Jonathan Toews

2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Six

Trade: Jackets land Saad; Anisimov and Dano headed to Chicago


Last week Blackhawks’ captain Jonathan Toews acknowledged the team’s cap crunch, saying it feels a lot like 2010.

On Tuesday, the first domino fell.

The Chicago Blackhawks sent forward Brandon Saad and prospects Michael Paliotta and center Alex Broadhurst to the Blue Jackets in exchange for Artem Anisimov, Marko Dano, Jeremy Morin, Corey Tropp and a fourth round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft.

The deal came after Bowman and Saad’s camp were unable to agree to a new contract. Saad’s three-year $2.8 million entry-level deal was set to expire on Wednesday, making him a restricted free agent, and (as suggested in the tweet above) there were rumblings about him potentially signing an offer sheet elsewhere.

“We’re very excited to bring Brandon Saad, a 22-year old two-time Stanley Cup champion with great size, speed, power and the ability to score goals, to our organization,” said Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen. “He is a proven winner and exactly the kind of player we want as a Columbus Blue Jacket.”

Prior to the trade, Chicago had roughly $8 million in cap space to play with for the 2015-16 season.

The move is a stunner on a variety of fronts. Bowman repeatedly expressed confidence throughout this season — especially during the Stanley Cup Final — that he’d be able to re-sign Saad, the 22-year-old forward that looks to be a star in the making.

For Columbus, it’s a big, bold move and the second out-of-nowhere deal orchestrated by GM Jarmo Kekalainen. At last year’s trade deadline, Kekalainen stunned the hockey world by trading injured forward Nathan Horton to Toronto for David Clarkson, considered to have one of the league’s most undesirable contracts.

Report: Oduya is already pondering offers, won’t wait for Chicago

Johnny Oduya

Johnny Oduya isn’t going to wait for the Chicago Blackhawks to sort out their cap issues, instead electing to hit free agency without hesitation, according to ESPN Chicago.

That same report indicates that Oduya, 33, has already received inquiries from “several” teams.

A couple days ago, Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman indeed indicated that it might take some time for Chicago to figure out what they can do (and what free agents like Oduya and Brad Richards want), as noted.

“They need to decide where they’re going to go dollar-wise, and we need to figure out what we can possibly offer,” Bowman said.

This might be frustrating for Blackhawks fans, especially in the case of Oduya, who obviously served a big purpose in Chicago’s Stanley Cup run (which required grinding work by its top-four defense). At the same time, it’s clear that the Blackhawks are already in a significant cap crunch thanks in part to raises for Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, so challenges are ahead.

One can imagine Oduya’s agent merely filling his “resume” with photos of the defenseman raising the Stanley Cup, but his value extends beyond that.

Oduya didn’t generate a ton of points (10 during the regular season), yet his time on ice numbers will be a significant selling point, as he saw his ice time jump to 24:45 minutes per postseason contest. You can read more about his situation here, but simply enough, there aren’t many experienced (and still fairly young) blueliners on the market who are on par with him.

All things considered, Oduya is almost certainly out of Chicago’s price range, and it doesn’t sound like either side is really denying that.

Toews, Kane featured on NHL 16 cover, set franchise firsts

2015 NHL Awards - Press Room

For the first time in the history of EA Sports’ NHL series, two teammates and the Stanley Cup will appear on the cover as NHL 16 will feature Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. The last time the cover included two athletes was NHL 96, but that one showed Steve Yzerman and Scott Stevens competing against each other.

“Being teamed up with Jonathan for the NHL 16 cover is a great feeling,” Kane said, per EA Sports. “I never would have imagined being on the cover twice, and the fact this is happening on top of our team taking home the Cup is unreal.”

Kane was featured on NHL 10 while Jonathan Toews was the cover athletes a year later. They’re the first players to appear on the worldwide cover twice.

NHL 16 will be out in North America on September 15. You can see the game’s E3 trailer below:

Zetterberg, Toews, Burns honored for leadership, charitable efforts

Henrik Zetterberg

There’s a lot of hardware handed out during the league’s award ceremony and while some of the awards don’t capture as many headlines, they recognize important aspects and ideals of the NHL.

The King Clancy Trophy for example honors players who exemplifies leadership and makes humanitarian contributions. This year it was given to Henrik Zetterberg, who captained the Red Wings to their 24th consecutive playoff berth. Off the ice, Zetterberg has dedicated himself to his charitable efforts, both in Detroit and internationally. One example is Chige Primary School, which he and his wife built. It allows 225 children in Kemba to get an education and its success led to the construction of the Belta Telo Middle School for 700 students.

Mark Messier’s award similarly honors leadership and this year it was presented to Chicago’s Jonathan Toews. The Blackhawks captain is just 27 years old, but under his leadership Chicago has won the Stanley Cup three times in the last six years.

The NHL Foundation Player Award, which Zetterberg has also won in the past, highlights players who go above and beyond in their charitable efforts. This year it honored Sharks defenseman Brent Burns and presented him with $25,000 to donate to the charities of his choice. Burns is splitting the money between Defending the Blue Line, which provides things like hockey equipment and game tickets to the children of military families, and Folds of Honor, which gives educational scholarships to family members of military personnel that have been injured or killed in the line of duty.

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

2015 NHL Awards - Press Room

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 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.