Waiver madness has struck and we see two moves you could call “expected” go through.
Montreal claimed Blair Betts from the Philadelphia Flyers. For Montreal it was a no-brainer move as they were in need of a fourth line center to win face-offs and play strong defensive hockey. They’ll get that with Betts as he won just over 50% of his draws last season. Betts also gives Montreal a little bit of size at forward being 6’3″. In case you hadn’t heard, the Habs have a few small-sized forwards.
Philadelphia losing Betts makes for an interesting turn of events there as it likely means that Maxime Talbot will now slot in as the fourth line center. Given that Talbot is making $1.75 million against the cap for the next five years, they’d better hope he becomes a superstar shutdown guy up the middle. It also means that Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn (once he’s recalled from the AHL) will do battle on the third line for bragging rights there. Expect Schenn to win that battle.
The least surprising non-move of the day concerns Sean Avery. Avery cleared waivers and the Rangers are now free to send him to the AHL if need be. It’s also possible that Avery could be brought through on re-entry waivers to see if a team will take him at a discounted price.
With Avery being paid by both the Dallas Stars and New York Rangers, if he were to be claimed on re-entry waivers that team would be getting him at a double discount only having to pay 25% of his contract. The Stars still pay half of what Avery is owed while the Rangers would pay half of what he was owed. Having to pay Avery only 25% of what he’s worth might make him attractive to another team.
Then again, after what Rangers coach John Tortorella had to say about Avery yesterday, you wonder if anyone will want him even at that big of a discount. At the very least, the Dallas Stars might like to see another team pick him up just to save themselves some trouble in dealing with the salary cap. With the buzz going on around the league, the chances we’ll see Avery play again in the NHL this season are slim.
Ben Bishop enjoyed plenty of success during the 2015-16 season and it didn’t go unnoticed. That’s why the veteran was selected to be part of Team USA for this fall’s World Cup of Hockey.
Team USA is loaded in goal, as they’ll be bringing Bishop, Los Angeles’ Jonathan Quick and New Jersey’s Cory Schneider. It’ll be interesting to see how the coaching staff approaches this situation heading into the tournament.
Even if Bishop doesn’t start every game for Team USA, he can still say he has a pretty cool goalie mask for the occasion.
On Saturday, Bishop took to Twitter to show off his new piece of equipment:
That’s a pretty sweet mask!
Frank Corrado should be used to waiting by now. He had to wait 28 games before the Leafs inserted him into the lineup for the first time last season and now he’s waiting for a new contract.
There’s still a gap between the two sides, but it doesn’t appear to be very significant. Corrado and the Leafs will head to arbitration on July 26th unless the two sides can agree to a new deal before then.
According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, The Leafs have two different offers on the table. One is a two-way contract, while the other is a one-way deal that would see him make less money if he sticks in the NHL. Corrado is looking for a one-way deal worth $900,000.
Toronto scooped Corrado up off waivers from the Canucks prior to the start of the 2015-16 season. Despite waiting a while to actually hit the ice as a Leaf, Corrado finished the season with one goal, six points and a minus-12 rating in 39 games. He averaged 14:27 of ice time.
Splitting the difference would result in Corrado making roughly $737,500 next season.
The Maple Leafs are also scheduled to go to arbitration with forward Peter Holland (July 25) and defeseman Martin Marincin (Aug. 2).
After a few early exits from the Stanley Cup playoffs, the St. Louis Blues were finally able to make a long run. Granted, they didn’t win the Stanley Cup or make it to the final, but they did manage to reach the Western Conference Final.
Unfortunately for the Blues (and a lot of other teams), the NHL’s salary cap number didn’t increase very much and it forced the organization to part ways with a number of key veterans. Gone are captain David Backes, winger Troy Brouwer and goalie Brian Elliott.
There could be even more change between now and the start of the year, as Kevin Shattenkirk could find himself elsewhere.
Those key departures mean that the Blues will need some of their younger players to step up and take on more of a leadership role starting this fall. How will the team respond? Nobody knows, not even GM Doug Armstrong.
“It’s going to be an interesting case study on how quickly this group takes up the leadership,” Armstrong said, per the Boston Globe. “Can they do it in September? Or does it take them a year? There’s certainly a faith that over time, they’re going to pick it up without any issue. Obviously you want them to pick it up as quickly as possible. We don’t want to take any backwards movement in our organization. But sometimes you do expose yourself to maybe taking half a step back to take a couple steps forward.”
Young leaders like Vladimir Tarasenko, Jaden Schwartz and Alex Pietrangelo will need to “step up” in the leadership department, but the Blues aren’t completely out of veterans. Jay Bouwmeester, Paul Stastny and Alex Steen are all still on the roster. Still, it’ll be interesting to see if the Blues take that “half step back” that Armstrong was talking about.
—Jake Allen still needs to prove he’s a ‘legit’ number one goalie
—Blues sign Schwartz to five-year deal
—Backes doesn’t want to ‘sling mud’ at Blues on his way out
Since coming to the NHL as an 18-year-old in 2008, Luke Schenn has had the opportunity to play in Toronto, Philadelphia and Los Angeles. Playing in cities that love hockey is great, but it also comes with a certain amount of pressure.
Schenn, who is a former fifth overall pick, hasn’t lived up to his lofty draft status and when you underachieve in Toronto and Philadelphia, the fans and media make sure you know it.
On Saturday, Schenn signed a two-year deal in Arizona, which is a non-traditional hockey market. It sounds like it may have been done by design.
“I’m looking forward to coming to a market where I can just worry about playing hockey and not outside added pressure, and hopefully growing with the team,” Schenn said of signing with the Coyotes, per the team’s website. “I know they have a lot of upside and I still feel like I’ve hopefully got some upside, too. (I’m) still at a good age where I can continue to grow with them and evolve.”
The Coyotes have Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Alex Goligoski who are more than capable of moving the puck up the ice and players like Schenn and Zbynek Michalek will be counted on to provide some defensive stability.
“They’ve got a lot of guys who can shoot the puck and move the puck well and (who’ve) got a good offensive instinct for the game, so I just want to try to play solid defensively and help out in the defensive zone and on the penalty kill and play physical,” added Schenn. “Obviously, the way the game is now there’s a lot of skating so you’ve definitely got to pick your spots to be physical, but I still think there’s definitely still a need for that.”
Arizona still needs to work out deals with restricted free agents Michael Stone and Connor Murphy. Even if both players return next season, Schenn should still have a role as a four, five or six defenseman with the ‘Yotes.