Hishon, 23, made his NHL debut during the ’13-14 playoffs and his regular-season debut last year, scoring two points in 13 games. The former OHL Owen Sound standout has struggled mightily with health issues over the last few years — most notably, a concussion suffered with the Attack that sidelined him for 22 months, delaying the start of his pro career in the AHL.
Last season Hishon suffered both neck and elbow injuries, which limited him to the aforementioned 13 games.
It’ll be interesting to see where Hishon fits next season. The Avs replaced outgoing center Ryan O’Reilly with ex-Bruin Carl Soderberg, so it could be a struggle for Hishon to find minutes down the middle. If Colorado contemplates a move to the wing, Hishon will have a pair of new faces challenging for playing time: Mikhail Grigorenko, acquired in the O’Reilly trade, and Blake Comeau, who was signed in free agency.
The biggest winners of the Buffalo Sabres’ summer of resounding improvements might just be the players who suffered through the 2014-15 season (not to mention the fans).
Veteran winger Brian Gionta probably isn’t very familiar with seasons like that, so it makes sense that he seemed excited about the additions of Dan Byslma, Ryan O’Reilly, Jack Eichel, Robin Lehner and so on. He praised Sabres GM Tim Murray’s work to USA Today on Friday.
“Look at the moves he’s been able to make,” Gionta said. “You can say you want a better team, you want to bring in better players, but for him to actually pull that off and make the moves he did, it shows that he means business. That excites guys in the locker room.”
Back when he was hired by the team in May, Bylsma said that he sees a bright future for the team, as the Buffalo News reported. Even so, one would guess that Bylsma, Gionta and possibly even Murray are all a little surprised by just how much progress the Sabres have made in mere months.
(They certainly don’t seem out of place on “most improved teams” lists like this one by NHL.com.)
Naturally, it’s not that tough to improve upon the disaster that has been the Sabres for the past two seasons – the phrase “historically bad” came up uncomfortably often – but it remains to be seen how much these moves will translate into results.
It might take some time, yet it’s also plausible that the rebuild will be more rapid than expected, a notion that isn’t lost on veterans such as Gionta.
The Carolina Hurricanes have just four defensemen signed with at least 100 games worth of NHL experience. That makes their blueline a major question mark going into training camp, but even as we near the end of July, there are still plenty of options out there for teams looking to bolster their defense.
For example, Christian Ehrhoff and Cody Franson are both still available on the open market. There’s also presumably cheaper options out there like Andrej Meszaros and Jan Hejda.
“There’s been some dialogue with some guys, but we’re still sitting and waiting to see where the numbers go,” Hurricanes GM Ron Francis told the News & Observer. “The guys we’ve talked about are not in a range we’d be comfortable with yet, so we’re keeping an eye on it. I’m not in a hurry to jump in.”
Francis added that as more arbitration eligible players either get judgments or otherwise sign, more players might be made available. Additionally, Jeff Skinner is still reportedly on the block, so Carolina might end up making a more substantial trade before the summer is done.
All that being said, Francis sees some appeal in maintaining the status quo.
“I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing to have a spot open going into camp,” Francis said. “It sends a good message to our younger guys.”
With James Wisniewski, Justin Faulk, John-Michael Liles, and Ron Hainsey all presumably locks to make the roster, that would leave 2015 fifth overall pick Noah Hanifin, Ryan Murphy, Danny Biega, Michal Jordan, Rasmus Rissanen, and Haydn Fleury to compete for the final three openings.
Perhaps the Buffalo Sabres’ busy front office can finally take a vacation, as the team signed its last remaining RFA Jerry D’Amigo to a one-year, two-way deal on Thursday.
The 24-year-old became a member of the Sabres’ organization thanks to a trade that also involved Luke Adam.
He played in nine games for Buffalo in 2014-15, failing to score a point. He also played in 22 contests for the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2013-14, collecting his only career NHL points (one goal, two assists).
Toronto selected D’Amigo with the 158th pick of the 2009 NHL Draft. For many, his most memorable contributions have come at the international level for the U.S. so far.