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.
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)