NHL releases preseason schedule

5 Comments

Only a month and a half until preseason hockey. It’s not quite as good as regular season hockey, but it sounds better than “two months until hockey.” In the middle of summer, hockey fans will take what they can get. It may not be as appealing as playoff hockey—but it’s not baseball either.

This year’s preseason schedule features a few NHL visits to American non-NHL cities like Baltimore, Orlando, Albany, Charlotte, Kansas City, Bridgeport, and Las Vegas. (That is the first and last time that Bridgeport, CT and Las Vegas, NV will ever be mentioned in the same sentence). Canada will be spreading the love as well when Quebec City, St. John’s, Halifax, London (Ontario, not England), and Saskatoon get to check out NHL action in their fair cities. Some of the teams that are traveling across the pond for the NHL Premiere will engage in preseason contests with the locals (as has become tradition): the Rangers, Sabres, Ducks, and Kings are all scheduled to take on European competition before they drop the puck on the regular season.

Here’s the full preseason schedule from the NHL’s official release:

2011-12 NHL PRE-SEASON SCHEDULE (all times Eastern)

MONDAY, SEPT. 19

Nashville at Florida (split-squad doubleheader), 3 p.m.
Carolina at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Ottawa at Toronto, 7 p.m.
Nashville at Florida (split-squad doubleheader), 7:30 p.m.

TUESDAY, SEPT. 20

Philadelphia at Toronto, 7 p.m.
Winnipeg at Columbus (split squads), 7 p.m.
Nashville vs. Washington, at Baltimore, Md. (1st Mariner Arena), 7 p.m.
Dallas at Montreal, 7:30 p.m.
Tampa Bay at St. Louis, 8 p.m.
Chicago vs. Edmonton (split squad), at Saskatoon, Sask. (Credit Union Centre), 8 p.m.
Columbus at Winnipeg (split squads), 8:30 p.m.
Minnesota at Edmonton (split squad), 9 p.m.
Vancouver at Calgary (split squads), 9 p.m.
Calgary at Vancouver (split squads), 10 p.m.
Phoenix at Anaheim, 10 p.m.

WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 21

Toronto at Philadelphia, 7 p.m.
Washington at Columbus, 7 p.m.
Detroit at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m.
St. Louis vs. Tampa Bay, at Orlando, Fla. (Amway Center), 7 p.m.
New Jersey vs. NY Rangers, at Albany, N.Y. (Times Union Center), 7 p.m.
Buffalo at Montreal, 7:30 p.m.
Boston at Ottawa, 7:30 p.m.
San Jose at Anaheim, 10 p.m.
Los Angeles at Phoenix (split squads), 10 p.m.
Phoenix at Los Angeles (split squads), 10:30 p.m.

THURSDAY, SEPT. 22

Chicago at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m.
Detroit vs. Philadelphia, at London, Ont. (John Labatt Centre), 7 p.m.
Minnesota at St. Louis, 8 p.m.
Colorado at Dallas, 8:30 p.m.
Vancouver at Edmonton, 9 p.m.

FRIDAY, SEPT. 23

NY Islanders at Boston, 7 p.m.
Buffalo at Toronto, 7 p.m.
Nashville at Carolina, 7 p.m.
NY Rangers at New Jersey, 7 p.m.
Philadelphia at Detroit, 7:30 p.m.
Florida at Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m.
Montreal at Ottawa, 7:30 p.m.
Washington at Chicago, 8 p.m.
Columbus at Minnesota, 8 p.m.
St. Louis at Colorado, 9 p.m.
Anaheim at San Jose, 10:30 p.m.

SATURDAY, SEPT. 24

Minnesota at Pittsburgh, 3 p.m.
Toronto at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Ottawa at Montreal, 7 p.m.
New Jersey at NY Islanders, 7 p.m.
Tampa Bay at Florida, 7:30 p.m.
Winnipeg at Nashville, 8 p.m.
St. Louis at Dallas, 8 p.m.
Calgary at Edmonton, 8 p.m.
Anaheim at Vancouver, 10 p.m.
Phoenix at San Jose, 10:30 p.m.

SUNDAY, SEPT. 25

Chicago at Detroit, 5 p.m.
Buffalo at Columbus, 5 p.m.
Carolina vs. Winnipeg, at Charlotte, N.C. (Time Warner Cable Arena), 5 p.m.
Boston vs. Montreal, at Halifax, N.S. (Metro Centre), 6 p.m.
Dallas at Colorado, 8 p.m.
Edmonton at Calgary, 8 p.m.
San Jose at Vancouver, 9 p.m.
Anaheim at Los Angeles, 9:30 p.m.

MONDAY, SEPT. 26

Ottawa vs. Winnipeg, at St. John’s, Nfld. (Mile One Centre), 4 p.m.
Columbus at Washington, 7 p.m.
NY Rangers at Philadelphia, 7 p.m.
Boston at Montreal, 7:30 p.m.

TUESDAY, SEPT. 27

Dallas at Florida, 7:30 p.m.
Toronto at Ottawa, 7:30 p.m.
St. Louis at Minnesota, 8 p.m.
Los Angeles vs. Pittsburgh, at Kansas City, Mo. (Sprint Center), 8 p.m.
Phoenix at Edmonton, 9 p.m.
NY Islanders at Calgary, 9 p.m.

WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 28

Washington at Nashville, 8 p.m.
Carolina at Winnipeg, 8:30 p.m.
Detroit at Chicago, 8:30 p.m.
Los Angeles at Colorado, 9 p.m.
Vancouver at Anaheim, 10 p.m.

THURSDAY, SEPT. 29

NY Rangers vs. Sparta Prague, at Prague, Czech Republic (TESLA Arena), 1 p.m.
Ottawa at Boston, 7 p.m.
New Jersey at Philadelphia, 7 p.m.
Minnesota at Columbus, 7 p.m.
Tampa Bay at Montreal, 7:30 p.m.
Colorado at St. Louis, 8 p.m.
Florida at Dallas, 8:30 p.m.
Phoenix at Calgary, 9 p.m.
Vancouver at San Jose, 10:30 p.m.

FRIDAY, SEPT. 30

NY Rangers vs. Frolunda, at Gothenburg, Sweden (Scandinavium), 1 p.m.
Buffalo at Washington, 7 p.m.
NY Islanders at New Jersey, 7 p.m.
Columbus at Carolina, 7 p.m.
Toronto at Detroit, 7:30 p.m.
Edmonton at Minnesota, 8 p.m.
Pittsburgh at Chicago, 8:30 p.m.
Nashville at Winnipeg, 8:30 p.m.
Los Angeles at Anaheim, 10 p.m.

SATURDAY, OCT. 1

Dallas at St. Louis, 2:30 p.m.
Detroit at Toronto, 7 p.m.
Philadelphia at New Jersey, 7 p.m.
Montreal vs. Tampa Bay, at Quebec City, Que. (Colisée Pepsi), 7 p.m.
Boston vs. NY Islanders, at Bridgeport, Conn. (Webster Bank Arena), 7 p.m.
Carolina at Nashville, 8 p.m.
Colorado vs. Los Angeles, at Las Vegas, Nev. (MGM Grand), 9 p.m.
San Jose at Phoenix, 10 p.m.
Edmonton at Vancouver, 10 p.m.

SUNDAY, OCT. 2

NY Rangers vs. HC Slovan, at Bratislava, Slovakia (SLOVNAFT Arena), 11 a.m.
Pittsburgh at Detroit, 5 p.m.
Chicago at Washington, 5 p.m.

MONDAY, OCT. 3

NY Rangers vs. EV Zug, at Zug, Switzerland (Bossard Arena), 2 p.m.

TUESDAY, OCT. 4

Anaheim vs. Jokerit, at Helsinki, Finland (Hartwall Arena), 12 p.m.
Los Angeles vs. Hamburg, at Hamburg, Germany (02 World Hamburg Arena), 1 p.m.
Buffalo vs. Adler Mannheim, at Mannheim, Germany (SAP Arena), 1:30 p.m.

Report: Randy Sexton to become Sabres’ assistant GM

Getty
1 Comment

New general manager Jason Botterill continued his restructuring of the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday by hiring one of his former co-workers from Pittsburgh.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports that Penguins director of amateur scouting Randy Sexton will be joining the Sabres to serve as their assistant general manager and also the general manager for their AHL team, the Rochester Americans.

Sexton has seemingly been at top of Botterill’s list since he left the Penguins front office to run the Sabres back in May.

Sexton had been a key member of the Penguins’ scouting staff since 2010. During his time in the front office the team drafted several key players to their past two Stanley Cup winning teams, including Matt Murray, Jake Guentzel, Bryan Rust, Olli Maatta and Scott Wilson.

Following a disappointing 2016-17 season that saw the team take a step backwards in its rebuild, the entire Sabres organization has been overhauled with a new general manager (Botterill), assistant general manager (Sexton), head coach (Phil Housley) and a new coach coming to the AHL team.

Fletcher isn’t too worried about Wild’s cap situation

Getty
Leave a comment

A lot of eyes were on the Minnesota Wild at the NHL draft watching to see if they would make a move involving one of their defensemen.

No move happened (at least not yet).

Part of the issue for the Wild — and the reason for the trade speculation — is their need to re-sign restricted free agents Nino Niederreiter and Mikael Granlund this offseason, while also making any other necessary additions to the team. They have to do all of that staying under the NHL’s salary cap.

As of Saturday, the Wild have around $14 million in salary cap space (via CapFriendly) with only 15 players under contract for next season, while the new deals for Niederreiter and Granlund are almost certain to eat up a significant portion of that remaining salary cap space.

That is going to make things tight under the cap because they certainly do not want to let either of those RFA’s get away. That led to speculation that a defenseman such as Marco Scandella or Mathew Dumba could be on the move this weekend.

But general manager Chuck Fletcher doesn’t sound too concerned about the situation and seems convinced the team can open the season the way it is currently constructed with a few minor moves to fill out the fourth line.

Here is Fletcher, via the Star-Tribune:

“I’m not too worried about that. We have some young guys ready to make the team that will carry good cap hits. We need to fill a couple spots probably in free agency, but again, we’re looking more at fourth-line type players. We like our group, the defense is the strength of our team, we’ve got three lines up front that we like.”

The Wild were determined to keep all of their defensemen out of the hands of the Vegas Golden Knights at the expansion draft and were willing to part with prospect Alex Tuch to steer the Golden Knights toward Erik Haula.

Overall, Minnesota’s roster is pretty solid as it stands so it doesn’t need a ton of work. They have an excellent goaltender, a deep defense and a balanced group of forwards making up their top-three lines so if they have to stick with the status quo it wouldn’t be the worst situation to be in. They were one of the best teams in the league until a late-season slump cost them the top spot in the Central Division. It carried over into the playoffs were they lost to the St. Louis Blues in five games.

Hextall staying patient in Flyers’ goalie search

Getty
6 Comments

The Philadelphia Flyers were hoping to add a veteran goaltender this weekend to complement Michal Neuvirth and as of Saturday evening they had yet to accomplish that goal.

General manager Ron Hextall does not seem too concerned about that development and is leaning on the fact it seems to be a buyer’s market at the position.

“I don’t know what’s going to present itself. My comfort level is there’s a number of goalies out there. Not six No. 1 spots out there and one goalie out there. I have comfort in that,” Hextall said, via Adam Kimelman of NHL.com.

“We’re still doing our due diligence and in the end it’ll probably come down to the guys we like and then we’ll look at term and length. If we like this guy and he’s asking unreal term or whatever we’ll go somewhere else.”

He also added that Steve Mason is still in the mix to potentially return, even though most signs point to that not happening.

So far this offseason a number of goalies have already changed teams, with Ben Bishop going to the Dallas Stars, Mike Smith going to the Calgary Flames and Marc-Andre Fleury being selected in the expansion draft by the Vegas Golden Knights.

Still, Hextall isn’t wrong in his assessment of the goaltending market because there are more good goalies available than there are starting spots.

Just about every team in the league right now is settled with its starting goalie. Other than maybe the Winnipeg Jets there really isn’t anybody else out there along with the Flyers that is in the market to find a No. 1 goalie. That leaves the Flyers with what should be their pick of potential starters (or platoon partners for Neuvirth).

The unrestricted free agent market includes Ryan Miller, Brian Elliott, Jonathan Bernier and Mason.

As of this moment the Flyers’ goaltending duo would be Neuvirth and rookie Anthony Stolarz, a combination that Hextall did not seem entirely comfortable with given Stolarz’s inexperience and Neuvirth’s injury history, so he seems determined to bring in somebody else to help solidify the position.

It is just a matter who it is going to be and how much it costs to acquire. He is certainly going to have plenty of options over the next week.

The Neuvirth/Mason duo was a fantastic value for the Flyers two years ago, but due to injury and just all-around poor play everything kind of fell apart for them this past season.

It was a big factor in what turned out to be an extremely disappointing season for the Flyers.

McPhee says Golden Knights ‘accomplished a lot of things’ in first draft

Getty
1 Comment

No team was busier at the NHL draft this weekend than the expansion Vegas Golden Knights.

Armed with 13 draft picks thanks to their dealings in the expansion draft, the Golden Knights began the process of building the real future of their team. It started on Friday night when they kept all three of their first-round selections and used them to select a pair of centers along with a puck-moving defenseman. They continued the process on Saturday with the remainder of their picks.

A quick look at the selections indicates McPhee tried to begin by building his roster down the middle by selecting six centers, two defensemen and a pair of goalies.

“We accomplished a lot of things in this draft,” McPhee said, via Steve Carp of the Las Vegas Review Journal. “We got some skill, we got some size and we got some goaltending.”

Their entire draft haul ended up as follows

1 (6) — Cody Glass, center

1 (13) — Nick Suzuki, center

1 (15) — Erik Brannstrom, defense

2 (34) — Nicolas Hague, defense

2 (31) — Jake Leschyshyn, center

3 (65) — Jonas Rondbjerg, right wing

4 (96) — Maksim Zhukov, goalie

5 (127) — Lucas Elvenes, center/right wing

5 (142) — Jonathan Dugan, left wing

6 (158) — Nick Campoli, center

6 (161) — Jiri Patera, goalie

7 (189) — Ben Jones, center

Along with those picks, they also traded one of their second-round picks (No. 45 overall) to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for prospect Keegan Kolesar, a 6-2, 223-point forward that is ready to make the jump to pro hockey after averaging a point-per-game the past two seasons in the Western Hockey League.

Size did seem to be a common trend with their picks as eight of their selections were listed as 6′ or taller, including Hague, a 6-5, 207-pound defenseman.

While the inaugural Golden Knights roster will be made up primarily of players taken in the expansion draft this past week, most of them will not be with the team for more than a year or two as the organization begins to take shape.

Some of them probably will not even begin the season on the team as McPhee continues to wheel and deal.

This weekend is where the real building of the organization started.