Author: Mike Halford

University of Michigan v Minnesota

Hobey Baker finalist Hyman won’t sign with Florida


University of Michigan senior Zach Hyman — taken by Florida in the fifth round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft — has informed the Panthers he won’t be signing an entry-level deal with the club.

The move will allow Hyman to become an unrestricted free agent on Aug. 16, though the Panthers may trade his rights before then. Regardless, the Sunrise-based team will be losing out on a fairly promising prospect; Hyman led the Wolverines in scoring this year, with 54 points in 37 games, and finished as a Hobey Baker finalist.

This move is not unlike what Kevin Hayes and Justin Schultz did with their drafting teams (Chicago and Anaheim, respectively.) Both waited for the mid-August deadline to pass, then became UFAs and signed elsewhere (with the Rangers and Oilers, respectively.)

It’s a scenario that could play out again this summer with Columubus draftee Mike Reilly, a University of Minnesota junior who’s announced his intention to turn pro next year, but has yet to sign his ELC with the Blue Jackets.

Blashill: No conversations about inheriting Detroit gig from Babcock


Jeff Blashill, head coach of Detroit’s AHL affiliate and rumored to be Mike Babcock’s heir apparent, said he’s had zero talks with GM Ken Holland about going behind the Wings’ bench.

“We have not had one conversation about it since Ken and I sat down last spring to talk about doing a new contract and me being the head coach of the Griffins,” Blashill said, per MLive. “That’s the only conversation we’ve had.”

Babcock, in the final year of his contract with Detroit, is believed to be highly sought-after by a number of clubs. Toronto, Philadelphia, Buffalo and San Jose all currently have coaching vacancies.

Detroit inked Blashill to a three-year extension last June, which many saw as a precursor to him eventually taking the head gig at the NHL level. Blashill, 41, has been with Detroit since the 2011-12 season, first spending a year behind the Red Wings bench as Babcock’s assistant before taking the head coaching gig with the Griffins.

In Grand Rapids, he’s enjoyed tremendous success. The Griffins won the Calder Cup two years ago and advanced to the Western Conference semis last year; this season, they’ll open the playoffs as the West’s No. 2 seed.

Blashill is thought of very highly within the Detroit organization. He’s overseen the development and promotion of Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, Riley Sheahan, Tomas Jurco, Joakim Andersson, Luke Glendening and Brendan Smith and, shortly prior to signing Blashill to the aforementioned extension, Holland called him “an NHL coach in the making.”

But it doesn’t sound like he’s ready to make the leap just yet.

“As in the past, I honestly don’t even think about it,” Blashill explained. “I have never been in a job and thought about what’s next. I’ve always thought about right now, and that’s a series with Toronto [Marlies, Grand Rapids’ Round 1 opponent], and that’s my sole focus.

“I signed a contract last year because I really enjoy my job and I really enjoy working for the Red Wings.”

Chara suffered fractured ankle, will miss Worlds

Boston Bruins v Buffalo Sabres

Bruins captain Zdeno Chara reportedly suffered a fractured ankle late in the regular season, an injury that will sideline him for the upcoming World Hockey Championships in the Czech Republic.

Update: The Bruins announced that he specifically suffered a non-displaced fracture to his left fibula and will take about a month to recover. Here’s the full statement:

The Boston Bruins announced today, Tuesday, April 21 the following injury update: defenseman Zdeno Chara has a non-displaced fracture of his left fibula and the recovery time is approximately four weeks from today. The injury will not require surgery.

According to Slovakian news outlet Sport.sme, Team Slovak head coach Vladimir Vujtek has already ruled the towering d-man out of the tournament, which will run from May 1-17. While details are scarce as to the actual injury, it’s possible Chara fractured the ankle while blocking a shot against Toronto in the Bruins’ fourth-last game of the year.

If that’s the case, it’s fairly remarkable — Chara proceeded to play in the final three games of the season, playing at least 23 minutes in each.

This is the latest in what’s been a rough campaign, health-wise, for the 38-year-old (that turns 39 in May.) Chara earlier suffered a permanently torn PCL that left him at less than 100 percent for a good portion of the season; despite that, he still appeared in 63 games and averaged over 23 minutes per night.