Meet the new boss: Flyers name Chris Pronger team captain

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It was perhaps the least surprising team announcement for a new captain you’ll find all year. The Philadelphia Flyers announced that Chris Pronger will be the team’s 18th captain in franchise history.

After trading former captain Mike Richards to the Los Angeles Kings this summer and vacating the team leadership position in the process, the door was opened up for any one of Pronger, Daniel Briere, or Kimmo Timonen to step into the role. If you’re left underwhelmed by seeing Briere and Timonen’s name next to Pronger’s that’s understandable. Pronger comes off as the player who demands attention and respect in the locker room immediately, or else.

While Briere and Timonen each have earned their share of respect as well, Pronger’s leadership through being a gruff character and one eager to stand up for teammates no matter what is what makes him ideal captain material, especially in a tough place like Philadelphia. Pronger has done this before in his career as he was captain of the Anaheim Ducks in 2007-2008.

Joining Pronger as alternate captains will be none other than Briere and Timonen as the Flyers allow their veteran players take charge in the room. Briere is a former captain of the Buffalo Sabres while Timonen has been a team captain before in Nashville.

Flyers GM Paul Holmgren had this to say in a press release about the three guys they named to their new roles on the team.

“With Chris’s experience and presence, we felt that he was the perfect player to take over as captain of the Philadelphia Flyers,” Holmgren said.  “Having Kimmo and Danny, both former captains in the NHL, serving as alternates, really gives us a strong, dedicated leadership group.

“All three of these players know what it takes to win and are excellent role models both on and off the ice.”

Pronger being named the team captain is perhaps the least surprising development all summer for the Flyers whose tumultuous summer leads them into a season where there’s a lot at stake. Adding Ilya Bryzgalov to be the team’s starting goalie as well as trading away Richards and Carter to open the door for newcomers like Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier to potentially steal big jobs in training camp as well as making Claude Giroux the new top center.

With the host of new and young blood on the Flyers roster, having a surly veteran like Pronger to lead the way will help give the Flyers the look they’ve always dreamed of. Should the Flyers follow Pronger’s example they’ll be a tough team that doesn’t back down from anyone and will stick up for each other at all costs. In other words, they’re going to be just as tough to deal with as any Flyers team we’ve ever grown up with, just they’ll have a nasty competitor as their leader and Philadelphia wouldn’t want it to be any different.

Brendan Smith still talking to Rangers, ‘trying to make it happen’

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It’s only a few days until July 1 and defenseman Brendan Smith still doesn’t have an extension in place with the New York Rangers.

Not to worry, says his agent. It doesn’t necessarily mean that Smith is going to sign elsewhere.

“No one should read anything into the fact that we don’t have a deal yet,” Anton Thun told the New York Post. “You’re never really close until it’s done, but both sides are trying to make it happen. We’ll have to see.”

Thun told the Post a month ago that Smith, an unrestricted free agent, was “open” to returning to the Rangers.

But there’s also been speculation that the Blueshirts will pursue Kevin Shattenkirk in free agency, which would probably mean less money available for Smith.

It remains to be seen if the Rangers will, indeed, make a big push for Shattenkirk. The addition of Anthony DeAngelo in the Derek Stepan trade may have lessened their urgency in that regard.

“He’s a puck-moving right-handed defenseman that can run the power play and shoot the puck,” GM Jeff Gorton said of DeAngelo, per Sporting News.

Which sounds a lot like Shattenkirk, no?

Smith, 28, was traded to the Rangers from Detroit on Feb. 28.

Sens extend McCormick — two years, $1.3 million

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Looks as though forward Max McCormick has a future in Ottawa.

On Tuesday, the Sens signed McCormick to a two-year extension worth $650,000 annually — and, perhaps most importantly, it’s a one-way deal in the second year.

McCormick, 25, also has a $250,000 guaranteed AHL salary next season.

The deal comes after he set a career high and tied for the AHL Binghamton team lead in goals last year, with 21. McCormick also appeared in seven games for Ottawa — this after playing 20 in ’15-16 — and emerged as a high-energy guy with an edge to his game.

Despite not being overly big (5-foot-11, 188 pounds), McCormick fought seven times for Binghamton last season, and led the team in penalty minutes. The year prior, he scrapped 12 times between the Sens and Baby Sens.

A spot at the NHL level could soon materialize. The Sens have already announced they’re moving on from free agent forward Chris Neil, and the futures of fellow UFAs Viktor Stalberg, Chris Kelly and Tommy Wingels remain uncertain.

Carolina re-signs Chelios, Brown

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The ‘Canes retained some organizational depth on Tuesday, agreeing to terms with defenseman Jake Chelios — the son of Hockey Hall of Famer Chris Chelios — and forward Patrick Brown.

Brown’s contract is a one-year, $650,000 extension, one that will pay $160,000 at the AHL level, with a guarantee of $190,000.

Brown, 25, split last season between Charlotte and Carolina, appearing in a career-high 14 contest with the ‘Canes. The Boston College product scored 12 goals and 28 points in 66 games with the Checkers.

Chelios, 26, has yet to make his NHL debut but is coming off a strong season with Charlotte. He served as an alternate captain and had a strong offensive campaign, with 32 points in 76 contests. That led all Checkers d-men in scoring, and he was the only player on the team to appear in every single game this season.

Like Brown, Chelios’ deal will pay $650,000 at the NHL level. It’s $85,000 at the AHL level.

Report: Sens tried to get Methot back from Vegas

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The Ottawa Senators did their best to make sure they didn’t lose Marc Methot in the expansion draft.

They attempted to get Dion Phaneuf to waive his no-move clause so they could keep Methot, but that didn’t work out.

On Monday, TSN hockey analyst Pierre LeBrun reported that the Golden Knights and Senators had been talking about a potential trade back to Ottawa.

In the end, Vegas GM George McPhee preferred to ship him to Dallas for 2017 seventh-rounder Dylan Ferguson and a second-round pick in 2020.

According to beat reporter Bruce Garrioch, Vegas’ asking price to allow the Sens to protect Methot before expansion was a 2018 first-round pick.

Methot has averaged at least 19:49 of ice time during his five seasons in Ottawa.

In the end, all this means is that the Senators will need to find someone else to play on the top pairing with Erik Karlsson next season.

During training camp, Ottawa put top prospect Thomas Chabot with Karlsson. They opted to send Chabot back to junior, but that could be an interesting combination if they think he’s ready to be a regular in the NHL.