The Pittsburgh Penguins are getting a jump on the free agency crush in a big way.
The Pens acquired the rights to Tomas Vokoun from the Washington Capitals for a seventh round pick in the 2012 draft. Vokoun is set to become a free agent on July 1, but with the Penguins acquiring him
they’ll have until then to work out a potential contract with him.
(UPDATE: Vokoun signs two-year, $4 million deal. That’s a $2 million cap hit)
Vokoun’s season in Washington came to an abrupt end thanks to a bad groin injury leaving the Caps to use Braden Holtby in the playoffs, a job he seized and made his own. If you’re thinking this is a move to make incumbent start Marc-Andre Fleury nervous, however, hold on a second.
Fleury was worked hard this season as backup Brent Johnson struggled. Fleury played in 67 games and looked obviously poor in the playoffs against Philadelphia after having a strong regular season.
This move harms the plans of other teams who had designs on signing Vokoun in July. Toronto had been rumored to have interest and Detroit sniffed around last summer. With Vokoun sticking with Pittsburgh, the hunt for goaltending (Roberto Luongo?) gets a bit hotter.
Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.
We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.
It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”
Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)
Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.
So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”
… You get the idea.
The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.
The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.