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.
Jeff Gordon doesn’t see losing Patrik Berglund (shoulder surgery) for at least four months as a big blow to the St. Louis Blues. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
What does the Los Angeles Kings’ decision to sign Christian Ehrhoff tell us about the Slava Voynov situation? (Puck Daddy)
Sidney Crosby is enthusiastic about the prospect of playing with Phil Kessel for a lot of different reasons. (DK Pittsburgh Sports)
Shane Doan is happy with the moves the Arizona Coyotes have made over the summer. (Coyotes.nhl.com)
Pavel Datsyuk’s recovery from his ankle surgery seems to be going well. (MLive.com)
Auston Matthews, who might be taken with the top pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, said that the prospect of playing with older competition and for coach Marc Crawford are two of the big reasons he decided to sign with the ZSC Lions. (Arizona Republic)
The Los Angeles Kings added to their pool of defensive prospects by signing Damir Sharipzyanov to a three-year, entry-level contract, per the team’s website.
Sharipzyanov had nine goals, 34 points, and 59 penalty minutes in 66 games in 2014-15 with the OHL’s Owen Sound Attack. A native of Nizhnekamsk, Russia, the 19-year-old blueliner made the transition to North America in 2013-14.
Internationally, he played for Russia in the 2014 Under-18 Worlds. While participating in this summer’s training camp for the 2016 World Juniors though, he suffered a wrist injury and consequently won’t be participating in the Kings’ rookie camp, per LA Kings Insider’s Jon Rosen.
The undrafted prospect is expected to continue his development in the OHL for the 2015-16 campaign.
The Buffalo Sabres already look a lot different from the team that finished in the NHL basement, but they might secure one more significant upgrade before training camp begins.
Cody Franson, who entered the summer as one of the highest profile UFA defensemen, is on the Buffalo Sabres’ radar. They’re hoping to ink the 28-year-old defenseman to a two-year deal, per two NHL sources that spoke to the Buffalo News. PHT’s Dhiren Mahiban has corroborated that Franson is in contract talks with Buffalo.
Buffalo has been cited as a potential destination for Franson in the past along with Pittsburgh and Boston. Among those three teams, the Sabres are in the best cap position by a wide margin as they have roughly $12 million in space, per General Fanager.
Franson had seven goals and 36 points in 78 games last season, despite seeing a significant decline in production after being moved from Toronto to Nashville on Feb. 15. Although the Predators were hoping his presence would bolster their chances of having a long playoff run, GM David Poile in retrospect felt that it wasn’t a good fit, in part because he was a right-handed shot.
If captain Andrew Ladd enters the season without a new contract, it will naturally raise questions that he would like to avoid.
“It would be nicer to get it done before the year … especially in a market like this, there are questions every day, so it’d be nice to move past it at some point,” Ladd said, per TSN. “I’ve been around long enough that I know sometimes these things take time. I think both parties are interested in getting something done. All the things add up.”
The 29-year-old forward has one season remaining on his five-year, $22 million contract, but his next deal is expected to be more lucrative. After all, he’s coming off of a campaign where he scored 24 goals and a career-high 62 points.
The Free Press estimated back in July that Ladd would ultimately get “north of $6 million” annually on a contract “worth in the range of $40 million.”
That would be in the same ballpark as the extensions for Brandon Dubinsky (six-year, $35.1 million) and Ryan Callahan (six-year, $34.8 million). All three of those players are fairly close in age and are noteworthy for being able to contribute offensively while maintaining a physical presence. Callahan is also a former captain.
Of course time is running out for Ladd and the Jets to agree to terms before the campaign begins and if they fail to do so, Ladd’s public eagerness to put this behind him will only add fuel to the speculation as to what the sticking point is. Which will, of course, lead to those daily questions.
The American Hockey League announced its schedule for the 2015-16 campaign and it’s an unconventional one.
This will mark the first season with the AHL’s new Pacific Division, which includes five California teams (San Jose Barracuda, Bakersfield Condors, Ontario Reign, San Diego Gulls, and Stockton Heat). None of those locations hosted AHL teams last season and their presence is something of a geographical hurdle as the most western team after them is the San Antonio Rampage.
What the AHL has done is set up a schedule where those five California teams will play in 68 games while the rest of the league will participate in 76. That’s in contrast to the 2014-15 schedule when every team played in 76 contests.
The league did previously make its intentions regarding the California teams clear, as reported by LA Kings Insider back in June, but at the time it wasn’t clear how this would impact playoff seeding. It’s now known that the AHL will rank teams based on points percentage, which is points earned divided by points available.
The season will begin on Oct. 9 — two days after the NHL’s opening night — and conclude on Apr. 17. You can view the full schedule here.