M average annual cap hit, up slightly from the $3.7M he’s making on his current deal.
Berglund, 28, was a pending UFA but made it clear he wanted to stick in St. Louis.
“I would like to still be a Blue,” Berglund said earlier this week, per the Post-Dispatch. “I think everybody in here and upstairs knows that I want to be a Blue, too.”
Berglund has spent his entire nine-year career in St. Louis, emerging as versatile forward that can play the middle or wing. He’s also found the back of the net 17 times this season, and is flirting with matching or surpassing the career-high 22 he scored back in ’10-11.
It’s a fair bit of term and financial commitment for the veteran Swede, who hasn’t cracked 40 points in six years. And there’s reason to suggest Blues fans might be irate dollars are being committed here, rather than in an effort to retain Kevin Shattenkirk.
That said, it’s not entirely surprising GM Doug Armstrong opted to retain Berglund. The Blues have undergone major changes over the last few seasons, jettisoning veterans like Barret Jackman, T.J. Oshie, Troy Brouwer, Brian Elliott and longtime captain David Backes.
With this new deal, Berglund will be in St. Louis through 2022. The only player signed on longer than that is Vladimir Tarasenko.
With this contract inked, attention will almost entirely focus on Shattenkirk. The pending UFA d-man is believed to be on his way out by the Mar. 1 trade deadline.