There’s no such thing as a well-timed injury, but when this one happened is particularly unfortunate.
Nick Merkley sustained an upper-body injury during a prospects game and will be out for the next two weeks, Coyotes GM Don Maloney told Dave Vest. Unless he returns earlier than projected, that would rule him out for every preseason game except for the Coyotes’ contest against San Jose on Oct. 2.
Arizona selected Merkley with the 30th overall pick of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, which it acquired from Chicago as part of the Antoine Vermette trade. It would have been surprising if Merkley had made the team, but this might rob him of an early opportunity to work with NHL players and get a good feel for what will be required of him at the next level.
That said, this of course doesn’t change the fact that Merkley is a promising prospect and one of many that are now tied to the Coyotes. In a few years he could be part of a young and exciting core of forwards in Arizona that might also include Dylan Strome, Henrik Samuelsson, Max Domi, and Anthony Duclair.
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.
Tyler Seguin talked about his experience modeling for the ESPN Body Issue. Given that he modeled with only a rubber duck covering himself, he wasn’t surprised when they appeared on his dressing room stall. What he’s hoping is that fans don’t start throwing them on the ice. (Puck Daddy)
Avalanche coach Patrick Roy warned that Reto Berra will need to have a strong training camp because Calvin Pickard will be given a shot at the number two gig as well. (Denver Post)
Pittsburgh Penguins forward David Perron felt his skating was at best average before, but he’s worked on it over the summer. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)
Sean Gentille offered a scathing assessment of the Patrick Kane press conference. (Sporting News)
Injuries have become a recurring problem for Pavel Datsyuk, but when he’s been healthy he’s managed to stay incredibly effective despite his age. (Along The Boards)
Defenseman Niclas Burstrom had a blooper in a Swedish league game that is now making the rounds internationally. After taking a double-minor penalty for cross-checking, he attempting to express his anger and ended up tumbling into the penalty box (H/T Puck Daddy):
He went on to score a goal though in a 3-2 victory, so all’s well that ends well.
When Steve Mason looks at the league’s top-tier goaltenders last season, he sees people that participated in 60 or more games. Back and knee injuries prevented him from reaching that milestone in 2014-15, but he’s hoping history doesn’t repeat itself.
“If the health is there and the consistency in my game is there, I don’t see why there would be an issue why I shouldn’t be playing that,” Mason told the Philadelphia Inquirer.
He tried to limit the amount of impact training like jumping and running he did this summer to “preserve the knee a little bit,” but beyond that his health issues last season didn’t impact his training regimen. He consequently feels ready for the 2015-16 campaign.
There’s a factor outside his health that might impact him reaching that milestone though and that’s new backup goaltender Michal Neuvirth. He did an impressive job during his stint with the struggling Buffalo Sabres last season and is someone that might warrant more playing time than your typical understudy.
The hope is that he’ll also provide the Flyers with a strong plan B should Mason struggle with another injury-riddled campaign, especially after Ray Emery failed to live up to expectations under those circumstances in 2014-15.
As if there wasn’t enough questions surrounding the Boston Bruins’ defense, they already have a blueliner on the sidelines.
Dennis Seidenberg suffered an upper-body injury while training and won’t participate in at least the first few days of the Bruins’ training camp as a result. If that’s the extent of his time missed then it’s not really a setback for Boston, but he’ll still need to be reevaluated in the near future and for now Bruins GM Don Sweeney can’t predict if this will be a serious problem or not.
“The only issue we have right now is that Dennis Seidenberg will likely not skate for the next few days,” Sweeney told CSN New England. “He reported to our trainers on Monday with an upper body injury from training. The doctors have chosen to take a conservative approach, and evaluate him day-to-day.”
On a more positive note for the Bruins, Seidenberg is the only one of the team’s 60 training camp players that won’t be able to participate in the team’s opening skates.
At the end of the day, this might prove to be minor, but anything related to Seidenberg is noteworthy given how much the team is likely to lean on him due to Dougie Hamilton‘s departure and Zdeno Chara‘s age (38).
Related – Bruins’ Biggest Question: Is the blue line good enough?
Brent Seabrook has been a key component to the Chicago Blackhawks’ three Stanley Cup championships over the last six campaigns, but he’s scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. His contract uncertainty might soon be a thing of the past though.
Seabrook and Chicago are closing in on a long-term extension, per the Chicago Tribune’s Chris Kuc. Of course, the big question is what kind of price tag that deal will come with.
The 30-year-old blueliner is completing a five-year, $29 million contract that consequently comes with a $5.8 million annual cap hit and given his resume, he has a lot of leverage given the demand there would be for his services on the open market. Would it be unrealistic under these circumstances to assume that his deal would be much different from the six-year, $40.5 million pack that Calgary recently signed with 31-year-old Mark Giordano?
Of course, it’s not a perfect comparison. Giordano is the Flames’ captain, gets more ice time than Seabrook and for the last two seasons he has put up better offensive numbers. Giordano has also finished in the top-10 in Norris Trophy voting in back-to-back campaigns while Seabrook has never finished higher than 13th. However, Seabrook’s success in the playoffs has to count for quite a bit.
If Seabrook signs a long-term deal than he’ll join Duncan Keith and Niklas Hjalmarsson as Chicago blueliners locked up until at least 2018-19.