Predators sign ‘Swiss Army Knife’ Jerred Smithson to two-year, $1.6M extension

He’s not the type of player who will ever be considered a snub let alone make an All-Star team, but Jerred Smithson is the type of player who helps a team succeed. The Nashville Predators recognized that, signing him to a two-year, $1.6 million extension. The deal calls for a $800K salary and cap hit for the 2011-12 and 12-13 seasons.

With four goals and four assists for eight points in 42 games played, Smithson isn’t the kind of guy who commands a big salary.

Dirk Hoag compares Smithson’s versatility to the usefulness and versatility of a Swiss Army Knife. He kills penalties and wins face-offs so the All-Star types can do their thing. It seems like a solid – if subtle – move by the Predators. These are the kind of players who help coach Barry Trotz squeeze out successful season after successful season without much in the way of marquee talent.

Kassian suspended without pay, placed in Stage 2 of Substance Abuse Program

Anaheim Ducks v Vancouver Canucks
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Zack Kassian may have avoided major injuries stemming from his Sunday car accident, but it likely sent the signal that he may need help.

The response: he was placed in Stage Two of the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program (SABH) of the NHL and NHLPA on Monday.

According to the league’s release, Kassian “will be suspended without pay until cleared for on-ice competition by the program administrators.”

Speaking of being suspended without pay, here’s a key detail:

The 24-year-old ended up with a broken nose and broken foot from that accident. The 2015-16 season was set to be his first campaign in the Montreal Canadiens organization after a tumultuous time with the Vancouver Canucks.

Kassian spoke of becoming more mature heading to Montreal, but the Canadiens were critical of his actions, wondering how many wake-up calls someone can get.

In case you’re wondering about the difference between stage one and two:

Add Lecavalier to list of expensive Flyers healthy scratches

Vincent Lecavalier

Are the Philadelphia Flyers aiming for some sort of record when it comes to expensive (potential) healthy scratches?

While lineups are obviously subject to change, notes that Vincent Lecavalier appears to be among a rather rich group of Flyers who are expected to sit during their season-opener.

Also likely to be in street clothes: Sam Gagner and Luke Schenn.

That’s $11.3 million in cap space rotting on the bench.

“I really don’t know what to say,” Lecavalier said. “I’ll practice hard and be ready when they call me up.”

The quotes from Lecavalier, Gagner and Schenn only get sadder from there, a reminder that there are human beings attached to these numbers – whether you focus on disappointing stats or bloated salaries.

Flyers fans with the urge to reach for an Alka-Setzler can at least take some comfort in knowing that the team will see $6.8 million in savings after this season, as both Gagner and Schenn are on expiring deals.

It could be a long season, though, and this Lecavalier headache may not truly end until his contract expires following the 2017-18 campaign.