Avs GM Sherman ‘believes in the foundation’ of last-place club

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What could’ve been a busy deadline day for the Colorado Avalanche — the NHL’s last-place team — ended up being a quiet one, with only veteran blueliner Ryan O’Byrne getting shipped out of town.

And according to Avs GM Greg Sherman, that was by design.

“I believe in this hockey team and I believe in the foundation that we have here,” Sherman told the Denver Post. “We all believe in it, from our entire operation on down.”

Despite Sherman’s outlook, many thought the Avs might blow it up heading into Wednesday’s deadline.

The only players with no-movement clauses were veterans Milan Hejduk and JS Giguere, and there was buzz around the likes of pending UFA Chuck Kobasew (though he’s currently dealing with back stiffness), defenseman Erik Johnson and the team’s highest-paid player, Paul Stastny.

But Sherman didn’t deal.

Though that’s not to say he didn’t field inquiries.

“There were several calls that I received regarding players on our team, but players on our roster that I believe in and our organization believes in,” he explained. “We did get inquiries throughout the day, and it shows what we have in place here. We have a very good young core.

“The foundation is very solid, and on days like today you get affirmation of that.”

The Avs do have some good talent. On paper, they should be in decent shape heading into next season.

If the organization calls a mulligan on this year and starts fresh, it’ll have great depth at center (Stastny, Ryan O’Reilly, Matt Duchene) and a full compliment of wingers once Steve Downie comes back from a torn ACL.

Semyon Varlamov has been solid in net, and reigning Calder Trophy winner (and team captain) Gabriel Landeskog is still only 20 years old.

Also, the club already has 20 players under contract next season for $54 million, $10 million shy of the cap ceiling. Sherman could look to upgrade his defense via free agency — which has been an issue this season — or acquire someone via trade, with the flexibility to take on salary.

All of this, of course, is contingent upon folks buying what Sherman is selling.

Avs fans have been angry at the club’s direction over the last few years (related: the Avs sit 26th in the NHL in attendance) and to hear a GM say he’s sticking with the core of a last-place club?

Yeah, that might not go over so well.

Dahlin headlines Sweden’s roster for World Junior Summer Showcase

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Defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, potentially the NHL’s first overall draft pick in 2018, will suit up for Sweden at the World Junior Summer Showcase in Plymouth, Michigan.

Dahlin, who doesn’t turn 18 until April, has wowed scouts with his skating and puck-moving ability. At the 2017 World Juniors, he participated as a 16-year-old, garnering tantalizing reviews in the process.

Top-10 picks in the 2017 draft, Elias Pettersson (5th, Vancouver Canucks) and Lias Andersson (7th, New York Rangers), will also be in Plymouth representing Sweden.

Click here for Sweden’s and Finland’s Summer Showcase rosters. The tournament runs from July 29 – Aug. 5 and also features players from the United States and Canada.

Among the draft-eligible Finns to watch is 17-year-old forward Jesse Ylonen, who could be a late first-rounder in 2018.

Related: USA Hockey invites 42 players to World Junior Summer Showcase

All of a sudden, hope for hockey in Houston

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Leslie Alexander’s decision to sell the NBA’s Rockets has revived hope for a hockey team in Houston.

That’s because Alexander is arguably the biggest reason that Houston doesn’t already have a team. The 72-year-old billionaire controls Toyota Center, where the Rockets play. Without getting into all the details, he’s essentially been the only one who could bring an NHL franchise to the city.

From the Houston Press:

But Alexander selling the Rockets (and the lease that goes with it), opens up an NHL-ready hockey arena in Houston. And that’s something that Seattle, which the NHL seemed to favor, can’t offer, and unlike Quebec City, Houston offers up a huge media market with many, many large corporations around to buy up luxury seats.

Houston is certainly a big city. In fact, only four metro areas in the United States — New York, L.A., Chicago and Dallas — have higher populations.

And Houston is growing fast.

Jeremy Jacobs, the influential owner of the Boston Bruins, has not hidden his desire to put an NHL team in Toyota Center. Back in 2015, he told ESPN.com, “I would love to see one in Houston, but we can’t get into that building.”

Perhaps soon the NHL won’t have that impediment.

Predators hire new assistant coach in wake of Housley departure

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The Nashville Predators have hired Dan Muse as an assistant coach.

Muse, who spent the last two years as head coach of the USHL’s Chicago Steel, will be in charge of the Preds’ forwards as well as the penalty kill, while associate head coach Kevin McCarthy  — in the wake of Phil Housley’s departure — will now have responsibility for the defense and the power play.

Muse led the Steel to a championship in May. He also won an NCAA title in 2013 as an assistant coach for Yale.

“Dan comes to us as a successful young coach that brings great energy and passion to the game,” said Preds head coach Peter Laviolette in a statement. “He has worked his way up through the coaching ranks, first winning an NCAA title at Yale in 2013, and then taking a Chicago team that had missed the playoffs eight straight seasons and turned them into the Clark Cup champions in just two seasons. We are excited to welcome him to the organization and look forward to his contributions to the coaching staff.”

Senators avoid arbitration with Ryan Dzingel

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The Ottawa Senators have narrowly avoided arbitration with Ryan Dzingel.

Per Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Dzingel has signed a two-year deal with a cap hit of $1.8 million.

Dzingel’s hearing was scheduled for today. Last season, the 25-year-old forward had 14 goals and 18 assists in 81 games.

Earlier this week, the Sens also avoided arbitration with Jean-Gabriel Pageau, though that case didn’t go down to the wire like Dzingel’s did.

Pageau and Dzingel were the only Sens with arbitration hearings scheduled.

Related: Sens want to avoid arbitration with Dzingel