Vancouver Canucks coach John Tortorella will get his first look at David Booth tonight and he’s excited about it.
Tortorella announced Booth will be back in the lineup tonight against the New York Rangers after missing the most of the preseason with an ankle problem. To say the least, Tortorella is excited to get him in the lineup.
“David Booth is playing tonight. I’m dying to see him in game action,” he said.
With the good news comes the bad as the update on center Jordan Schroeder and his injured foot isn’t so good. Tortorella says he’ll miss three weeks with a non-displaced hairline fracture in his foot. The initial diagnosis was a bruised foot, but apparently the more trustworthy x-rays in Vancouver showed a break.
Schroeder was gunning to land the job as the team’s third line center, but his quest to do that will be delayed. Booth’s return to action, however, should help out the team’s second line.
In the contract battle between Rangers GM Glen Sather and restricted free agent Derek Stepan, it’s Sather who comes away looking like the winner.
After some acrimonious talks, the two sides have agreed on a two-year deal. Both ESPN.com’s Pierre Lebrun and Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos say the deal comes in at just above $3 million per season. LeBrun says the deal comes in at $6.15 million.
It was reported over the weekend that Stepan was seeking a two-year deal worth $7 million. Instead, he’ll come a lot closer to what the Rangers were looking to sign him to. Stepan was originally hoping to sign a long-term deal, but the Rangers’ preference was for a bridge deal. It’s pretty clear Stepan didn’t have much leverage as a RFA in this situation.
Just earlier today it was reported the two sides were close to an agreement. Apparently they were a lot closer than believed. Now Stepan can get into camp and prepare for the season as the Rangers’ likely No. 1 center.
One young Buffalo Sabres forward won’t get a shot to make the team out of camp.
Sabres coach Ron Rolston announced forward Joel Armia broke his hand in last night’s preseason game and will be out indefinitely. The 2011 first-round pick, 16th overall, was injured during the second period of Buffalo’s win over Columbus and did not return.
Losing Armia is a tough blow for the youngster as he’s looking to make the team in his first season coming over from Finland. He’s had a solid preseason to this point and was pushing to earn a spot with the Sabres. Now that progress will be delayed as he recovers.
The team is high on Armia and to this point he’s given them hope he’ll be a solid player. Now their waiting game will have to continue.
Former Florida Panthers goalie Jose Theodore may not be out of work much longer.
Francois Gagnon of RDS reports (link in French) the 2002 Hart Trophy winner has three NHL teams looking into signing him. Among the possible suitors are the Pittsburgh Penguins, Nashville Predators, and San Jose Sharks. All three teams will start the season with questionable backup situations.
In Pittsburgh, Tomas Vokoun’s absence with a blood clot forces AHL veteran Jeff Zatkoff into the backup role. Nashville has Carter Hutton looking to backup Pekka Rinne while the Sharks have competition between Alex Stalock and Harri Sateri for the No. 2 spot behind Antti Niemi.
Those teams could get by with what they have already as backups, but Theodore provides the kind of veteran know-how coaches are more comfortable with.
There were rumors earlier of KHL interest in Theodore but he’s holding out for a NHL job. He wanted to stay with the Panthers, but they didn’t offer him a new deal and opted to invite Tim Thomas to camp this summer. Thomas is likely to sign with the team once new ownership takes over.
Now that Cody Franson re-signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Rangers forward Derek Stepan is the final restricted free agent left to sign and it may not be long before that’s taken care of.
Multiple reports say the two sides are close to a new deal. CBC’s Elliotte Friedman says they’re close to a two-year deal that would pay in the neighborhood of $6.5 million.
That report meshes well with what Larry Brooks of the New York Post reported over the weekend saying the two sides were about $600,000 apart. Stepan was seeking something closer to $7 million while the Rangers and GM Glen Sather were looking to go as high as $6.4 million.
With the Rangers opening their season on the road in Phoenix on October 3, getting a deal done as soon as possible will give Stepan a chance to get acquainted with Alain Vigneault’s system. The sooner the better works for him as he’s also hoping to land a spot on Team USA’s Olympic team.
Related: Sather: Stepan not ‘big enough of a fool’ to let contract stalemate continue