NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell weighed in today with his punishment for Islanders forward Trevor Gillies after his head-hunting hit on Minnesota’s Cal Clutterbuck. The NHL suspended Gillies for ten games for his hit on Clutterbuck. This comes on the heels of Gillies serving a nine game suspension for his role in the Penguins-Islanders melee.
If you don’t recall, Gillies was playing in his first game back after serving a nine game ban for his part in the Islanders-Penguins fiasco that saw 346 penalty minutes handed out and saw Gillies target the head of Pens forward Eric Tangradi.
Campbell’s reasoning behind the supremely harsh punishment makes a world of sense.
“By targeting his opponent’s head, three shifts into his first game back from a suspension for a very similar action, Mr. Gillies has forfeited his privilege of playing in the League for 10 games,” said NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell. “While it is fortunate there was no injury on the play, there can be no justification for a player delivering a dangerous check to an opponent in this manner”.
It shouldn’t matter whether or not Clutterbuck was injured on the play and thankfully the NHL punished Gillies based on his actions. His seeming lack of awareness that he was playing in his first game since delivering a similarly terrible hit against Pittsburgh also played into this heavily. Gillies was, of course, treated as a repeat offender which helps make the punishment as tough as it is.
Gillies will lose $60,975.60 while he’s out and for a guy that makes the NHL minimum losing that much money for this hit to go along with the over $24,000 he lost for his nine-game ban that’s quite the pain in the wallet. Gillies is a marginal player in the NHL and he’s certainly not sticking around in the NHL for his goal scoring abilities or his role as a defensive forward. He’s a fighter and a crap-stirrer extraordinaire.
Gillies will be eligible to make his return to the ice on March 26 against Philadelphia. The question now for the Islanders and their management is whether or not they’ll actually put him on the ice to play. Any game with Philadelphia is an overly physical one and we’re sure the Isles would like to have his presence on the ice for that game. Of course, there are many that feel that Gillies’ role in the league is pointless and that he’s not a hockey player.
How the Islanders handle his eventual return to action will be worth noting, especially by the league’s front office. Gillies’ reputation is well known throughout the league, especially in the wake of these latest incidences. If the Islanders continue to let him play for them at the NHL level and he goes out tries to injure another player, the league almost has to step in and punish the team for it.
The Isles and GM Garth Snow have three weeks to think about that and with one more date with the Penguins still left on the schedule (April 8 in Long Island) they’d better think long and hard about what their next move will be regarding Gillies and his future in an Islanders uniform.
More coaching news on Saturday.
Lindy Ruff’s time with the Dallas Stars ended in April following a disappointing regular season, but it appears he’s found another coaching gig in the NHL.
It is, however, a different role than what he’s been used to for the past 20 years.
Per Larry Brooks of the New York Post, a deal has not been done yet, however, Ruff will join the Rangers as an assistant coach on Alain Vigneault’s staff. He’ll reportedly replace Jeff Beukeboom and will be in charge of New York’s defense.
Ruff certainly brings experience, with 1,165 games coached in the NHL. He’s been a head coach since 1997 when he joined the Buffalo Sabres, and hasn’t been an assistant since a four-year tenure with the Florida Panthers from 1993 to 1997.
The Rangers’ defense has undergone notable changes this offseason, with Dan Girardi getting bought out of his six-year, $33 million contract. With about $20 million now in cap space, New York may not be done making moves to their blue line this offseason.
The Rangers made a blockbuster trade with the Coyotes on Friday, sending Derek Stepan and Antti Raanta to the Coyotes in exchange for the seventh overall pick and 21-year-old defenseman Anthony DeAngelo.
The Vegas Golden Knights had a surplus of draft picks in the opening two rounds this weekend, and they used one of those to make a deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday.
The Golden Knights sent the 45th overall pick in this year’s draft to Columbus in exchange for 20-year-old prospect forward Keegan Kolesar, who has spent the last four years with the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds.
In each of the last two years, Kolesar has put up good numbers, scoring a junior career high of 30 goals and 61 points in 64 games in 2015-16. He had 60 points this past season, but played in 10 fewer games due to a sports hernia surgery, so he was on pace to far exceed his totals from the previous campaign.
He was most impressive for the Thunderbirds in the 2017 WHL playoffs. In 19 games, he scored 12 goals and 31 points. Great production for that time of year. But in addition to those numbers, what may be most intriguing to Vegas is that Kolesar brings tremendous size down the right wing. Standing 6-foot-2 and 223 pounds, his physical play for the Thunderbirds was lauded during their postseason run, which resulted in a Memorial Cup berth.
“Keegan is one of the most important guys to our success,” Thunderbirds coach Steve Konowalchuk told the Columbus Dispatch. “He could easily have been a co-MVP of the playoffs. Not only does he produce a ton of points, but his physical play has had a huge impact on every playoff series.”
Having turned 20 in April, Kolesar will be eligible to play in the AHL or NHL next season, per the Golden Knights.
The L.A. Kings have brought back pending restricted free agent forward Andy Andreoff.
The Kings announced Saturday that they have re-signed Andreoff to a two-year deal worth an annual average value of $677,500.
He appeared in only 36 games last season, spending time on injured reserve, adding two assists. The previous year, however, he played in 60 games for L.A., scoring eight goals with 10 points.
At 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds, Andreoff is known more for his physical style and checking abilities than offensive production, with 146 penalty minutes combined over the last two seasons.
CHICAGO — His stats jump right off the page.
On a Kingston Frontenacs squad that really struggled to score, Jason Robertson had 42 goals as a 17-year-old. Nobody else on his team had more than 26 goals.
For that reason, the Dallas Stars are hoping they got a steal in the second round of the NHL Entry Draft. Robertson, a winger, went 39th overall Saturday at United Center. A lot of scouts had him pegged as a first-rounder.
So why didn’t he go earlier?
Probably his skating.
“Everyone needs to work on stuff,” Robertson said. “Obviously, for me, I need to work on that. It’s something I’m always going to keep working on.”
But skating didn’t stop Robertson (6-2, 192) from shooting up the prospect rankings in 2016-17. At the midpoint of the season, NHL Central Scouting had him as the 34th-best North American skater. By season’s end, he was 14th.
“I think a lot of it came from confidence,” he said. “I gained more confidence in my game, my skating, my shot. Once I did that in the second half of the year, I really took off.”
He sure did, with 30 of his 42 goals coming in the final 40 games of the regular season. He then added five goals and 13 assists in 11 playoff games.
Robertson was born in Los Angeles, where his dad and grandpa were Kings season-ticket holders. He started playing hockey in L.A., then moved to Detroit when he was 10.