It appears Gilbert Brule’s long, strange trip through the NHL is about to take another turn.
According to Vancouver’s News1130, the 25-year-old RFA won’t be tendered a qualifying offer from the Phoenix Coyotes, making him an unrestricted free agent.
Player agent Gerry Johansson said he’ll meet with Phoenix GM Don Maloney at this weekend’s draft in the hope of reaching a new deal. Brule’s in the final season of a two-year deal that paid $1.85 million annually, so it’s likely the Coyotes simply weren’t interested in matching that.
Brule’s career has been tumultuous since Columbus took him sixth overall at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. He fell out of favor with the Blue Jackets and Oilers before landing with the Coyotes and, in a February interview with the Vancouver Sun, alluded to some off-ice issues that plagued the early parts of his career:
Asked if he suffered from depression, Brule said: “I don’t know what you want to call it. I just wasn’t happy with things. On the ice, hockey is obviously the biggest part of my life. In every aspect, it affects you, especially when you’re not doing well or not doing as well as you think you should.”
Brule said his issues stem from family, but he is keeping those issues private.
In September, before the Oilers’ waived him through the NHL and sent Brule to their minor-league team in Oklahoma City, he told the Edmonton Journal: “The things I’ve had to go through with my family have been very, very tough. I would never wish them on anyone. It has definitely affected me in a very negative way and I wasn’t feeling very good about myself.”
Brule performed well in just under a half season with the Coyotes, scoring 5G-9A-14PTS in 33 regular season games with a plus-7 rating. He also chipped in with a pair of goals during Phoenix’s surprising run to the Western Conference finals.
Valeri Nichushkin has the tools — listed at six-foot-four-inches tall and 205 pounds with devastating speed. He has the skill.
However, now at the end of his entry-level contract, the 10th overall draft pick for the Dallas Stars in 2013 has endured the highs and lows associated with a young player trying to make his mark in the National Hockey League after a promising rookie campaign.
For starters, his sophomore 2014-15 season was essentially wiped out — he played only eight games for the Stars — by a hip injury that required surgery. He also didn’t get off to the greatest start this season, and coming back from surgery likely played a factor as to why, as he found his way into Lindy Ruff’s doghouse early on.
As a result, was made a healthy scratch.
His bottom line offensive numbers included nine goals and 29 points in 79 games played, and one assist in 10 playoff games for the Stars, as they were eliminated in the second round.
Still, he’s just 21 years old. When playing with top players like Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn, he was able to get on a bit of a roll offensively.
Stars GM Jim Nill, speaking on SiriusXMNHL, referenced the difficulty for a young player coming back off surgery, but remains confident in Nichushkin.
“We’re happy with Val,” he said (at around the 5:30 mark).
“Came back this year, got off to a slow start because of that. We thought the last five games of the playoffs, he really started to look like himself. He started to dominate down low and in the corners.
“He is only 21. I know there’s still lots of room for growth, so we’re going to be patient with him. We think he’s a big part of our future.”
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) The Arizona Coyotes have hired Anaheim Ducks executive Ari Segal as chief operating officer.
The move was announced by the team on Wednesday.
Segal previously served as a special assistant to Anaheim CEO Michael Schulman and as president of business operations for the Ducks’ AHL affiliate in San Diego.
Segal helped with preparations for the new AHL club and recently worked with the NHL in the league’s broadcast media strategy group, evaluating league and team broadcast rights and distribution deals.
Segal previously worked as an associate in the sports practice at McKinsey & Company, a New York-based management consulting firm.
Related: The Coyotes are going in a ‘new direction,’ and that’s an understatement
Columbus farmhand Lukas Sedlak, who currently sits tied atop AHL Lake Erie’s playoff scoring leaderboard, has signed a one-year, two-way deal, the Jackets announced on Wednesday.
Sedlak, 23, was a fifth-round pick in 2011 that’s spent the last three years in the American League. This season was by far his most successful — in addition to potting a career-best 14 goals, he’s become close to a point-a-game producer in the playoffs, with 11 through 12 games.
“Sedlak has been on a run for us with goal-scoring,” Lake Erie head coach Jared Bednar said, per the Columbus Dispatch. “He’s not a guy who does it for us every night. But he works so hard in all the other areas.”
Sedlak has yet to make his NHL debut, but could be in the mix for a recall next season.
The Canadian dollar is trading at around $0.77 USD today. While that’s up considerably from where it was a few months ago, the damage has already been done to NHL revenues.
“If the Canadian dollar was still at par, we would be $100 or 200 million higher perhaps than we may find ourselves,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told Bloomberg Television today.
Having said that, Bettman still expects there will be a “revenue increase” compared to last year, adding that “we continue to grow year after year and set new records.”
More from Bloomberg:
Bettman said that while the NHL’s revenue growth has come across the entire business, the league has seen its biggest boon in its digital platform. The league last year signed a six-year, $1.2 billion contract with Major League Baseball’s interactive media and Internet arm, or BAM, to operate the its digital operations, streaming services and TV network. The NHL got a 10 percent stake as part the deal.
The NHL playoffs are currently in the middle of the conference finals. The NHL’s fiscal year ends June 30.
League revenues, of course, have a direct impact on the salary cap, and let’s face it, that’s the only thing most fans care about.
As of March, the cap was expected to grow from $71.4 million in 2015-16 to $74 million next season.
However, that projection assumed the NHLPA would accept the CBA’s standard five percent growth factor, and with escrow topping the list of player concerns, that’s no given.
The players’ association will discuss and make a decision on the growth factor at some point before July 1.
Related: Bowman noncommittal on Shaw and Bickell, needs to know salary cap first