Mike Halford

New York Islanders v Arizona Coyotes
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Coyotes ‘have some work to do’ in re-signing Rieder

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While it might seem premature (or maybe hyperbolic)  to call it a saga, what the heck — the Tobias Rieder saga in Arizona sounds like it’s hit a stalemate.

Rieder, coming off a career year with personal bests in goals (14) and assists (23), doesn’t appear to have closed the negotiating gap on a new contract, according to the Arizona Republic.

More:

“We have some work to do on him,” [Coyotes GM John] Chayka said.

There’s still more than a month to go before the team will gather for training camp, but the two sides don’t appear close to a resolution with Rieder’s camp considering the Kontinental Hockey League as an option.

“It’s just status quo,” said Darren Ferris, Rieder’s agent. “There’s been no discussions at this point that have made any meaningful change in anyone’s position.”

According to an Arizona Sports report, Rieder is seeking a two-year, $5.5 million deal, one that carries a $2.75M average annual cap hit. That would be a sizeable raise from the $925,000 he made on his now expired entry-level deal.

Per that same report, the Coyotes are offering “somewhere between $2 million and $2.3 million per year on a two-year deal.”

It’ll be interesting to see how this all shakes out.

Having only turned 23 in January, Rieder would seem to have reasonably good value. He’s a very quick skater that can play up and down the lineup, and didn’t just avoid a sophomore slump last season after appearing in 72 games as a rookie — he thrived.

Looking ahead, the next date of significance

One would think the next big date for both sides is Sept. 4, when Team Europe opens training camp for the World Cup. Rieder, who was born in Germany and played there prior to joining OHL Kitchener, was named to the European squad in late May.

Rangers add McCambridge to AHL staff

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 16: The New York Rangers logo is seen before the start of Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on May 16, 2015 in New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
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Didn’t take long for Keith McCambridge to find work again — on Wednesday, the Rangers announced McCambridge has been hired as an assistant coach on Ken Grenander’s staff in AHL Hartford.

McCambridge, 42, was dismissed by Winnipeg in April after five years as the head coach of its AHL affiliate (in Manitoba and St. John’s).

McCambridge had worked closely with a number of Winnipeg’s prized young prospects this past season — Connor Hellebuyck, Josh Morrissey, Nic Petan, Brendan Lemieux and J.C. Lipon all spent time in Manitoba, with several getting a look at the NHL level — and helped IceCaps advance to the Calder Cup Final two years ago.

Of course, the club has fallen on hard times lately. It failed to make the playoffs in consecutive seasons, and won just 26 games this year.

McCambridge’s connection in New York comes courtesy Rangers assistant Scott Arniel. The two worked together in 2009-10 in AHL Manitoba, where they coached one of New York’s recent signings — speedy forward Michael Grabner.

Report: Unsigned RFAs will be insured for World Cup

CALGARY, AB - JANUARY 7: Johnny Gaudreau #13 (L) of the Calgary Flames confers with his teammate Sean Monahan #23 during a break in play against the Detroit Red Wings during an NHL game at Scotiabank Saddledome on January 7, 2015 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)
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Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau, Nikita Kucherov and Jacob Trouba all have a couple things in common.

One, they’re restricted free agents still without contracts for next season.

Two, they’re all slated to participate in the upcoming World Cup of Hockey.

To that latter point, TSN’s Gary Lawless has the scoop:

Gaudreau, Monahan and Trouba are slated to participate with Team North America, while Kucherov has been named to the Russian squad.

Here’s the latest on each contract situation…

Jets aren’t trying to trade Trouba, says Chevy

Flames say ‘no real update’ on talks with Gaudreau, Monahan

Yzerman ‘confident’ he can sign Kucherov

Shea Weber hasn’t been to Montreal yet, and his agent says there’s nothing strange about that

Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber celebrates after scoring a goal against the San Jose Sharks during the second period in Game 3 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup Western Conference semifinal playoff series Tuesday, May 3, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
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It’s been 35 days since the Montreal Canadiens acquired Shea Weber from Nashville in exchange for P.K. Subban.

And Weber still hasn’t been to Montreal.

Subban, as you may have heard, has certainly been to Nashville. He even took to the stage at Tootsie’s to sing some Johnny Cash.

Sooooo… what’s up with Weber?

According to his agent, nothing.

From the Montreal Gazette:

Weber’s agent insists there’s nothing strange about Weber not coming to Montreal yet. Jarrett Bousquet says it’s simply a case of scheduling and the fact Weber spends the summer in Kelowna, B.C. 

“His initial reaction (to the trade) was there was a pause and a little bit of shock,” Bousquet said during a phone interview Monday. “And then when he realized it was true, he was pretty excited. 

“Obviously, now he’s extremely excited being back in Canada and the pieces that they’ve put together. And he knows Carey Price from B.C. and the Olympics and whatnot, so I know he’s very excited now.”

Bousquet went on to add Weber is expected in Montreal later this month. The Gazette later reported Weber will be in attendance for head coach Michel Therrien’s golf tournament on Aug. 9.

The subtext to all of this, of course, is how Weber — described as a “very private person” — will react to inevitable throngs of Montreal reporters.

Remember, the 30-year-old has spent all 11 of his NHL seasons in Nashville, a market not exactly known for intense media scrutiny.

Hextall made a ‘gut decision’ on Hakstol, and so far it’s paid off

Winnipeg Jets vs Philadelphia Flyers
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This is part of Philadelphia Flyers day on PHT…

There were plenty of questions after Philadelphia named Dave Hakstol head coach last May, but one question was more prevalent than the rest:

“Who?”

OK, maybe Hakstol didn’t come out of nowhere — he’d spent the previous 11 years at NCAA powerhouse North Dakota — but he certainly wasn’t a household name. Far from it.

What’s more, he got the job despite having no previous NHL coaching experience, with the names of regarded veterans like Mike Babcock, Dan Bylsma and Peter DeBoer being bandied about.

No matter, explained GM Ron Hextall.

“In the end,” said Hextall, “when you’re making decisions like this, you take all the information, you process it — and it was a process — and you weed through it, and you make a decision with your gut.

“This was a gut decision, and I feel extremely comfortable with it.”

After Hakstol’s first year on the job, that gut decision seems to have paid off.

One of the biggest perceived strengths, as you’d expect from someone with such experience at the collegiate level, is an ability to work with young players. At his introductory presser, Hakstol said he had “an awful lot of confidence in terms of knowing the game well,” adding that he knew “how to relate and communicate with players.”

On that note, consider:

Shayne Gostisbehere, 23, burst onto the scene, emerging as one of the league’s best young offensive d-men. In an NHL where high-risk plays — especially by blueliners — can be eschewed by coaches in favor of high-percentage ones, Hakstol embraced Gostisbehere’s “attack mentality,” saying he wanted him in “high-risk mode.”

— Since coming to the Flyers in 2011, Brayden Schenn played under Peter Laviolette and Craig Berube. Schenn’s production and role under both were decent, but the 24-year-old really came into his own this season, scoring a career-high 26 goals and 59 points.

In November, something interesting happened.

Hakstol parked Schenn as a healthy scratch for a game against the ‘Canes, but never spoke to Schenn prior to making the decision. The lack of explanation was strange, and so too was Schenn missing a game, given he’d played all 82 in each of the past two seasons.

If the move was intentional, it worked. Schenn admitted it “put a fire” in his belly, and responded with the best year of his career.

— Hakstol also oversaw the integration of two of Philly’s better young forward prospects. Scott Laughton, the 20th overall pick in 2012, posted career highs games played, goals and points. The 22-year-old also made his Stanley Cup playoff debut. Nick Cousins, 23, scored 11 points in 47 games and appeared in all six playoff contests, averaging close to 11 minutes per night.

In terms of big picture, it sure seems like Hakstol was hired to partly replicate what he did at UND, the whole “build a program” philosophy. Schenn, Laughton, Cousins and Sean Couturier are part of an under-24 forward group that will eventually include ’15 first-rounder Travis Konecny.

On defense, Gostisbehere is just part of the tantalizing young group Flyers fans salivate over.

Hakstol will be the guy to oversee this whole thing, which may be why Hextall wasn’t overly concerned about the lack of big-league experience upon hiring him.

“I had a list of things that I wanted from a head coach, and went down this checklist in my mind,” Hextall said at the time. “Every box was checked except for the NHL experience.

“And, quite frankly, for me, that was the one that was the least important.”

Guess it pays to listen to your gut.