Mike Halford

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JUNE 27:  Jim Benning, General Manager of the Vancouver Canucks is seen prior to the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft at the Wells Fargo Center on June 27, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Getty Images

Canucks fined for tampering, though Benning ‘intended no harm with his comments’


The NHL has come down on Vancouver GM Jim Benning for remarks made during draft weekend in Buffalo.

From the league:

The Vancouver Canucks organization has been fined $50,000 for violating NHL By-Law 15, the National Hockey League announced today.

“Canucks General Manager Jim Benning violated the provisions of NHL By-Law 15 relating to inappropriate public comments by speaking generally to his Club’s potential interest in players under contract to other NHL Clubs,” said NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly.

“I spoke with Jim and accept his representation that he intended no harm with his comments and that he will handle similar questions from the media differently in the future,” the Deputy Commissioner added.

The League will have no further comment on the matter.

Benning found himself in hot water after admitting the Canucks were interested in a pair of players —  Tampa Bay captain Steve Stamkos, and Habs blueliner P.K. Subban.

“The price would be really high to acquire a player like that,” Benning said of Subban. “We’ve done our due diligence, like we do with all the players who are out there. But it’s a long way from completing a trade like that.”

Those comments irked Montreal GM Marc Bergevin.

“I was not happy and I’m still not happy about that,” Bergevin said, per the Vancouver Sun. “The league is looking into it. He crossed the line. I don’t know where the line was crossed but he definitely crossed the line. It can’t happen.”

Following the NHL’s ruling, the Canucks released the following statement:

Report: Wings have talked to Ducks about Fowler trade

Cam Fowler
Getty Images

Earlier, we passed along a report of Detroit’s interest in Blues d-man Kevin Shattenkirk and St. Louis’ sky-high asking price in return — rookie phenom Dylan Larkin.

In light of that, not surprising to learn the Red Wings have kicked tiers on a seemingly more attainable blueliner.

Per the Free Press, GM Ken Holland “has talked to Anaheim about Cam Fowler in recent weeks.” This shouldn’t come as any huge surprise — Fowler is young (24 years old) and would be a nice injection onto a blueline featuring the likes of Niklas Kronwall (35) Jonathan Ericsson (32) and Mike Green (30).

Coming off a year in which he had 28 points in 69 games, Fowler — a good offensive d-man — is also quite affordable. He has two years left on a five-year, $20 million deal with a $4M average annual cap hit, which Anaheim may be forced to flip away after inking Sami Vatanen and still needing to come to terms with Hampus Lindholm.

In terms of fit, Fowler is a solid power-play presence, something Detroit needs to upgrade. The Red Wings PP was average at best during the regular season and went completely south in the playoffs, going 1-for-25 in an opening-round loss to Tampa Bay.

It’s a big reason why former assistant coach Pat Ferschweiler — who ran the man advantage last season — has been re-assigned to the press box, replaced by ex-Wild bench boss John Torchetti.

Despite erratic year, Stars say Nichushkin still ‘very important player to us’

Valeri Nichushkin

Dallas did the expected on Tuesday, and made a qualifying offer for RFA forward Valeri Nichushkin.

Now, for the tricky part.

Described as a “very important player to us,” by GM Jim Nill (per the Morning-News), Nichushkin has until July 15 to accept the offer. He could also try and negotiate an extension with the Stars, or he could sign an offer sheet with another club.

With all those options available, it makes for an interesting dynamic.

The 10th overall pick in 2013, Nichushkin’s had a pretty eventful first three years in the NHL. He played very well as a rookie, scoring 14 goals and 34 points in 79 games, but his sophomore campaign was a nightmare — he missed nearly the entire season with a hip injury and subsequent surgery, and only appeared in eight contests.

Last year, he struggled.

Stars head coach Lindy Ruff made him a healthy scratch early in the season, saying Nichushkin needed to “get his head in the right place.” In late March, an interview with with Russian news outlet Sport-Express made waves, as Nichuskin said he didn’t feel head coach Ruff trusted him, or played him enough.

Not long after, Nichuskin’s agent tried to clear the air.

“Val loves it in Dallas,” Mark Gandler told the Morning News. “He’s very happy there.”

In the end, Nichushkin finished with just nine goals and 29 points in 79 regular season contests. He wasn’t much of a factor at all in the playoffs, playing 10 of 13 games while going goalless.

Last month, Nill preached patience with the 21-year-old Russian, saying “there’s still lots of room for growth.”

Colorado shakes up blueline again, will buy out Stuart

DENVER, CO - MARCH 14:  Brad Stuart #17 of the Colorado Avalanche looks on as he skates against the Calgary Flames at Pepsi Center on March 14, 2015 in Denver, Colorado. The Avalanche defeated the Flames 3-2.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Getty Images

Brad Stuart‘s time is up in Colorado.

Per the Denver Post, the Avs are set to buy out the veteran defenseman of the final year of his contract — a two-year, $7.2 million deal with a $3.6M average annual cap hit.

Because Stuart is 36, Colorado won’t receive any salary cap relief with the buyout. It will, however, save $1.2 million in cash (two-thirds of Stuart’s salary is to be paid out over the course of this year and the next.)

A 16-year veteran, Stuart barely played for the Avs last year, missing extensive time with a back injury (and subsequent surgery). He appeared in just six games all told.

With this move and the trade of Nick Holden to the Rangers at the draft, Avs GM Joe Sakic has opened up some spots on defense. The goal is to have some of the organization’s young prospects make the leap to full-time NHL status.

Sakic told the Post that Nikita Zadorov (21 years old), Chris Bigras (21) and ’11 first-round pick Duncan Siemens (22) will have “every opportunity to try and make this team.”

Sakic added that 25-year-old Eric Gelinas, acquired from New Jersey at last year’s trade deadline, is also in the mix for minutes.

On that note, it’s probably worth mentioning the Avs passed on qualifying d-man Brandon Gormley and won’t re-sign UFA blueliner Zach Redmond.

That would seemingly put some pressure on Sakic to get a deal done with pending RFA Tyson Barrie. Though Barrie has been the subject of trade rumors over the last months, the Avs have said they’re not dealing him away.

Panthers hire Luongo’s brother as AHL goalie coach

SUNRISE, FL - NOVEMBER 8: Goaltender Roberto Luongo #1 of the Florida Panthers skates prior to the game against the Calgary Flames at the BB&T Center on November 8, 2014 in Sunrise, Florida. The Flames defeated the Panthers 6-4. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
Getty Images
1 Comment

Florida continued to overhaul its hockey operations on Tuesday, but with a twist — Leo Luongo, the younger brother of starting goalie Roberto Luongo, has been hired as the club’s goalie coach for AHL Springfield.


The 31-year old Luongo has served as goaltending coach for the HC Lugano organization of the Swiss National League A for the last three seasons (2013-16). During his time in Switzerland, Luongo also served as a video/goaltending coach in the Spengler Cup tournament for Lugano (2015) and Team Canada (2013, 2014).

Previously, the Montreal, Quebec native served as a goaltending consultant & instructor for Hockey Canada (2009-11), goaltending coach for the Acadie-Bathurst Titan of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (2007-13) and a voluntary goaltending coach for the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch (2012-13).

As mentioned above, this is just the latest change for the Panthers. To recap:

Fired assistant coach John Madden, replaced him with Dave Barr.

Promoted Dale Tallon to president of hockey ops, named Tom Rowe assistant GM, named Eric Joyce and Steve Werier assistant GMs.

Promoted longtime scout Peter Mahovlich to a special advisor to ownership role.

— Fired Scott Luce, the club’s director of player personnel, then named Jason Bukala co-director of amateur scouting and Al Tuer head pro scout.