When the Washington Capitals landed Tomas Vokoun for the jaw-dropping discount price of a one-year, $1.5 million contract, I couldn’t help but wonder: how exactly did that happen? Where were the rest of the NHL’s GMs? (Apparently I wasn’t alone.)
Maybe you could look at it as Vokoun’s loss being the Capitals’ gain, but it was just baffling that there was such a dearth of interest in a goalie whose numbers consistently ranked among the best. Could it be that the rest of the NHL’s GMs took John Buccigross’ … less than scientific approach toward the steady Czech goalie’s game?
Perhaps there were indeed some general managers who somehow questioned a goalie who routinely put up fantastic individual numbers (but didn’t have the guts to also score goals or do whatever it was that critics thoughts he was missing) on sub-par teams. That being said, it wasn’t as simple as Washington being the only team that was interested in Vokoun’s services.
Japer’s Rink did some digging and with the help of Google translator, unearthed an interesting gem: the race for Vokoun actually came down to Washington and the Detroit Red Wings. (Gee, things went pretty well the last time the Red Wings nabbed an aging Czech goalie who racked up high save percentage numbers, didn’t they?)
As it turns out, Puck Daddy’s Greg Wyshynski pointed out a pretty good reason why it didn’t work out between Vokoun and the Red Wings: his name is Jimmy Howard. While Washington has a strong future in net with Michal Neuvirth and Braden Holtby, it’s far from outrageous to put their young goalies on hold for a season or so – a plan Bruce Boudreau laid out on Monday. That would have been a much stickier proposition in Detroit, where 27-year-old Howard’s future is now.
Still, it’s an interesting thought: how strong would Nicklas Lidstrom’s (possible) last run in Detroit look with Vokoun cleaning up the Red Wings’ mistakes? Sports have plenty of great “What if?” moments and that question might register with many hockey fans if Vokoun works out as well in Washington as many expect.
Lawson Crouse has joined a talented group of young forwards in Arizona, after the Coyotes acquired the 2015 first-round pick from the Florida Panthers on Thursday.
The Coyotes had to take on the contract of injured forward Dave Bolland, but in their minds, it was worth it to get a player like Crouse, who certainly brings size up front at six-foot-four-inches tall and 212 pounds. He had 23 goals and 62 points in 49 games this season with Kingston in the OHL.
“He’s a unique guy because usually when you add a guy with the type of size he has you usually give up a little bit in skating or you give up a little bit in skill,” said general manager John Chayka, as per the Coyotes website.
“He’s a guy that you add the size and he actually enhances that for your entire group. In our opinion, it was a guy that’s rare to find, difficult to obtain. Certainly, once they become established in the league, those players are locked up well into their 30s and then you end up trying to maybe overpay for a player that has these attributes that’s not in the prime of his career.”
Crouse, who turned 19 years old in June, now joins the likes of Max Domi, Dylan Strome and Anthony Duclair as part of Arizona’s group of up-and-coming young forwards. He has familiarity with all three from playing in the OHL or for Team Canada at the world juniors.
“He can fly. He’s fast and he hits and he scores goals. You kinda get the total package,” Strome told Sportsnet.
There’s been another possible development in the search for a team name for the Las Vegas NHL franchise.
The Las Vegas ‘Desert Knights’ could perhaps be a thing.
From the Las Vegas Review-Journal:
Last week domain names were registered that might be an indicator that the NHL team scheduled to begin play in 2017 could be called the Las Vegas Desert Knights.
Last week the domains lasvegasdesertknights.com, vegasdesertknights.com and desertknightshockey.com were privately registered to Moniker Privacy Services, which is the same company that procured the domain name to NHL.com.
DetroitHockey.net first reported the new domain name Thursday morning.
Foley said via text message he had no comment regarding the process when reached by the Review-Journal.
As the Las Vegas franchise continues to hire key members for its hockey operations department, there is growing intrigue when it comes to the search for a new name.
What will this new franchise be called?
The wait continues, and there has been a lot of space dedicated to speculating and discussing the possibilities.
It’s been reported that the expansion franchise could use one of at least three ‘Hawks’-orientated names. Owner Bill Foley also said this summer that Las Vegas can’t use a ‘Knights’ nickname is Canada, because London’s OHL franchise was also named the Knights.
Stay tuned . . .
Scott Luce has gone from the Florida Panthers to the Las Vegas expansion franchise.
The new NHL organization — still searching for a team name — announced Thursday that it has hired Luce as its new director of amateur scouting.
Luce spent the last 14 years in Florida, as a scout and as director of player personnel.
Luce was let go earlier in the offseason, as the Panthers underwent massive change within their front office, with the promotion of Dale Tallon to president of hockey operations and Tom Rowe to GM, and more attention to analytics.
After announcing the hiring of Jared Bednar as their next head coach, the Colorado Avalanche have brought in forward Rene Bourque on a professional tryout, according to James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail.
Bourque became an unrestricted free agent at the beginning of July, after his six-year contract worth a total value of $20 million expired. The annual cap hit on his previous deal was $3.333 million.
He spent last season with the Columbus Blue Jackets, scoring three goals and eight points in 49 games. He was placed on waivers at the end of February.
During the 2014-15 campaign, he spent time with the Montreal Canadiens, Anaheim Ducks and the Blue Jackets, before a back injury sidelined him for the remainder of that season.