Cam Tucker

AP

‘I don’t know where all this talk comes from’ — Flames GM addresses Jagr, Iginla rumors

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One of the more fascinating topics of discussion this summer has been the immediate future of future Hall of Famer Jaromir Jagr.

He’s 45 years old. Despite his age, he has still been productive. He remains incredibly popular with hockey fans. He’s still without a contract.

There has been plenty of talk and speculation that perhaps he’d be a fit with the Calgary Flames, and that they may have interest in Jagr.

With another key addition on the blue line earlier in the off-season, the Flames appear to be on the rise in the Western Conference and in need of another right winger. Add former Flames captain Jarome Iginla to recent rumors, too.

In an interview with Eric Francis of Postmedia, Flames general manager Brad Treliving addressed the Iginla-Jagr talk, initially downplaying it as rumor. But, based on his comments, he didn’t completely shut the door on the possibility of Calgary adding another player for training camp this month.

From the Calgary Herald:

“I don’t know where all this talk comes from — we certainly never made a statement saying we’re looking at so-and-so,” said Treliving, addressing the summertime street talk for the first time.

“Both are Hall of Famers. Nobody has done more as a player in Calgary than Jarome Iginla. You can’t help but respect them. But this notion we’ve been in contract talks with them is rumour and I’m not going to comment on them.”

“Are we going to go to camp with the group we have? Good chance. Are we poking around at a few things and could there be additions before camp? Yes.

“Is that a guarantee? No.

“I wouldn’t say there’s anything significant on the horizon, but we look at everything every day.”

Right now, however, the priority is to get restricted free agent forward Sam Bennett under contract. The Flames currently have about $7.16 million in cap space to work with, according to CapFriendly.

Last season, Bennett’s overall production dipped to 13 goals and 26 points in 81 games after he scored 18 goals and 36 points in 77 games during his first full NHL campaign.

Under Pressure: Jonathan Marchessault

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This post is part of Golden Knights Day on PHT…

Score 30 goals in a season and people around the NHL quickly take notice.

With heightened expectations following a breakout 2016-17 campaign, Jonathan Marchessault will go into this season as a member of the Vegas Golden Knights, having been one of the surprise players left unprotected for June’s expansion draft. He also has one year remaining on his bargain of a contract before he’s eligible for unrestricted free agency.

On a team beset by injuries to key players last season, the undrafted Marchessault — who also stands 5-foot-9 tall and 174 pounds — became a bright spot for the Florida Panthers, who entered the year with high expectations but fell short of the playoffs.

The Panthers made Marchessault available for the Golden Knights, who didn’t pass up the opportunity to land the scoring center. That Florida made him available in the first place was certainly a hit to his self esteem, Marchessault later admitted.

“I don’t know [why I wasn’t protected]. I was surprised also,” Marchessault said this summer, per Sportsnet.

“I tried to give everything I had last year. Everyone was asking me if I’m going to get protected or not. My answer was, ‘I gave everything I had. I have no regrets.”

With 30 goals and 51 points for Florida last season, the now 26-year-old Marchessault provided tremendous value, playing on a two-year contract with a salary and cap hit of only $750,000. Another productive season and he should be able to cash in with a sizable raise. Whether that’s with the Golden Knights or another team via the open market will be determined at a later point in time.

There are the obvious candidates for a Vegas ‘Under Pressure’ post: James Neal is among them. He has nine consecutive seasons in which he has scored at least 20 goals, reaching the 40-goal plateau once and scoring 31 in 2015-16. This Vegas roster will need a player like Neal to produce. He comes with a $5 million cap hit as he enters the final year of his contract before being eligible for unrestricted free agency. Marc-Andre Fleury, by virtue of being a goalie with three Stanley Cup rings and the likely starter for this historical season in Vegas, is another.

Marchessault right now doesn’t make nearly the same amount of money as those two players, though that could eventually change. With a 30-goal season, the surprise of being left unprotected in the expansion draft, and entering a contract year while playing in the league’s newest market, there is going to be added pressure on him to see if he can replicate — or at least come close to replicating — that same production.

“That’s my goal, I want to go there and improve every year,” Marchessault told NHL.com. “I just want to help my team win every night. Now it’s up to me to respond.”

‘Nobody hears from him’ — Ribeiro to retire following relapse, says agent

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Mike Ribeiro’s hockey career “is at an end” after he suffered a relapse, his agent and longtime friend Bob Perno has told Montreal media outlets.

The concern, however, shouldn’t be with his playing career but with his own personal health and well-being. In revealing interviews with La Presse and TSN 690 on Thursday, Perno went into detail about the depths of Ribeiro’s struggle with substance abuse, saying that he has been unable to contact his client.

“All I know, is that Mike hasn’t laced up the skates once since the end of the season,” Perno told La Presse (his quotes have been translated from French into English). “He doesn’t train anymore and he doesn’t go out on the ice anymore. He’s going to retire. There’s not one NHL team or a team in Europe that has reached out to me to ask about him. The way his career is going to end is really disappointing.

“No one knows what he’s up to these days. The problem, is that Mike doesn’t believe he’s sick. In his head, everything is fine. He left the rehab program offered by the NHL last winter. We’re really worried, but we can’t do anything. Every time my phone rings, I hope it’s him calling me.”

Ribeiro, now 37 years old, entered the NHL/NHLPA substance abuse and behavioral health program at the end of the 2013-14 season, according to Puck Daddy. His agent told TSN 690 that Ribeiro was clean for about two years, but that he suffered a relapse before Christmas.

“To answer your question, I don’t think he’s hit rock bottom,” Perno told the radio station. “We’re trying to get a hold of him in Nashville. We know he’s somewhere in Nashville. His family has seen him. His wife has seen him — briefly — and then he disappeared into the woodwork. We’re trying to get a hold of him. He doesn’t answer his phone. Nobody hears from him. I don’t think he’s hit rock bottom.”

Perno added that fellow agent Don Meehan and Dr. Brian Shaw of the NHL/NHLPA substance abuse program have also tried to contact Ribeiro.

Ribeiro split this past season between the Predators and AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals. Nashville put him on waivers after Ribeiro requested a trade, and he was eventually assigned to the minors.

Perno believes that when Ribeiro made the trade request — following time spent as a healthy scratch, said the agent — it was “downhill from there.”

“This past year, Mike’s role was really diminished … and I think it affected him mentally — getting older, having trouble seeing what he was going to do once it was all over,” said Perno.

“His play suffered in consequence. His confidence, his play, and, personally, I think that just about at Christmas time or shortly there after, I think he was — whether he’ll admit it or not — I think he was a little depressive.”

Looking to make the leap: Vadim Shipachyov

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This post is part of Golden Knights Day on PHT…

Full disclosure: We realize this specific ‘Team of the Day’ post is typically reserved for much younger high-end prospects looking to land a full-time NHL roster spot for the upcoming season.

Vadim Shipachyov is not young. He is 30 years old. He already has an impressive résumé as a professional.

So, in a sense, we’re going off the board here.

But after scoring 26 goals and 76 points during 50 games with St. Petersburg SKA in the KHL last season and spending his entire pro career in Russia, Shipachyov decided this spring to come over to North America and sign with the expansion Vegas Golden Knights. His deal? Two years at $9 million.

He joins the Golden Knights as the organization’s first major free agent signing, having celebrated his 30th birthday in May and having never played an NHL game before. That said, his numbers in the KHL, particularly over the last two seasons with St. Petersburg, certainly stand out as he finished third in the league in points.

And, he plays in the middle, which is important to every team but especially one just getting off the ground and looking for offensive talent to help right away in order to be competitive while allowing their younger center prospects like Cody Class and Nick Suzuki time to develop.

“He brings skill and leadership to our organization — he wanted to be a Vegas Golden Knight, and we wanted him,” Golden Knights general manager George McPhee told reporters earlier this spring. “He’s been highly productive. He’s been a very good player and continues to improve.

“He’s a skilled center iceman. They’re very, very, very hard to find.”

With his skill and years of experience as a professional, the transition into the Vegas lineup should work out. That’s not to suggest it will be easy right away. But one would expect he’ll be given every opportunity to excel in his new surroundings, perhaps playing alongside an accomplished scorer like Neal.

At the very least, he’ll be expected to take on a top-six role when the season begins.

“I don’t think it will take too long for him to assimilate,” said McPhee, per Postmedia.

“Years ago, we had (Igor) Larionov and (Slava) Fetisov coming over and it took them a little time, but in recent years, players like Panarin and (Alexander) Radulov and Zaitsev have come over and done very well. If Vadim can come over and play close to that level, we’d be certainly very happy.”

It’s San Jose Sharks day at PHT

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The San Jose Sharks made the playoffs again in 2016-17 with the hopes of getting back to the Stanley Cup Final. It didn’t turn out that way, as they were bounced in the opening round by Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers.

That would ultimately be the end to Patrick Marleau‘s time in San Jose.

At age 37, and after 1,493 regular season games played with the Sharks since joining the organization as the second overall pick in 1997, Marleau tested the free agent market and landed with the Toronto Maple Leafs on a three-year deal with a no-movement clause.

The Sharks still managed to keep Joe Thornton in San Jose, as he signed a one-year deal  worth a cool $8 million.

They also gave lucrative long-term contract extensions to goalie Martin Jones and defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic, and signed Latvian forward prospect Rudolfs Balcers to an entry-level contract following his year with the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers. Taken in the fifth round of the 2015 NHL Draft, Balcers scored 40 goals and 77 points with the Blazers last season.

Today at PHT, we’ll discuss the key storylines facing the Sharks heading into training camp.