Tag: Patrick Kane

2015 NHL Combine

Get to know a draft pick — Mathew Barzal

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Like we’ve done in the past, we’re profiling top prospects who may hear their names called Friday in the first round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. But this year, something new — we’re featuring special guest analysis from former Minnesota Wild scout Mark Seidel, who currently serves as the president of North American Central Scouting.

Mathew Barzal (C)

Height: 5’11 Weight: 175 Shoots: Right

Team: Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL)

Country: Canada

NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 11 among North American Skaters

What kind of player is he?

Skill and speed are two things that come highly valued in today’s NHL, and Barzal boasts both.

The playmaking forward is also a “student of the game,” as this Sportsnet piece attests; he watches hours of NHL video of skaters he hopes to emulate, from Patrick Kane to Pavel Datsyuk.

Of course, NHL teams have to worry a bit about how his skating ability – generally believed to be among the best in the field – may be affected by a knee injury he suffered while “horsing around” in November. As NHL.com reports, he spent much of his many interviews insisting that his knee has healed, but such issues may stand as a red flag for certain scouts and executives.

Barzal’s stock may have taken a hit, yet his dangerous offensive abilities argue that he could be a steal if he does slip down the board a bit. Really, falling ever so slightly in the first round may be the best thing for his development, as it seems like he could add a little weight to his frame.

Seidel says:

“Following a tremendous rookie campaign with WHL Seattle, Barzal came into his draft year looking like a surefire top-10 pick. Injuries, though, hampered his sophomore season, though he did finish the year off with a fantastic performance at the U-18 World Championship with Team Canada. Barzal is a slick offensive player with tremendous vision; along with his offensive skill set, he’s shown an ability to play hard consistently and battle physically. In the scouting world, we love to see kids play well at the end of the year — based on his effort at the U-18s in Switzerland, he will be highly coveted.”NHL comparable: Kyle Turris/Mike Ribeiro

For more 2015 NHL Draft profiles, click here.

NHL reveals 2015-16 cap will be $71.4 million

Chicago Blackhawks v Anaheim Ducks - Game Seven
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As projected, the NHL payroll ceiling will climb in 2015-16, but it won’t be by a lot. After a season that saw the Canadian dollar decline substantially against its American counterpart, the NHL cap has been set at $71.4 million, which puts the floor at $52.8 million.

That’s up from the 2014-15 ceiling of $69 million, but down from the December projection of $72 million to $74 million. The lower than initially expected cap has put a greater burden on a number of high spending NHL teams.

Chicago stands out as Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane will consume a combined $21 million worth of annual cap space starting next season. That’s sparked talks of the Blackhawks moving Patrick Sharp to stay compliant. The Boston Bruins are another team that is in for a tough summer, particularly with Dougie Hamilton in line for a substantial payday as a restricted free agent.

This is good news for teams like Arizona and the Buffalo Sabres though as they will be able to land talent that top teams might have otherwise not made available. The Coyotes in particular are noteworthy as they need to spend heavily just to reach the floor.

UFA of the Day: Johnny Oduya

Johnny Oduya
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Check PHT every day until June 30 for a new pending unrestricted free agent of the day. Today’s UFA of the Day is…

Johnny Oduya

One of the four workhorse defensemen for the Blackhawks, Oduya was a huge part of Chicago’s 2015 Stanley Cup run. The 33-year-old was on the ice more than Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, and every other ‘Hawk forward. Besides goalie Corey Crawford, only Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Niklas Hjalmarsson played more than Oduya did.

But Oduya also understands the situation. The Blackhawks are facing a cap crunch. There will be changes to the roster.

“We know the reality,” he said just before the finals. “This is what it is.”

It’s certainly not out of the question that GM Stan Bowman will try to shed salary in an attempt to re-sign Oduya. After all, we saw this past season how the loss of a top-four defenseman can impact a good team. The Bruins badly missed Johnny Boychuk. Ditto for the Kings with Slava Voynov.

And while it’s true the Blackhawks have some good, young defensemen in the organization, is there one they feel comfortable slotting into a top-four role? Currently, only Keith, Seabrook, and Hjalmarsson are under contract for next season.

Perhaps Mike Reilly’s decision will impact what the Blackhawks do with Oduya. Reilly, like Oduya, shoots left. But again, Reilly has never played in the NHL. Stephen Johns and Ville Pokka haven’t either. Trevor van Riemsdyk is still inexperienced.

To be sure, if the Blackhawks decide they can’t keep Oduya, there will be interest from other teams. The Colorado Avalanche, to name just one potential suitor, are looking for a left-shot D.

“It’s just one of those things where you really don’t know the answers, you don’t know the outcomes,” said Oduya.

But we’ll know soon.

Click here for more UFAs.

PHT Morning Skate: Rozsival raises the Cup (plus pronouncing Plekanec)

cupcap
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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.

Montreal Canadiens center Tomas Plekanec answers a burning question for many of us who lost our pronunciation guides:

Q: So how do you pronounce your name?

A: PLEK-a-nets (laughs). Really, it doesn’t matter. I don’t care at all anymore. I’m fine when people say it Ple-CAN-ek, but it’s PLEK-a-nets.

It’s probably good that he’s laid back about the situation, right? /Flubs his name out of habit. (Click here for the full Q & A at Habs Inside/Out)

Ten big trade candidates at the upcoming 2015 NHL Draft. Yes, there’s at least one Blackhawk on the list. (The Hockey News)

Another look at Kimmo Timonen’s long-awaited moment with the Cup. (Greatest Hockey Legends)

A strong argument that the ‘Hawks are, indeed, worthy of the “dynasty” moniker. (Five Thirty Eight)

In case you’re wondering, yes, Patrick Kane rocked the playoff mullet back in 2010 as well.

Considering what the Chicago Blackhawks defenseman went through – and how much Chicago strained in his absence – it’s cool to see Michal Rozsival hoisting the Stanley Cup:

Stamkos extension ‘No. 1 priority’ this offseason, says Yzerman

Steven Stamkos
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Less than 48 hours after losing the Stanley Cup Final, Tampa Bay GM Steve Yzerman was already back at work.

During Wednesday’s end-of-year media availability, Yzerman told reporters he’d identified his top offseason priority — signing captain Steve Stamkos to an extension, which can be done by July 1 at the earliest.

The news doesn’t come as a huge surprise, given the Lightning don’t have many free agents to deal with. But it is the official start of what promises to be an intriguing negotiation.

Stamkos is heading into the last of a five-year, $37.5 million deal with a $7.5M average annual cap hit. Given he’s one of the NHL’s elite snipers and only turned 25 in February, it’s assumed he’s in line for a raise, with some suggesting he’ll be in conversation to become NHL’s next $10M cap hit, joining Blackhawks stars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane (their extensions kick in next season.)

But is Yzerman ready to commit that much money to one player?

If this postseason showed anything, it’s that Tampa has a slew of talented youngsters on the verge of becoming stars. Chief among them was Tyler Johnson, the leading playoff scorer — and while both he and Ondrej Palat are locked in through 2017 at $3.3M per, they’ll almost certainly be getting raises on their next deals.

And they’re not alone.

Nikita Kucherov, a bargain at $711,666 annually, is a RFA after next year. So too are Alex Killorn ($2,5M), Cedric Paquette ($633,333) and J.T. Brown ($950,000). Once Victor Hedman’s $4-million-per-season deal is up, he’ll almost certainly top Matthew Carle ($5.5M annually) as the team’s highest-paid defenseman.

Oh yeah, almost forgot — when Hedman’s deal is up in two year’s time, so too is Ben Bishop’s.

Any potential cap crunch could, of course, be mitigated by how badly Stamkos wants to stay in Tampa. It’s clear the team has the foundation to contend for years to come, meaning his decision could come down to the age-old question:

What’s more important, winning or money?

Do consider what Stamkos said today.

“This was one of, if not the best teams I’ve played on,” he said. “Not just skill wise, but how we got along.

“This was the most fun I’ve ever had playing the game.”