Interesting note from CBC’s Elliott Friedman in his most recent 30 Thoughts column:
It’s interesting to hear other teams talk about the Flyers. If there’s one thing they really respect, it’s Philly’s willingness to make bold decisions. That’s why there’s a suspicion that if Ilya Bryzgalov or Sergei Bobrovsky doesn’t grab a stranglehold on the net, Philadelphia may look at someone else (on a short-term contract) to calm the position.
Some thoughts on Friedman’s thought:
— Viable netminders that currently fit the bill (cheap, short-term contract) include Evgeni Nabokov, Antero Niittymaki, Curtis Sanford, maybe Scott Clemmensen…yeah, it’s not exactly a Vezina shortlist. Two teams to keep an eye on are Minnesota (Josh Harding) and Winnipeg (Chris Mason) — both teams are teetering on the edge of the playoffs and could fall off, and both of their backup goalies are impending UFAs making less than $2 million annually. Harding’s a steal at $750,000, though there’s probably a lineup of GMs wanting to acquire his services.
— The thought of Philly acquiring Nabokov and curbing the market on Russian goaltenders is intriguing. Intriguing in a cultural sense, not a “this will improve things” sense.
— It’s crazy that, after spending $51 million to solve their goaltending problem, the Flyers could potentially end up having another three-goalie season like in 2009-10, when they went through Ray Emery, Brian Boucher and Michael Leighton.
— Here’s a question PHT readers can fight to the death about in the comments section: Which goalie contract would you rather have right now — Roberto Luongo’s (expires in 2022, annual cap hit of $5.3 million) or Bryzgalov’s (expires in 2020, annual cap hit of $5.7 million)?
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.”