Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The Buffalo Sabres.
Things haven’t exactly gone how owner Terry Pegula hoped they would when he bought the team. Instead of challenging for and winning a Stanley Cup, the team has missed the playoffs the last two seasons.
Now the team enters a season where they’re still not sure how long they’ll have Ryan Miller and Thomas Vanek to kick around. Both guys are unrestricted free agents after the season and will have trade rumors floating around them all year. Who said Buffalo was a boring place?
Instead of diving head-first into the free agent pile, GM Darcy Regier instead bought out forward Nathan Gerbe (who signed with Carolina afterward). One deal Regier did make was with New Jersey to bring back Henrik Tallinder to try and recapture the chemistry he had with Tyler Myers. Considering how many more years and dollars they’ve got committed to him, it’s not the worst move to make.
In the NHL Draft they went with big Finnish defender Rasmus Ristolainen who may end up challenging for a job in the NHL right away. Buffalo’s blue line is a crowded house, but they love Ristolainen’s style.
All eyes will stay on Miller and Vanek, however. Buffalo better hope they show something in the new Atlantic Division to make both guys think about staying in Western New York.
Introducing: PHT’s ‘Team of the Day’ summer series
It’s not just vacation fun and games for the NHL Players’ Association during the summer, they’re taking care of some business as well.
The union announced they were increasing the amount they annually give to the Senior Retired Players Fund by $1 million. That increases their annual payout to $6 million to retired players 65 years-old or older.
The fund was started after the settlement of the 2004-2005 lockout to help older players, some of whom had fallen on hard times in later years. According to the union, over 350 former players get a cut of the money.
It’s never not interesting off the ice for the Phoenix Coyotes.
Mike Sunnucks of the Phoenix Business Journal reports that some financing for the deal to sell the team to Renaissance Sports and Entertainment (aka: Ice Arizona) has fallen through.
Sunnucks cites two sources close to the situation who say funding has either not been finalized or has been dropped completely from the deal. The group has until August 5 to finalize the purchase.
One member of Ice Arizona is hedgefund investor Daryl Jones and he responded to Sunnucks’ story on Twitter to set the story straight in his own way.
Craig Morgan of Fox Sports Arizona backs up what Jones said reporting that the deal is still on track to be completed by Monday’s deadline. It was reported over the weekend that the NHL Board of Governors would approve the sale this week although that’s yet to happen.
Calgary GM Jay Feaster is taking care of one of their promising young defensemen.
The Flames announced they’ve re-signed restricted free agent T.J. Brodie to a two-year, $4.25 million deal. That works out to a $2.125 million cap hit over that time.
Last season, Brodie emerged as one of Calgary’s more trusted blue liners playing an average of over 20 minutes per game. Eerily enough, he equaled his offensive output from the previous year last season in seven fewer games with two goals and 12 assists.
At age 23 he’s easily the Flames’ youngest defenseman and they’re more than happy to see him improve his game. That alone may not be enough to stop some from questioning why he got such a juicy raise ($1.2 to nearly $2 million) coming off his entry-level deal.
The New York Islanders making the playoffs last season has given them a taste for success and now they want their prospects to get that in the minor leagues.
The team announced today they’ve signed an affiliation agreement with the Stockton Thunder of the ECHL. Isles GM Garth Snow spoke glowingly of the Thunder.
“We are thrilled to have the Stockton Thunder join the Islanders as the organization’s ECHL affiliate,” general manager Garth Snow said. “The culture of success in Stockton will benefit our prospects and develop them into better hockey players as they work their way from the ECHL, to the AHL and eventually playing for the New York Islanders.”
Stockton has made the ECHL playoffs each of the last seven seasons and lost in the Kelly Cup finals to Reading this past year. In case you didn’t know, the ECHL is a level below the AHL in the minors.