The 2013 season was a disappointment for the Carolina Hurricanes — especially for netminder Cam Ward.
Ward, 29, was lost for the season in early March after suffering a knee injury, which proceeded to derail the ‘Canes season. Carolina faltered badly with Dan Ellis and Justin Peters in goal and missed the playoffs, all while Ward looked on in frustration.
“Last season obviously is one I’d like to forget,” he told the Raleigh News & Observer. “I feel confident I’ve done everything I can this summer to get my body in the best shape I possibly can to have a healthy season.
“I want to make a big impact on this hockey team and let my play do the talking.”
Ward’s frustrations didn’t end with the injury. He was also left off Team Canada’s Olympic orientation camp invite list, passed over in favor of five other goalies — Corey Crawford, Braden Holtby, Roberto Luongo, Carey Price and Mike Smith.
Ward’s omission was a surprise to many. He was one of the five selected to the 2010 camp (but was plagued by a back injury) and has shown a penchant for stepping up in pressure-filled situations. He captured the Conn Smythe during Carolina’s 2006 Stanley Cup championship and backstopped the ‘Canes to the Eastern Conference finals in 2009.
His aim for this season is simple — play well for the ‘Canes, which in turn should put him in the Team Canada mix.
“It’s definitely in my head, yes,” he said. “Obviously I was very disappointed to be left off that list but you’ve got to look at the positives and I’m going to use that as even more motivation to prove some people wrong.
“Again, let my play do the talking and hopefully I can play my way on to the team.”
Bolts avoid arbitration with Namestnikov — two years, $3.875M
Tampa Bay has avoided Friday’s scheduled arbitration hearing with forward Vladislav Namestnikov, agreeing to a two-year, $3.875M deal on Tuesday evening, per ESPN.
Namestnikov, 23, had a breakout campaign last year, scoring 14 goals and 35 points in 80 games — all career highs. The former first-round pick also appeared in 17 playoff games for the Bolts, scoring a goal and three points while helping the club to the Eastern Conference Final.
Coming off a one-year deal in which he made $874,125, the diminutive Russian gets a nice pay bump with this latest contract, and a bit of security with the two-year term. He should play a fairly integral role next season, coming off a year in which he finished tied for fourth on the team in goals, with Tyler Johnson.
But while tonight may be about Namestnikov, it’s another Russian forward in Tampa Bay that everybody now has their eyes on — Nikita Kucherov, the playoff scoring sensation that declined to file for arbitration, but still requires a new deal.
Given some of the big-money contracts GM Steve Yzerman has handed out this summer — namely those to Steve Stamkos, Victor Hedman and Alex Killorn — the Kucherov negotiations are definitely ones to keep an eye on.
Talks ongoing between Wild and Dumba, meeting expected soon
A good puck mover with offensive skills — and a right-handed shot — Dumba is definitely a commodity. What’s more, logic suggests the Wild could opt to move him, given the long-term financial commitments to fellow defensemen Ryan Suter (signed through 2025 at $7.53 million), Jonas Brodin (2021 at $4.16M), Jared Spurgeon (2020, $5.18M) and Marco Scandella (2020, $4M).
Minnesota has some other young defensive prospects in the system, too.
There’s former Gophers standout Mike Reilly, Miami of Ohio product Louis Belpedio and Gustav Olofsson, the 46th overall pick in ’13 that’s been honing his game in AHL Iowa (and made his NHL debut last season).
Though he’s slowed down in recent years, Rosehill has long been known as an extremely active fighter. At no time was this more evident than during the ’08-09 campaign, when he fought a staggering 33 times (yeah, thirty-three) while playing for AHL Norfolk.
Rosehill last played in the NHL during the ’13-14 campaign, scoring two goals in 34 games for the Flyers — while racking up 90 PIM.
Here’s an example of some of his most famous handiwork:
As mentioned above, the EIHL has landed a few notable ex-NHL fighters. Cam Janssen, Kevin Westgarth, Paul Bissonnette and Tom Sestito have all played there.
Kurtis Foster, who appeared in over 400 games during a 10-year NHL career, is hanging up his skates to enter the next phase of his hockey life — coaching.
Foster, 34, has rejoined his former junior team in OHL Peterborough as an assistant coach, per the Examiner. The decision comes after Foster spent the last three years playing overseas in the KHL and, most recently, in the German League.
The 40th overall pick in 2000, Foster is often remembered for a horrific leg break while playing for Minnesota during the 2007-08 campaign, in which his femur was shattered by Torrey Mitchell after Mitchell tried to prevent an icing call.