There have been rumblings about trades early in the season, but getting a big one so soon is a fun surprise although the trade partners are very familiar with each other.
Vancouver acquired power forward David Booth, centerman Steve Reinprecht, and a 2013 third round pick from the Florida Panthers in exchange for forwards Mikael Samuelsson and Marco Sturm. Booth and Reinprecht are the 10th and 11th ex-Panthers acquired by the Canucks since Mike Gillis took over as GM of the team.
Booth was one of the Panthers young cornerstones that GM Dale Tallon refused to part with at the deadline last season hoping that he and Stephen Weiss would be the young guys needed to help turn the Panthers around. As it turns out, Tallon got to wait around for a deal that sends two veteran forwards to them instead.
At 26 years-old, Booth helps the Canucks get the forceful and younger second line power forward to team up with Ryan Kesler and give them a legitimate goal scoring threat. Booth had his career put on hold after a wicked head shot from Mike Richards back in October of 2009. So far this season, Booth has one assist and is a -6 for the Panthers. Those numbers should turn around fast in Vancouver.
Florida giving up on Booth is puzzling. Either Tallon knows something the Canucks don’t or he’s cashing out on Booth to get veterans whom he knows what he’ll get out of them. The other side of that, however, is that Sturm has looked like he’s on the wrong side of his career for the past two seasons and Samuelsson is about as streaky and moody of a player as it gets.
This deal seems like a steal for Vancouver. Taking on Reinprecht is just a formality as Reinprecht had been put on waivers by the Panthers before and is already headed to Vancouver’s AHL affiliate.
With Samuelsson and Sturm about this close to being done as productive wingers, the focus is on Booth to see what he brings (or doesn’t) to Vancouver. If Booth regains his old goal-scoring form, this is a runaway steal for the Canucks.
Nashville’s momentous offseason continued today with the signing of forward Calle Jarnkrok to a six-year, $12 million contract.
That’s a cap hit of just $2 million, all the way through 2021-22.
Suffice to say, it’s not often that a player signs such a long deal, for such a modest cap hit. Jarnkrok notched career highs in goals (16) and assists (14) in 81 games last season for the Preds. He kills penalties, too.
At the very least, the 24-year-old has some financial security now. But for Nashville, as long as his production doesn’t fall off a cliff, he could end up being a great bargain.
Jarnkrok had an arbitration hearing scheduled for Aug. 4.
Related: Preds avoid arbitration with Petter Granberg — two years, $1.225 million
The Detroit Red Wings didn’t need Petr Mrazek‘s arbitration hearing either.
The day after the Wings avoided the process by locking up defenseman Danny DeKeyser, they agreed on a two-year deal with Mrazek, with a reported cap hit of $4 million.
Mrazek, 24, went 27-16-6 last season with a .921 save percentage. Those numbers compared favorably to Jimmy Howard‘s (14-14-5, .906); however, GM Ken Holland has argued that keeping Howard could be best for Mrazek’s development.
“It could possibly be detrimental if we put Petr in a situation where we’re just going to throw him out and play 70 games and no matter how you play, we’re going to keep putting you out,” said Holland.
Granted, it may be that Howard is simply untradeable. He’s 32 years old, hasn’t put up solid numbers the past three seasons, and has three years remaining on his contract with a cap hit of just under $5.3 million.
If Howard remains, the Wings will have just under $9.3 million in cap space allocated to their goaltenders next season, one of the highest totals in the league.
Mrazek, by the way, will still be a restricted free agent when his new contract expires in the summer of 2018.
With new majority owners and now talk of a new arena, the future of the New York Islanders has been a popular topic lately.
Not surprisingly, it’s led to plenty of discussion about the future of captain John Tavares, who can become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2018.
Ownership has insisted that it won’t get that far, that Tavares will be re-signed. The Isles will have “no financial constraints,” owner Jon Ledecky promised.
But what about Tavares? What does he think?
“I think I’ve always showed my commitment, my appreciation and my desire to play on Long Island,” the 25-year-old told Sportsnet 590 radio on Tuesday, per NHL.com. “I would love for that to continue for the long haul. I think you look at some of the greatest players in the game have been able to spend their entire career somewhere. I hope I’m in that same position.”
As for the speculation he could sign in Toronto?
“I would not count on that,” he said.
So start the countdown to July 1, 2017. That’s when Tavares can officially start negotiating an extension with the Isles.
Perhaps by then we’ll even know where the team will be playing its future games. Will it be Brooklyn or somewhere else?
Only 18 NHLers have scored more goals than Mike Hoffman has over the last two seasons.
Today, the Ottawa Senators signed the 26-year-old sniper to a four-year contract with a reported cap hit of $5.1875 million.
Hoffman had an arbitration hearing scheduled for Aug. 4. The breakdown of his new deal, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman:
His contract done, Hoffman can now focus fully on next season, which he’s excited about.
“New coach coming in, Guy Boucher, I had him in junior when I played in Drummondville of the Quebec League,” Hoffman said recently. “Very good relationship with him, we won a championship together. So definitely looking forward to working with him this year.”
As for Sens GM Pierre Dorion, he’s still got some offseason work to do. Defenseman Cody Cedi is a restricted free agent, and there’s no arbitration date to encourage a settlement in his case. While Dorion is confident that something that will get done with the 22-year-old, what remains to be seen is if it’s a short- or long-term deal.