James O'Brien

Evgeni Nabokov

Nabbed: Sharks add Nabokov to front office


In a time of uncertainty for San Jose Sharks goalies, the team decided to bring back the most familiar face they’ve ever had in net.

This time around, Evgeni Nabokov will help others stop pucks, rather than doing so directly. The Sharks hired him as their “goaltending development coach and special assignment scout” on Saturday, rounding out a day full of familiar faces joining various front offices.

Nabokov spent a decade with the Sharks organization, playing for San Jose from 1999-2000 to 2009-10. (Nabokov finished his career with the Tampa Bay Lightning last season after spending a few years with the New York Islanders.)

How much of a difference will Nabokov make in the performance of new No. 1 Martin Jones and returning backup Alex Stalock, not to mention netminders in the pipeline? That’s tough to say, but no one knows what it’s like to be the Sharks’ go-to guy quite like Nabokov does.

Here’s a little more about his role, via CSNBayArea.com’s Kevin Kurz.

Columbus hires former player Modin as adviser

Columbus Blue Jackets v Calgary Flames
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Much like the Boston Bruins, the Columbus Blue Jackets bolstered their front office group with familiar former NHL players on Saturday.

The Blue Jackets hired Fredrik Modin as an adviser while Dan Hinote returns to the fold after taking off the 2014-15 season to attend to a “family matter,” according to the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline.

Modin last played in the NHL during the 2010-11 season, collecting 10 points in 40 games. He spent a healthy chunk (four out of 14 seasons) of his NHL career in Columbus, including a 22-goal campaign.

Chances are, Modin will probably talk more about his Stanley Cup run with the Lightning back in 2004, a postseason in which he played the best hockey in his career.

Hinote also has tons of experience to his name, so the Blue Jackets’ front office is getting a nice boost in practical experience.

Bruins bring in Langenbrunner, promote Pandolfo

Atlanta Thrashers v New Jersey Devils

The makeup of the Boston Bruins’ franchise continues to transform this summer, whether it be those wearing skates or suits.

The team announced an array of front office tweaks on Saturday, most notably the promotion of Jay Pandolfo and the hiring of Jamie Langenbrunner.

Pandolfo gets a promotion from hockey operations assistant to director of player development, which boils down to developing players and prospects. The Bruins likely hope that younger players can learn from a scrappy forward who managed to grind 899 NHL games out of his limited set of skills.

Sadly, Langenbrunner won’t be called the minister of excessively long last names. Instead, Langenbrunner will be a development coach.

Beyond adding two seasoned veterans fresh off of lengthy careers, the Bruins continue a sub-trend of former New Jersey Devils taking front office jobs with other teams (see: Martin Brodeur in St. Louis).

You can read the full array of changes in this article from the Bruins.

Chicago reportedly gives Jan Hejda a tryout

Colorado Avalanche v Anaheim Ducks

By dumping Kris Versteeg‘s salary on Friday, the Chicago Blackhawks opened up room to fill some final roster spots. They didn’t waste much time in that regard.

After re-signing Marcus Kruger later last night, the Blackhawks gave defenseman Jan Hejda a PTO, according to the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline.

Hejda obviously has his limitations – his possession stats weren’t even that great relative to his Colorado Avalanche teammates last season, and that team is notorious for being poor in that area – but he does bring bountiful experience to the table.

The 37-year-old has 627 regular season games and 10 postseason contests on his resume, all in the West.

Hejda stands as a big body who, ideally, would be the hockey equivalent to an “innings eating pticher.”

Considering how much the Blackhawks were forced to lean on their top four defensemen in their last Stanley Cup run, getting a depth guy who can at least survive his shifts could be a nice luxury.

Flash in the camp: Habs hand Fleischmann PTO

Anaheim Ducks v Winnipeg Jets - Game Four
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In his quest to fix the Montreal Canadiens’ offense, it seems like Marc Bergevin’s MO is “sign former Washington Capitals who have seen better days.”

Alexander Semin is the most noteworthy example of that (fake) strategy, but it cropped up again on Saturday, as the Habs handed Tomas Fleischmann a professional tryout contract.

The 31-year-old seemed to fall victim to an odd subplot of the 2014-15 season: terrible contract years for mid-level players. “Flash” went from struggling with the Florida Panthers to becoming downright irrelevant once the Anaheim Ducks gave him a shot as a rental.

He only played in six games during the Ducks’ Western Conference Final push, nabbing a shabby assist in the postseason.

The plus side is that Montreal gets a chance to buy-low on Fleischmann, at least if he makes a solid enough impression.

He’s not that far removed from his 27-goal, 61-point peak during the 2011-12 season, after all.