The Chicago Blackhawks are expected to be forced into making sacrifices this summer in order to stay under the salary ceiling, but one player GM Stan Bowman doesn’t want to let walk away is Andrew Desjardins.
“We would love to bring him back,” Bowman said, per the Chicago Sun-Times. “It was a nice surprise the way Desjardins played a huge role for us. I think he played a bigger role than we probably expected.”
Bowman acquired the 28-year-old forward from the San Jose Sharks on March 2 in exchange for Ben Smith and a 2017 conditional seventh round pick. He went on to record a goal and four points in 21 playoff games while logging an average of 13:55 minutes per contest. That included some ice time in power play and shorthanded situations.
Desjardins is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent after completing a two-year, $1.5 million deal.
The Blackhawks also have to make a decision regarding UFAs Antoine Vermette and Brad Richards, although Chicago could be priced out of both of them as they’re likely to attract a fair amount of attention on the open market.
Bowman vows to keep Saad in Chicago ‘for years to come’
While the focus surrounding the Coyotes has shifted to its battle with the City of Glendale over the arena lease deal, the team has what could prove to be a defining day for the franchise coming up. After finishing the 2014-15 campaign with just 56 points, Arizona is going into the draft with six of the first 81 picks, including the third overall.
As highly regarded as this draft is, this is an opportunity for the Coyotes to significantly bolster its prospects pool, but Coyotes GM Don Maloney might also try to use some of those picks to acquire more immediate help.
“We’ve got two firsts, two seconds, two thirds. We have two firsts next year. We have lots of good assets that we can use to better our team and we’re certainly not against using it in the right deal,” Maloney told Fox Sports.
He also expressed a willingness to trade down from the third overall pick, although it would likely be a matter of a few spots as opposed to him trading to the 10th of 13th position.
Maloney has raised the possibility of moving picks before, but he might be even more incentivized to execute trades now. The fight with Glendale has once again made the Coyotes’ future uncertain and it comes at a very bad time because Arizona needs to spend around $19 million just to reach the floor, based on a $71 million cap, per General Fanager.
So while they have to spend money, free agents might be reluctant to agree to terms with the Coyotes if that matter isn’t resolved before July 1. Arizona could still presumably lure some players over, but it might have to resort to paying over market value for players that aren’t in as high demand. With that in mind, it might make more sense to acquire the veteran talent the team needs through trades, especially seeing as there are franchises looking to shed salary.
Whatever happens, Maloney anticipates that it will take place on the draft floor.
Brenden Morrow ended up just two wins shy of winning his first Stanley Cup championship. At the age of 36, that would have left the door open to him retiring on a high note. As it is, he doesn’t seem certain about his future.
He’s eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and has indicated that he might “give it one more go,” per the Tampa Bay Times. He’ll start working out again in two weeks and go from there.
As for his destination, he would love to stay with Tampa Bay, but he hasn’t spoke to Lightning GM Steve Yzerman yet. The Lightning don’t have a ton of cap space, but he made $1.55 million last season and might be willing to accept a cut given his modest workload, so fitting him under the ceiling might not be the main concern.
Instead, it’s up to the Lightning to decide if they want to stick with the veteran or see what the free agent market or their prospects have to offer. Morrow had three goals and eight points in 70 contests in 2014-15 while averaging 9:19 minutes. He was held off the scoresheet entirely in 24 playoff games and logged just 8:40 minutes per contest.
It took 1,213 regular season and playoff games, but Kimmo Timonen has hung up his skates as a Stanley Cup champion. That fact hasn’t sunk in yet, but he’ll have time to reflect and soak it all in over the summer. Plus he’s owed a day with the Cup.
What the future holds for Timonen beyond that remains to be seen. Flyers GM Ron Hextall has already made it known that he wants to talk to the 40-year-old defenseman about the possibility of returning to the Flyers’ organization in a non-playing capacity.
“That might be something,” Timonen told CSN Philly. “Obviously, I’m going to move back to Philly and stay there for a couple of more years, at least. Obviously, the Flyers have a special place in my heart. I had a great eight years there and they have a really great organization.
“So if we can find something that can benefit both sides, obviously, I would be interested. I’ll talk to Hexy when I get home and see what happens. I have no plans, really. I’m going to take my time. It’s been a crazy 25, 30 years, so I want to take my time and really see what my next move [is].”
Timonen played in 519 regular games with the Flyers and recorded at least 35 points in six of his first seven campaigns with them. He wasn’t able to open the 2014-15 campaign with Philadelphia due to blood clots and before he was able to make his season debut, he was traded to Chicago for a 2015 second round pick and a 2016 conditional round pick that became another second rounder thanks to the Blackhawks’ success.
Scott Stevens served as a co-coach for the New Jersey Devils alongside Adam Oates last season and he was consequently in the running to become the team’s new head coach. That job went to John Hynes instead, but Stevens was still willing to stick around as an assistant.
That won’t happen either though, per the Bergen Record.
As previously reported, the Devils hired Alain Nasreddine and Geoff Ward to work under Hynes. The addition of Nasreddine is particularly relevant because of his history of running the the AHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins’ defense and penalty kill when Hynes was serving as that squad’s bench boss. That was the role Stevens would have been in if he was hired.
“The decision with Alain (who will coach the defensemen) wasn’t about Scott. It was more about Alain,” Devils GM Ray Shero said.
From here Stevens is expected to pursue coaching opportunities elsewhere, but it sounds like Shero’s leaving the door open to Stevens staying with the Devils in some other role, including potentially as a coach with AHL Albany.
“That’s a conversation I haven’t had because it was more NHL assistant and there certainly are openings around the league still,” Shero said. “So, that’s a different conversation with Scott that I’ll have to have or he’ll have to have with me in terms where he wants to go with his career. Then, like with anybody, you have to make career choices and go from there.”
Fellow 2014-15 co-coach Adam Oates has already told the Devils he won’t be returning.