In case you’re not seasoned in this phase of the offseason, here’s a reminder: the Wild and Haula could reach an agreement before a hearing takes place. In fact, it’s not that uncommon for agreements to take place mere hours before scheduled discussions.
(As you may also know, it’s generally preferred to avoid the sometimes-arduous, bridge-burning elements of arbitration, too.)
Haula’s earning power is tough to gauge. Here’s how his expiring contract broke down in both 2013-14 and 2014-15: $900K salary at the NHL level, $67,500 in the AHL, $850K performance bonus and $90K signing bonus.
The 24-year-old scored seven goals and 14 points in 72 games with the Wild last season while also generating a goal in two postseason contests. His calling card would likely be the 2014 playoffs, as he scored four goals and seven points in 13 playoff games.
We’ll see if the two sides can hash out an agreement. If not, an arbitrator might need to determine how that production would translate into a contract.
Boy, the Blue Jackets aren’t exactly taking Reilly rejection in stride
(Dubinsky is from Alaska, so he may have been celebrating the Fourth of July. Just saying …)
Anyway, it’s all in salty-good fun, right? The Blue Jackets face Minnesota in a preseason game on Sep. 24, then in two regular season contests on Oct. 22 and Jan. 5. Perhaps we’ll see at least one contest that features Reilly, Johansen and Dubinsky entering on-ice @-replies, then?
Maybe Dubinsky’s just bitter about this “coaching decision,” though:
#CBJ Brandon Dubinsky fired from Team Dubinsky before the opener. Dalton Prout replaces him. Suspicious.
The franchise is familiar with the forward (pictured), as he appeared in 13 of his 51 career NHL games with Washington. Bourque last appeared at the NHL level in 2012-13, when he generated four points in 18 games with the Boston Bruins. He had a productive AHL season in 2014-15, generating 66 points in 73 games with the Hartford Wolf Pack.
The Capitals originally drafted Bourque, 29, with the 33rd pick in the 2014 NHL Draft.
The 27-year-old was drafted in the first round (21st overall) by the New York Rangers in 2006. Like Bourque, the defenseman hasn’t played in an NHL game since 2012-13, but both players have been productive in the AHL.
Cundari, 25, has eight career NHL games under his belt, all with the Calgary Flames. Those appearances were spread out as four contests in 2013-14 and four in 2012-13. Like the other guys on this list, he provides his team with emergency injury depth and a solid AHL hand, as the blueliner managed 29 points in 50 games with the Adirondack Flames last season.
Is it too early to get excited about Crosby vs. Ovechkin again?
For all the star power that the NHL boasts outside of Pittsburgh and Washington, it’s difficult to resist the siren call of a spike in the Sidney Crosby – Alex Ovechkin rivalry. It’s perfectly plausible that we’ll never get a sequel to that memorable 2009 playoff series.
With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s be honest: it’s been a while since the Penguins and Capitals were in a better position collectively to pull this off.
It’s still strange to picture Phil Kessel in a Penguins uniform, firing home well-placed passes from Crosby and/or Evgeni Malkin … but would it be that outrageous to imagine Kessel chasing Ovechkin in the Maurice Richard race now? As excited as Crosby and Malkin seem to be about the acquisition, Kessel and hockey fans should be especially thrilled.
Here’s the wrinkle that makes things even more fun: while the Penguins added the biggest name, Washington’s moves likely provide the Capitals with a deeper array of weapons.
Beyond the obvious in Nicklas Backstrom, the Caps now combine seasoned newcomers (Justin Williams and T.J. Oshie) with promising youngsters (Marcus Johansson, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Andre Burakovsky) to form a frightening forward group.
Hockey’s a team sport, and Crosby – Ovechkin can only be so riveting on their own … so how about Crosby, Malkin, Kessel and Kris Letang vs. Ovechkin, Backstrom, Williams, Oshie and Washington’s bevvy of pricey blueliners? Yeah, that sounds like appointment viewing.
While they’re still young
As strange as it sounds, the window might be closing on this rivalry, at least as a true showcase of two players who are seriously considered two of the best alive.*
Ovechkin will turn 30 on Sept. 17, and his hair is already looking a little grayer these days. Crosby turns 28 in August and people are already wondering if he’s startingto slow down.
No, the Penguins and Capitals haven’t totally mortgaged their futures this summer, yet the complexion of each franchise changed in some resounding ways in the past few days. You never know what might happen – we’ve been fooled before – but it’s tough not to picture an epic 2016 playoff series between these two players (and teams).
If nothing else, it’s fun to think about.
* – One could quibble about where the two rank among the elite, but they’re at least up there, right?
Senators hire André Tourigny as an assistant coach
Tourigny (pictured to Patrick Roy’s left) was with the Colorado Avalanche in 2014-15 and 2013-14. He resigned in May, with the reasoning be stated that he was pursuing a head coaching gig. Instead, he’ll serve as Dave Cameron’s assistant.
The Denver Post postulated that Tourigny wasn’t to blame for the Avs’ oft-mentioned possession issues, yet it’s not exactly the greatest calling card, either. That said, he had a lot of success at the QMJHL level and must have made an impression on Cameron while coaching Team Canada at multiple World Junior Championships.