NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan has suspended St. Louis Blues forward Chris Stewart three games for his hit on Detroit’s Nicklas Kronwall last night. The incident occurred at 11:14 of the first period of St. Louis’ 2-1 win:
The decision to suspend Stewart didn’t surprise many. Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard said afterward that “it’s one of those plays at the beginning of the year they told us they’re going to be sticklers on,” while Dan Cleary added “it’s a dangerous play that far from the boards.”
Even Stewart’s teammate, David Backes, had a hard time claiming the hit shouldn’t be suspended.
“I don’t know. You look at the criteria put forth. [Stewart] has never been suspended before, never had a hearing before. Kronwall looks injured on the play, but he comes back,” he told Dan O’Neil of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Is it an ugly hit? Yeah, it’s not pretty.”
In a statement on the team website, St. Louis GM Doug Armstrong said “we respect the decision by Brendan and the National Hockey League as they continue to enforce the safety of all players during our games.”
When discussing the hit with Jeremy Rutherford of the Post-Dispatch, Armstrong added, “It’s a situation that we accept and we move on with. But I just want to be 100 percent crystal clear that our support for the type of player Stewart is hasn’t wavered. He’s a very honest, hard player. This is a hockey play that went awry.”
Stewart will miss games Nov. 17 vs. Florida, Nov. 19 at Minnesota and Nov. 22 vs. Los Angeles. He will be eligible to return Nov. 23 at Pittsburgh.
The Toronto Maple Leafs won’t require arbitration with forward Peter Holland. They’ve signed the 25-year-old to a one-year deal worth a reported $1.3 million.
Holland had a hearing scheduled for today. Last week, the Leafs sent a message by putting him on waivers, which he cleared.
Holland had nine goals and 18 assists in 65 games last season. With him signed, the Leafs have only defensemen Frank Corrado and Martin Marincin as restricted free agents. Corrado has an arbitration hearing scheduled for tomorrow; Marincin’s is next Tuesday.
Related: Corrado and Leafs aren’t that far apart
This is an important week in the Detroit Red Wings’ offseason, with Petr Mrazek‘s arbitration hearing scheduled for Wednesday and Danny DeKeyser‘s for Thursday.
GM Ken Holland would prefer to avoid the hearings, which can sometimes result in hurt feelings.
“I think a negotiated settlement is always better than having an arbitrated settlement,” Holland told MLive.com. “Obviously, both sides run (the risk) of somebody’s not going to be happy.”
That being said, in Mrazek’s case, the two sides still have a ways to go. Remember that the 24-year-old netminder was excellent for most of 2015-16, but in Holland’s words, “the wheels came off a little bit in the middle of February.”
Hence, the divide:
DeKeyser, meanwhile, is more of a proven NHL commodity. He’s had three full seasons in the league. In the 26-year-old defenseman, the Red Wings pretty much know what they’ve got.
“There’s way more comparables, I think, in Dan DeKeyser‘s case so it was easier to figure out what was the market place,” said Holland. “That’s certainly not the case of Petr Mrazek’s situation.”
Holland’s work will not be finished once Mrazek and DeKeyser are signed. He still wants to add another defenseman, and he’s got a surplus of forwards to work with.
Related: Holland makes argument to keep Jimmy Howard
The Flyers won’t require today’s scheduled arbitration hearing with Brayden Schenn. They’ve agreed to terms with the 24-year-old forward on a four-year contract with a reported cap hit of $5.125 million.
Schenn had a career-high 26 goals and 33 assists in 2015-16. His 59 points were the third most on the Flyers, behind only Claude Giroux‘s 67 and Wayne Simmonds‘ 60.
The Schenn signing leaves the Flyers with just over $1 million in cap space for 2016-17, but no major free agents remaining. RFA defenseman Brandon Manning still needs a contract, but that’s it, per General Fanager. Manning has an arbitration hearing scheduled for Aug. 2.
Related: Coyotes sign Luke Schenn
Ben Scrivens is off to Belarus. The 29-year-old goalie has reportedly signed with Dinamo Minsk of the KHL.
Scrivens made 14 starts for the Montreal Canadiens in 2015-16, failing to really take advantage of his opportunity with the Habs and finishing 5-8-0 with a .906 save percentage.
In total, Scrivens made 144 appearances (130 starts) in NHL games, his best season coming in 2013-14, which he split between Los Angeles and Edmonton. The Oilers gave up a third-round draft pick to get him. They eventually acquired Zack Kassian when they dealt him away.
Related: Maple Leafs reportedly close to signing Jhonas Enroth