Luke Richardson was initially viewed as a candidate to become the Buffalo Sabres’ new bench boss. That didn’t happen though, so today he agreed to a one-year contract extension with the Ottawa Senators, per the team’s website.
Richardson will be entering his fourth season as the AHL Binghamton Senators’ head coach. He has a 122-82-11-13 record and the team has reached the postseason twice over that span. He’s also been credited with guiding the Senators’ recent success stories, such as Mark Stone and Mike Hoffman.
The retired defenseman is a veteran of 1,417 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers, Philadelphia Flyers, Columbus Blue Jackets, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Ottawa Senators. When he retired after playing in two contests in 2008-09, he joined the Ottawa Senators coaching staff as an assistant. He stayed in that role for three seasons before assuming his current job with Binghamton.
“We’re very excited to have Luke back behind the bench next season,” said Binghamton Senators GM Randy Lee. “As we witnessed with last week’s development camp, the growth and development of the young players in our organization is one of our highest priorities. Luke has shown a tremendous ability to push our players to be better and, even more importantly, to be fully prepared when they get the call to the National Hockey League.”
The Florida Panthers announced that they have agreed to one-year, two-way contracts with forwards Corban Knight and Garrett Wilson.
Knight, 24, is a former standout with the University of North Dakota. He went pro in 2013 after the Panthers traded his rights to Calgary in exchange for a 2013 fourth round pick (Michael Downing). He played primarily in the minors over the last two seasons, although he did appear in nine games with the Flames and scored a goal.
Calgary traded him back to Florida in January in exchange for Drew Shore. Knight had 16 goals and 36 points in 58 AHL contests with Adirondack and San Antonio in 2014-15.
Wilson, 24, was taken with the 107th overall pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. He had 23 goals, 38 points, and 80 penalty minutes in 71 contests with San Antonio last season. Over the last two seasons, Wilson has also played in five games with Florida.
The Chicago Blackhawks have already traded Brandon Saad and watched unrestricted free agents Brad Richards and Antoine Vermette walk due to the realities of their salary cap situation, but they aren’t completely out of the woods yet.
They’re still above the cap, per General Fanager, and that’s before re-signing Marcus Kruger or UFA Johnny Oduya. The defenseman has been patiently waiting to see if Chicago can clear the cap space necessary to retain him.
Kruger is in a similar boat. His agent, J.P. Barry, told CSN Chicago that he’s “trying to see if a multi-year contract is possible,” but they might have to wait until Chicago finds a solution to its cap issues before such a deal can be signed.
The upside is that Kruger is a restricted free agent and he decided against filing for salary arbitration, so his situation isn’t urgent, but it needs to be addressed eventually. A team is allowed to exceed the cap by 10% during the summer, but Chicago has to get its house in order before the start of the regular season.
Just keep in mind that the Blackhawks didn’t make the Nick Leddy trade last year until October, so a resolution might not be imminent.
The KHL club SKA St. Petersburg is denying reports of an altercation involving its head coach Andrei Nazarov and team doctor Yegor Kozlov.
The Russian website Business Online is reporting that Kozlov was hospitalized with a suspected head injury as a result of the incident.
The fight was also reported by Fontanka. It states (keep in mind this is per Google Translate):
Senior doctor hockey SKA Yegor Kozlov injured as a result of the conflict with the head coach Andrei Nazarov. Presumably fight occurred because of disagreement with the medical personnel policy of the new coach.
As the “Fontanka”, senior physician received injuries have been the subject of increased anxiety members of his family. According to our information, Yegor Kozlov can communicate in fits and starts, as it is difficult to say, but tries to reassure relatives.
Nazarov is a former NHL forward that had 124 points and 1,409 penalty minutes in 571 career games with the San Jose Sharks, Tampa Bay Lightning, Calgary Flames, Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, Phoenix (now Arizona) Coyotes, and Minnesota Wild.
SKA won the Gagarin Cup in 2015 with a team that featured Ilya Kovalchuk.
(h/t to Igor Kleyner and Sports Illustrated)
Vladimir Tarasenko’s performance last season combined with his solid showing in 2013-14 gave the St. Louis Blues the confidence to sign him to a eight-year, $60 million contract.
With that the Blues are just about set for the 2015-16 campaign. They still need to re-sign restricted free agent Magnus Paajarvi, but that might be the only remaining action we see from them between now and the start of training camp.
That leaves St. Louis near the salary cap, but with a little bit of wiggle room, per General Fanager. The challenge will come next summer when David Backes and Troy Brouwer are set to become unrestricted free agents while Jaden Schwartz will test the restricted free agent market. Schwartz in particular will likely be expecting a big raise from his current $2.35 million cap hit, assuming he has another strong season after his 63-point 2014-15 campaign.
If the Blues intend to keep defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk then they’ll also need to account for the likelihood that he’ll ask for a big raise too once his current four-year, $17 million deal expires in the summer of 2017.
It sets up a scenario where St. Louis might be compelled over the next year or two to trade players they otherwise wouldn’t have to remain cap compliant.
The big X-Factor in this will be how much the ceiling rises, but as we’ve seen this year with the decline of the Canadian dollar compared to its American counterpart, big increases in the cap aren’t a given.
Related: Shattenkirk’s agent downplays trade rumors