In the previous post, we collected some of today’s most interesting signings (or at least extended qualifying offers). Of course, there’s still the other end of the spectrum to account for; let’s take a look at the players whose teams allowed them to walk away, thus fattening a rather thin free agent market a bit. Peter Mueller isn’t the only interesting-if-risky player to become an unrestricted free agent today, after all.
(Note: Rotoworld was once again a very helpful resource for this post. You should keep an eye on their updates when you’re not reading PHT.)
- The Calgary Flames quite reasonably decided that qualifying Blake Comeau at $2.5 million wasn’t a wise idea, as Vicki Hall discusses. Many wondered if Comeau’s 24-goal season in 2010-11 would be a breakthrough, but then came the breakdown. Perhaps the Flames will give him another shot at a reduced rate. If I were Comeau and/or his representation, I’d be more concerned with the team and his role on it than squeezing as much money as possible out of a deal. At 26, the window isn’t closed all the way, he just really needs to get on the right track. More than anything else, that might come down to getting his confidence back.
- It’s hard to believe that Cam Barker once seemed destined to be a piece of the puzzle with the Chicago Blackhawks. His career has taken a serious tumble since then; Barker is now the go-to punching bag with the Edmonton Oilers. Or at least he was, that is. At 26 years old and with the pedigree of a third overall pick (in 2004), it’s not crazy to imagine him getting another shot. The clock is ticking, though.
- Much like his former trade mate in Mueller, Wojtek Wolski did not receive a qualifying offer from the Florida Panthers. Not a big shocker considering that Florida essentially took a shot in the dark on him, but don’t be shocked if his next job comes overseas.
- Ben Kuzma passes along the Vancouver Canucks’ long list of rejects, highlighted by evildoer Aaron Rome.
- In sad pun-related news, the Nashville Predators said goodbye to Francis Bouillon. That’s likely the right move for the Preds, but hopefully “The Bouillon Cube” lands somewhere else so his wonderful nickname lives on.
Brian Campbell doesn’t score as many points as he used to, but he came up with a huge goal against the Red Wings on Sunday afternoon.
With the game tied, 1-1, in overtime, Campbell skated into the slot and beat Petr Mrazek with a perfect wrister to end the game.
It was also a pretty nice passing play between Jussi Jokinen, Jonathan Huberdeau and Campbell.
Dylan Larkin opened the scoring in the second period before Reilly Smith leveled the score with just over five minutes remaining.
The Wings have blown a lead in three straight games.
Detroit was up 2-0 and 3-2 in their last game, against Edmonton, before they finally closed the game out with an overtime goal by Niklas Kronwall.
They weren’t so fortunate against the Bruins on Wednesday, as they lost 3-2 in OT after leading 2-1 with under two minutes remaining in regulation.
This was the first meeting of the season between Detroit and Florida, but they’ll see each other three times between Feb. 4 and Mar. 19.
You can’t blame Mike Babcock for siding with the relatively unknown when the other option is Jonathan Bernier, a goalie who’s 0-8-1 so far in 2015-16.
With that in mind, meet Garret Sparks, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ expected starter for Monday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers.
Sparks was a seventh-round pick (190th overall) in 2011, a guy who was off to a great start in the AHL. That much wasn’t lost on Babcock.
Let’s face it, though; this is as much about the Leafs’ other two goalies as it is about Sparks (whose name inspired a very obscure reference in this post’s headline).
In Bernier’s case, there’s an “enough’s enough” feel:
Meanwhile, James Reimer‘s not quite healthy enough to play yet, so the window of opportunity is open for Sparks … a little bit.
Sparks will get a chance to make an impression, even if it’s just a small one.
So far, the 2015-16 crop of rookies is living up to the hype, if not exceeding it. Connor McDavid‘s unfortunate injury hasn’t even derailed this year’s crop.
The Detroit Red Wings are watching their own blue chip blossom, as Dylan Larkin is making an instant impact.
No. 71 scored his 10th goal of the season against the Florida Panthers on Sunday, fattening his rookie goals lead.
He still needs five points to match rookie points leader Artemi Panarin, though.
There’s one thing we seem to know about Carey Price‘s injury situation: he first got hurt stepping on a puck on Oct. 29, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.
Contrary to earlier reports about him missing about a month, it sounds like his window of recovery is still up in the air (which, to be fair, could mean that he’ll still miss about a month when it’s all said and done).
ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that Price underwent testing with Montreal’s team doctor on Saturday and is expected to go through more; we may not know more about his expected injury timeline until early this coming week.
So, basically, Price’s situation is fuzzier than his mustache right now.
Leg injuries can be tricky anyway, so we shouldn’t be too surprised that there are mixed signals regarding Price, and this may remain a fluid situation for some time.
(But we’ll hopefully know more soon enough.)