If there’s one obvious flaw within the Buffalo Sabres’ roster, it’s on the blueline. Ryan Miller provides world-class goaltending and Lindy Ruff can choose from a versatile fleet of forwards, but their defensemen often leave Miller on an island.
Former Calgary Flames GM Darryl Sutter left his team in a wretched state. If the 2011-12 season began today, the Flames would have the highest payroll of all 30 teams with $57.25 million committed to 19 players. That might be an acceptable situation for a perennial contender, but the Flames haven’t made the playoffs since 08-09.
New Flames GM Jay Feaster wants to make some changes, most notably by shedding salary. Many believe that new Sabres owner Terry Pegula yearns to drop some dough on his new team to make it a truer contender. With a weak free agent market for defensemen on the way, it seems like the Flames and Sabres might be in an ideal situation for a trade.
Now they just need to convince rugged Flames defenseman Robyn Regehr to waive his no-movement clause to make something happen. The Buffalo News reports that Regehr is still weighing his options, which might give a different NHL club the chance to swoop in and snatch Regehr from Buffalo’s clutches. The precise details of the possible deal aren’t clear right now, but it is believed that the Sabres would trade picks and prospects for Regehr.
Adding Regehr might be a strong step in the right direction for Buffalo. While some believe Regehr lost a few steps in the last couple seasons, he’s been a top shutdown defenseman in Calgary for years (particularly during their run to the Stanley Cup finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning) and he managed to play 75 games or more for the last five seasons. If he waives his no-movement clause, Regehr would open up salary cap space for the Flames ($4.02 million cap hit in 11-12 and 12-13) while giving the Sabres a dependable defensive presence.
On paper, it seems like a deal that could work for both sides (without knowing what the Sabres would send to Calgary, of course), but Regehr wanted that clause in his contract to control his situation. It might be awkward in the clubhouse if he denies the Flames’ urge to send him to Buffalo, but that’s his choice. We’ll keep an eye on this situation during what could be a busy Friday of draft day trades.
It seems there will be no NHL comeback attempt by Alex Semin. At least not in 2016-17.
Instead, Semin has inked a one-year extension with Magnitogorsk Metallurg, according to Sport-Express writer Igor Eronko.
At 32 years old, Semin still could have a lot of years left in him as a professional hockey player, but at this point it wouldn’t be surprising if he has played in his last NHL game. Early in his career his talent was clear and demonstrated by some great showings offensively, but he was plagued by inconsistency. In recent years though, he wasn’t so much inconsistent as he was underwhelming.
After being limited to six goals and 19 points in 57 games with Carolina in 2014-15, the one-time 40-goal scorer was bought out of his five-year, $35 million contract just two seasons into it. Montreal took a chance on him for 2015-16, but he only appeared in 15 games with the Canadiens before they put him on unconditional waivers on Dec. 9.
He’s fared better in the KHL though, with five goals and 14 points in 20 regular season games followed by another seven markers and 15 points in 23 playoff contests.
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.
Among the 21 NHL.com and NHL Network experts offering their prediction for the Stanley Cup Final, 17 of them are choosing the San Jose Sharks. (NHL.com)
The majority of ESPN’s experts are also picking the Sharks. (ESPN.com)
For CBS Sports, Adam Gretz and Chris Peters are split on the outcome. (CBS Sports)
Tickets for the first Stanley Cup Final in San Jose appear to be going for significantly more than their Pittsburgh Penguins counterparts. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
Inspired by John Scott‘s comments, here’s the start of a World Cup All-Snubs’ team. (TSN)
Peter DeBoer said that then New Jersey Devils GM Lou Lamoriello fired him from the Devils’ head coaching job late at night on Christmas. The news then broke on Dec. 26. (Tom Gulitti)
The Pittsburgh Penguins are Vegas favorites to win the 2016 Stanley Cup, but the odds lean toward a San Jose Sharks player capturing the Conn Smythe.
Bovada released a variety of odds on Sunday after others surfaced on Friday.
Joe Pavelski is pegged as a +400 favorite as a winner, edging some other top candidates such as Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel and Matt Murray.
Here’s the full list:
Logan Couture +500
Martin Jones +600
Brent Burns +700
Joe Thornton +900
Evgeni Malkin +900
Kris Letang +1400
Bovada also released prop bets, including how long the series might last. Check that out here.