Author: Joe Yerdon

Martin Brodeur

Brodeur says he would absolutely consider offer from Habs


Future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur is still without a team to play for next season and with training camp coming soon, things could get anxious for the 42-year-old.

While it might seem like most teams have their situations in goal figured out, Brodeur was asked by QMI Agency whether he’d consider going to play for his hometown Montreal Canadiens. His answer shouldn’t be too big of a surprise.

“If the Canadiens made me an offer, it goes without saying that I would listen to what they have to offer me,” Brodeur said.

If you’re wondering if this means he’d be itching to take Carey Price’s job away, it’s not. Brodeur said the Habs are Price’s team and he’d be OK with playing 20-25 games if it meant playing for a Stanley Cup winner.

Of course, Brodeur said he still wants to be a starting goalie but finding a team where he could sneak in and take the job might be difficult.

The question with picking Montreal, however, comes with how both Peter Budaj and Dustin Tokarski would handle that sort of situation. After how Tokarski played in limited NHL duty last season, there’s thought he could push Budaj out of the backup role. Throwing Brodeur into the mix would make that a bit more tricky.

Closure: Bertuzzi-Moore case officially settled


The civil case between former Colorado Avalanche forward Steve Moore and Todd Bertuzzi has officially been settled.

After weeks of rumors saying the two sides agreed to an out-of-court settlement, Moore released a statement on Thursday afternoon declaring the case closed.

“The legal case for the loss of my NHL career is over. I have accepted a settlement agreement which has now been finalized and signed by all the parties.”

Moore said the settlement comes with “mixed emotions” because while his dream of continuing to play in the NHL is gone, he’s pleased the burden of an “unresolved legal case” won’t be weighing on his or his family’s mind.

Details of the settlement will likely never be known due to confidentiality agreements – something that was a sticking point in earlier reports of the case being settled.

It was March 8, 2004 when Bertuzzi, as a member of the Vancouver Canucks, attacked Moore from behind giving him three broken vertebrae and a concussion that ended his career. Bertuzzi was suspended for the incident but returned to play after the 2004-05 lockout. Moore never played again.

In praise of John Tavares

John Tavares, Kyle Okposo, Chad Johnson

We’re really not going out on a limb here, but John Tavares is worth every bit of praise he’s received.

As if being a finalist for the Hart Trophy two seasons ago didn’t do the job, his performance last season was enough to make fans across the league take further notice of the 23-year-old Islanders phenom.

Before he suffered a season-ending injury at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Tavares had 24 goals and 66 points in 59 games. That kind of output put him at a 1.12 points per-game pace. That rate was good for fourth in the NHL behind Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Ryan Getzlaf and was the best mark in his five seasons in the NHL.

Consider this: Since debuting with the Islanders in 2009-10 after being taken first overall at the 2009 NHL Draft, he’s scored 24 or more goals each season. He scored 28 during the 48-game lockout shortened 2013 season and had a career-high 31 the one before that. He’s been scoring at a point per-game rate for the past three seasons. If that’s not the definition of “elite” then there’s something wrong with how things are determined.

As good as his goal scoring prowess is, his ability to make teammates better is right there with it. After Thomas Vanek was traded from the Islanders to the Montreal Canadiens, his one lament was that he wouldn’t be on a line with Tavares and Kyle Okposo anymore as Arthur Staple of Newsday shared back in March.

“I expected a lot more out of all of us,” Vanek said. “Looking back, that line with me, Okie [Kyle Okposo] and Johnny, it was the best line I’ve ever been on. But you look at seven to eight games where we should have won and that’s all the difference in the standings.”

In truth, that line was great as Vanek had 44 points in 47 games with the Isles and Okposo turned in a career-year of his own with 27 goals and 69 points. Previous to helping Vanek, it was Matt Moulson who reaped the benefits of playing on his left wing.

It’s a bit wild to think that someone Tavares’ age is the one helping pick up the careers of guys older than him, but this just shows how great he’s been. If he can avoid complications from his torn MCL, he’s poised to continue his skyward ascent as one of the league’s top players and perhaps lead the Islanders back to the postseason in 2014-15.

Related: It’s New York Islanders Day at PHT

Sakic on RFA Barrie: ‘I’m confident he’ll be here’

Tyson Barrie

The Colorado Avalanche are so close to having all their business wrapped up for the summer.

The team has one restricted free agent left to re-sign in defenseman Tyson Barrie. At 23 years old, he’s got a bright future ahead of him and showed the Avs how vital he can be last season.

According to Colorado’s president of hockey operations Joe Sakic, they’ll have Barrie back in the fold sooner than not as Mike Chambers of The Denver Post shared.

“I’m confident he’ll be here,” Sakic said. That sentiment from Sakic isn’t any different from what he said a month ago when he was “confident” they would get a deal done.

Last season, Barrie had a breakout season with 13 goals and 38 points in 64 games. He was a key player for them in the first round of the playoffs against the Minnesota Wild until he was taken out of action by Matt Cooke.

With the Avs not making any big moves on defense in the offseason, they’re banking on Barrie to come back from his knee injury in full health and to pick up where he left off.

It’s New York Islanders Day at PHT

Travis Hamonic, Kyle Okposo, John Tavares

Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The New York Islanders.

Last season was a disappointment for a lot of reasons for the Islanders.

After making the playoffs in 2013, they plummeted to last place in the Metropolitan Division. While the offense was all right, the Isles problems centered around their defense and goaltending as they finished 28th out of 30 in the league in goals allowed per-game giving up 3.18 per. Only the Florida Panthers and Edmonton Oilers were worse.

Even the brightest spot on offense, John Tavares, suffered his own pitfalls. He suffered a season-ending knee injury during the Olympics in Sochi, something that didn’t sit well with GM Garth Snow. As for how he played when healthy, he had 66 points (24 goals) in 59 games and still nearly finished the season as the team leader in points.

Instead, Kyle Okposo picked up the slack in Tavares’ absence and ended the season leading the team in goals (27) and points (69) – both career highs. Just think of what he would’ve done if Tavares could’ve finished the season with him and Thomas Vanek (44 points in 47 games).

Frans Nielsen provided another bright spot up with career-highs in both goals (25) and points (58) as well. With Nielsen and Okposo providing highs, seeing Michael Grabner regress to 12 goals in 64 games was disappointing. The Isles did get a glimpse of the future as both Brock Nelson and Ryan Strome showed signs they’ll be key contributors soon.

Where the Isles had their biggest problems were on the back end. Injuries kept Lubomir Visnovsky off the ice for most of the season and they dealt Andrew MacDonald to the Flyers at the trade deadline. Travis Hamonic came back to the pack a bit after strong play two seasons ago, but guys like Calvin de Haan and Matt Donovan had a chance to show what they had and should get a shot to own a spot in the top six next season.

After seeing Evgeni Nabokov come up small against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the playoffs, he showed basically what he is putting up a .905 save percentage while dealing with a handful of injury issues. Both Kevin Poulin and Anders Nilsson showed how young they were by not being able to keep up with NHL-level players when Nabokov was out. Things in goal will be decidedly different next season or else coach Jack Capuano might be in real trouble.

Offseason recap

It was an adventurous offseason on Long Island for both GM Garth Snow and owner Charles Wang.

The Islanders fixed their biggest problem, goaltending, right away by trading for Jaroslav Halak and then signing him to a new deal. Adding Chad Johnson as his backup after a successful season in Boston means, suddenly, stopping pucks shouldn’t be their biggest concern.

Adding Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin to their crew of forwards should bring a marked improvement in depth. With Tavares, Grabovski, Nielsen, and Casey Cizikas they’re looking strong up the middle. They didn’t exactly address their needs on the blue line, but may have gotten a bit of a steal signing the AHL’s top defenseman T.J. Brennan.

The biggest change, however, came recently that Wang is selling the team to former Washington Capitals owner Jon Ledecky. With next season being the last one on Long Island, they’re trying to go out with a bang.