Tag: Colorado Avalanche

Jonathan Toews

PHT Morning Skate: ‘Hawks fan hikes Machu Picchu, meets Jonathan Toews


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.

Ryan Adorjan has been traveling in Peru for the last three months, during which time he both watched Jonathan Toews win the Stanley Cup on television… then met Jonathan Toews while hiking Machu Picchu. Decent little trip, that. (Oswego Only)

Former Kings, Devils and Hurricanes forward Andrei Loktionov is eyeing a return to the NHL. (Russia-Hockey.ru)

He hasn’t been asked yet, but Ryan Smyth has contemplated housing Connor McDavid this season in Edmonton. (NHL.com)

The Coyotes have hired Corey Schwab and Jon Elkin as their new goalie coaches. (Fox Sports Arizona)

Sidney Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon worked the drive-thru window of a Nova Scotia Tim Horton’s on Monday. Insert Ryan O’Reilly joke here. (The Chronicle Herald)

For Pens, Tuesday’s moves were all about depth and finances up front

Jim Rutherford

Following a busy day in which he flipped Brandon Sutter to Vancouver for Nick Bonino and Adam Clendening, then signed ex-Capital Eric Fehr, Pens GM Jim Rutherford explained how those moves met two of his biggest objectives.

“The two deals went hand-in-hand so we can add more depth,” Rutherford said. “We have enough good players now that guys are going to have to compete for those spots [in training camp] and compete for them all year.”

He then addressed the money issue.

“When you look at the structure of our salaries and our cap, it’s important to get those bottom-six cap hits in better shape,” Rutherford explained. “That’s what we were able to do with these two deals.”

It’s not surprising that depth and finances were two of Pittsburgh’s biggest offseason priorities. Money allotment has been an issue — Sutter, a pending UFA potentially in line for a raise, was making $3.3 million while playing what amounted to a third-line center role.

Combined, Bonino and Fehr are a $3.9M cap hit.

(Lest we forget that, in the Phil Kessel trade earlier this month, Rutherford dealt away another relatively expensive third-liner in Nick Spaling, who makes $2.2M annually.)

Earlier, veteran depth guys Steve Downie, Blake Comeau, Daniel Winnik and Craig Adams were allowed to walk in free agency, giving likes of Beau Bennett ($800K), KHLer Sergei Plotnikov ($925K), Swedish prospect Oskar Sundqvist ($700K) and Czech Leaguer Dominik Simon ($692K) a chance to get into the rotation.

So that’s the financial side.

In terms of depth up front, Pittsburgh seems far better suited to deal with injuries — something that, you may remember, was a recurring issue in ’14-15. Kessel gives the club a bonafide scoring winger to play alongside either Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, while Fehr and Bonino, both natural centers, provide nice depth down the middle.

Fehr could even bounce outside if need be.

“Eric is definitely comfortable as a two-positional player,” Rutherford said. “He could possibly jump up into the top six, if that situation presented itself, but he’s coming off of a year where he played center.”

Pascal Dupuis is expected to return after playing just 16 games last year, and the club will get a full season of David Perron, acquired from Edmonton in January. Add it all up, and it’s easy to see why Rutherford is so pleased with Pittsburgh’s new-look forward group — it’s deeper, with a more sensible financial structure.

“If a guy falls off, there’s a guy waiting to jump right in there,” he explained. “I like the fact that we have enough guys that each guy can push each other.

“I like our depth at forward now.”

Avs ink former first-rounder Hishon to one-year deal


Colorado has re-upped with RFA forward Joey Hishon — the club’s first-round pick (17th overall) in 2010 — to a one-year deal.

Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

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.

Soderberg didn’t hesitate in signing with Avs

Boston Bruins v Detroit Red Wings

If it seemed like things moved very quickly between the Colorado Avalanche and Carl Soderberg this offseason, that wasn’t an accident.

The former Boston Bruins forward told the Denver Post that he didn’t really want to deal with the process of being a free agent, which explains the quick turnover between being traded and signing a five-year, $23.75 million deal.

“I was waiting for Boston to come back to me,” Soderberg said in a phone interview from Sweden. “When they didn’t have room for me, my agent told me Colorado was interested in me. There was no doubt for me. Colorado is a great hockey club. I said go ahead, and then everything went really fast.”

Then again, when you consider the circumstances, the 29-year-old probably would have been foolish to drag his feet.

Most obviously, it’s a significant raise for a player – valuable or not – who hasn’t racked up crazy offensive numbers thus far.

The on-ice situation seems pretty positive for the Swede, too. While it’s worth noting that line changes come fast and furious in many situations, Soderberg’s penciled into an enviable situation as the center of a line that features Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon. (He called the assignment “inspiring.”)

Honestly, it’s tough to imagine his situation getting any better than this, but we’ll have to see if the happiness and excitement lasts.

Avs grab Grigorenko for one year

Carolina Hurricanes v Buffalo Sabres

The Colorado Avalanche signed Mikhail Grigorenko – a significant part of the Ryan O’Reilly trade – to a one-year contract on Thursday.

This isn’t official, but word from Bleacher Report’s Adrian Dater is that the contract is one-way and worth $675K.

As you may remember, the Buffalo Sabres weren’t pleased that Grigorenko insisted on a one-way deal, so that factor is pretty significant. The 21-year-old was part of a trade package that also sent the 31st pick of the 2015 NHL Draft, Nikita Zadorov and J.T. Compher from Buffalo to Colorado.

The 12th pick of the 2012 NHL Draft endured a bumpy start with the Buffalo organization, as he struggled at the NHL level with the Sabres but put up often-impressive numbers in the QMJHL and AHL over the years.

Grigorenko probably needed a fresh start, and Colorado could very well be a nice fit for the Russian. His development will likely play a key role in how that trade his viewed a few years down the line.