Ryan Dadoun

Nicklas Backstrom

Trotz: ‘Up in the air’ if Backstrom (hip) will be ready for opener


Nicklas Backstrom is recovering from the arthroscopic hip surgery he underwent in May and while he should be able to skate during training camp, his overall timetable remains uncertain.

“Will he be ready for the start of the season? That part is up in the air right now,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said when asked about Backstrom’s availability on DC101’s Elliot In The Morning.

One of the concerns surrounding his recovery is his conditioning as Trotz noted that the 27-year-old forward will be limited in that regard over the summer, per CSN Washington. He consequently might be significantly behind his teammates in that regard come October even if he is otherwise healthy enough to play.

The Capitals initially projected that Backstrom would be “completely healthy prior to the start of the 2015-16 regular season.” However, Trotz’s update meshes with a report last month from Swedish news outlet Gefle Dagblad, which claimed that Backstrom could be sidelined for up to five months. The high end of that timetable would translate to a late October return.

He finished 2014-15 with 18 goals and 78 points in 82 contests. He hasn’t missed a game since the 2011-2012 campaign.

PHT Morning Skate: Burns would have a tiger, but wife vetoed

Brent Burns

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns loves animals and has pet reptiles at home, in part because with his travel schedule a cat or dog isn’t as feasible. Speaking of cats though: “I’d have a tiger if my wife would let me, but she kiboshed that.” (Sportsnet)

It might seem weird for Sam Bennett to be participating in the Calgary Flames’ development camp after his strong showing in the 2015 playoffs, but he sees the benefit in it. (Calgary Sun)

Jack Eichel is naturally dominating the headlines at the Sabres’ development camp, but Buffalo has another big prospect there in fellow second overall pick Sam Reinhart. (Buffalo News)

James Duthie will have a role in Goon: Last of The Enforcers:

Retired defenseman Jay Leach is joining the AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins as an assistant coach. (Penguins.nhl.com)

After Philadelphia selected three goaltenders in the 2015 draft, Anthony Stolarz realizes he has to elevate his game. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Voracek’s agent begins extension talks with Flyers

Jakub Voracek

The Philadelphia Flyers need to agree to terms with restricted free agent Michael Del Zotto, but they’re otherwise pretty much set for training camp. That doesn’t mean the rest of the summer will be uneventful though.

Jakub Voracek is going into the final season of his four-year, $17 million contract and the Flyers might avoid the uncertainty that comes with that by re-signing him this summer. His agent Petr Svoboda has begun talks with the team, per CSN Philly.

The 25-year-old forward scored 22 goals and 81 points in 82 contests last season, so he’s in line for a big raise. He’s not much older than Vladimir Tarasenko, who signed a eight-year, $60 million deal on Tuesday. It’s not a perfect comparable because Tarasenko is more of a goal scorer while Voracek has more NHL experience. Voracek also has a better track record over the last three seasons with 189 points in 212 games compared to Tarasenko’s 135 points in 179 contests.

In fact, over the last three campaigns, Voracek ranks eighth in total points among players that are 28 years old or younger. Of those in the top-10, the only ones to re-sign within the last year were Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews (ninth and 10th respectively), who inked matching eight-year, $84 million contracts. But of course, Kane and Toews are being paid for more than just their point production.

CSN Philly speculated that Voracek is probably looking at a five-year deal that comes with at least a $7 million annual cap hit and in this market, that would probably be seen as good value.

Ottawa re-signs AHL coach Richardson


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.”

Panthers ink Corban Knight, Garrett Wilson

Garrett Wilson

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.