Mike Mottau

Brad Boyes #24 of the New York Islanders skates against the Washington Capitals at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on March 9, 2013 in Uniondale, New York. The Islanders defeated the Capitals 5-2.
(March 8, 2013 - Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

Report: Boyes attending Florida camp on PTO

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Veteran winger Brad Boyes is on his way to Florida for training camp, according to CBS Sports Radio’s Andy Strickland.

Boyes, 31, enjoyed something of a career revitalization last year with the Islanders, scoring 35 points in 48 games alongside John Tavares and Matt Moulson.

A former 43-goal scorer, Boyes signed a four-year, $16 million deal with the Blues in 2008 and was traded to Buffalo at the 2011 deadline.

He struggled with the Sabres (see here) and took a significant pay cut last July by signing a one-year, $1 million contract with the Isles. Newsday’s Arthur Staple reports Boyes was mulling over attending Islanders camp on a PTO as well.

The move to bring in another veteran — Florida signed Scott Gomez in late July — makes sense for the Panthers, who are in need of veteran presences. Tallon is on record saying the club expects to “go young” next season and rely heavily on its prospects.

Florida has been stockpiling high draft picks ever since 2010, the year Tallon joined the club, and now appears primed to show ‘em off.

In 2010, it was Erik Gudbranson (third overall), Nick Bjugstad (19th) and Quinton Howden (25th).

In 2011, it was this year’s Calder Trophy winner, Jonathan Huberdeau (third overall) and Rocco Grimaldi (33rd overall).

In 2012, it was Mike Matheson (23rd overall) and at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, it was Aleksander Barkov (second overall).

All told, that’s seven top-35 picks, and a few others selected just outside the top 35 (Alex Petrovic, Vincent Trochek) that are ready to challenge for spots as well.

Should he make the team, Boyes will join a veteran leadership group that includes Gomez (33), captain Ed Jovanovski (37 years old) and blueliners Mike Mottau (35) Mike Weaver (34) and Brian Campbell (33).

Youth movement underway on Boston’s blueline

KrugHamilton
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The Boston Bruins won the 2011 Stanley Cup with a defense featuring Zdeno Chara (33 years old at the time), Tomas Kaberle (32), Andrew Ference (31), Dennis Seidenberg (29), Johnny Boychuk (27) and the baby of the group, Adam McQuaid (24).

Heading into the 2013-14 season, the unit will be decidedly younger.

While four key parts still remain — Chara, Seidenberg, Boychuk and McQuaid — there’s a group of kids that will be leaned upon to fill the void.

Dougie Hamilton, who just turned 20 in June, is one, along with breakout playoff sensations Torey Krug (22) and Matt Bartkowski (25).

The trio only has 65 combined games of regular season experience — and most of that comes from Hamilton, who was the lone youngster on a veteran defense last season.

This year, Bartkowski acknowledged they’ll all be in line for more playing time.

“It’s shaping up that way and looking that way,” he told ESPN Boston. “I think Kruger, Dougie and me have gained a lot of experience the past year. Especially during the playoffs, Kruger and me gained so much experience, and you saw what he did. And then Dougie played a lot in the regular season.

“I think we gained their trust in the playoffs and they’re able to play us in more situations now. Their confidence in us rose, and because of that our confidence skyrocketed.”

Boston has taken a slow approach to remodeling its defense. Kaberle was allowed to walk following the Stanley Cup win, as was Ference following the 2013 Cup Final appearance.

Other veterans have come and gone — Shane Hnidy, Joe Corvo, Mike Mottau, Greg Zanon, Wade Redden — but with little available cap space and a dearth of defensemen on the open market, Boston must now to rely on its youngsters (two of whom, Hamilton and Krug, are playing on entry-level deals; Bartkowski makes a mere $650,000.)

It’s a movement that GM Peter Chiarelli is excited about.

“I’m okay with it and we do have a different look to our D. There is a freshness, a young look to it. If things aren’t working out as the season progresses I may look into that, but I’m okay with it,” Chiarelli told CSN New England. “What I saw with these guys is there’s going to be some bumps along the road.

“But the new guys that I think will be in the lineup are competitive. They’re young, they’re all good skaters and they’re going to make some mistakes. But I like what they bring in general.”

Panthers sign Gomez: one year, $900,000

Scott Gomez
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The Florida Panthers have made their first significant free agent splash of the summer, signing veteran forward Scott Gomez to a one-year deal.

“Scott is a veteran center who adds further depth to the middle of our line-up,” GM Dale Tallon said in a release. “He is a quick and skilled forward, with a wealth of hockey experience including two Stanley Cup titles, who will be a leader for our younger players.”

The deal is reportedly worth $900,000, according to Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos.

Gomez, 33, spent last season in San Jose on a one-year, $700,000 deal after being bought out by Montreal prior to the start of the season. He appeared in 39 games for the Sharks, scoring 15 points, and appeared in nine postseason contests, averaging over 15 minutes per night while notching two points.

San Jose head coach Todd McLellan raved about Gomez’s presence on the ice and in the dressing room.

“Gomer has been a very good player for us in a number of different ways,” McLellan told CSN Bay Area in March. “I don’t want to say it’s surprising, but he’s almost like a third or a fourth coach.”

The move makes sense for the Panthers, who are in need of veteran presences. Tallon is on record saying the club expects to “go young” next season and rely heavily on its prospects.

Florida has been stockpiling high draft picks ever since 2010 — the year Tallon joined the club — and now appears primed to show ‘em off.

In 2010, it was Erik Gudbranson (third overall), Nick Bjugstad (19th) and Quinton Howden (25th).

In 2011, it was this year’s Calder Trophy winner, Jonathan Huberdeau (third overall) and Rocco Grimaldi (33rd overall).

In 2012, it was Mike Matheson (23rd overall) and at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, it was Aleksander Barkov (second overall).

All told, that’s seven top-35 picks, and a few others selected just outside the top 35 (Alex Petrovic, Vincent Trochek) that are ready to challenge for spots as well.

Gomez will join a veteran leadership group that includes captain Ed Jovanovski (37 years old) and fellow blueliners Mike Mottau (35) Mike Weaver (34) and Brian Campbell (33).

Tallon: Panthers ‘going to go with our young guys’ next season

Dale Tallon, Jonathan Huberdeau
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To say the Florida Panthers didn’t add much in free agency is an understatement — their biggest signings were (probably) Joey Crabb and Mike Mottau.

But GM Dale Tallon says it’s all part of the plan.

“We’re going to go with our young guys,” Tallon told NHL.com. “That’s been the plan all along and that’s the way we’re going to go.”

In fairness to Tallon, it’s a plan worth trying.

Florida has been stockpiling high draft picks ever since 2010 — the year Tallon joined the club — and now appears primed to show ’em off.

In 2010, it was Erik Gudbranson (third overall), Nick Bjugstad (19th) and Quinton Howden (25th).

In 2011, it was this year’s Calder Trophy winner, Jonathan Huberdeau (third overall) and Rocco Grimaldi (33rd overall).

In 2012, it was Mike Matheson (23rd overall) and at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, it was Aleksander Barkov (second overall).

All told, that’s seven top-35 picks, and a few others selected just outside the top 35 (Alex Petrovic, Vincent Trochek) that are ready to challenge for spots as well.

While the Panthers figure to go through some major growing pains with so many youngsters in the lineup, Tallon says it’s a necessary step to speed up the learning process. Florida can’t exactly go through a lengthy rebuild, given the club has only made the playoffs once in the last 12 seasons.

“We’ve got to go in a different direction with our young guys,” Tallon said. “The Barkovs and Bjugstads and [Drew] Shores and Trochecks — those are the guys that are our future.

“That’s what’s going to have to get done here.”

It’ll be interesting to see how the youngsters mix with Florida’s old guard.

The Panthers are captained by Ed Jovanovski — who just turned 37 in June — and will probably need to lean on fellow blueliners like Mottau (35) Mike Weaver (34) and Brian Campbell (33) for guidance.

Mike Mottau signs with AHL San Antonio

Mike Mottau
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Mike Mottau was a depth defenseman last season with the Boston Bruins. Now he’ll be taking his game back to the AHL. Mottau signed a veteran try-out agreement with the San Antonio Rampage, Florida’s farm team, as Joe Haggerty from CSNNE.com shares.

According to Haggerty, Mottau had offers to play the full season from European teams but he held out hope the lockout would be short and he’d be able to battle for an NHL job. So much for that. He says he’s headed to San Antonio to get in game shape just in case things get settled.

Last season with the Islanders and Bruins, Mottau played in just 35 regular season games as well as two postseason games against the Capitals. He finished up the season with two assists and 15 penalty minutes on the year, all of that coming with the Isles.