PHT’s Morning Skate: That Pekka Rinne guy is really good

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Pekka Rinne had a big night in Nashville last night. Not only did he earn his 100th victory, but he did so in record breaking fashion. (Section 303)

Francois Beauchemin may end up hearing from the league offices, but he insists that his hit on Mike Fisher was a clean shoulder-to-shoulder hit (OC Register)

The Blues have been one of the most schizophrenic teams over the first month of the season. Maybe if their top scorers starting acting like it, they’d be able to put together a little consistency (Post-Dispatch)

Looks like Maple Leafs’ head coach Ron Wilson is content pumping the tires of his own team nowadays. After Toronto’s win against the Penguins, he said Dion Phaneuf is the best defenseman in the league. The word you’re looking for is “hyperbole.” (The Hockey News)

We all know that Sidney Crosby is going to come back at some point this season. But when he comes back, just how good will he be for the Penguins? (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Could Ken Hitchcock be back behind the Blue Jackets bench? Could Craig Button be their new GM? Yes and yes—and it all could be done by Monday. (Puck-Rakers)

Newsflash: the Philly media can be tough; and they love going to a guy who is a great quote. Now we hear the goalie coach say that Ilya Bryzgalov needs to ignore the off-ice stuff and focus on his game. Sounds like this could be a theme for the next nine years. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Remember when the Montreal Canadiens were the worst team in the Eastern Conference? Oh how things can change in only a few short days. (Hockey Inside/Out)

Yes, the NBA should have learned from the NHL when hockey lost the entire 2004-05 season. But while basketball is dealing with their own labor problems this fall, the NHL should take a look and learn a lesson from the NBA. (Tampa Tribune)

Visors. Need to be mandatory. You may have heard this before. (Buffalo News)

Same crap, different day for the Bruins. A nicer way to say that is the Bruins season has been like Groundhog’s Day. (CSN New England)

The Islanders played one of their best games of the season on Saturday night, only to have a questionable call help seal their fate in overtime. Frustrating was the word most used. (Islanders Official)

We’ve been tough on Roberto Luongo lately. But on the day after he only gave up 4 goals for a 7-4 win, we thought we’d take the opportunity for a little tire pumping. Watch and enjoy Canucks fans:

Flames ink first-rounder Juuso Valimaki to rookie contract

Getty
Leave a comment

The Calgary Flames signed Finnish defenseman Jusso Valimaki to a three-year, entry-level contract on Friday.

Valimaki, 18, was the 16th overall pick of the 2017 NHL Draft. He was selected in that spot after a nice year with the WHL’s Tri-City Americans, scoring 61 points in 60 regular-season games and then added an assist in four playoff contests. He also played for the Tri-City Americans in 2015-16, putting up 32 points in 56 games.

Apparently he’s capable of at least one nifty shootout move, too:

People are pondering how Valimaki may fit into the Flames at the end of a three-year window Johnny Gaudreau recently cited. That seems a little far-reaching, although this nugget makes you wonder if Calgary might want to drag a little extra value out of his rookie deal:

Interesting. Either way, the Flames locked up a future piece, whether he can make an NHL impact sooner or later.

Red Wings sign Tomas Tatar: four years, $21.2M

Getty
2 Comments

It turns out that Tomas Tatar‘s days are numbered with the Detroit Red Wings by almost 1,500.*

After a salary arbitration hearing and concerns that he might leave after a single season, “Band-Aid” sort of deal, a wide variety of reporters state that the two sides instead agreed to a four-year deal with a $5.3 million cap hit, which would total $21.2 million.

Those figures come from MLive.com’s Ansar Khan, the Detroit News’ Ted Kulfan, FanRag’s Craig Morgan, and Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman. The Red Wings confirmed that it was four years, but didn’t mention the financial details in their release.

Here’s the reported yearly breakdown (cue ominous music for that lockout-protection drop in 2020-21), via Morgan:

Again, this feels like a change in viewpoint, as even just yesterday it was reasonable to wonder if Tatar would only stick around for 2017-18. Now, it is possible that Tatar might get traded at some point, but a four-year deal is a bit surprising. The forward himself speculated that a one-year deal would be it.

This contract makes Tatar, 26, the Red Wings’ second-most expensive forward from a cap perspective, trailing only Henrik Zetteberg’s $6.083 million.

Even with this deal out of the way, Red Wings GM Ken Holland still has some work to do, including re-signing speedy forward Andreas Athanasiou. And the situation is tight.

* – Four times 365 is 1,460. Get it?

Wingels fractures foot, but should be ready for Blackhawks camp

Getty
Leave a comment

The good news is that Tommy Wingels is expected to be ready for Chicago Blackhawks training camp. The bad news is that he’ll be limited in his training regimen … although that very regimen caused him issues in the first place.

Dr. Michael Terry, the Blackhawks’ team doctor, released the following update regarding Wingels:

“Tommy Wingels sustained a left foot fracture during his off-season training. We anticipate a full recovery in six to eight weeks and in time for training camp. We do not anticipate any long-term issues.”

It’s unclear what caused the specific injury. Dropped weight? Unlucky fall? Perhaps a stress fracture? Without knowing the exact issue, it’s tempting to picture various painful scenarios.

(Probably because we’re in the dog days of the hockey summer, too.)

Wingels, 29, is on a one-year deal with Chicago, carrying a $750K salary and cap hit. He last played for the Ottawa Senators, though Blackhawks fans are most likely to remember him from his lengthy stay with the San Jose Sharks.

Six-to-eight weeks seems like it wouldn’t give a ton of room for error, so we’ll see if he’ll actually be ready for training camp.

Dahlin headlines Sweden’s roster for World Junior Summer Showcase

Leave a comment

Defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, potentially the NHL’s first overall draft pick in 2018, will suit up for Sweden at the World Junior Summer Showcase in Plymouth, Michigan.

Dahlin, who doesn’t turn 18 until April, has wowed scouts with his skating and puck-moving ability. At the 2017 World Juniors, he participated as a 16-year-old, garnering tantalizing reviews in the process.

Top-10 picks in the 2017 draft, Elias Pettersson (5th, Vancouver Canucks) and Lias Andersson (7th, New York Rangers), will also be in Plymouth representing Sweden.

Click here for Sweden’s and Finland’s Summer Showcase rosters. The tournament runs from July 29 – Aug. 5 and also features players from the United States and Canada.

Among the draft-eligible Finns to watch is 17-year-old forward Jesse Ylonen, who could be a late first-rounder in 2018.

Related: USA Hockey invites 42 players to World Junior Summer Showcase