Florida Panthers

Benning knows he ‘could get criticized’ for trading fan favorite Eddie Lack

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FORT LAUDERDALE — With the petition to “Keep Eddie Lack!” approaching 1,500 signatures, Canucks GM Jim Benning knows he could be in for some abuse.

If Lack is traded, there will be a lot of angry fans in Vancouver, a market that’s already had to say good-bye to Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider in the last couple of years.

But Benning’s job is to put the best team on the ice, and he feels that keeping Ryan Miller and trading one of Lack or Jacob Markstrom is the best strategy.

“Sitting in my shoes, and when I talk to my management team, we have to make the decision that’s best for the organization going forward,” said Benning.

“I know if that’s the way we decide to go, I could get criticized. But that’s part of the job. There’s nothing I can do about that.”

Benning reiterated today that Vancouver won’t be trading Miller, because “we want to keep a veteran goalie.”

So it’s either Lack, the fan favorite, or Markstrom, the AHL all-star, who will be dealt.

“I think a big part of our team last year was that we had two good goalies,” said Benning. “Ryan is a proven number-one goalie in the league. So we want to keep Ryan, then we have to make a hard decision on the other two guys.

“Now, part of that decision is going to be based on who we think has the most upside, and part of it’s going to be how he fits in our salary cap situation. That’s just the decision that we have to make to keep moving forward.”

The Buffalo Sabres, armed with a pair of second-round draft picks, are reportedly one of the teams interested in Lack.

Related: Benning confident Canucks can ‘get a fairly high draft pick’ for Lack or Markstrom

 

Core signings: Senators lock up Zibanejad, Stone

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The Ottawa Senators announced that they have signed Mika Zibanejad to a two-year, $5.25 million contract extension and Mark Stone to a three-year, $10.5 million contract.

Zibanejad will earn $2 million next season and $3.25 million in 2016-17. He was eligible to become a restricted free agent after completing his entry-level deal.

The 22-year-old forward was taken by Ottawa with the sixth overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft and made his debut that year. However, it’s been over the last three seasons that he’s established himself at the NHL level with 99 points in 191 games. In 2014-15, he set career-highs with 20 goals and 26 assists in 80 contests.

Stone, 23, was also coming off of his entry-level contract. He will make $2.25 million in 2015-16, $3.75 million the following campaign, and $4.5 million in 2017-18.

He slipped all the way to the sixth round of the 2010 draft, but he went from recording 28 points in 39 WHL games in his draft year to 106 points with the Brandon Wheat Kings in 2010-11. That was an early indication that Ottawa had gotten a steal as after spending a couple years bouncing between the AHL and NHL, Stone firmly established himself last season with 26 goals and 64 points in 80 contests.

He was a finalist for the Calder Trophy, although it ultimately went to defenseman Aaron Ekblad.

The Senators have already done a lot of the heavy lifting expected of them this summer, but they still need to re-sign restricted free agents Alex Chiasson and Mike Hoffman.

PHT Morning Skates: (Video) McDavid’s abilities don’t extend to baseball

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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.

Connor McDavid, along with other top NHL draft prospects, took batting practice, reaffirming that he made the right choice in picking hockey. (Edmonton Sun)

He was interviewed afterwards and you can see that with some footage of his batting practice spliced in:

For an NHL Awards skit, Carey Price and Rob Riggle had some fun with fans that didn’t recognize the Canadiens goaltender:

If you haven’t already watched Jiri Hudler’s acceptance speech, you should remedy that:

Roberto Luongo took a jab at Kanye West:

While we’re on the subject of awards, Central Scouting will be presenting the E.J. McGuire Award for the first time. (NHL.com)

Since the cap era started, the highest payroll team has yet to win the Stanley Cup, although for the last seven years the winner has finished in the league’s top 10 in terms of spending. (Puck Junk)

Meanwhile, in Russia, there’s been a 24-player trade. (Russian Machine Never Breaks)

Agent: Panthers, Huberdeau set to resume contract talks this week

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The Florida Panthers and pending restricted free agent Jonathan Huberdeau are set to have further contract talks this week.

According to Huberdeau’s agent Allan Walsh the two sides have had “nothing more than preliminary talks” on an extension for the 22-year-old.

Walsh denied a report, which suggested that the Panthers and Huberdeau are nearing a long term extension.

Huberdeau set career highs in goals (15), assists (39) and points (54) in 79 games during the 2014-15 season.

His three-year, entry-level deal, which carried a cap hit of $894,166 is set to expire on July 1.

The Price is Right: Habs’ goaltender wins Hart Memorial Trophy

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Carey Price is the 2015 winner of the Hart Memorial Trophy.

Price becomes the first goaltender since 2002 to win both Vezina Trophy and Hart Trophy.

The 27-year-old is also the first goaltender since Dominik Hasek in 1997 and 1998 to win the Vezina Trophy, Hart Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award.

Price is first goaltender in NHL history to win the Hart Trophy, Vezina Trophy, Ted Lindsay and Jennings.

It’s the first MVP award for Price who helped the Canadiens earn the top seed in the Atlantic Division despite Montreal finishing 20th overall in goals for per game during the regular season.

“It’s coming together,” Price told NHL.com on Tuesday. “It’s always been a process. A lot of goaltenders my age have already had a lot of success. I feel like my career is progressing in the right direction, but I’m still looking for what I ultimately want.”

Price led the league in wins (44), G.A.A. (1.96) and save percentage (.933) during the 2014-15 season.

“I think the biggest thing is I was trying to focus more on being successful as opposed to focusing on what I needed to do to be successful. That basic mindset was a big difference,” Price said of his MVP season. “[Stephane Waite] has definitely helped with that, my dad’s helped with that, but ultimately it takes the individual to accept that. Over the last couple of years, I think I’ve really done that.”

Price beat out New York Islanders’ captain John Tavares and Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals.

Here are the full voting results:

Pts. (1st-2nd-3rd)
1. Carey Price, MTL 1498 (139-14-2-0-0)
2. Alex Ovechkin, WSH 888 (8-75-45-18-4)
3. John Tavares, NYI 739 (4-41-63-27-16)
4. Devan Dubnyk, MIN 410 (6-16-25-30-23)
5. Sidney Crosby, PIT 138 (0-2-3-25-34)
6. Ryan Getzlaf, ANA 124 (0-2-6-20-20)
7. Rick Nash, NYR 70 (0-1-4-9-16)
8. Pekka Rinne, NSH 49 (0-2-4-4-3)
9. Erik Karlsson, OTT 32 (0-1-1-5-5)
10. Jonathan Toews, CHI 31 (0-1-3-2-3)
11. Steven Stamkos, TBL 29 (0-1-0-5-7)
12. Jamie Benn, DAL 23 (0-0-0-5-8)
13. Jiri Hudler, CGY 16 (0-1-0-3-0)
14. Vladimir Tarasenko, STL 14 (0-0-0-3-5)
15. Andrew Hammond, OTT 9 (0-0-0-1-6)
16. P.K. Subban, MTL 5 (0-0-1-0-0)
17. Drew Doughty, LAK 2 (0-0-0-0-2)
18. Dustin Byfuglien, WPG 1 (0-0-0-0-1)
Marc-Andre Fleury, PIT 1 (0-0-0-0-1)
Braden Holtby, WSH 1 (0-0-0-0-1)
Zach Parise, MIN 1 (0-0-0-0-1)
Shea Weber, NSH 1 (0-0-0-0-1)

Here are the MVP-winners and the second-place guys since 1990:

Year Winner Runner-up
2015 Carey Price, Mtl. Alex Ovechkin, Wsh.
2014 Sidney Crosby, Pit. Ryan Getzlaf, Ana.
2013 Alex Ovechkin, Wsh. Sidney Crosby, Pit.
2012 Evgeni Malkin, Pit. Steven Stamkos, T.B.
2011 Corey Perry, Ana. Daniel Sedin, Van.
2010 Henrik Sedin, Van. Alex Ovechkin, Wsh.
2009 Alex Ovechkin, Wsh. Evgeni Malkin, Pit.
2008 Alex Ovechkin, Wsh. Evgeni Malkin, Pit.
2007 Sidney Crosby, Pit. Roberto Luongo, Van.
2006 Joe Thornton, S.J. Jaromir Jagr, NYR
2004 Martin St. Louis, T.B. Jarome Iginla, Cgy.
2003 Peter Forsberg, Col. Markus Naslund, Van.
2002 Jose Theodore, Mtl. Jarome Iginla, Cgy.
2001 Joe Sakic, Col. Mario Lemieux, Pit.
2000 Chris Pronger, St.L Jaromir Jagr, Pit.
1999 Jaromir Jagr, Pit. Alexei Yashin, Ott.
1998 Dominik Hasek, Buf. Jaromir Jagr, Pit.
1997 Dominik Hasek, Buf. Paul Kariya, Ana.
1996 Mario Lemieux, Pit. Mark Messier, NYR
1995 Eric Lindros, Phi. Jaromir Jagr, Pit.
1994 Sergei Fedorov, Det. Dominik Hasek, Buf.
1993 Mario Lemieux, Pit. Doug Gilmour, Tor.
1992 Mark Messier, NYR Patrick Roy, Mtl.
1991 Brett Hull, St.L Wayne Gretzky, L.A.
1990 Mark Messier, Edm. Ray Bourque, Bos.