Ryan Dadoun

Ray Shero

From Jackets to Devils: Castron leaves one scouting director job for another

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New Jersey Devils general manager Ray Shero’s restructuring of the New Jersey Devils continued on Friday as Paul Castron was brought on to serve as the team’s director of amateur scouting.

Castron will be replacing longtime scouting director David Conte, who the Devils parted ways with earlier this month.

It’s interesting to note that Castron was already serving as the director of scouting with the Columbus Blue Jackets, so at first glance this looks like a lateral move. However, Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen had brought on board Ville Siren to oversee the team’s amateur scouting and that hurt Castron’s level of authority, according to the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline.

“I would to thank Jarmo Kekalainen and the Columbus Blue Jackets for their cooperation in allowing Paul Castron to join the New Jersey Devils,” said Shero, per the team’s website. “Paul has an outstanding track record of evaluating and developing prospects for more than 20 years. We feel that he has the experience and leadership qualities to help us accomplish our player development goals.”

The Devils have been one of the least successful teams in recent years when it comes to drafting NHL talent while Columbus has been one of the best, as illustrated by this chart from TSN.ca’s Travis Yost.

One month later, Mike Richards’ future remains murky

Los Angeles Kings v New York Rangers

When will the other shoe drop?

It’s been a little over a month now since the Los Angeles Kings terminated Mike Richards’ contract for a “material breach.” Doing so avoided a costly buyout, but it also opened the door to the NHLPA potentially filing a grievance.

The NHLPA promptly released a statement that it was reviewing the situation and the next day a report emerged that Richards was allegedly involved in a border incident involving the prescription drug oxycodone.

Since then though the NHLPA hasn’t filed a grievance and Richards still hasn’t been charged with anything. So when will we know for certain what Richards’ status is?

Although it’s possible that nothing is imminent, there is a major deadline to consider. The NHLPA only had a 60-day window to file its grievance, so it must take action by Aug. 29 if it plans to do so at all, per TSN. From there the players’ union can request an expedited hearing, potentially opening the door to this matter being settled by training camp.

The union might be waiting in the hope that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police will make its intentions known first though. Sgt. Bert Paquet confirmed that the investigation into Richards is still active. However, the RCMP’s deadline to file charges might lead to them making a decision after the NHLPA has to take a position.

“In a federal drug case, and I am not saying this is one, we usually have more than a year before courts say we can no longer prosecute,” Paquet said. “It depends on the actual charges in this case, if there are any. But we’re not worried about that, we have several more months before we’re at the point where that happens.”

If nothing else, the Kings will have a $1.33 million annual cap hit on their books next season due to Richards’ recapture penalty, but if Los Angeles has to buy him out under normal circumstances, that would result in fluctuating cap penalties that would total roughly $14.7 million over 10 years. At its peak, the Kings would be charged $4.2 million annually for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 campaigns.

Subban working out with former Olympian Ben Johnson

P.K. Subban

In an effort to improve his speed and agility, Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban has enlisted the help of former Olympian Ben Johnson.

“We started working together three times a week, but we’ve gone down to two a week,” Johnson told TSN. “I don’t want to overload his muscles. He’s doing strength and acceleration and some agility. He’s going to be even better, even faster next year.”

Subban is coming off of a strong season where he recorded 60 points and averaged 26:12 minutes per contest. He finished third in Norris Trophy voting behind only Drew Doughty and Erik Karlsson.

Subban declined to speak to TSN about his training and agent Don Meehan speculated that it was in an effort to protect Johnson from media scrutiny. Johnson won the gold medal for the men’s 100 meters in the 1988 Olympics, but lost the medal due to a positive steroids test. The International Amateur Athletics Federation banned him for life in 1993 following a positive test for excess testosterone. He was able to return in 1999 due to procedural errors only to once again fail a drug test.

Quebecor seeks partners in Quebec City bid

Calgary Flames v Ottawa Senators

Quebecor’s goal of bringing the NHL back to Quebec City took a big step forward when the NHL announced that it would look at expansion bids exclusively from them and Las Vegas, but the media and telecom company’s work is far from done.

To help cover the $500 million expansion fee, Quebecor is seeking investors.

“Submitting this application is one more step towards our ultimate objective of making sports an additional growth segment,” president and CEO Pierre Dion said, per TSN.

“We will soon be approaching potential partners, which we believe will attract high interest levels.”

Quebecor has also begun talks with possible sponsors.

Aside from the expansion fee, there are other potential road blocks that might prevent the second coming of the Quebec Nordiques. One is the Canadian dollar’s decline and while NHL commissioner Gary Bettman doesn’t anticipate that being a problem, there’s also potential geographical headaches that might lead to the east coast Quebec City team being put in the Western Conference.

Former first-rounder Gormley accepts Coyotes’ qualifying offer

Brandon Gormley

Defenseman Brandon Gormley might just be 23 years old, but he’s running out of chances to prove that he can be a regular in the NHL.

Gormley was a restricted free agent this summer and ended up accepting the Arizona Coyotes’ qualifying offer, according to Fox Sports Arizona. Based on the fact that he came with a $810,000 annual cap hit at the NHL level last season, Arizona had to qualify him at $850,500. The deal is two-ways and he would earn $67,500 if he spends the 2015-16 campaign in the minors, but he would first have to clear waivers.

He was taken with the 13th overall pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, but has struggled to maintain a roster spot with the Coyotes. He had four points in 27 contests with Arizona in 2014-15 and another 10 points in 23 AHL games.

“He’s at a stage where it’s either fish or cut bait, to be honest,” Coyotes GM Don Maloney said. “This offseason and training camp are very important for him. The good thing is, we have roster room available for him to get the job if he earns it.”