Tag: AHL demotions

Ben Bishop

Senators net shuffles: Bishop up, Lehner down


When Craig Anderson sliced his finger preparing some food, he made a consistently fascinating Ottawa Senators season that much more interesting. After all, his status as the go-to goalie was arguably the only sure-thing for Ottawa entering this uncertain (and entertaining) season.

That injury prompted Senators GM Bryan Murray to cough up a second-rounder to get St. Louis Blues backup/third goalie Ben Bishop, but the big goalie hasn’t had a chance to shine because Robin Lehner seized his own opportunity.

(Bishop probably felt a familiar sensation as the Blues’ backup Brian Elliott managed an All-Star nod in front of him in St. Louis.)

It appears that big Bishop will get his shot this week, however, as the Senators called him up while demoting Lehner to the AHL.

Of course, there’s always the chance that Ottawa might claim Marty Turco to give the team a little added security, which would be fitting and frustrating for Bishop. (At least he got a contract extension through next season to give him a little comfort, though.)

Kings shuffle lineup, place Jarret Stoll on IR

Jaroslav Halak, Jarret Stoll

Mike Richards’ arrival has made Jarret Stoll something of a square peg in a round hole, but the Los Angeles Kings would rather have him plugging away regardless. He won’t be able to do so for at least a week, however, as Rich Hammond reports that he’s been placed on the injured reserve.

Stoll told Hammond that he’s dealing with an injured abductor muscle (hip) from the Kings’ 3-1 loss to the Florida Panthers last night.

Richards’ presence has occasionally pushed Stoll to the wing, nullifying one of Rachel Hunter’s ex-boyfriend’s greatest strengths: faceoff mastery.* Stoll’s offense hasn’t come very easily this season, either, as he has just five goals and 15 points after putting together a 20-goal, 43-point campaign in 2010-11.

Stoll’s injury (and perhaps the Panthers loss) prompted the Kings to shuffle the lineup a bit, as promising point-producing defenseman Slava Voynov was demoted to the minors (again). Forwards Dwight King and Jordan Nolan were called up in the two players’ places.

* – Well, on-ice strengths. Apparently he can pick up supermodels who age like fine wine, so that’s probably cooler than winning well over 50 percent of his draws.

Should Montreal banish Scott Gomez to the minors?

Scott Gomez Braden Holtby Scott Hannan

Sure, the New York Rangers traded Scott Gomez, but he might still be a kindred spirit with Wade Redden. A TSN panel discussed a mind-blowing possibility: should the Montreal Canadiens pay Gomez $7.4 million to not play for their team?

While Aaron Ward and Marc Crawford called for a buyout, Bob McKenzie recommended giving Gomez the Redden treatment.

In an ideal world (for the Habs, at least), Montreal would be able to unload Gomez’s laughable deal on another team, much like the Chicago Blackhawks did with Brian Campbell. Most NHL teams probably find it hard to believe that Gomez will deliver like Campbell has so far in Florida though, so it’s reasonable that the TSN crew emphasized two options in which the Habs would eat part of Gomez’s salary.

Assuming a trade indeed cannot happen, it breaks down to three options, then:

1. Buy him out: On the bright side, Montreal would save some money and cut ties with Gomez altogether. The minus is that the Habs wouldn’t get total cap relief and the impact would cover four seasons.

2. Demote him: The perks are two-fold: Gomez would be gone to the AHL and the cap hit would evaporate. That being said, the Habs would need to pay Gomez his full salary to play in the minors.

3. Keep him: Naturally, the Habs could hope that Gomez will find a way to get his career back on track, as unlikely as that might seem to some.

Since it’s not my money, I’d go with option number two – at least if another team decides to go in rebuild mode and unload a pricey star (Jarome Iginla, maybe?). What would you do with the struggling Alaskan scorer, though?

Nice 3-point game Voynov; now make room for Doughty

Los Angeles Kings v Pittsburgh Penguins

After going pointless in his first four NHL games, Los Angeles Kings blueliner Viatcheslav (Slava) Voynov made a statement in a 5-3 win against the Dallas Stars. The 21-year-old Russian defenseman scored two goals and added an assist while hammering five heavy shots on Kari Lehtonen.

Despite that impressive performance, it felt like Voynov was essentially saying goodbye; the thought was that there’s not enough room for him on a deep Kings defense once multimillionaire Drew Doughty enters the equation again. LA Kings Insider Rich Hammond confirmed that gut reaction; Voynov was demoted to the Manchester Monarchs to make room for Doughty today.

It’s quite possible that the Kings are the only team in the NHL who could barely bat an eye after demoting a guy who just produced a three-point game. As strange as it might sound, it makes perfect sense. Voynov surprisingly averaged more than 20 minutes per night, but he’d be certain to see a dramatic drop in ice time if he remained in the mix.

What sounds like good news for Kings fans and bad news for Voynov should actually be a win-win situation in the big picture. The biggest “win” is that Doughty returns to the mix, but Voynov can continue to blossom/increase his trade value in a more prominent role in the minors.

That won’t feel better than breaking the ice with a three-point performance, but it will have to do.

Sabres welcomed to life under the salary cap by sending Kotalik and Morrisonn to AHL

Ales Kotalik

In the current NHL, teams that spend a bit too much in the offseason and find their salary cap situation to be problematic. The Blackhawks had that problem last summer and this time around it was the Buffalo Sabres who found themselves above the fold after owner Terry Pegula shelled out the big bucks to get Christian Ehrhoff and Ville Leino into town.

Rather than do things the way Chicago did it by dealing away valuable players making slightly unmanageable salaries, the Sabres took the route most traveled by teams looking to get under the cap: Sending guys to the AHL.

Ales Kotalik and Shaone Morrisonn, making a combined $5.075 million against the salary cap, will be starting their seasons in Rochester with the Americans rather than in Buffalo with the Sabres. It’s all because their salaries are a bit too much for the Sabres to manage. Kotalik and Morrisonn are both potentially useful players, although not premiere players, and could be a good fit in Buffalo (or anywhere else in need of a part-time scorer or physical defenseman) but their cost to play is too rich for anyone’s blood.

While no one is going to feel bad for guys making $3 million (Kotalik) or $2.075 million (Morrisonn) to play hockey anywhere, being priced out of the NHL is part of the harsh reality of life in the NHL. Players are more than entitled to get whatever an owner wishes to pay them to play, but when their play gets matched or exceeded by players making less money, those are the breaks. Just ask Wade Redden of the New York Rangers about that.

source: Getty ImagesThe Rangers gave Redden a monster free agent contract and now he’s likely doomed to stay in Hartford until his deal runs out because his cap hit is obscenely high for the kind of play he brings. Does that make Redden a bad player? Not at all, he’s just not worth it at the cost that comes to the Rangers against the salary cap. Same goes for Chicago and Cristobal Huet.

While this is how life goes in the NHL these days and this is how teams can sidestep financial missteps, there’s just something that feels cheap about being able to cover up financial errors like this. The hopes that teams below the salary floor would be there to absorb those mistakes have, for the most part, not happened. Teams like the Islanders, Coyotes, Jets, and Predators all found alternative ways to go about business without taking on a potentially brutal contract.

Last season the New Jersey Devils ran into cap issues and tried to find a new home for Brian Rolston. Rolston came with a $5.062 million cap hit and for two seasons at that amount, there weren’t any buyers. When this summer rolled around and Rolston was entering the final year of his deal, however, the Islanders happily swooped in and traded for the 38 year-old winger to help bring themselves to the salary floor.

Guys like Morrisonn and Kotalik are in the final year of their contracts and while that can prove to be motivation to earn a new deal, they’ll have to show they can bring it big in the AHL to hopefully get moved to another team that has a need. ¬†Having to prove yourself in the AHL when you’re an NHL-caliber player makes the task seem Sisyphus-like when the boulder you’re pushing uphill is a salary that most teams can’t bear to have.