The Washington Capitals have recently signed two young players to deals, as they came to terms with defenseman Nate Schmidt (pictured) and goalie Vitek Vanecek.
Schmidt, 22, received a one-year, two-way contract. He might not be well-known at this point, but his numbers look pretty promising for a depth blueliner. Japer’s Rink does a great job of illustrating why the logjam on defense might hurt a player with some strengths, who might just be a little too “one-dimensional” to make an impact on what Capitals owner Ted Leonsis calls the defensive corps the team’s had since he bought the franchise.
Then again, if the Capitals were to defy their previous claims and actually trade a player like Mike Green, Schmidt could very well find himself with a larger role (or at least a role) with the team. The two-way deal gives him room to breathe and the Capitals a little leeway with their NHL-level roster.
The Caps also signed 2014 second-rounder Vanecek to an entry-level deal, according to TVA’s Renaud Lavoie:
Washington traded the 44th and 74th picks of the 2014 NHL Draft to select Vanecek, 18, with what was the Buffalo Sabres’ 39th pick. Giving up a third-rounder just to move up a few spots to grab the goalie is a strong signal that the team has pretty high hopes for the Czech-born netminder.
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.
Zack Kassian may have avoided major injuries stemming from his Sunday car accident, but it likely sent the signal that he may need help.
The response: he was placed in Stage Two of the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program (SABH) of the NHL and NHLPA on Monday.
According to the league’s release, Kassian “will be suspended without pay until cleared for on-ice competition by the program administrators.”
Speaking of being suspended without pay, here’s a key detail:
The 24-year-old ended up with a broken nose and broken foot from that accident. The 2015-16 season was set to be his first campaign in the Montreal Canadiens organization after a tumultuous time with the Vancouver Canucks.
Kassian spoke of becoming more mature heading to Montreal, but the Canadiens were critical of his actions, wondering how many wake-up calls someone can get.
In case you’re wondering about the difference between stage one and two: