The opening of free agency isn’t far off now, but it seems there is at least a chance pending unrestricted free agent Mikkel Boedker could return to the Colorado Avalanche.
Acquired from the Arizona Coyotes at the trade deadline, Boedker had 12 points in 18 games for the Avalanche, which sent Alex Tanguay and prospects Kyle Wood and Conner Bleackley to the Coyotes as part of that deal and then missed the playoffs in the Central Division.
Boedker, who matched his single-season career high in points with 51, doesn’t turn 27 years old until December and could now walk away from the Avalanche for nothing if he chooses the open market.
(The Coyotes won’t sign Bleackley, so they’ll take the second-round compensation pick as a result.)
But Boedker’s camp hasn’t exactly ruled out a return.
“We’ve come this far on shorter deals, now we’re at the point where he can pick a team,” Boedker’s agent Jarrett Bousquet told ESPN.
“We’re going to definitely weigh all the options and make the best decision for Mikkel. He liked everyone from the coaches and the players to the fans in Colorado. It’s definitely a place that’s up there on his list.”
Just a few days ago, Avalanche GM Joe Sakic said that both Boedker and pending UFA Shawn Matthias would test free agency, but added he’d like to have one of those players back for next season.
As a pending unrestricted free agent, the prospect of David Backes re-signing with the St. Louis Blues doesn’t seem too promising as July 1 approaches.
At the age of 32, Backes has played his entire NHL career so far in St. Louis. As the Blues’ captain, he scored 21 goals and 45 points in 79 games during the regular season and then added seven goals and 14 points in 20 playoff games, as St. Louis made it to the Western Conference Final.
When speaking about Backes in recent weeks, Blues GM Doug Armstrong has said re-signing the veteran forward is a priority, but doesn’t want a deal that may hamstring the organization down the road, and in a league where speed is becoming such a prized quality.
Backes is at the end of a five-year, $22.5 million contract. In conversation with Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Armstrong reiterated the organization would like to bring Backes back, but again, the deal has to fit for the organization as well as the player.
Backes is one of five pending UFAs with the Blues. Troy Brouwer, who is 30 years old and coming off the best post-season of his NHL career with 13 points in 20 games, also headlines that list.
Tucson’s American Hockey League franchise now has its name: The Roadrunners.
The announcement was made Saturday afternoon, more than a month after the AHL’s Board of Governors approved the sale of the Springfield Falcons to the Arizona Coyotes and Tucson City Council approved a 10-year lease agreement between the Coyotes and Tucson Convention Center.
“We are very proud to name our AHL affiliate the Tucson Roadrunners,” said Coyotes president and CEO Anthony LeBlanc in a statement.
“The Tucson Roadrunners will build on the great traditions of hockey in Arizona dating back to 1967. Roadrunners was the overwhelming fan favorite during our ‘Name the Team’ contest, and we thank the thousands of fans who helped us select a great name that creates a strong connection to the City of Tucson, reflects our state pride, and extends the reach of the Coyotes brand.”
Related: Naming a new pro sports franchise isn’t always easy
Having played an influential role popularizing hockey across America’s southwest, Wayne Gretzky is turning his attention to a new frontier.
The Great One’s heading Down Under.
He’s signed on to take part in the Wayne Gretzky Ice Hockey Classic. It involves a series of five exhibition games that began this weekend featuring current and recently retired NHL players, and minor leaguers.
Gretzky will play in a 4-on-4 game at Sydney on June 25. His objective is to increase hockey’s profile in Australia, and raise money for STOPCONCUSSIONS Foundation and Brain Injury Australia.
Gretzky is no stranger to serving as a hockey ambassador after helping the NHL make inroads in California, when he played in Los Angeles, and then in Arizona, when he co-owned and coached the Coyotes.
Sidney Crosby now has two Stanley Cups, two Olympic gold medals and a Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. And now the idea to rename a street after Crosby in his hometown of Cole Harbour, N.S., is gaining further interest.
According to The Canadian Press, the idea originated from Crosby’s former minor hockey coach Paul Mason, who suggested in the article the name Sidney Crosby Parkway as one idea.
From The Canadian Press:
Lorelei Nicoll, the councillor for Cole Harbour, said Tuesday that she will put forward a motion to look into naming a street after Crosby. Wearing a T-shirt bearing both Crosby’s and the community’s name — along with Cole Harbour’s other famous hockey progeny, Nathan MacKinnon — Nicoll said she would ask for a staff report on a possible renaming.
“Cole Harbour’s very proud,” she said during a city council meeting. “So I ask for council support when that comes up.”
The process could be stymied by administrative orders in Halifax Regional Municipality that suggest renaming a street could only be done when the person being honoured is retired or has fulfilled “25 years or more of volunteer service.” Nicoll said she would see if council would consider making an exception.
During these playoffs, Crosby was a force for the Penguins in their second Stanley Cup championship since his highly anticipated first overall draft selection in 2005. He wasn’t their leading scorer during the post-season, but he led by example, determined for victory.
“[Crosby’s] the consummate leader,” said Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan after his team won the Stanley Cup. “He took this team, and this team evolved because of his leadership.”