James O'Brien

Lance Bouma, Mikael Backlund

Report: Bouma, Flames settle on three-year, $6.6M deal

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If reports are true that Lance Bouma was asking for $2.5 million in arbitration, he didn’t have to settle for a whole lot less from the Calgary Flames.

The two sides struck a deal a day later, agreeing to a three-year, $6.6 million contract, according to the CBC’s Tim Wharnsby. (The Flames confirmed the term, but not the money.)

Bouma (pictured wearing No. 17) easily set career highs in goals (16), assists (18) and points (34) this past season.

That reported $2.2 million cap hit doesn’t sting too badly next season – General Fanager pegs the Flames’ cap room at about $4 million after the signing – but it might become regrettable once Calgary really fires up negotiations with players on expiring contracts.

Just look at the most noteworthy contributors who only have one year left on their current deals:

Top UFAs after 2015-16

Mark Giordano
Jiri Hudler
Kris Russell
Jonas Hiller
Karri Ramo

Top RFAs after 2015-16

Johnny Gaudreau
Sean Monahan

Yikes.

Even pondering the savings they’d potentially enjoy from switching up goalies – Hiller and Ramo are a tough investment at a combined $8.3 million cap hit – that’s a formidable set of negotiations for the franchise.

Bouma, 25, brings energy and hustle to the table, yet many probably hoped that the Flames would save a little money on a player who isn’t expected to light up the scoreboard.

Stars’ Hemsky can already ‘feel the difference’ from hip surgery

Ales Hemsky
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It seems like it’s been all about hype and hip surgeries lately for the Dallas Stars.

Ales Hemsky ranked among those who underwent a procedure recently, joining a group that included Jamie Benn this offseason (while Carl Klingberg and Valeri Nichushkin also went under the knife). The 31-year-old raved about his decision to do so to the Dallas Morning News.

“I can already feel I have more motion,” Hemsky said. “It’s just been two months and I know I have a long way to go, but I can feel the difference.”

Injuries have been an unfortunately common issue during the skilled winger’s career, yet he seemed especially hampered in his first season with the Stars.

Despite playing in a respectable 76 games in 2014-15, he was limited to 11 goals and 32 points. Hemsky seems pretty sure that things will go more smoothly next season, at least physically speaking.

As a wild card for a team hoping to make a significant jump after all of those splashy additions, it’s intriguing to note that Hemsky actually welcomes the pressure for next season.

“It’s nice to have hype,” Hemsky said. “If you don’t have hype, you don’t have passion. I like having the passion and expectations.”

Considering his past as a long-suffering Edmonton Oiler, it’s probably a welcome change … but a healthy season would be a breath of fresh air, as well.

PHT Morning Skate: Cobra hearts, scorpions and a Blackhawks-shaped maze

scorpion
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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Naming three teams who made the playoffs last season who might not (and three who missed it, yet might make it). (The Hockey News)

The 10 best seasons for players at age 40 and older. (Sportsnet)

A hockey historian shares some childhood memories of Ken Dryden. (Greatest Hockey Legends)

Congrats to Mark Letestu on the birth of his baby girl Blake Ashley:

The Chicago Blackhawks’ 2015 Stanley Cup run inspired this elaborate corn maze:

Want more info on it? CSNChicago.com has you covered.

Washington Capitals prospect Stanislav Galiev cannot be accused of being fearful, at least when it comes to cuisine. For one thing, he ate scorpions in Vietnam:

Think that’s extreme? Try … eating a cobra heart that was still beating.

Uh oh, Columbus’ cannon will be in NHL 16

columbuscannon
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To the torment of hockey beat writers who also play video games, the Columbus Blue Jackets’ cannon will apparently be recreated in EA Sports’ NHL 16.

The Blue Jackets believe that the real-life cannon blows up the digital counterpart, but let’s compare them side-by-side with a photo from Getty and EA’s screenshot:

source: Getty Images
Via Getty

source:

Not bad.

For the sake of realism, will EA also post simulated tweets of on-the-scene reporters nearly having heart attacks thanks to the cannon, though? The game should include this nifty bit, too, actually:

It seems like NHL 16 is striving to emulate league arena atmospheres more and more, including the Tampa Bay Lightning’s tesla coil:

source:

Maple Leafs sign Dermott, who they drafted after trading down

Travis Dermott
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Draft days really lend themselves to “What if?” scenarios, but that seemingly applied to the Toronto Maple Leafs in particular.

The suddenly analytics-minded franchise traded down twice during the early moments of the 2015 NHL Draft, turning the 24th pick to the 29th pick and 61st, then eventually transformed that 29th into the 34th and 68th selections.

That second move-down happened with the Columbus Blue Jackets, but Leafs blog Pension Plan Puppets spotted something even more interesting: Toronto floated a deal to Columbus that would have involved the following before that swap ever happened:

  • Blue Jackets would have received the fourth overall pick.
  • Maple Leafs get choices eight, 34, 38 and 58.

That didn’t happen, yet the Leafs ended up making the 34th pick of the draft anyway by sending the 29th pick to Columbus. That 34th choice ended up being Travis Dermott (pictured), who signed an entry-level contract with the Maple Leafs on Wednesday.

Pension Plan Puppets postulates that Dermott might not have ended up in Toronto’s organization if the Maple Leafs pulled off that exchange of high first-round picks:

Had the trade been made, it would have likely meant the Leafs wouldn’t have moved back later in the first round to select Dermott, and would have instead also had a shot at taking a player such as Travis Konecny, Nick Merkley or Jeremy Roy with their original 24th overall selection.

Really, the hypotheticals can get a little dizzying when you consider the multiple draft picks that actually ended up being involved and the ones that could have been involved. Most obviously, Leafs fans may wonder about various scenarios if they didn’t stick with the fourth pick and land Mitch Marner.

Of course, Marner ended up with Toronto, and so did Dermott. If nothing else, people cannot charge the Maple Leafs with being lazy this summer, and that busy run extends to the draft.

The 18-year-old defenseman scored 45 points in 61 games with the OHL’s Lake Erie Otters in 2014-15.

Here’s that draft day video of Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen, which PPP pointed out:

Interesting stuff to ponder during this long hockey summer, right?