Buffalo Sabres v Montreal Canadiens

P.K. Subban and other free agents who need new deals


Budding defensive star P.K. Subban was quick to react to the lockout, but now he must bite his nails about another intense negotiation process: his own.

The restricted free agent needs a new contract before taking part in a hasty training camp in advance of an abbreviated season. He admitted to the Montreal Gazette’s Dave Stubbs that the Montreal Canadiens likely hold the leverage.

“The ball’s not in my court, it never has been,” Subban said. “(The ball’s) in the court of the franchise that’s been standing for 100-plus years. They must figure out whether they see me as a player who’s part of their future or not. I hope they do.”

That sounds like some tough talk, yet the 23-year-old blueliner also said all the right things about the team and the city.

“I love Montreal and I want to continue to grow my career there and become the player they need me to be to eventually hoist the Stanley Cup, which I hope happens sooner than later,” Subban said.

Participating in training camp probably wouldn’t hurt matters.

Subban isn’t alone, though. Here are some prominent players who need new deals, beginning with restricted free agents like Subban:

Notable RFAs without contracts (more here):

Jamie Benn
Ryan O’Reilly
Michael Del Zotto
Dmitry Kulikov
Cody Franson
Nick Palmieri

(Note: O’Reilly signed a two-year deal in the KHL during the lockout, but his potential overseas team said they wouldn’t stand in the way of an NHL contract.)

Notable unrestricted free agents (more here):

Tomas Holmstrom
Mike Knuble
Jason Arnott
Marco Sturm
Mike Commodore
Colin White
Jason Blake
Brian Rolston
Andrew Brunette
Daymond Langkow
Eric Fehr

(Some of these players might retire; Holmstrom seemed undecided when last asked.)

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: Bullet dodged?