Ryan Dadoun

New York Islanders v Washington Capitals - Game Five

Neuvirth cites Voracek as his reason for joining Flyers


Any Flyers fans that were happy to see goaltender Michal Neuvirth sign with their team this summer can apparently thank Jakub Voracek for that.

“I met Jake and we talked about things here and he said all good things about the Flyers,” Neuvirth told CSN Philly. “He wanted me to come here. I think it made him happy when I signed here. … He was the reason I signed here.”

Neuvirth, 27, inked a two-year, $3.25 million deal to serve as Steve Mason’s understudy. The hope is that he’ll prove to be more effective in that role than Ray Emery was last season.

Although this is the first time that Voracek and Neuvirth will play together in the NHL, the two have been working together on the Czech national team since they were teenagers.

For his part though, Voracek doesn’t want to take credit for recruiting Neuvirth.

“I think it’s hard to say I convinced him,” Voracek said. “I told him this was a great place to play with a great locker room [of guys]. A lot of potential. That’s all I said.”

Neuvirth has a 2.73 GAA and .912 save percentage in 168 career NHL games.

Hurricanes add Ray Whitney, three others to scouting staff

Jeff Daniels
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Less than a year after officially ending his playing career, Ray Whitney has returned to the Carolina Hurricanes to begin the next chapter of his professional life.

Along with Mark Craig, Jeff Daniels, and Don Elland, Whitney has joined the Carolina Hurricanes’ scouting staff, per the team’s release. Elland will serve as an amateur scout while the rest will be pro scouts.

“Mark, Jeff and Ray will bring a fresh perspective to our pro scouting staff, and Don brings a wealth of experience in the OHL to our amateur staff,” said Hurricanes GM Ron Francis.

Whitney enjoyed a 1,330-game playing career that involved stints with the San Jose Sharks, Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, Columbus Blue Jackets, Detroit Red Wings, Phoenix Coyotes, and Dallas Stars as well as the Hurricanes. His stint with Carolina was the longest at 372 games, but more importantly Carolina is the team he won the Stanley Cup with back in 2006.

He’s tied for 59th place on the all-time assists leaderboard (679) and is 63rd in points (1,064).

Daniels is another former Hurricanes player and the retired forward logged 425 games at the NHL level. At this point though, Hurricanes fans likely know him better for his work as a coach as he spent four years working as an assistant with Carolina before logging another seven as the bench boss of their AHL-affiliate. He was relieved of that post in April.

Craig also has ties to the Hurricanes, albeit in a less direct way. When current Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos Jr. owned the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires, Craig was his team’s first bench boss. Craig spent the 2014-15 campaign as the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers’ general manager, which Karmanos also owned until January.

Similarly, Elland was the Whalers’ head coach for the 2014-15 campaign and had originally joined that franchise’s coaching staff in 2010.

Wild ’15-16 Outlook

Zach Parise

When looking at the Minnesota Wild, it’s easy to see their potential, but without making any major additions over the summer, are they in a position to get past the second round for the first time since 2003?

To a decent extent, Minnesota’s fate rests on Devan Dubnyk’s shoulders. This is a team that was in a free fall when he was acquired and his stellar play helped right the ship. Minnesota doesn’t necessarily need him to win the Vezina Trophy, but if he struggles mightily, as he did in 2013-2014, then Minnesota could be in serious trouble. Of course Darcy Kuemper and perhaps even Niklas Backstrom could step up to fill the void in that scenario, but Backstrom is 37 years old with a history of injuries while Kuemper is coming off of an erratic campaign.

Part of the reason why so much rides on Dubnyk though is because Minnesota’s offense hasn’t been anything to write home about. Which is a shame because in theory, Zach Parise, Jason Pominville, Thomas Vanek, and Mikko Koivu should make for a great core and when you throw in promising youngsters like Mikael Granlund, Nino Niederreiter, and Charlie Coyle, the potential is there for the Wild to be more than a middle of the road team when it comes to offensive production.

That’s what they were last season though, in part because Koivu regressed while Granlund, Niederreiter, and Coyle weren’t able to make meaningful offensive improvements compared to their 2013-14 campaigns. Perhaps that will change this season though and if it does, that would certainly take some of the pressure off of the Wild’s goaltending.

As far as their defense goes, Ryan Suter is expected to once again play in nearly half of every game. Jared Spurgeon, Marco Scandella, and Jonas Brodin are projected to make major contributions too, but the X-factor is 21-year-old Matt Dumba as he should play a bigger role in his sophomore campaign after being limited to 15:00 minutes per contest last season.

The makings of a contender are there. It’s just a question of if everyone will click this time around.

It’s Minnesota Wild day at PHT

Devan Dubnyk

The Minnesota Wild’s 2014-15 campaign was a tale of two seasons. There was the time before Devan Dubnyk and then the time after his arrival.

Before Dubnyk was traded on Jan. 14, the Wild were a team in disarray. They had lost 12 of their last 14 games, shifting the question from if they could take a step forward from their 2014 second round exit to if they could even make the playoffs. Now in the third season of the Zach Parise and Ryan Suter era, their stagnation was tremendously disappointing.

On Jan. 7, Wild coach Mike Yeo seemed to lose his cool during a team practice in dramatic fashion. To make matters worse, goaltender Darcy Kuemper left the same practice with a lower-body injury.

The Minnesota Wild went on to lose another four games, including a 7-2 defeat to Pittsburgh on Jan. 13.

“We’re so easy to play against,” Zach Parise said after the game, per the Associated Press. “We lose battles. The details of our game are terrible. We don’t make it hard on the other team.”

Then Minnesota acquired Dubnyk from Arizona for a third round pick and he was given the nod on Jan. 15. He ended up starting in 39 of the Wild’s final 40 games and posted a 1.78 GAA and .936 save percentage over that span to salvage their campaign.

Once in the postseason, Minnesota bested the St. Louis Blues in six games, setting up a series against the Blackhawks for the third consecutive year. Chicago had beaten them twice before and despite all the Wild had accomplished on their road to Chicago this time around, the outcome would not be any different. The Blackhawks powered past Minnesota in four games.

Offseason recap

After his strong performance, the big question for the Wild this summer was how much re-signing Dubnyk would cost them. Determining fair value was no simple matter given Dubnyk’s rocky history, but the two sides ultimately settled on a six-year, $26 million deal.

Up against the cap, this has been a quiet summer for Minnesota as far roster changes go. Chris Stewart and Kyle Brodziak walked as unrestricted free agents while former Wild players Sean Bergenheim, Matt Cooke, Jordan Leopold, and Keith Ballard remain unsigned. On top of that the Wild haven’t made any significant additions thus far.

That’s to be expected though as the team has to factor in the potential raises that Jason Zucker, Jared Spurgeon , Matt Dumba, and Kuemper might get as restricted free agents next summer.

Glencross regrets taking hometown discount

Curtis Glencross

If Curtis Glencross could talk to his younger self, it sounds like he would have advised him to hold out for more money.

He signed a four-year, $10.2 million contract with Calgary back in 2011, but the Flames traded him to Washington in March of this year and now he can’t seem to secure a new contract with September just around the corner.

“I love my time in Calgary and the organization, but you learn that eventually it’s a business and you’re just a number,” Glencross told the Calgary Sun.

“If I could do it again … as much as I love (Calgary) and call it home and met great people, at the same time, when it’s time for you to cash in, you have to take advantage and cash in. You can’t take a pay-cut or hometown discount because things change.”

Glencross, who had 13 goals and 35 points in 71 games last season, admitted that this year’s free agent market has been frustrating. With a modest salary cap increase for the 2015-16 campaign, teams have been more disciplined in their summer spending than usual. He has been in talks with some organizations, but so far nothing concrete has come out of it.

“There’s still got to be something out there,” Glencross said. “I still want to play. I’m only 32 and thinking I have a few more years left in me.”