One of the longest serving Canucks is leaving Vancouver.
According to TSN’s Gord Miller, defenseman Sami Salo has signed a two-year, $7.5 million deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning for an annual cap hit of $3.75 million.
The money represents a significant pay raise for the 37-year-old rearguard — after finishing a four-year, $14 million deal with Vancouver in 2011 ($3.5 million annually), Salo re-upped on a one-year, $2 million deal for 2011-12.
The $3.75 million will be the highest average annual salary of Salo’s career.
The move is reminiscent of the contract ex-Canuck Mattias Ohlund signed with Tampa in 2009. Despite his age (32) and durability issues, the Lightning gave Ohlund a seven-year, $25.25 million deal — Ohlund has since missed 101 games to injury in the three seasons.
There will likely be similar concerns with Salo, long known for his injury woes.
Check that, freakish injury woes. He’s
ruptured a testicle suffered a testicle-related injury, torn his Achilles tendon playing floorball (a type of floor hockey) and hurt his shoulder after colliding with a teammate during a line change at the 2006 Olympics.
Tampa would be wise to keep him away from open manholes.
As mentioned earlier, Salo was the third longest-tenured Canuck behind Daniel and Henrik Sedin. The hard shooting Finn posted 9G-16A-25PTS last season, not far off his career highs of 14G-23A-37 points (from 2006-07.)
Should be noted that Salo led all Vancouver defensemen in power play goals last year, with seven, and promises to make Tampa’s PP an absolute shooting gallery alongside Steve Stamkos.
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.