Los Angeles Kings v Vancouver Canucks

Will the Isles make a play for Luongo?


On Thursday, TSN’s Bob McKenzie sent the Twitter machine into hyperdrive with a series of tweets:

Luongo started his career on Long Island — New York took him fourth overall at the 1997 NHL Entry Draft — and he appeared in 24 games for the Isles before getting shipped to Florida with Olli Jokinen in exchange for Mark Parrish and Oleg Kvasha.

Virtually everything has changed for the Isles since then — new owner, GM, head coach and players — so it’s not like a potential reunion will be quashed by hard feelings (Luongo was upset when the Isles dealt him).

And, there are questions about New York’s long-term goalie outlook.

Brough wrote about answering them with a potential Luongo acquisition back in mid-May:

Everyone knows why they shouldn’t do this. Luongo is 34 years old and has a contract that runs through 2021-22. A year ago, this wouldn’t have even been worth discussing, as Luongo would’ve been unlikely to waive his no-trade clause to go to Long Island.

But things have changed since then.

Luongo wants to start somewhere, and New York — with a good young team and a move to a new rink coming soon — doesn’t seem like such a bad destination anymore. It’s also conceivable Isles GM Garth Snow could convince the Canucks to retain some of Luongo’s salary, assuming something of value (expect to hear Nino Niederreiter’s name pop up in trade rumors) goes to Vancouver.

So, based on McKenzie’s tweets, amend that last part to read “assuming Vancouver takes on DiPietro’s contract in return.”

The X-factor in all of this is Nabokov, who will be 38 in July.

Next to John Tavares, he was probably New York’s most important player this season — he appeared in 41 of 48 contests, won 23 and posted solid stats en route to the club’s first playoff appearance since 2007.

But in six playoff games he allowed 24 goals, finishing with a save percentage of .842, and was hooked twice in favor of Kevin Poulin.

So Luongo could definitely be a fit.

That said, the Isles could also make a play for other goalies rumored to be available — Ryan Miller, Jonathan Bernier, Mike Smith — and avoid the Luongo situation altogether.

Panarin impresses ‘Hawks with his preseason debut

Artemi Panarin
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Will Artem Panarin‘s overwhelming success in the KHL translate to North America? The 23-year-old forward has a lot to prove, but his first big test was a success.

Playing on a line with Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov, Panarin made his preseason debut in Chicago’s finale on Saturday. He registered two assists while giving his teammates reason to be optimistic about him.

“For not being on the ice he looks really relaxed. He’s great with the puck, has nice moves and I think we’ll see a lot of this,” Marian Hossa told CSN Chicago. “He has unbelievable skill. People here in Chicago are going to have a good time watching this guy dangling.”

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was impressed by Panarin as well and liked that line as a whole.

The fact that the trio seemed to hit it off quickly has to come as a relief after an upper-body injury prevented Panarin from getting the most out of this year’s training camp. At the end of the day though, the fact that he was able to at least get in one preseason contest is a big silver lining. How smoothly his adjustment goes from here is still a big X-factor, but at least now he’s going into the regular season with a better idea of what to expect.

Panarin is attempting to establish himself in the NHL after leading the KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg to a championship last year. He was the team’s scoring leader, topping ex-NHL star Ilya Kovalchuk.

Gustavsson secures one-year contract with Bruins

Jonas Gustavsson
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There was stiff competition for the backup goaltending job in Boston, but with a signing this afternoon, it seems likely that the matter has been resolved.

The Boston Bruins announced that Jonas Gustavsson has agreed to a one-year, $700,000 deal. It’s a one-way contract, according to the Boston Globe’s Amalie Benjamin.

That contract is still small enough that the Bruins could bury it in the minors if they so desire, but it does set him apart from his last competitor for the goalie position, Jeremy Smith, who has a two-way deal. The fact that Boston went this route seems to imply that Gustavsson will serve as Tuukka Rask‘s understudy, although both netminders attended Sunday’s practice.

In Smith, the Bruins would be getting a 26-year-old goaltender who was dominant with the AHL’s Providence Bruins last season, but has no NHL experience. By contrast Gustavsson, 30, has played in almost 150 NHL games.

Boston sent Zane McIntyre and Malcolm Subban to the minors last week, but an argument could be made that either one of them is worthy of the backup job. However, both of them have a lot of potential and it’s not surprising that the Bruins felt they were better served by staying in the minors where they can play regularly and focus on honing their game.