The New Jersey Devils haven’t made a final decision on keeping 2012 first-rounder Stefan Matteau with the big club past this year’s five-game deadline, the Bergen Record reports.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that GM Lou Lamoriello has decided to burn a year of the 18-year-old’s entry-level deal or send him back to the QMJHL yet, though.
“He will not be going back immediately and we’re not going to let his contract status get in the way,” Lamoriello said. “We’re going to continue evaluating this and a decision won’t be made at this point.”
The Devils’ next game comes against the New York Islanders on Thursday, but the team could decide to scratch him and continue the evaluation process.
Adam Henrique’s impending return could make it easier send Matteau back. The 22-year-old forward is considered day-to-day as he recovers from left thumb surgery (which he underwent on Nov. 29).
Matteau’s immediate future isn’t the only situation that remains in limbo. Lamoriello confirmed that nothing has changed regarding Mathieu Darche, 36, who has been skating with the team without a contract.
One prominent report asserts that Greg Jamison will close on the Phoenix Coyotes sale by Thursday’s friendly lease agreement deadline, but ESPN’s Scott Burnside quotes multiple sources who believe that he can’t raise the capital needed to do so.
That could lead to Jamison being ousted from the deal-making altogether, with a new group of investors reportedly primed to step in, according to Burnside.
New Glendale mayor Jerry Weiers has stated that he won’t extend the offered lease agreement* beyond tomorrow’s midnight deadline, opening the door for that new group to possibly discuss a revised agreement.
The new ownership group, which, according to sources, has arranged for financing that would allow for the purchase of the team from the league at a reported price of $170 million, is hoping to discuss parameters for a new lease agreement in the next few days, perhaps as early as Thursday.
Burnside notes that Weiers would likely ask for a lease agreement that’s more beneficial to Glendale than the one on the table for Jamison right now.
The NHL offered a vague reaction to the latest proceedings.
“It’s still a work in progress, and we’ll see how the week plays out,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told ESPN.com on Wednesday morning.
It’s been a lengthy process, but Burnside reports that relocation would be the likely result if Glendale cannot work something out with Jamison or the new group. To paraphrase Daly, we’ll need to wait and see what happens, with tomorrow potentially carrying big news.
* – Weiers wasn’t on the city council at the time it was made.
Report: Jamison to close Coyotes sale Wednesday or Thursday
Weiers won’t offer lease agreement extension
Glendale officials have no idea if Jamison can complete the deal
The good news is that the Columbus Blue Jackets are about to start a six-game homestand. The bad news is that they’ll limp into it.
First things first, the latest update on 23-year-old forward Cam Atkinson isn’t too promising. His high-ankle sprain will keep him out two-to-three more weeks, according to the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline. High-ankle sprains can be tough to gauge, though, so it could be even more of a pain for Atkinson if his recovery don’t go as well as anticipated.
That isn’t the only burden on the Blue Jackets’ lineup, as the team will look a little younger thanks to injuries.
Defensemen Nikita Nikitin and Adrian Aucoin were injured during Tuesday’s loss to the Minnesota Wild, opening up minor league call-ups for blueliner Tim Erixon and undersized winger Jonathan Audy-Marchessault.
Erixon, 21, was one of the pieces involved in the Rick Nash trade. He’s a first-rounder who played 18 games for the New York Rangers last season, so it’s likely that he’ll be a full-time guy with Columbus sooner rather than later. David Savard, 22, is the other blueliner expected to step in the lineup.
Audy-Marchessault, 22, will make his NHL debut and could be the Blue Jackets’ answer to Cory Conacher. He generated great numbers (45 points in 42 games) with the Springfield Falcons in the AHL, so perhaps he can translate that strong work to help Columbus fight off this rash of injuries.
Speaking of which, depth winger Matt Calvert is also banged up, as an upper-body injury placed him on the IR.
The Blue Jackets’ homestand begins against the St. Louis Blues on Thursday.