Millions of people woke up this morning, ate a Kit Kat for breakfast, opened the door to find pumpkin shards and a M-80 casing and realized that yes, October is officially over.
And to celebrate the month that was, the National Hockey League announced that Toronto Maple Leafs RW Phil Kessel has been named October’s Player of the Month.
The decision wasn’t much of a surprise as Kessel finished atop the NHL leaderboard with 10 goals and 18 points in 11 games. Kessel also has five multiple-point games — including two 3-point games and a season-high 4-point game on Oct. 8 against Ottawa — and cemented his name in Leafs lore by scoring five goals in Toronto’s first three games. The only others to do that in the last 66 years? Darryl Sittler and Wendel Clark.
The runner-up to Kessel was Dallas G Kari Lehtonen, who won an NHL-best eight games while posting a 1.75 goals-against average and .947 save percentage. He was instrumental in pacing Dallas to an 8-3-0 record — as a result, the Stars now sit atop the Pacific Division, thanks in large part to Lehtonen averaging 32 saves per game.
October’s third star was Edmonton Oilers G Nikolai Khabibulin, who has come out of nowhere (well, Tent City at Maricopa County Jail) to post a 5-0-2 record with a .902 save percentage and a league-low 1.12 GAA. In doing so, Khabibulin increased his career win total to 321, putting him 20th on the all-time list. The Bulin Wall is now just three back of Sean Burke and should he continue winning games at this rate (hey, he’s on pace for a 59-0 record this year) he could jump past Rogatien “Rogie” Vachon — he of the 355 career victorites — for 16th all-time.
While Brayden Schenn hopes to hammer out a favorable deal with the Philadelphia Flyers, his brother Luke Schenn inked a two-year contract with the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday.
Arizona didn’t confirm these details, but the cap hit looks to be $1.25 million, according to reporters including Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.
“We are very pleased to sign Luke to a two-year contract,” New Coyotes GM John Chayka said. “He’s a good, young defenseman and we feel we can optimize his performance here. He will be a solid addition to our blue line.”
Chayka is making some significant changes to the Coyotes’ blueline, even if Oliver Ekman-Larsson is still the star of that group.
The Coyotes traded for and then signed Alex Goligoski. They possibly grabbed a falling star in the draft, too, as they selected Jacob Chychrun. Adding Schenn might not be the last move, either.
Schenn isn’t necessarily an analytics darling, but a two-year, $2.5 million deal is reasonable even with some flaws. This contract seems even more reasonable when you consider the five-year, $18 million deal that just expired.
Peter Holland‘s submitted salary request for arbitration is reportedly more than double what the Toronto Maple Leafs proposed.
With that in mind, Monday’s pending hearing serves as a challenging deadline.
Holland’s asking for $2.1 million in 2016-17 while Toronto is offering $900K, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.
This comes a day after the Maple Leafs placed Holland on waivers, advancing the argument that he’d be worthy of a two-way deal. He cleared waivers today.
Granted, the Globe & Mail’s James Mirtle wonders if Holland would clear waivers under normal circumstances:
Holland is a solid player, generating 27 points in 65 games with Toronto last season. He’s a nice enough piece, but with the Maple Leafs in rebuild mode, they’re not exactly anxious to pay supporting cast members more than necessary.
With such a context in mind, it should be intriguing to see how much either side will budge.
At the moment, the Maple Leafs seem to hold the advantage.
It sounds like the Philadelphia Flyers have some work to do if they hope to avoid an arbitration hearing with Brayden Schenn.
The session would take place on Monday, so the clock is ticking.
While the differences in opinion aren’t outright enormous, the Flyers still need to clean up their cap situation, so every $1 million counts. That – plus the length of a deal – seem to be the issue for the 24-year-old forward and the Flyers, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman:
With the Flyers aiming for a two-year agreement while Schenn just wants one, it’s not quite as simple as merely saying “split the difference.”
Then again, that general logic could prove helpful. Perhaps the best path to a deal would be for the Flyers to edge closer to $5.5 million while convincing Schenn to sign for two years rather than one?
Of course, the Flyers could also offer Schenn more security in exchange for giving up some UFA years:
The physical forward really started to show why he was the fifth pick of the 2009 NHL Draft last season, setting career-highs in goals (26), assists (33) and points (59).
He’s coming off of a two-year, $5 million contract, so Schenn can take heart in realizing he’s heading toward a healthy raise even if he doesn’t get everything he’s asking for.
Jordan Schroeder might be a depth player for the Minnesota Wild – at least when he’s with the big club – yet his situation provided a decent dollop of drama.
The two sides avoided salary arbitration by settling on a deal on Saturday, but not before the Wild “sent a message” by putting him on waivers.
That message was received, as Schroeder’s one-year contract is a two-way deal.
CBC’s Tim Wharnsby has the details regarding how the salary works out:
Schroeder has 107 regular season games under his belt, yet he’s played more games with the Iowa Wild than the Minnesota Wild since joining the organization.
He might not like it, but a two-way deal makes sense considering his standing with the team.
Granted, there’s the outside chance he’ll flourish under Bruce Boudreau; Schroeder is still just 25 and was the 22nd pick of the 2009 NHL Draft.
If he unexpectedly blossoms, he’d have a lot more leverage next time around.