Washington winger Mike Knuble will join some select company Tuesday evening when he steps onto the ice to face the Predators. He’ll become just the 269th player in NHL history to play 1000 games…and the first-ever University of Michigan product to accomplish the feat.
Not bad for a guy taken in the fourth round of the 1991 Entry Draft.
“You’re going to have to burn my jersey to stop me from playing,” Knuble told the Grand Rapids Press. “You’re going to have to hide my jersey or trash it to keep me out of this league. I think as long as you’re fresh and you feel good and you like playing the game, I think you can play.”
Knuble, 39, has forged himself a pretty unique career. He played for one of the most storied collegiate hockey programs in America (where, under the tutelage of legendary coach Red Berenson, he played with the likes of Brendan Morrison, Marty Turco, John Madden, Aaron Ward, Bill Muckalt and Steve Shields) and his NHL career has taken him to some of the most passionate hockey markets in the country.
Knuble first broke in with Detroit — winning a Stanley Cup with the Wings in 1998 — before moving to New York to play for the Rangers. After that, he spent five years in Boston, then four more in Philly before signing with the resurgent Washington Capitals in 2009. He’s posted eight seasons of 20-plus goals, including a career-high 34 with the Flyers in 2005-06 — and established himself as something of an iron man, playing all 82 games in five of the last 10 seasons.
“A lot of things have to go right to be around this long,” Knuble told CSN Washington. “I appreciate it and I’m aware of it. I’m thankful. I’ve been around long enough that I can appreciate it. It’s been a good road.”
The Ryan Nugent-Hopkins trade speculation may have died down since it peaked at the draft in late June, but it’s not entirely dead.
The 23-year-old former first overall draft pick was asked to address the ongoing rumors Monday at an Oilers charity golf tournament.
“I try not to pay attention too much,” Nugent-Hopkins said, per the Edmonton Journal. “If it happens, it happens. I know it’s definitely a different group than the one we finished with last season.”
Indeed it is. Most notably, Taylor Hall is in New Jersey now, traded for defenseman Adam Larsson. The Oilers also signed Milan Lucic and drafted Jesse Puljujarvi.
What’s still lacking is an offensive defenseman who can run the power play, which is why the names Tyson Barrie (Avalanche) and Matt Dumba (Wild) have been floated as potential targets.
The Wild in particular could use a good, young center like Nugent-Hopkins, and the expansion draft is looming for a Minnesota club that already has defensemen Ryan Suter, Jared Spurgeon, Jonas Brodin, and Marco Scandella locked up in long-term contracts.
Barrie, meanwhile, has an arbitration hearing scheduled for Friday.
Blues d-man Kevin Shattenkirk is another name that’s come up; however, he can become an unrestricted free agent after next season, and whether he’d re-sign in Edmonton is in doubt.
Chalk up another arbitration hearing that won’t be required. This time it’s Brandon Manning‘s. The 26-year-old defenseman has agreed on a two-year, $1.95 million deal with the Philadelphia Flyers, according to CSN Philly.
Manning’s hearing was scheduled for next Tuesday. He was the last restricted free agent on the Flyers, after Brayden Schenn re-signed Monday.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman was the first to report the Manning signing.
Manning played 56 games for the Flyers in 2015-16, his first full season in the NHL. He had one goal and six assists while logging an average ice time of 16:32.
The Chicago Blackhawks are reportedly parting ways with defenseman David Rundblad. The two sides have agreed to a contract termination, according to Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times.
Rundblad, 25, was set to earn $1.1 million this season, per General Fanager. His cap hit was $1.05 million, meaning the ‘Hawks will gain $100,000 in cap space by not having to bury his contract in the AHL next season.
Rundblad was unlikely to make the Blackhawks in 2016-17 — not after the additions of Brian Campbell and Michal Kempny, and also the re-signing of Michal Rozsival.
It remains to be seen where Rundblad will end up. One possibility is back in Switzerland, where he spent part of last season before dressing three times for the ‘Hawks in the playoffs.
Darryl Sydor, after being let go by the Minnesota Wild, has joined the Chicago Wolves as an assistant coach.
The St. Louis Blues, the parent club of the AHL Wolves, made the announcement Monday. It was also announced that former NHLer Daniel Tkaczuk would join Sydor as an assistant on new head coach Craig Berube’s staff.
Sydor, who won two Stanley Cups as a defenseman, spent five years as an assistant on Mike Yeo’s staff in Minnesota. His time with the Wild was marred by an arrest in 2015 for drunk driving. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail and sought treatment.
“I know now that alcoholism is a disease and I’m powerless over alcohol,” he told Kamloops This Week in January. “I can never have a drink again and I’m fine with that.”