He’s one of the biggest, most imposing-looking defensemen in the NHL and he’s going to call Montreal home for one more season. According to RDS and TSN’s Bob McKenzie, Hal Gill has re-signed with the Montreal Canadiens for one year reportedly worth $2.25 million.
Last season, Gill had two goals and seven assists while putting up a -9 plus/minus rating and averaging nearly 20 minutes of ice time per game. While he may not have been apparent on the stat sheets, his help in making rookie P.K. Subban into a better, more well-rounded defenseman might be his most underrated quality. Subban and Gill teamed up as a sort of “thunder and lightning” pairing, something that didn’t go unnoticed by the likes of The Montreal Gazette’s Pat Hickey.
The Canadiens are expected to retain unrestricted free agent Andrei Markov and restricted free agent Josh Gorges, and they will form the No. 1 pair, while Gill will continue to serve as a mentor and steadying influence on P.K. Subban.
Montreal has a potentially bumpy offseason ahead with so many defensive free agents in their midst, but getting Gill locked up is good for them defensively and great for them developmentally for Subban. For all the numbers Gill lacked offensively, Subban made up for by scoring 14 goals and adding 24 assists in his first full NHL season. If Subban can improve upon those numbers and become more of a defensive force, the $2.25 million for Gill will be more than well worth it.
From the Southampton Press:
Sean Avery, the former National Hockey League player, was arrested by Southampton Village Police last week on two criminal charges.
According to authorities, Mr. Avery was arrested September 30 following a routine traffic stop on Jennings Avenue in the village at about 4:09 p.m. He was charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief and two counts of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, all misdemeanors.
Police said the criminal mischief charge involved an incident the day before, when Mr. Avery allegedly threw objects at passing vehicles.
As for those counts of possession, according to the newspaper, Avery was found to have “two prescription drugs, acetaminophen with oxycodone and roxicodone.”
He was released on $500 bail and ordered to appear in court at a later date.
Did we mention he’s supposed to get married this weekend?
Pavel Zacha was this close to making his NHL debut.
Just days prior to opening their season against the Jets, the Devils returned Zacha — the sixth overall pick at this year’s draft — back to his junior club in OHL Sarnia.
The move comes after Zacha, 18, impressed throughout training camp and the preseason. He appeared in four exhibition games for New Jersey, scoring one point while endearing himself to the organizational brass, coaching staff and players.
“He understands the game. He plays with a maturity. It’s crazy to think an 18-year-old coming out of high school is up here and playing with the maturity and understanding of the game with the new system,” Kyle Palmieri told NJ.com. “I think he’s got a lot of raw talent there as a power forward. He’s got the body for it, the puck-handling skills and the nose for the net.”
At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, Zacha has the frame and physical stature to play at the NHL level, and looked the part for long stretches of the exhibition season, getting turns on New Jersey’s top line.
The decision to send him back to junior is probably the right one, however.
Zacha only turned 18 in April and has limited experience even at the OHL level; ’14-15 was his first year with Sarnia, though he did appear in 38 Czech League games (for Liberec) the season prior.