From Sportsnet’s Mark Spector:
If we had to pick the likeliest destination, we’d have to pick Nashville, given the Predators’ inability yesterday to land a center to play with James Neal.
(Update: Or maybe not, given the Preds have signed Olli Jokinen.)
Most of the other American teams either got the top centers they coveted (see: St. Louis, Anaheim, and Dallas), or they don’t have the cap space to add Grabovski.
Other U.S.-based teams that have already added centers in free agency or via trade include Chicago (Brad Richards), Florida (Dave Bolland), and Arizona (Sam Gagner).
As for Grabovski, there was speculation in April that he may want to play with still-unsigned Nikolai Kulemin after both were teammates in Toronto.
“They’re always talking about, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to play on the same team together,'” agent Gary Greenstin told the National Post. “They’re best friends. They play great together. We’ll see what happens.”
Looks as though slumping Dallas winger Valeri Nichushkin could be a healthy scratch tonight when the Stars host the Oilers at American Airlines.
Per the Morning-News, Nichushkin — who barely played in the second and third periods of Saturday’s 6-3 loss to Colorado — is likely to be replaced by Colton Sceviour in the lineup.
Stars head coach Lindy Ruff was fuming after the Avs defeat, calling it “embarrassing, worse than disappointing.” It didn’t take a genius to realize one of the players in his doghouse was Nichushkin, who had just 2:02 of ice time in the second period and 3:24 in the third.
Yesterday, Ruff dropped Nichushkin to the fourth line in practice.
“I’ve been trying to help him by shifting him around,” the head coach explained. “He had some struggles early in camp on right wing, so I put him on left, and he doesn’t seem real comfortable at left right now.
“His game, everything has got to get a little bit quicker.”
The 10th overall pick in 2013, Nichushkin has struggled to build on the form shown in his rookie campaign, when he scored 14 goals and 34 points in 79 contests.
He missed nearly all of last season with a linger hip ailment and has been a virtual non-factor through the first two games this year.
When the Los Angeles Kings announced they’d settled with Mike Richards, it didn’t take long for the accusations of salary-cap circumvention to materialize.
And though NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly was adamant that the settlement was “far from” circumvention, apparently not everyone agrees with the league in that regard.
“Privately, other teams are screaming bloody murder and are threatening to make an issue about it at December’s Board of Governors’ meeting,” Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports.
Friedman goes into more detail in his story, so click the link to read more.
But remember how we wrote that the issue in this case was precedent, and that the “NHL and NHLPA can’t allow teams to escape onerous contracts through a back door”?
Well, one agent posed a good question to Friedman: “What’s to stop other teams from trying this?”