Author: Mike Halford

Vancouver Canucks v Tampa Bay Lightning

Tampa Bay officially bids to host ’18 World Juniors


Back in January, Tampa Sports Commission executive director Rob Higgins said his group “started to lay the groundwork” for a bid to host the 2018 World Juniors, but noted it was “still a ways off from the official bid process.”

On Thursday, that changed.

Per the Times, Tampa Bay has officially submitted its bid to USA Hockey to host the tournament. It’s believed Amalie Arena — home of the Lightning — would be a host arena if the bid is success, and the ECHL Florida Everblades’ Germain Arena in Estero, Florida has been floated as a potential second location.

If the bid is successful, it would continue in Tampa Bay’s growth as a hockey market. The city hosted the NCAA Frozen Four in 2012 and will do so again in 2016; this year, the Bolts made it to the second Stanley Cup Final in franchise history, with nearly 17,000 people showing up to Amalie for a Game 6 watch party (the Lightning went on to lose Game 6, which saw Chicago win the Cup on home ice for the first time in 77 years.)


Coyotes withdraw bid for 2018 WJC

Detroit in talks to host ’18 World Juniors

Pens ink blueliner Dumoulin to two-year, $1.6M extension

Pittsburgh Penguins v Tampa Bay Lightning

Pittsburgh locked up RFA defenseman Brian Dumoulin on Thursday, signing the 23-year-old to a two-year, $1.6 million extension.

Dumoulin, acquired in the Jordan-Staal-to-Carolina trade three years ago, will carry an average annual cap hit of $800,000 with the new deal.

A former standout at Boston College, Dumoulin was taken 51st overall by the Hurricanes in ’09 and has appeared in 14 games with Pittsburgh over the last two seasons. He did take a leap forward late last year, however, suiting up for all five games of the Penguins’ opening-round playoff loss to the Rangers, in which he averaged 14:06 TOI per game.

Based on current roster projections, he’ll be battling for a spot in Pittsburgh’s top six next year with the likes of Derrick Pouliot and Tim Erixon.

Coyotes praise Duclair’s ‘outstanding’ playmaking skill

Arizona Coyotes Prospect Development Camp

Anthony Duclair’s making a solid impression on his new team.

Duclair, acquired by Arizona from the Rangers in the Keith Yandle trade, took part in the Coyotes’ prospect development camp this week and earned high praise from head coach Dave Tippett.

“Some of the plays he makes out there are outstanding,” Tippett said, per the Arizona Republic. “He’s a young player that he’ll still have to learn how to play without the puck, some coverage things, but his assets of skating and quickness and skill all are very high priority for us.”

Duclair, who turns 20 in August, figures to be on Arizona’s opening-night roster this season. He’s got NHL experience — seven points in 18 games with the Rangers last year — and is an integral part of the Coyotes’ youth movement.

What’s more, Duclair doesn’t have a ton of competition.

Though they made some moves at forward in free agency — bringing aboard (or, re-board) the likes of Antoine Vermette, Boyd Gordon, Steve Downie and Brad Richardson — the Coyotes are still pretty thin up front, especially on the wings. A left-handed shot that can play the right, Duclair’s in a battle with fellow youngsters Max Domi, Henrik Samuelsson, Jordan Szwarz, Lucas Lessio, Brendan Perlini and Christian Dvorak for minutes with the big club.

It’s a battle he’s ready to take on.

“They’re pushing younger, so what better scenario for me,” he said. “I’m pretty lucky to be here.”