Henrik Lundqvist

Report: Club sorts out financing to bring Lundqvist to Sweden

Could one of Sweden’s biggest hockey stars soon be coming home?

Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist — a former standout in the Swedish Elite League — has been a target of SEL team Frolunda, the team he starred for at the junior and senior levels before coming to New York in 2005-06.

Now it appears Frolunda has overcome a big financial obstacle in bringing its local hero home.

From the New York Times:

This weekend Frolunda has put together financing to cover the cost of Lundqvist’s insurance, which is estimated at about $30,000 a month to protect the remaining two years and $13.75 million of his Rangers contract, according to reports from the Goteborgs-Posten and other Swedish news outlets.

All N.H.L.-paid insurance policies on players are suspended for the duration of the lockout, so separate insurance is necessary, and it is expensive.

Lundqvist was the Elitserien M.V.P. while leading Frolunda to the 2005 championship. He has said a number of times in recent weeks that he would consider returning there during the lockout. If he does, his insurance will be covered by a consortium of sponsors, a common practice among European clubs signing N.H.L. players during the lockout.

The Times reached out to Lundqvist’s agent, Don Meehan, who said there was “nothing to report” on Lundqvist and Frolunda — but if the club’s history is any suggestion, there could be soon.

Frolunda is one of only two SEL clubs to sign a locked-out NHLer after the league’s informal ban on the practice was overturned (Frolunda signed Matt Duchene, MoDo signed Alex Steen).

Hiring NHL players on a short-term basis is still a contentious issue in Sweden, even though the ban was declared illegal under Swedish and European labor law in September.

As such, several Swedish players have opted to play in other leagues in the interim — Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg joined Swiss club EV Zug, Dallas’ Tom Wandell signed in the KHL and Erik Karlsson joined Finland’s SM-lliga.

Report: Islanders cut first-rounder Barzal from camp

Mathew Barzal
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It seems Mathew Barzal has played in his last game in a New York Islanders’ uniform for a little while.

Barzal took part in the Islanders’ preseason finale against the Washington Capitals on Sunday, but after that contest the Islanders decided to return him to WHL Seattle, per Newsday’s Arthur Staple.

He was taken with the 16th overall pick in 2015 NHL Entry Draft. That selection was well-traveled as it originally belonged to the Pittsburgh Penguins, but was involved in the David Perron trade and then moved to the Islanders as part of Edmonton’s deal to get Griffin Reinhart.

Barzal is noteworthy for his skill and speed, but he may have slipped in the draft due to a knee injury he sustained during the 2014-15 campaign.

The Islanders also reassigned Kirill Petrov, Kevin Czuczman, Scott Mayfield, and Adam Pelech to the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Torres offered in-person hearing, potentially setting up long suspension

Torres hit

What will Raffi Torres get this time?

The 33-year-old forward that has become known primarily for his controversial hits has once again put himself in the sights of the NHL’s Department of Players Safety. They confirmed that he was offered an in-person hearing following his hit on Jakub Silfverberg Saturday night. He declined the opportunity to meet with them face-to-face, but the offer itself is an important detail because it gives the league the option to suspend him for more than five games.

It certainly seems like the stage is set for a lengthy suspension. While Torres is not considered a repeat offender as his last suspension came more than 18 months ago, the NHL still retains the right to consider his history when deciding on this matter.

Among other incidents, he was once was banned from 25 games for his hit on Marian Hossa in 2012, although it was later reduced to 21 contests after an appeal. The NHL found that Torres was guilty of breaking three rules for that hit; namely interference, charging, and illegally hitting the head. The NHL is reviewing Torres’ latest incident for the same three violations.

You can see the hit below:

And here it is slowed down:

Torres got a match penalty and Silfverberg left the game. Fortunately, Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said that Silfverberg could have returned, but was kept out for precautionary reasons.