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.
Before John Scott officially becomes a free agent, he decided to jokingly call out his former San Jose Sharks’ teammates. (CSN Bay Area)
With Jeff Skinner reportedly on the market, is there a chance that he’ll go to Pittsburgh? (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Jack Eichel has something in common with Indiana Jones. (Puck Daddy)
Dylan Strome talks about the nerves that come with draft day. (NHL.com)
The Boston Bruins recent draft history has been less than stellar. (Boston Herald)
Here are 10 players that might mess with people’s draft predictions. (The Hockey Writers)
Pekka Rinne has a new Mad Max inspired mask (Instagram)
According to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, the Carolina Hurricanes have made it known that forward Jeff Skinner is available.
Skinner is set to enter the third year of his six-year, $34.35 million deal next season. He does have a no-trade clause in his contract, but it does not activate until the 2017-18 season.
The 23-year-old, who has battled concussion issues, scored 18 goals and 13 assists in 77 games last season. His deal carries a cap hit of $5.725 million.
Meanwhile Chip Alexander of the Raleigh News & Observer reports that Canes GM Ron Francis is in the process of working on extensions for both Eric Staal and Cam Ward.
Francis told reporters on Thursday that both players have given him “every indication” they want to remain in Carolina.
Neither can sign extensions before July 1.
Both players are heading to the final year of their respective deals and will become unrestricted free agents next summer. Agent Rick Curran also represents both players.
Staal his heading into the final year of his seven-year, $57.75 million contract while Ward has one year remaining on his six-year, $37.8 million deal.
Alexander also reports that Carolina will part ways with pending unrestricted free agent defensemen Jack Hillen and Brett Bellemore.
Additionally, the Canes won’t re-sign forward Patrick Dwyer
According to Generalfanager.com, Francis has $13.95 million of cap space to work with heading into free agency.
The Carolina Hurricanes and forward Chris Terry have agreed to a one-year, $875,000 contract extension, per the team’s website.
Terry had the option of becoming an unrestricted free agent this summer after completing his one-year, $600,000 deal for the 2014-15 campaign.
After recording at least 59 points in four straight campaigns in the AHL, Terry had 11 goals and 20 points in 57 contests with the Carolina Hurricanes last season. He logged 12:43 minutes per game, including an average of 1:11 minutes with the man advantage.
Patrick Dwyer, Jack Hillen, and Brett Bellemore are among the players within the Hurricanes’ organization that are still eligible to test the UFA waters this summer. Carolina also has restricted free agents to re-sign, including forwards Riley Nash and Andrej Nestrasil.
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.
Pavel Zacha (C)
Height: 6’3 Weight: 210 Shoots: Left
Team: Sarnia Sting (OHL)
Country: Czech Republic
NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 8 among North American skaters
What kind of player is he?
The numbers really tell the story. Zacha’s a big kid (as listed above), that has equal penchants for scoring (34 points in 37 games this year) and the rough stuff (56 PIM, and two suspensions). As far as playing experience goes, his is pretty diverse; in ’13-14, Zacha played for Liberec in the Czech Extraliga — working under the tutelage of longtime NHLer Petr Nedved — and this year, he jumped the pond to play Canadian junior hockey in Sarnia.
“Zacha’s an interesting prospect — a Czech-born player that possesses a lot of North American traits. He willingly and routinely initiated contact in his rookie OHL campaign but occasionally crossed the line, which resulted in a couple of significant suspensions. Despite that, he showed a team-first mentality the Sting loved. Zacha’s biggest strengths are his skating and ability to beat defenders one-on-one; he has a skill set that’s hard to handle and will become an offensive force as he develops. Like most offensive stars, Zacha still needs to work on his defensive game, but the heady Czech will add that to his repertoire for whichever team selects him.”
NHL comparable: Eric Staal/David Backes
For more 2015 NHL Draft profiles, click here.
For many NHL teams, the most relevant salary cap news for 2015-16 is that the ceiling will be $71.4 million. In the case of the Arizona Coyotes, it may be a strenuous race to the floor.
The floor is set at $52.8 million, which means the Coyotes will need to spend more than $18 million to get there.
(General Fanager has their cap spending at a slightly lower level, but let’s stick with “more than $18 million” to keep things simple.)
Whatever the exact amount may be, this development generated a slew of jokes from those hoping their teams would shed unwanted salaries. Just looking at the replies to that Five for Howling tweet, here are some “friendly suggestions.”
Anyway, you get the point, but there are a few things to consider.
For one thing, the Coyotes have a ton of players they can re-sign.
Granted, some of them might not be worth retaining, like maybe Martin Erat. Still, the likes of Mikkel Boedker should eat up space, and the Coyotes may want to pay extra for a backup in case embattled starter Mike Smith isn’t a pretty good goalie after all.
On the other hand, Oliver Ekman-Larsson ranks among those who are concerned that the Coyotes’ latest off-the-ice saga may hurt their standing in the eyes of many free agents. That, along with a surplus of available draft picks, could indeed mean that Arizona GM Don Maloney may prefer to call up teams suffering from cap crunches.
Long story short: it may be silly too dream too big here, but go ahead and make your Cam Ward/Mike Richards/etc. jokes as needed. A long summer is coming, after all.