Flyers win Raffl raffle


The Philadelphia Flyers got their man.

On Friday, the club announced it had reached an agreement with Michael Raffl, an Austrian forward they were pursing along with a number of other NHL teams.

“Both [Director of Player Personnel] Dave Brown and myself as well as [European Scout] Ilkka [Sinisalo] saw him at the World Championships and he’s a good player,” said Director of Hockey Operations Chris Pryor. “You noticed him over there. He’s got skill. He thinks the game.

“He’s a versatile guy and can do a lot of different things.”

Raffl, 24, led Swedish second division outfit Leksands with 24 goals and 46 points this season (of note, Leksands was the same team ’12 first-round pick Filip Forsberg played for this season).

It’s believed interest in Raffl really piqued at the 2013 World Hockey Championships, where Raffl represented Team Austria. He raised some eyebrows late in the tourney by playing on a line with Buffalo standout Tomas Vanek and scoring two points in an 8-4 loss to Russia.

“He’s a good player, who we think can be NHL ready,” Pryor said. “There’s going to be a learning curve, but he’s got enough in his game to be able to make that adjustment rather quickly.”

The Nashville Predators were believed to be the other team in hot pursuit of Raffl. According to CSN Philly’s Tim Panaccio, the Flyers will have to buy out the final year of Raffl’s contact with Leksands.

Also on Friday, the Flyers announced they reached an agreement with QMJHL Baie-Comeau defenseman Maxim Lamarche.

Lamarche, 20, went undrafted but had 43 points in 53 games this year, helping Baie-Comeau advance to the Quebec league finals.

Jason Demers tweets #FreeTorres, gets mocked

Los Angeles Kings v San Jose Sharks - Game One
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Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.

We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.

It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”

Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)

Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.

So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”

… You get the idea.

The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.

The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.

Bruins list Chara on IR, for now

Zdeno Chara

Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.

It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.

The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.

As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.

Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?

The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.

This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.