Author: Jason Brough

Philadelphia Flyers v Washington Capitals

Coyotes hire John Slaney as assistant coach

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The Arizona Coyotes have hired John Slaney to be an assistant coach on Dave Tippett’s staff.

“We are pleased to add John to our coaching staff,” said GM Don Maloney in a release. “John has done a good job developing our young prospects in the American Hockey League and he will continue to do similar work here in Arizona.”

Slaney has spent the last four seasons as an assistant coach with the Portland Pirates, formerly the Coyotes’ AHL affiliate.

A former first-round pick of the Capitals, Slaney played 268 career NHL games with seven different teams, but is still perhaps best known for the goal he scored for Canada versus the USSR at the 1991 World Juniors.


Hamhuis, Vrbata will not sign extensions this summer

Columbus Blue Jackets v Vancouver Canucks

With many predicting the Vancouver Canucks will be hard-pressed to get back to the playoffs next season, will defenseman Dan Hamhuis and winger Radim Vrbata be up for grabs at the 2016 trade deadline?

As of today, it’s certainly possible. GM Jim Benning has confirmed that both veterans — the former a 2014 Olympic gold-medal winner with Team Canada, the latter an NHL all-star last year — will enter next season as pending unrestricted free agents.

“We’re going to go into the season and see how it goes,” Benning said, per The Province. “We’ve touched base with their agents a little, but we’ll see how it plays out.”

The Canucks have other pending UFAs — Yannick Weber, Brandon Prust, and Matt Bartkowski — that could fetch them draft picks or prospects at the deadline. Alex Burrows, Chris Higgins, Jannik Hansen, and Nick Bonino could all theoretically be moved too. Such is the outlook in Vancouver that some are wondering if the Sedins should be traded.

As Benning said, it will all depend on “how it plays out.”

After winning 2C audition, Kuznetsov aiming to ‘play better’

Washington Capitals v Philadelphia Flyers

Less than a year ago, the Washington Capitals had no idea who would be their second-line center.

They know now.

It’s Evgeny Kuznetsov, the talented 23-year-old Russian who just signed a two-year extension with the club.

“I played good hockey but I have to play better,” Kuznetsov said, per CSN Washington. “I’ll try to focus on my game and what the coach tells me. If everybody does the right job probably something good will happen.”

Next season, the Caps could have a first line comprised of Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie, and a second line featuring Kuznetsov between Andre Burakovsky and Justin Williams.

“[Kuznetsov] filled a hole at second-line center that we’ve been trying to fill for a number of years,” Caps general manager Brian MacLellan said in May.

With a defense headlined by John Carlson and Matt Niskanen, and with Braden Holtby in goal, you’ll excuse Caps fans for finding it difficult to contain their excitement.

Related: Caps landing ‘affordable’ Williams a sign of the new free agency

Wings sign Tangradi to one-year deal

Montreal Canadiens v Buffalo Sabres

The Detroit Red Wings have signed winger Eric Tangradi to a one-year contract, the club announced today.

No financial terms have been reported, but don’t expect them to be onerous. His most recent cap hit was just $675,000.

Tangradi spent most of last season with the Hamilton Bulldogs, Montreal’s AHL affiliate. The 26-year-old played seven games for the Canadiens, failing to register a point.

The 42nd overall pick in the 2007 draft (by Anaheim), Tangradi has five goals and 10 assists in 143 career NHL games.

Beleskey knew it was time to be ‘more than just a grinder’


Prior to last season, Matt Beleskey had never scored more than 11 goals in a single NHL season.

For financial reasons, he picked a great year to double that output when he potted 22 in 2014-15 for Anaheim.

Beleskey cashed in as an unrestricted free agent with a five-year, $19 million deal with the Bruins.

How does he explain his career year?

“Coach Bruce Boudreau put me in good situations,” Beleskey said, per “I played on the power play. I played a lot with Ryan Kesler, who works extremely hard and he’s a great player to work with and play with. And I think I took some confidence strides in my game. I knew it was time that I needed to be more than just a grinder that’s going to help out and be a guy that’s able to lead in situations. And I think I took those steps.”

Now the pressure’s on to keep it up. Especially after the Bruins traded away Milan Lucic, a guy who scored 139 goals during his time in Boston. Not to mention all the hits he delivered.

With Lucic in Los Angeles, and after GM Don Sweeney had vowed to return the B’s to their aggressive ways, Beleskey sees Boston as a good fit.

“The big, bad Bruins play that physical style, and they’ve always been a team that I’ve liked watching,” Beleskey said, per CSN New England.

“They’ve always been a team I’ve been drawn to.”

Related: Bruins sign Beleskey for five years, despite some warning signs