The Pacific Division continued to get tougher on Friday in the wake of Milan Lucic’s arrival in Los Angeles.
The Anaheim Ducks signed Brian McGrattan while the Arizona Coyotes added tough guy John Scott on a one-year deal.
Scott spent the 2014-15 season with the San Jose Sharks scoring career-high three goals and four points to go along with 87 penalty minutes in 38 games. The 32-year-old has a history with Coyotes’ assistant GM Darcy Regier as the two were together in Buffalo.
According to TVA’s Renaud Lavoie, Scott’s deal is a one-way contract worth $575,000.
Arizona also signed Steve Downie to a one-year deal on July 1.
The Canucks added Brandon Prust in a trade with the Montreal Canadiens.
“L.A. got tougher in bringing in Lucic. Other teams got tougher,” Canucks GM Jim Benning said on Thursday when discussing the Prust acquisition. “I don’t want our younger players getting picked on this year. I want them to go out, be able to play and feel comfortable.
“With (Derek) Dorsett and Prust in the lineup, they’re going to create a safe working environment for our young players.”
Dorsett (17) and Prust (16) were second and third in fighting majors last season, according to Hockeyfights.com. Colorado’s Cody McLeod led the league with 19.
Downie was 14th in fighting majors last season with eight.
The Montreal Canadiens could be without leading goal scorer Max Pacioretty to start the 2015-16 season.
The Habs announced on Friday that the 26-year-old suffered a knee injury during an off-ice workout in Florida on Thursday.
He is expected to require 12 weeks of recovery time, which would take him to Oct. 2 – the Habs open the regular season on Oct. 7 in Toronto.
According to Ken Campbell of The Hockey News, Pacioretty will not require surgery for the injury.
Pacioretty recorded a career-high 67 points last season and led the Canadiens with 37 goals.
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.
Canes’ defenseman Haydn Fleury showed off the offensive side of his game recently at Carolina’s development camp.
Two men have been convicted in a multi-million dollar investment fraud scheme that victimized former NHLers Mike Peca and Bryan Berard among others. (United States Department of Justice)
Christopher Brown, the grandson of the late Wellington and Anne Mara, is trying to make a name for himself at Buffalo Sabres camp. (Buffalo News)
Habs’ defenseman P.K. Subban tries to pinpoint Alex Galchenyuk’s place in pop culture history:
Jared Clinton takes a look at which 10 AHL players could be full-time NHLers in 2015-16. (The Hockey News)
Nikolay Goldobin is hoping to earn a spot in San Jose next season. (CSNBayarea.com)
Soon to leap into pro hockey, Madison Bowey finds the wait ‘thrilling’. (The Washington Post)
Dallas has re-upped with one of the largest players in the league — 6-foot-7, 250-pound rearguard Jamie Oleksiak.
Oleksiak, 22, agreed to a one-year contract extension on Thursday, the club announced. The deal comes after Oleksiak split time between Dallas and AHL Texas last year, scoring eight points in 36 games for the Stars.
The club’s first-round pick (14th overall) at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Oleksiak took a one-year pact for $875,000 (per the Dallas Morning News), opting for less term and slightly less money than fellow Stars d-men Patrik Nemeth and Jyrki Jokipakka took. In June, that pair signed matching two-year, $1.8 million deals with average annual cap hits of $900,000.
Though he’s still relatively young, Oleksiak is heading into something of a “prove it” campaign. He was picked ahead of some other noteworthy d-men in ’11 — like Nathan Beaulieu, Connor Murphy and Oscar Klefbom — and all three of them have played more games at the NHL level than Oleksiak.
With many predicting the Vancouver Canucks will be hard-pressed to get back to the playoffs next season, will defenseman Dan Hamhuis and winger Radim Vrbata be up for grabs at the 2016 trade deadline?
As of today, it’s certainly possible. GM Jim Benning has confirmed that both veterans — the former a 2014 Olympic gold-medal winner with Team Canada, the latter an NHL all-star last year — will enter next season as pending unrestricted free agents.
“We’re going to go into the season and see how it goes,” Benning said, per The Province. “We’ve touched base with their agents a little, but we’ll see how it plays out.”
The Canucks have other pending UFAs — Yannick Weber, Brandon Prust, and Matt Bartkowski — that could fetch them draft picks or prospects at the deadline. Alex Burrows, Chris Higgins, Jannik Hansen, and Nick Bonino could all theoretically be moved too. Such is the outlook in Vancouver that some are wondering if the Sedins should be traded.
As Benning said, it will all depend on “how it plays out.”