Paul Holmgren

Flyers GM says he “made 29 phone calls” upon learning Pronger was lost for season


Interesting tidbit here from CBC’s Elliotte Friedman:


With his team atop the Eastern Conference and just one point out of first in the NHL, it’s not surprising Holmgren’s in “I gotta salvage the season!” mode.

But how does he salvage it?

Pronger could go on Long-Term Injury Reserve (LTIR) like Marc Savard did in Boston, meaning the Flyers would have $4.9 million in available cap space. That’s a sizeable chunk, definitely enough to acquire a serviceable defenseman or, if Holmgren was willing to trade a player with a decent-sized cap hit, an even larger asset.

Knowing that, there’s sure to be plenty of scuttlebutt surrounding Nashville. The Preds have two tantalizing options in Shea Weber and Ryan Suter, and Holmgren has an extensive history of dealing with GM David Poile. The two first linked up in 2007 for the Scott Hartnell-Kimmo Timonen deal and have made a few more since (most recently, Holmgren acquired Dan Hamhuis’ negotiation rights from Poile.)

There are a few less-compelling options as well. Francois Beauchemin is a guy to keep an eye on — Holmgren and Anaheim GM Bob Murray got together for the Pronger deal in 2009 and if Anaheim falls short of the playoffs (which looks likely), unloading the 31-year-old UFA-to-be is a possibility.

One also wonders what the future holds for Jaroslav Spacek. The 37-year-old probably isn’t in Carolina’s plans moving forward and at this stage of his career, might want a shot at the postseason (another thing that’s not in Carolina’s plans.)

If things continue to go south for Tampa, Pavel Kubina could be in play. Sounds like Calgary would be interested in unloading Anton Babchuk and/or Cory Sarich.

Of course, Holmgren could stand pat and see how things play out. Even without Pronger, Philadelphia still has a solid top-four defense of Timonen, Andrej Meszaros, Matt Carle and Braydon Coburn. The Flyers have also gotten surprisingly solid production out of rookie Marc-Andre Bourdon and should get veteran Andreas Lilja (ankle) back from injury soon.

Sens demote former first-rounder Puempel

Matt Puempel
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Looks like Matt Puempel won’t be making the leap after all.

Puempel, the subject of Ottawa’s “looking to make the leap” profile during our Team of the Day series, has been sent down to AHL Binghamton one day prior to the Sens’ opener against Buffalo.

Puempel, taken by Ottawa in the first round (24th overall) at the ’11 draft, made his big-league debut last season and looked as though he’d stick around — only to suffer a high ankle sprain after 13 games, and miss the rest of the season.

The 22-year-old came into this year’s camp looking to secure a full-time position at the big league level, but was beaten out by Shane Prince for the final forward spot on the roster.

To be fair, contract status probably played a role. Prince would’ve had to clear waivers to get down to Bingo, whereas Puempel didn’t.

A former 30-goal scorer in the American League, Puempel is expected to get another look with Ottawa this season.

Report: Torres won’t appeal 41-game suspension


Sounds like Raffi Torres is accepting his punishment.

Per Sportsnet, Torres won’t appeal his 41-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head of Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg.

The report comes just days after the NHL’s Department of Player Safety levied one of the longest disciplinary rulings in league history, citing both the severity of the Silfverberg hit and Torres’ lengthy history of suspensions, fines and warnings.

There was some thought, however, that Torres would try to challenge the ruling.


He does have a history of success in that department. In 2012,Torres successfully appealed his suspension for a headshot on Chicago’s Marian Hossa, and had his punishment reduced from 25 games to 21.

Torres also isn’t considered a “repeat offender” under the current collective bargaining agreement, as his last suspension came in 2013.

Of course, part of that clean record is due to the fact he hasn’t played much. Torres has largely been sidelined by injury for the last two seasons, missing all of last year with knee problems.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman delved further into the repeat offender thing in his latest 30 Thoughts column:

If you read the relevant sections of the CBA, the league takes the position that the repeat offender status is only applicable to fines. Repeaters are fined on a per-game basis, non-repeaters on a per-day basis. (The former is more expensive, because there are fewer games than days in an NHL season.) However, if you go to Section 18.2, among the factors taken into account are, “the status of the offender and, specifically, whether the Player has a history of being subject to Supplementary Discipline for On-Ice Conduct.”

So, in the NHL’s view, a player’s history is relevant, even if longer than 18 months ago.

Should the report prove accurate and Torres doesn’t appeal, he will be eligible to return to action on Jan. 14, when the Sharks take on the Oilers.