Report: A Jan. 12 start date would net players $100M extra


Many believe that the NHL and NHLPA will spin their wheels into mid-January to squeeze every drop out of a deal, but the Winnipeg Free Press’ Gary Lawless rolls out some significant pluses to getting something done sooner.

Specifically, this idea would result in an abbreviated season beginning on Jan. 12.

The bold print if you want to sell the idea to the union: Lawless reports that an extra $100 million could be on the table if the season began on Jan. 12 rather than the 19th.

Lawless confirmed with an anonymous NHL source that a deal would need to be in place by Thursday to hit the Jan. 12 target date.

That scenario wouldn’t just put more money in play. It would enable a 52-game season, which means a little more hockey – and the opportunity for a streaking sniper to shoot for the 50 goals in 50 games milestone.

Again, much of the conjecture indicates that both sides are willing to see this to the bitter end. If true, this scenario could just make the subterfuge that much more frustrating.

Still, it’s nice to be able to spell out the tangible benefits to getting a deal done this week.

Blue Jackets’ Wennberg done for night with upper-body injury

Alexander Wennberg, Jay Bouwmeester
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It wouldn’t be a regular season game without a Columbus Blue Jackets injury, right?

OK, the Blue Jackets hope that 2015-16 looks different from the medically challenged mess of last season, but at least one player is banged up tonight.

Alexander Wennberg suffered an upper-body injury and won’t return on Friday, as the team noted.

There’s no word yet regarding how serious the issue might be. It looks like he might have suffered an injury thanks to a Chris Kreider check:

Naturally, the Blue Jackets must hope that this doesn’t begin another trend.

Kings grab goalie insurance by signing Budaj

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 22: Jhonas Enroth #1 and Peter Budaj #31 of the Los Angeles Kings stretch before a game against the Arizona Coyotes at STAPLES Center on September 22, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI via Getty Images)
via Los Angeles Kings
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In slightly less interesting Los Angeles Kings news than the latest in the Mike Richards fiasco, the team handed Peter Budaj a one-year, two-way deal on Friday.

The veteran goalie’s contract pays $575K on the NHL level and $100K in the AHL (though it’s $150K guaranteed), according to Hockey’s Cap.

At the moment, it sounds like Budaj will be third on the Kings’ goalie depth chart. That says as much about how things have been going lately for Los Angeles than Budaj’s work on a PTO.

As noted above, one of the more significant moves in Budaj’s favor came when the New York Islanders claimed Jean-Francois Berube off of waivers this week.

The Kings actually waived Budaj before signing him, so this has to be a relief to a goalie with a fairly robust resume as a backup.

All apologies to Budaj, but it’s probably true that the Kings would prefer not to see him at the NHL level very often in 2015-16.