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.
Wayne Gretzky knew the late Al Arbour’s Islanders well from their Stanley Cup Final meetings in 1983 and 1984 and Gretzky has nothing but good things to say about him. (Newsday)
Are you surprised by the lack of updates regarding the potential sale of the Pittsburgh Penguins? Maybe you shouldn’t be. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
Here’s a detailed look at Valeri Nichushkin, who is one of the Stars’ bigger X-factors going into the 2015-16 campaign. (Dallas Morning News)
Vladimir Tarasenko’s eventful summer is coming to an end. Next he’ll join his teammates in the daunting task of living up to the high expectations thrust upon them after they’ve endured quick playoff exits in recent years. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Was Tuukka Rask’s workload an issue last season? (Puck Daddy)
Need a pick-me-up? Here are arguments in favor of each Western Conference team winning the Stanley Cup. (USA Today)
In Chicago, conversation about the cost of keeping the team together never really ends.
Having just come off a summer in which Brandon Saad, Brad Richards, Johnny Oduya and Patrick Sharp all exited due to financial constraints, the ‘Hawks can now begin looking ahead to next July, when another prized player could go unrestricted:
Seabrook, 30, is heading into the last of a five-year, $29 million deal with a $5.8M cap hit. His resume is loaded — three Stanley Cups, Olympic gold, a ’15 All-Star Game appearance — and he’s coming off a postseason in which he led all defensemen in goals (seven), the same number that Tampa Bay captain Steve Stamkos potted.
So needless to say, he’d be coveted on the open market.
There are two sides to this discussion. The first is why Seabrook would want to stay in Chicago, and it’s a fairly easy sell — it’s the only team he’s ever known, having been drafted by the ‘Hawks in the first round in ’03. He’s since appeared in over 800 games in a ‘Hawks sweater during his 10-year career, and developed a dynamic pairing with fellow blueliner (and one of his best friends) Duncan Keith.
Seabrook also has, as mentioned above, achieved a boatload of success with the ‘Hawks.
But there are reasons why he’d leave.
Well, one big reason — the money.
Per war-on-ice.com, the ‘Hawks already have close to $60 million committed to 16 players after this season. While there aren’t many other noteworthy contracts on the horizon — Andrew Shaw will require a new deal in ’16-17, Teuvo Teravainen and Marko Dano the year after — there is a question of how much Chicago can pay Seabrook.
Do consider that, a few weeks ago, Calgary gave Mark Giordano — who’s a year older than Seabrook — a six year, $40.5 million extension that carries a $6.75M cap hit. Earlier this summer, TSN speculated that Seabrook “is due to earn at least Dion Phaneuf-type money, in the neighborhood of seven years and $49 million.”
Those are both pretty steep AAVs but, given the dearth of quality UFA defensemen that usually hit the market, they could be in Seabrook’s wheelhouse. Remember that Mike Green got $6M per from Detroit this summer, while Andrej Sekera got $33 million over five years from the Oilers.
If Seabrook doesn’t sign an extension prior to the season starting, you can expect this conversation to pick up steam as the year progresses.
But why wait for that? Let’s vote and discuss now.
Stan Bowman knew there’d be much change to his hockey club this summer and, as a result, much work to be done.
Wonder if he thought there’d be this much, though.
Out: Brandon Saad, Patrick Sharp, Johnny Oduya, Brad Richards, Antoine Vermette, Antti Raanta, Kimmo Timonen.
In: Artem Anisimov, Marko Dano, Trevor Daley, Ryan Garbutt, Corey Tropp, Jeremy Morin, Artemi Panarin, Viktor Tikhonov.
And Bowman isn’t even done yet.
According to war-on-ice.com, the ‘Hawks are nearly $400K over the $71.4 million salary cap, with the likes of ace penalty killer Marcus Kruger and fellow depth checker Joakim Nordstrom still requiring new deals. Kruger’s said he’s willing to sit and wait for an extension and Bowman suggested he’d like to get it signed before training camp, which means the ‘Hawks will have to shed some bucks within the next three weeks or so.
So, how will they do it?
Bryan Bickell, he of the $4 million average annual cap hit — and multiple healthy scratches during the playoffs — has been bandied about as potential trade bait. The club could also try and do something with Kris Versteeg ($2.2M cap hit).
Or maybe Bowman makes a move he doesn’t want to make.
That was the situation earlier this summer with Saad, when the ‘Hawks were forced to move their promising young power forward to Columbus because the dollars didn’t make sense. Remember, Bowman was at one point very adamant he’d get a deal done with Saad — vowing to keep him in Chicago “for years to come” — only to later realize it wasn’t going to work within the budget.
Bowman’s financial pressure isn’t solely about getting under the cap to start the year, either. The ‘Hawks are built to contend, which means there should be some room for potential acquisitions during the season, most notably at the deadline.
Unlike the other dilemmas he’s faced, Bowman has virtually zero control over how this one plays out; there’s no timeline for the ongoing police investigation and no clear picture on what would happen should Kane be charged.
All of which makes for a stressful lead-up to the season. Bowman’s got his hands full.