Cam Tucker

AP

It’s Calgary Flames day at PHT

2 Comments

The Calgary Flames made it back to the playoffs in the spring, but were swiftly swept by the Anaheim Ducks in the opening round.

General manager Brad Treliving then went to work, making numerous changes to the roster, most notably in goal.

The Flames moved on from the duo of Chad Johnson and Brian Elliott after one season and acquired Mike Smith prior to the expansion draft trade freeze. They also picked up Eddie Lack from Carolina at the end of June.

The move to acquire Smith would suggest the Flames believe they’ve entered a window to win right now, with what should be a strong top-four unit on the blue line and a nucleus of skilled and still youthful forwards, including 2016 first-round pick Matthew Tkachuk, who made the roster at age 18 and had an immediate impact.

On defense, Treliving added Travis Hamonic from the Islanders, giving the Flames a top-four defensive unit of T.J. Brodie, Mark Giordano, Dougie Hamilton and Hamonic. The Nashville Predators may still be the envy of the league with their top-four on ‘D’ but the Flames appear to have a formidable group of their own heading into the upcoming season.

Calgary also re-signed defenseman Michael Stone, who they picked up in a deal with Arizona before last season’s trade deadline.

With only a few days left until September, Treliving still needs to get restricted free agents Sam Bennett, Brett Kulak and Tyler Wotherspoon under contract.

Today at PHT, we’ll discuss the key storylines facing the Flames with training camp approaching.

Report: KHL d-man Chris Lee to attend Kings camp on PTO — at age 36

AP
2 Comments

It appears Chris Lee, at the age of 36, will get a shot to crack an NHL roster for the upcoming season.

According to John Hoven of MayorsManor.com on Sunday, Lee will join the L.A. Kings at training camp on a professional tryout.

He spent the last four years in the KHL playing for Magnitogorsk Metallurg. Defying his age, Lee enjoyed an impressive 2016-17 campaign with 14 goals and 65 points in 60 games. Those numbers easily stand out for any defenseman, but particularly in this case because Lee is closer to 40 years of age then 30.

Lee has built up an interesting career as a journeyman defenseman, playing in the ECHL before moving up to the AHL, playing for five different teams in that league, and still managing to be productive. He has never played an NHL game, however, and in 2010 he left North America to continue his career in Europe.

This spring, he was the only non-NHL player on Canada’s roster at the World Championships. He posted two assists in seven games. It wasn’t long after the tournament that news broke he was leaving the KHL to look for opportunities in the NHL.

He will turn 37 on Oct. 3. It would be quite a story if he made his NHL regular season debut a few days later.

Devils agree to terms on two-year deal with Will Butcher

Getty
8 Comments

It’s official. Will Butcher has made his highly anticipated decision.

The New Jersey Devils have agreed to terms on a two-year entry-level deal with the Hobey Baker Award winner, the team announced Sunday. The deal for the 22-year-old defenseman comes with an annual average value of $925,000.

Butcher, originally drafted by the Colorado Avalanche, spent four years at the University of Denver. He opted not to sign with the Avalanche, becoming a free agent on Aug. 15.

This should provide a nice boost for the Devils organization after their draft pick Alex Kerfoot didn’t sign in New Jersey. He hit the open market a couple of weeks ago and — wait for it — eventually signed in Colorado.

In 43 games with Denver as a senior, Butcher recorded seven goals and 37 points. His agent, Brian Bartlett, made it clear during the free agency process that Butcher was not seeking a guaranteed roster spot in order to sign with a club. However, he should have a chance to make an impact on the Devils roster for this upcoming season.

New Jersey has been busy adding to its group of forwards, winning the draft lottery and selecting Nico Hischier and then acquiring Marcus Johansson in a trade with Washington. This signing should help bolster their blue line with the addition of a player regarded as a puck-moving defenseman with offensive upside.

Just prior to the Entry Draft in June, general manager Ray Shero acquired 2013 first-round pick and defenseman Mirco Mueller from San Jose.

So far, Mueller has yet to crack an NHL lineup on a full-time basis but that could change this upcoming season with the Devils. Shero still has work left to solidify his blue line ahead of training camp, with 23-year-old restricted free agent Damon Severson still without a contract.

Poll: Who will lead Coyotes in points this season?

Getty Images
4 Comments

This post is a part of Coyotes day at PHT…

The Arizona Coyotes lost their leading point producer from last season, as Radim Vrbata signed a one-year deal with the Florida Panthers when free agency opened last month.

That is 20 goals and 55 points gone from the Coyotes roster.

Behind Vrbata, defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson — who is capable of scoring more than 20 goals in a season — finished second on the team in points, while Max Domi wasn’t able to reach his rookie totals mostly due to his sophomore season being interrupted by injury. After scoring 20 goals in 2015-16, Anthony Duclair had a difficult follow-up campaign and eventually saw time in the minors.

General manager John Chayka was busy at the draft, adding to his youthful team by acquiring Derek Stepan from the Rangers with the hopes Stepan will emerge as the team’s No. 1 center this season. In New York for seven seasons, he consistently reached the 50-point mark, achieving it five times.

The Coyotes have a number of young players on their roster, with Christian Dvorak having completed his rookie year and the likes of Dylan Strome and Clayton Keller looking to make a full-time impact this upcoming season. But they’ve also added some veteran players in Stepan up front and Niklas Hjalmarsson on defense. Given the dynamic and the addition of a player like Stepan, it will be interesting to see if the Coyotes attack can improve — they were 27th in the league in goals-for per game — and to see who emerges as the team’s leading point producer in 2017-18.

Now, have your say. Have a candidate not listed in the poll? Feel free to write it in the comments section.

Report: Bruins offer Pastrnak long-term deal at $6M per year

Getty
15 Comments

David Pastrnak is still without a contract for the upcoming season, with time ticking before training camps open in a few weeks.

That said, it’s been reported in the Boston Globe that the Bruins have offered Pastrnak a long-term contract that would pay him $6 million annually — which would put him alongside David Backes as the fourth highest paid forward on the club, according to CapFriendly.

According to Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe, the Bruins have left the length of the deal, either six or seven years, up to the 21-year-old Pastrnak, who broke out last season for 34 goals and 70 points in 75 games.

The Bruins currently have about $10.1 million in cap space with only Pastrnak remaining to get under contract.

Trade rumors involving Pastrnak (read about them here) started circulating a couple of weeks ago, as this negotiation process has continued well into the summer. General manager Don Sweeney had a brief response when asked about the rumor: “Not trading Pastrnak.”

Related: Bruins would be wise to go long-term with Pastrnak

H/T to The Score.