Former San Jose Shark and current unrestricted free agent Brad Winchester has reportedly found work, agreeing to join Finnish second division (Mestis) club TuTo.
The news comes courtesy Elite Prospects’ Matias Strozyk (and this Finnish website, if you feel like translating.)
Winchester, 31, has bounced around the NHL after being taken 35th overall by Edmonton at the 2000 Draft. He debuted with the Oilers in 2005-06 and spent two years with the club before moving to Dallas, St. Louis, Anaheim and finally San Jose, where he played last season.
The 6-foot-5, 230 pound forward posted 6G-4A-10PTS in 67 games in 2011-12, but only played in one of the Sharks’ five games during an opening round playoff loss to the Blues.
Winchester played on a one-year, $725,000 deal last year after making the team as a training camp tryout player.
The Los Angeles Kings and Mike Richards may be nearing a settlement in their dispute over Richards’ terminated contract, TSN’s Bob McKenzie is reporting.
You can read the report for all the details, but we’re sure curious about this part:
If a settlement is reached, there’s no word yet on what salary cap penalties the Kings would still face. There’s bound to be something, but not likely as onerous as the full value of Richards’ contract, which carries with it a cap hit of $5.75 million. If there’s a settlement, Richards would undoubtedly become a free agent though there’s no telling at this point what monies he would be entitled to from the Kings in a settlement.
The issue here is precedent, and what this case could set. The NHL and NHLPA can’t allow teams to escape onerous contracts through a back door, and many are adamant that that’s what the Kings were attempting to do in Richards’ case.
The NHL wants to take an educational approach — not a punitive one — to deter its players from using illicit drugs like cocaine.
“My interest is not to go around punishing people,” Bettman told Sportsnet today.
“My interest is getting players to understand the consequences of doing something that could jeopardize this great, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that they’ve been given, to play in the NHL.”
While some players have expressed surprise at hearing that cocaine use is growing, the anecdotal evidence of substance abuse has been very much in the news, from Jarret Stoll‘s arrest to Mike Richards’ arrest to, more recently, Zack Kassian‘s placement in the NHL/NHLPA’s treatment program.
“We don’t have the unilateral right to do things here. We need the consent of the Players’ Association,” Bettman said. “It’s not about punishment. It’s about making sure we get it to stop.”
Related: Cocaine in the NHL: A concern, but not a crisis?