The Montreal Canadiens have acquired veteran defenseman Mike Weaver from Florida, according to multiple reports.
In exchange, Florida received a fifth round pick at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.
Weaver, 35, has spent the last four years in Florida, serving in a stay-at-home defensive role while averaging close to 20 minutes per night. He leads the team in blocked shots (94) this season and been reasonably durable, appearing in all 82 games during the 2010-11 and ’11-12 campaigns.
Weaver’s also relatively affordable, currently in the last of a two-year deal with a $1.1 million cap hit.
The interesting angle, though, is that Montreal added a defenseman. The Habs currently have seven on NHL contracts — Andrei Markov, Josh Gorges, P.K. Subban, Alexei Emelin, Francis Bouillon, Douglas Murray and Jarred Tinordi — with prospect Nathan Beaulieu having been shuttled up and down between Montreal and AHL Hamilton throughout the year.
What’s more, Davis Drewiske is back in the mix (recently waived so he could go to Hamilton and rehab his shoulder) and the club recently flipped Swiss blueliner Raphael Diaz to Vancouver in exchange for fourth-line forward Dale Weise.
As such, the Weaver addition could be a precursor to another move… or, perhaps GM Marc Bergevin just wanted to ensure his club had blueline depth heading into the postseason.
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.
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.”
The Ottawa Senators have narrowly avoided arbitration with Ryan Dzingel.
Per Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Dzingel has signed a two-year deal with a cap hit of $1.8 million.
Dzingel’s hearing was scheduled for today. Last season, the 25-year-old forward had 14 goals and 18 assists in 81 games.
Earlier this week, the Sens also avoided arbitration with Jean-Gabriel Pageau, though that case didn’t go down to the wire like Dzingel’s did.
Pageau and Dzingel were the only Sens with arbitration hearings scheduled.
Related: Sens want to avoid arbitration with Dzingel
Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman accomplished quite a bit this offseason.
Not only did he acquire Mikhail Sergachev for Jonathan Drouin, but he also managed to lose Jason Garrison‘s contract before re-signing Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat. They also signed Chris Kunitz and Dan Girardi in free agency.
Even though fitting everyone under the cap couldn’t have been easy, Yzerman managed to get it done, and it has at least some of his players excited about the prospect of next season.
“I feel pretty good about the team,” Palat, who signed a five-year, $26.5 million contract extension last week, told the Tampa Bay Times. “I like all the new guys. They’re in the league for a while. Great veteran guys, experienced guys. That’s what you need to have on your team if you want to win a Cup.”
Going into last season, many people pegged Tampa Bay as one of the teams that would compete for the East Division crown. Not only did they not win the East, they didn’t even qualify for the playoffs. A lot of that had to do with injuries, but there’s no denying that the 2016-17 season was disappointing for the Bolts.
Despite not playing hockey in the spring last season, there seems to be a good amount of optimism surrounding the team’s chances of making a run this year (a healthy Steven Stamkos would help in a big way).
Sure, keeping guys on the ice and off medical tables would increase the odds of the team having a bounce back season, but there’s more to it than that. Outside of a handful of players (mainly Nikita Kucherov), the Lightning didn’t get consistent efforts from a lot of their key players that were healthy.
“It was an experience for us last year because we came from two good (playoff) runs and we thought we were going to make the playoffs just like that, and it didn’t happen,” added Palat. “In the NHL we have to play good from the beginning of the season, and we have to be good all season long.”