The start of NHL free agency tomorrow could prove interesting, with Paul Stastny now destined for the open market.
According to Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports, Stastny and the Colorado Avalanche couldn’t complete a deal, which means the 28-year-old center will become an unrestricted free agent. Stastny is coming off a five-year contract worth $6.6 million, according to Capgeek.com. What will he command on the open market, especially considering this year’s class of UFAs isn’t particularly strong.
In terms of points, Stastny is also coming off his best season since 2009-2010. Meanwhile, the Avalanche made it back to the Stanley Cup playoffs, so at least that gave them the appearance of a team on the upswing. How will losing a veteran center, a very real prospect now, impact that club going forward into next season?
In the last 10 days or so, Stastny has been among the most talked about pending UFAs heading into the signing period, which begins Tuesday.
It started with his agent Matt Keator telling Pierre LeBrun of ESPN that the Avalanche would have “every chance” to retain his client. Nathan MacKinnon, the rookie sensation for 2014, has gone on record as saying the Avalanche need Stastny back.
The latest from four days ago was that half of the league had interest in Stastny. So that could start a bidding battle of epic proportions beginning tomorrow.
Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.
We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.
It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”
Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)
Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.
So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”
… You get the idea.
The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.
The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.