It’s been more than six months since the Los Angeles Kings won their first Stanley Cup in franchise history, momentarily becoming the biggest sports story in a city with a lot of sports stories to choose from.
But hockey isn’t the hot topic anymore in L.A. That would be the slumping Lakers. Or maybe the streaking Clippers. Or perhaps it’s the Angels, who just signed Josh Hamilton.
Definitely not hockey though.
Naturally, Kings captain Dustin Brown is worried the NHL may be blowing a great opportunity.
“At the end of the day, it’s unfortunate timing for a lockout,” Brown told ESPN.com. “I mean, lockouts are always unfortunate but, considering our market in California, it’s really hard to get momentum. And to lose that momentum due to a lockout is frustrating.”
Nobody can say for certain how the lockout will affect business in markets where hockey isn’t No. 1 (or even No. 5 or No. 6). If the season can be saved, the damage may be minimal.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have two arbitration hearings scheduled with restricted free agents (Brian Dumoulin and Conor Sheary) over the next few weeks, and on Saturday we found out some of the numbers being thrown around for one of them.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman has the arbitration numbers for Dumoulin, with the defender asking for $4.35 million, while the team is offering $1.95 million.
Obviously, that is a pretty significant gap, and probably one of the larger ones you will see in these sorts of situations. But it is also important to keep in mind that at the end of the day this is still a negotiation and both sides know they’re probably not going to get what they are hoping for.
Dumoulin has to know he is not going to get $4.35 million, while the Penguins have to know they are probably going to have to pay more than $1.95 million to get him re-signed.
He is coming off of a contract that paid him $800,000 in each of the past two seasons.
The question is going to be how much each side has to give up.
What is going to work against Dumoulin is that he does not have the offensive numbers that are going to stand out and get him the sort of payday he asked for. His career high in points is 16 while he has scored just two goals in 163 regular season games during his career. He is a good defensive player and a solid top-four defenseman on a Stanley Cup winning team, but that lack of offensive production is going to hurt him in this sort of negotiation. Even if he were an unrestricted free agent on the open market he probably would not be able to get that sort of payday from a team. It seems impossible to think he would get that as an RFA in arbitration.
His arbitration hearing is scheduled for Monday, July 24.
Sheary is scheduled for his arbitration hearing on Aug. 4.
The Penguins are still $10.3 million under the salary cap (via CapFriendly). Dumoulin and Sheary figure to take up most of that, but they are also still in the market for a third-line center to replace Nick Bonino after he signed with the Nashville Predators in free agency.
Coyotes, Martinook avoid arbitration with two-year contract
“We are pleased to sign Jordan to a two-year contract,” general manager John Chayka said in a statement released by the team. “Jordan is a hard-working, versatile forward with good speed. He was an effective player for us last year and will play an important role for us this season.”
Martinook had an arbitration hearing scheduled for July 26 but this contract helps the two sides avoid that unpleasantness.
A second-round pick by the Coyotes in 2012, the 24-year-old forward has spent the past two full seasons playing for the Coyotes and is coming off of a 2016-17 season that saw him score a career-high 11 goals and 25 points. He mad $612,500 this past season, so the $1.8 million cap hit over the next two years represents a pretty significant raise for him. He bounced around the Coyotes’ lineup this past season, but he spent the majority of his time playing on a line alongside Tobias Rieder.
Tom Gilbert signs one-year contract to play in Germany
After playing 11 seasons in the NHL veteran defenseman Tom Gilbert signed a one-year contract to play in Germany this upcoming season.
On Friday the Nuremberg Ice Tigers announced that Gilbert, 34, had signed with the team.
He spent the 2016-17 season with the Los Angeles Kings and Washington Capitals organizations, appearing in 18 games for the Kings and scoring one goal to go with four assists. He was traded to the Capitals during the season but never played a game for the team.
A fourth-round pick by the Colorado Avalanche in 2002, Gilbert has played 655 games in the NHL, scoring 45 goals and adding 178 assists while playing for the Edmonton Oilers, Minnesota Wild, Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens and Kings.
He will not be the only former NHLer playing for the Ice Tigers as the team already includes Steven Reinprecht, Milan Jurcina, and Colten Teubert.
Blackhawks adjust to returns of Saad, Sharp (and no Hossa, Panarin)
The Chicago Blackhawks’ summer conventions are a time for fans to get a look at players, and sometimes, for people to get adjusted to new arrivals and departures.
Even with that in mind, that theme seemed to play a big role in Friday’s proceedings, as the Blackhawks wondered how Brandon Saad and Patrick Sharp would fit back into the lineup … thanks to holes caused by Artemi Panarin being traded and Marian Hossa being unavailable.
“You’ve got [Nick Schmaltz] who can play center or can play wing. [Artem Anisimov] in the middle, he can play with [Patrick Kane] so you’ve got some options there. With [Patrick Sharp] coming back and [Brandon Saad] coming back you’ve got some looks up front, some continuity from history and reacquainted again with [Jonathan Toews] and Saader on the the line,” Quenneville said. “And Sharpie and Kaner is a possibility.”
Yes, that’s a versatile set of options. It’s also plausible that Jonathan Toews could enjoy a nice boost with Brandon Saad back on his wing, yet let’s not assume that it’s a slam-dunk victory in everyone’s eyes.
Who knows how things will ultimately shake out, but at the moment, you wonder if Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov suffer a bit with Panarin out of the mix.
Patrick Kane said that he was initially "disappointed" by the Panarin trade. Artem Anisimov said he was "shocked." #Blackhawks