Jets’ final offseason priority: sign Bogosian

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With Blake Wheeler inked to a six-year deal, Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff just has one more task left: sign restricted free agent Zach Bogosian.

The Winnipeg Free Press points out that Cheveldayoff began the offseason with decisions to make on nine RFA “regulars,” but now only needs to settle things with the 22-year-old defenseman. The key, then, is to avoid a salary arbitration hearing scheduled for this coming Friday (Aug. 2).

As this June post discusses, Bogosian’s role has increased with the Jets, especially now that he seemingly put injury concerns behind him. Still, his value remains a question mark; Hockey Reference draws similarities to Luke Schenn and Niklas Hjalmarsson, for what it’s worth.

Assuming the Jets sign Bogosian one way or another, it’s clear that the structure of this team is in place.

Some will label that a job well done by Cheveldayoff.

Others, including a writer at Jets blog Arctic Ice Hockey, wonder how much progress has really been made, going as far as to call this essentially the same team that Cheveldayoff inherited from former GM Rick Dudley.

Wherever you might stand, it’s clear that the Jets hope to improve from within, which means that they’re counting on more progress from guys like Bogosian (assuming he signs).

(H/T to Rotoworld.)

Kassian suspended without pay, placed in Stage 2 of Substance Abuse Program

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Zack Kassian may have avoided major injuries stemming from his Sunday car accident, but it likely sent the signal that he may need help.

The response: he was placed in Stage Two of the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program (SABH) of the NHL and NHLPA on Monday.

According to the league’s release, Kassian “will be suspended without pay until cleared for on-ice competition by the program administrators.”

Speaking of being suspended without pay, here’s a key detail:

The 24-year-old ended up with a broken nose and broken foot from that accident. The 2015-16 season was set to be his first campaign in the Montreal Canadiens organization after a tumultuous time with the Vancouver Canucks.

Kassian spoke of becoming more mature heading to Montreal, but the Canadiens were critical of his actions, wondering how many wake-up calls someone can get.

In case you’re wondering about the difference between stage one and two:

Add Lecavalier to list of expensive Flyers healthy scratches

Vincent Lecavalier

Are the Philadelphia Flyers aiming for some sort of record when it comes to expensive (potential) healthy scratches?

While lineups are obviously subject to change, notes that Vincent Lecavalier appears to be among a rather rich group of Flyers who are expected to sit during their season-opener.

Also likely to be in street clothes: Sam Gagner and Luke Schenn.

That’s $11.3 million in cap space rotting on the bench.

“I really don’t know what to say,” Lecavalier said. “I’ll practice hard and be ready when they call me up.”

The quotes from Lecavalier, Gagner and Schenn only get sadder from there, a reminder that there are human beings attached to these numbers – whether you focus on disappointing stats or bloated salaries.

Flyers fans with the urge to reach for an Alka-Setzler can at least take some comfort in knowing that the team will see $6.8 million in savings after this season, as both Gagner and Schenn are on expiring deals.

It could be a long season, though, and this Lecavalier headache may not truly end until his contract expires following the 2017-18 campaign.