Bruins’ Thornton latest to suggest lockout will end career

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Shawn Thornton signed a two-year, $2.2 million deal with the Bruins this offseason but, with the lockout entering day 48, he realizes he might not see all of that money.

He also realizes that, at age 35, a lengthy work stoppage could end his career.

“For guys like me I have a few years left and I’m kind of caught in the middle and squeezed out on both sides,” he told CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty. “If this goes on for a year or two then I’m probably done and I have to go back to working for a living.

“That’s fine. I’ve done it before. I worked in a steel factory when I was younger. But on the other side I’d like to play out the last two years of my contract and be a little bit ahead after fighting 400 times over the last 15 years.”

Thornton is the latest player to openly suggest either 1) time is not on his side, or 2) he needs to play to keep his job.

Others include…

Kimmo Timonen (link): “If this thing drags on another two or three months who knows, I might lose my motivation and we will see what happens after.”

Daniel Alfredsson (link): “I think the longer [the lockout’s] been going here, I don’t feel as eager to get back.”

Jaromir Jagr (link): “I don’t have many games left. I would like to play in the U.S. as soon as possible, like everybody. For this type of hockey [European], I’ve still got time left. But for the NHL, I don’t have many games left.”

Sean O’Donnell (link): “If this goes long or we miss the whole year, then my career is done.”

Justin Falk (link): “I need a season here. It’s a tough situation. We stand together as a union, but there’s such a variety of players — guys on the bubble with one-year contracts that need games to play in this league…I want this to be a start of a career in the National Hockey League. It’s hard not to worry this could do a lot of damage in my career. I need to keep progressing because there’s always someone knocking on the door.”

While these comments aren’t necessarily signs of fractures within the NHLPA, they do suggest union members haven’t forgotten how profoundly the last work stoppage terminated careers.

Eric Macramalla, the author of PHT’s Ask a Lawyer series, estimates about 240 NHL players who played in 2003-04 didn’t return after the lockout.

Related

Players need to ask themselves: Is it worth it?

Modano reminds players: “You’re only in the game so long”

Flames ink first-rounder Juuso Valimaki to rookie contract

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The Calgary Flames signed Finnish defenseman Jusso Valimaki to a three-year, entry-level contract on Friday.

Valimaki, 18, was the 16th overall pick of the 2017 NHL Draft. He was selected in that spot after a nice year with the WHL’s Tri-City Americans, scoring 61 points in 60 regular-season games and then added an assist in four playoff contests. He also played for the Tri-City Americans in 2015-16, putting up 32 points in 56 games.

Apparently he’s capable of at least one nifty shootout move, too:

People are pondering how Valimaki may fit into the Flames at the end of a three-year window Johnny Gaudreau recently cited. That seems a little far-reaching, although this nugget makes you wonder if Calgary might want to drag a little extra value out of his rookie deal:

Interesting. Either way, the Flames locked up a future piece, whether he can make an NHL impact sooner or later.

Red Wings sign Tomas Tatar: four years, $21.2M

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It turns out that Tomas Tatar‘s days are numbered with the Detroit Red Wings by almost 1,500.*

After a salary arbitration hearing and concerns that he might leave after a single season, “Band-Aid” sort of deal, a wide variety of reporters state that the two sides instead agreed to a four-year deal with a $5.3 million cap hit, which would total $21.2 million.

Those figures come from MLive.com’s Ansar Khan, the Detroit News’ Ted Kulfan, FanRag’s Craig Morgan, and Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman. The Red Wings confirmed that it was four years, but didn’t mention the financial details in their release.

Here’s the reported yearly breakdown (cue ominous music for that lockout-protection drop in 2020-21), via Morgan:

Again, this feels like a change in viewpoint, as even just yesterday it was reasonable to wonder if Tatar would only stick around for 2017-18. Now, it is possible that Tatar might get traded at some point, but a four-year deal is a bit surprising. The forward himself speculated that a one-year deal would be it.

This contract makes Tatar, 26, the Red Wings’ second-most expensive forward from a cap perspective, trailing only Henrik Zetteberg’s $6.083 million.

Even with this deal out of the way, Red Wings GM Ken Holland still has some work to do, including re-signing speedy forward Andreas Athanasiou. And the situation is tight.

* – Four times 365 is 1,460. Get it?

Wingels fractures foot, but should be ready for Blackhawks camp

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The good news is that Tommy Wingels is expected to be ready for Chicago Blackhawks training camp. The bad news is that he’ll be limited in his training regimen … although that very regimen caused him issues in the first place.

Dr. Michael Terry, the Blackhawks’ team doctor, released the following update regarding Wingels:

“Tommy Wingels sustained a left foot fracture during his off-season training. We anticipate a full recovery in six to eight weeks and in time for training camp. We do not anticipate any long-term issues.”

It’s unclear what caused the specific injury. Dropped weight? Unlucky fall? Perhaps a stress fracture? Without knowing the exact issue, it’s tempting to picture various painful scenarios.

(Probably because we’re in the dog days of the hockey summer, too.)

Wingels, 29, is on a one-year deal with Chicago, carrying a $750K salary and cap hit. He last played for the Ottawa Senators, though Blackhawks fans are most likely to remember him from his lengthy stay with the San Jose Sharks.

Six-to-eight weeks seems like it wouldn’t give a ton of room for error, so we’ll see if he’ll actually be ready for training camp.

Dahlin headlines Sweden’s roster for World Junior Summer Showcase

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Defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, potentially the NHL’s first overall draft pick in 2018, will suit up for Sweden at the World Junior Summer Showcase in Plymouth, Michigan.

Dahlin, who doesn’t turn 18 until April, has wowed scouts with his skating and puck-moving ability. At the 2017 World Juniors, he participated as a 16-year-old, garnering tantalizing reviews in the process.

Top-10 picks in the 2017 draft, Elias Pettersson (5th, Vancouver Canucks) and Lias Andersson (7th, New York Rangers), will also be in Plymouth representing Sweden.

Click here for Sweden’s and Finland’s Summer Showcase rosters. The tournament runs from July 29 – Aug. 5 and also features players from the United States and Canada.

Among the draft-eligible Finns to watch is 17-year-old forward Jesse Ylonen, who could be a late first-rounder in 2018.

Related: USA Hockey invites 42 players to World Junior Summer Showcase