Agent: Kostitsyn talked with KHL club, hasn’t signed yet

Sergei Kostitsyn may be on his way to signing Russia, but he isn’t there yet.

That’s what agent Don Meehan explained on Wednesday, saying the Nashville forward — who has one year left on his deal with the Preds — has had talks with KHL Avangard Omsk, but hasn’t put pen to paper.

News of Kostitsyn’s KHL interest broke last week, when Russian news outlet Izvestia.ru ran a Q&A with Avangard’s GM.

In it, he confirmed his club was negotiating with the Belarussian forward and said he’d spoke with Preds GM David Poile, who “would not object” to letting Kostitsyn go.

Q: How are contract negotiations with Belarus striker Sergei Kostitsyn?

A: We offered Sergey contract, he is now under discussion. Every day contact with his agent. I also contact the general manager of “Nashville” by David [Poile]. We talked a few times on this issue and came to the conclusion that “Nashville” would not object to his move to the “Vanguard”.

Now everything depends on the willingness of Sergei, who is considering several proposals. We are actively negotiating with him and are close to having to continue our relationship.

On Monday, Josh Cooper of The Tennessean spoke with Poile, who indicated the Preds were ready to move on.

“I’m talking to [Kostitsyn’s] agent, so I’m not exactly sure how that’s going to play out,” Poile said. “I know he’s had some overtures from there, and we will work this out with Sergei if it’s appropriate.”

Poile then re-iterated what Barry Trotz said following the regular season — that Kostitsyn’s production (three goals in 46 games) simply wasn’t acceptable given his role as a top-six forward and his $3 million annual cap hit.

“With Sergei, three goals — we’re not going to win anything if a guy on your first line scores three goals,” Poile said. “That’s unacceptable.”

Wingels fractures foot, but should be ready for Blackhawks camp

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The good news is that Tommy Wingels is expected to be ready for Chicago Blackhawks training camp. The bad news is that he’ll be limited in his training regimen … although that very regimen caused him issues in the first place.

Dr. Michael Terry, the Blackhawks’ team doctor, released the following update regarding Wingels:

“Tommy Wingels sustained a left foot fracture during his off-season training. We anticipate a full recovery in six to eight weeks and in time for training camp. We do not anticipate any long-term issues.”

It’s unclear what caused the specific injury. Dropped weight? Unlucky fall? Perhaps a stress fracture? Without knowing the exact issue, it’s tempting to picture various painful scenarios.

(Probably because we’re in the dog days of the hockey summer, too.)

Wingels, 29, is on a one-year deal with Chicago, carrying a $750K salary and cap hit. He last played for the Ottawa Senators, though Blackhawks fans are most likely to remember him from his lengthy stay with the San Jose Sharks.

Six-to-eight weeks seems like it wouldn’t give a ton of room for error, so we’ll see if he’ll actually be ready for training camp.

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.

FanRag’s Cat Silverman wrote extensively about this topic yesterday. To learn more, give it a read.

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.”