Zach Bogosian #44 of the Winnipeg Jets celebrates his goal against the New York Islanders during first period action on April 20, 2013 at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
(April 19, 2013 - Source: Marianne Helm/Getty Images North America)

Jets GM: Bogosian has ‘tremendous amount of untapped potential’


Every long-term contract comes with its risks, but even in that context, the Winnipeg Jets took a chance by inking defenseman Zach Bogosian to a seven-year, $36 million contract yesterday.

Bogosian has already enjoyed some solid seasons, but the Jets are paying him under the belief that the 23-year-old will develop into an elite blueliner. In other words, this is a contract they’re hoping he grows into.

“Well, Zach is still a very young player when it comes to defenseman age. There’s lots of room for his game to grow, and I think that’s the exciting aspect. We have Zach locked up for what are the best years of a defenseman’s career,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said, according to the Winnipeg Sun.

“Zach is someone that we wanted to show our faith in we know that as he continues to grow (as) a defenseman, his role and his leadership and all aspects of his game are going to help this team to get to the next level.

“He is someone that I really believe there’s a tremendous amount of untapped potential that as he continues to mature as a player is going to blossom. His skating ability, his shot, his size, his work ethic, his physical strength. He’s a young defenseman that, for us, is going to continue to grow.”

For his part, Bogosian is humbled and happy that Winnipeg was willing to show this level of trust in him. That being said, he doesn’t seem particularly worried about the increased criticisms that potentially comes with a contract of this size.

“It’s not my job to listen to people that say I’m overpaid or underpaid or whatever,” Bogosian said. “It’s just my job to go out there and do the right things and help the team win.”

Bogosian added that he wants to play a leadership role by setting a good example with his level of effort.

The then Atlanta Thrashers took Bogosian with the third overall pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. Since then he’s recorded 103 points and 237 penalty minutes in 297 games. He’s also suffered a variety of injuries over the last few years that’s limited him to 71 games in 2010-11, 65 contests in 2011-12, and 33 matches in the shortened season.


After spending $93 million in a week, Jets GM says owners ‘committed to building a winner’

DiMaio named Blues’ director of player personnel

via St. Louis Blues
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The St. Louis Blues named Rob DiMaio their director of player personnel on Tuesday.

He’s been with the organization for some time. He joined as a pro scout in 2008 and was the pro scouting director starting in August 2012.

He was also a scout for the Dallas Stars before landing with the Blues (one would assume his biggest connection is GM Doug Armstrong, then).

In case his nose didn’t give it away, he also enjoyed a lengthy hockey career over 19 seasons.

No doubt about it, this is a pivotal season for the Blues after multiple campaigns in which strong regular seasons dissolved into playoff disappointments. Perhaps DiMaio can make a difference in a heightened role?

Hitchcock going to more aggressive attack for Blues

Ken Hitchcock

ST. LOUIS (AP) After three straight first-round playoff exits, the St. Louis Blues have learned to temper expectations.

They have been consistently among the NHL’s best in the regular season and realize it is past time to build something for the long haul. The sting still lingers from the latest failure, against the Minnesota Wild last spring.

“We’re all disappointed, everybody can agree on that,” defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said. “It’s never easy to kind of think about your failures, but we grow every time it happens.”

Management isn’t ready to tear it all down yet.

“We play, in my opinion, one of the toughest if not the toughest division in the NHL, and we’ve finished first or second in the last four years,” forward Alexander Steen said. “So we have an extremely powerful team.”

Maybe a change in strategy will be enough: Coach Ken Hitchcock is back with a mandate for a more aggressive, even reckless, style of play from a roster that hasn’t changed appreciably.

“We’re coming hard from the back and we’re coming hard to see how close we can get to the attack,” Hitchcock said. “I think it’s where the game’s at; I think it’s where the game’s going to go.”

The 63-year-old Hitchcock is pushing forward, too, unwilling to dwell on the flameouts. Coach and players agree that would be “wasted energy.”

“My opinion is when you sit and think about the past, you do yourself no good,” Hitchcock said. “If you learn from the past, that’s when you do yourself a whole bunch of good.”

There were only two major roster casualties. Forward Troy Brouwer came from Washington in a trade for fan favorite T.J. Oshie. Defenseman Barret Jackman, the franchise career leader in games, wasn’t re-signed.

“If you were expecting 23 new faces to be on the roster this year, I don’t think that was realistic,” captain David Backes said. “We’re going to miss those guys in the room and on the ice, but there has been some changeover and I think it’s pretty significant.”

Things to watch for with the Blues:

GOALIE SHUFFLE: Just like last year, there’s no true No. 1 with Brian Elliott and Jake Allen sharing duties. The 25-year-old Allen missed a chance to seize the job last spring when he failed to raise his level in the playoffs.

TOP THREAT: Vladimir Tarasenko had a breakout season with 37 goals and was rewarded with an eight-year, $60 million contract. The 23-year-old winger is by far the Blues’ most dangerous scoring option and said he won’t let the money affect his play. “I never worry about it,” Tarasenko said. “If you play good, you play good.”

NEW FACES: Brouwer and center Kyle Brodziak add a physical element that was perhaps lacking a bit last season. Brouwer has three 20-plus goal seasons and Brodziak, acquired from Minnesota, fills a checking role. Veteran forward Scottie Upshall got a one-year, two-way deal after being coming to camp as a tryout. Rookie forward Robby Fabbri, a first-round pick last year, will get an early look. Another promising youngster, forward Ty Rattie, begins the year at Chicago of the AHL.

RECOVERY WARD: Forward Jori Lehteri bounced back quickly from ankle surgery and opens the season without restrictions. Another forward, Patrik Berglund, could miss half of the season following shoulder surgery.

TRACK RECORD: The Blues won the Central Division last season and Hitchcock, fourth on the career list with 708 regular-season wins, has consistently had the team near the top of the standings. “He is our coach, tough cookies if you don’t like it,” Backes said. “From my experience, he puts together one heck of a game plan.”