While the rest of the world is eating, sleeping, and drinking the Stanley Cup Finals, the Florida Panthers decided they’d do their best to steal some of the headlines. As reported by TSN’s Bob McKenzie on Twitter, the Florida Panthers have re-signed 24-year-old right wing Jack Skille to a two-year deal worth $1.65 million. The deal is a slight raise for Skille, who signed a 1-year, $600,000 before last season. Not only will he earn more money over the next two seasons, but he’ll also get an opportunity to perform at the NHL level with the Panthers.
It’s been a busy off-season for the restricted free agent from Madison, WI. The former 7th overall pick in 2005 was part of the package sent by the Blackhawks to Florida in exchange for Michael Frolik. Obviously, Panthers’ GM Dale Tallon liked what he saw as Skille was developing at the University of Wisconsin, with Rockford in the AHL, and as he got his feet wet with the Blackhawks. Upon arriving in South Beach, he had a goal and an assist in 13 games while posting an ugly minus 12. As soon as the season ended, he headed to Slovakia as part of the American World Championship team (1 goal in 7 games).
The move for Florida is just another step as they work through what will be a busy offseason. George Richards from The Miami Herald breaks down the work they’ve had with restricted free agents:
The Panthers have already resigned RFA Keaton Ellerby and are supposedly in talks with Mike Santorelli.
RFAs Steve Bernier and Byron Bitz aren’t expected to return next season.
Like the 3-year Ellerby deal, the Skille signing keeps a young player in the middle of their rebuilding job for a few more years while they attempt to build a solid foundation. Skille has all kinds of speed and has learned as a professional to play with a physical edge and to crash the net. Obviously he’ll need to start putting the puck in the net a little more often, if he wants to have a bigger payday next time around. But he’s a serviceable player who has plenty of upside on a team building for the future.
The Nashville Predators got off to a relatively good start this season, but something seems to have happened to their offense over the last six games.
Prior to Nov. 20, the Preds had only been shut out once in their first 17 games. Since then, they’ve been blanked three times and have just six goals in their last six contests.
If you remove Mike Fisher from the equation, the numbers are even more dreadful.
Fisher’s scored three of those six goals, while Filip Forsberg, Shea Weber, James Neal and Mike Ribeiro have none.
After Saturday’s 4-1 loss to Buffalo , here’s what coach Peter Laviolette told the Tennessean: “I thought we could’ve had more gas, to be honest with you. The energy just wasn’t there; maybe the second period had something to do with that or the road trip, which was a long trip. I’m not making any excuses, but I think when we play at a higher tempo that’s when we’re at our best, and we had more to push in that area tonight.”
The first game back home after a long road trip is typically a difficult one for most teams, so we’ll see how the Predators respond on Tuesday night when they host Arizona.
It wasn’t too long ago that a report surfaced saying that the Avalanche were willing to listen to offers on forward Matt Duchene.
When a player’s struggling and rumors start swirling, one of two things tends to happen.
Either the player involved lets it affect his on-ice performance in a negative way or he’s motivated by the trade talk and turns his struggles around.
Instead of pouting, the 24-year-old rolled up his sleeves and got to work.
In October, Duchene scored a goal and an assist in 10 games, but things changed in a hurry when November rolled around.
The Avs forward has picked up at least one point in 11 of 13 games this month.
Duchene has 11 goals and nine assists in November and he still has a game to go before the calendar flips to December.
“Obviously, things completely flip-flopped,” Duchene told the Denver Post. “That’s the coldest start I’ve ever had and things are good right now. Obviously, I know it could go right back, I could go cold again, that’s just the nature of the game. You just have to work every day to keep it going. The most important thing is to be able to provide offense and help the team win.”
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
A woman in a wedding dress was caught eating a burger during Saturday’s game between the Stars and Wild. (Above)
Team Europe has a number of quality goaltending options to chose from ahead of next fall’s World Cup of Hockey. (NHL.com)
Watch as some players on Nashville’s roster try to guess the lyrics to different country songs:
Former goaltender Eddie Johnston sits down for a Q & A with ESPN.com’s Shelly Anderson. (ESPN)
Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher got into a “Twitter war” with former NHLer Jim Kyte. (Puck Daddy)
Oilers defenseman Andrew Ference made a generous donation to a Syrian refugee fund. (Huffington Post)
We’re now over two days removed from last Friday’s tilt between the Bruins and the Rangers, but the coaches from both teams seem unwilling to move on.
Moments after that game, Claude Julien claimed that Henrik Lundqvist did some “acting” on the ice to sell a goalie interference call on Brad Marchand.
On Saturday, Alain Vigneault fired back by saying that Julien needed to get his eyesight checked. Vigneault also compared Aaron Rome’s hit on Nathan Horton in the 2011 Stanley Cup final to Matt Beleskey’s hit on Derek Stepan in Friday’s game.
Now it was Julien’s turn to address the “issue” at hand.
Julien clarified his original comment about Lundqvist and he also tackled some of Vigneault’s comments.
“I think it’s pretty obvious what I said . . . I thought Lundqvist sold it,” said Julien. “Not for a second did I ever question Henrik Lundqvist as a person, or a goaltender or any of that. We all know how good he is as a goaltender, and I know he’s a good person. I’ve met him at the All-Star games and all that stuff.
Julien on his eyesight: “As far as my eyes, I’m not the one that compared Beleskey’s hit to Aaron Rome’s [hit]. We’ll just leave it at that.”
It’s time for both sides to move on.