Author: Ryan Dadoun

Chicago Blackhawks v Anaheim Ducks - Game Seven

NHL reveals 2015-16 cap will be $71.4 million


As projected, the NHL payroll ceiling will climb in 2015-16, but it won’t be by a lot. After a season that saw the Canadian dollar decline substantially against its American counterpart, the NHL cap has been set at $71.4 million, which puts the floor at $52.8 million.

That’s up from the 2014-15 ceiling of $69 million, but down from the December projection of $72 million to $74 million. The lower than initially expected cap has put a greater burden on a number of high spending NHL teams.

Chicago stands out as Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane will consume a combined $21 million worth of annual cap space starting next season. That’s sparked talks of the Blackhawks moving Patrick Sharp to stay compliant. The Boston Bruins are another team that is in for a tough summer, particularly with Dougie Hamilton in line for a substantial payday as a restricted free agent.

This is good news for teams like Arizona and the Buffalo Sabres though as they will be able to land talent that top teams might have otherwise not made available. The Coyotes in particular are noteworthy as they need to spend heavily just to reach the floor.

Get to know a draft pick — Ivan Provorov

Ivan Provorov

Like we’ve done in the past, we’re profiling top prospects who may hear their names called Friday in the first round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. But this year, something new — we’re featuring special guest analysis from former Minnesota Wild scout Mark Seidel, who currently serves as the president of North American Central Scouting.

Ivan Provorov (D)

Height: 6’0 Weight: 201 Shoots: Left

Team: Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)

Country: Russia

NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 7 among North American Skaters

What kind of player is he?

An all-around great defenseman.

Provorov can be an impact player with the puck, as he demonstrated last season with his 15 goals and 61 points in 60 WHL contests, but he’s just as effective defensively. He’s capable of playing a physical game and his high hockey IQ leads to him taking advantage of opportunities at both ends of the ice.

He’s a potential top-10 pick and some might wonder if he’ll, justifiably or not, end up being past over by some teams that fear he’ll eventually bolt to the KHL. However, Provorov hasn’t followed the same path as many of the other high end Russian-born players as he came to North America in his early teens. In fact, he passed up an opportunity to join his hometown Lokomotiv Yaroslavl when he opted to join the Wheat Kings, so he’s already shown that the NHL is his desired destination.

Seidel says:

“Provorov burst onto the scene this year for the Wheat Kings. The Russian defenseman has a complete game, but it’s his offensive skill set that got scouts excited — he makes great passes, can rush the puck when opportunities present themselves and possesses a big shot from the point on the power play. The big question? If his size will prevent him from becoming a star in the NHL. As for concerns about drafting a Russian high in the first round, it would be a moot point with Provorov — he’s played in North America his entire career, with no inclination of returning to Russia.”

NHL comparable: Tyson Barrie

For more 2015 NHL Draft profiles, click here.

Chiarelli thinks Oilers will probably add a goalie before draft

Peter Chiarelli

The Edmonton Oilers have captured headlines recently with their changes to their scouting department. If general manager Peter Chiarelli is right, the next big story involving Edmonton might involve the squad acquiring a goaltender.

“My guess is we’ll probably be able to do something before the draft,” Chiarelli told the Edmonton Sun. “But I’m not completely sure.

“At the end of the day it takes two to tango so you have to have the right deal in place. But I’m not averse to going to the free agent market, either.”

He noted that getting a goaltender is a bit of a buyers market as there are several noteworthy netminders on the block. It’s believed that the New York Rangers want to move Cam Talbot, the Ottawa Senators need to trade Craig Anderson or Robin Lehner, and the Vancouver Canucks are open to dealing Eddie Lack.

The fact that Edmonton controls six of the first 86 selections in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft should also help its ability to secure a goaltender in the coming days.

That being said, if the Oilers don’t trade for a netminder, there will likely be options available to them on the open market. Antti Niemi, Jhonas Enroth, and Devan Dubnyk are among those that might test the free agent waters.

UFA of the Day: Joel Ward

Joel Ward

Check PHT every day until June 30 for a new pending unrestricted free agent of the day. Today’s UFA of the Day is…

Joel Ward

When Ward was testing the free agent waters in 2011, he was a 30-year-old late bloomer that had never recorded more than 35 points in a single season. However, after stepping up in the 2011 playoffs with 13 points in 12 contests, Washington decided to take a chance on him by agreeing to a four-year, $12 million deal.

There’s some clear parallels going into the 2015 UFA market as Ward had a modest 34 points in 82 regular season games, but he was also tied for the team-lead with nine playoff points in 14 contests. The big difference now is that he’s 34 (35 in December), so there’s a real possibility that this is his last chance to secure a contract of a significant length.

Ward’s agent, Peter Cooney, has clearly stated that his client’s first choice would be to re-sign with Washington. At the end of the day though, term might be a sticking point as Ward is believed to be seeking at least three years while Washington might prefer two, per CSN Washington.

If he does end up on the open market, his work ethic and ability to chip in as a secondary scorer will draw suitors to him. He will probably be of particular interest to squads looking to contend now given his age and reputation for stepping up in the postseason. Teams like the Anaheim Ducks, Minnesota Wild, and Dallas Stars might be among those that express interest in him.

Click here for more UFAs.

PHT Morning Skates: Stars weigh in on offensive decline, possible solutions

2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Six

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.

Sidney Crosby, Steven Stamkos, John Tavares, Jonathan Toews, and Alex Ovechkin offered their thoughts on why we’ve seen a decline in scoring in the NHL since the cap era’s 2005-06 debut season and what might be done to help bolster the game offensively. (Toronto Sun)

For those interested in what could have been, here’s a look at the Tampa Bay Lightning Stanley Cup champion memorabilia that never was. (The Hockey News)

While we’re on the subject of champions, here’s an interactive timeline of how the 2014-15 Chicago Blackhawks were built. (Puck Junk)

Should Buffalo Sabres fans temper their short-term expectations for Jack Eichel? (Buffalo News)

Tyler Seguin is set to be the 11th hockey player to be included in ESPN’s ‘Body Issue’. (TSN)

Here’s Puck Daddy’s Top 20 UFA list. (Puck Daddy)