Tag: Saku Koivu

PK Subban

Subban favored to be next Habs captain, says oddsmaker


Montreal is currently without a captain for the first time in five years and, according to online oddsmaker Bovada, P.K. Subban is favored to be the next Canadien to wear the “C”.

Subban tops the list of potential candidates to replace Brian Gionta, who took over Montreal’s captaincy in 2010 but signed with Buffalo on the opening day of free agency. Gionta succeeded Saku Koivu, who’d been the Habs’ captain from 1999-2009 but left as a free agent following the 2008-09 season (of note, 2009-10 was the first time in club history the Canadiens played a full season without a captain.)

The full list of candidates, per Bovada:

P.K. Subban                 1/1

Tomas Plekanec            3/2

Andrei Markov               11/4

Max Pacioretty              6/1

Of the guys behind Subban, Markov has the most experience in terms of leadership as he was named Montreal’s alternate captain in 2010 (at the same time Gionta took the “C”). Plekanec isn’t far behind, though — he captained the Czech Republic’s team at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, reprising his role from the 2012 World Hockey Championships.

There have been 28 captains in Canadiens history, with Koivu and Jean Beliveau sharing the record for longest tenure (10 years).

Ducks parting ways with Koivu, Hiller and Winnik

Saku Koivu

The Anaheim Ducks are moving on from three veteran presences.

On Thursday, GM Bob Murray said the club wouldn’t extend offers to pending UFAs Saku Koivu, Jonas Hiller and Daniel Winnik, per the O.C. Register. The moves aren’t entirely surprising given Anaheim’s wealth of young prospects on the horizon, but still represent a significant shift in the club’s identity.

Koivu, 39, has been with the team for the last five seasons and has served as the Ducks’ alternate captain since signing in 2009. Despite missing significant time last year with a concussion, Koivu still put up a respectable 11 goals and 29 points in 65 games while averaging over 15 minutes a night… that said, he struggled in the playoffs and went goalless with just one assist, and saw his ice time dip to 12:44.

Cutting ties with Hiller, 32, isn’t surprising at all. The writing was on the wall late in the regular season when Bruce Boudreau played both Frederik Andersen and John Gibson down the stretch, and was further etched when Boudreau turned to Gibson, not Hiller, after Andersen was hurt in the second-round defeat to Los Angeles. The Swiss netminder, who has spent all six of his NHL seasons in Anaheim, sits third all time among Ducks goalies in games played (326), wins (162) and shutouts (21).

As for where Hiller might end up?

Winnik, 29, is an interesting case. He scored a career-high 30 points last season — while making a tidy $1.8 million — and at times proved to be a useful, big-body forward (6-foot-2, 215 pounds) in his two seasons with the Ducks. The former Coyote, Shark and Avalanche did fall out of favor in the postseason, though, sitting as a healthy scratch on a number of occasions while recording just one assist in nine games.

As mentioned above, Anaheim does have a ton of young forward talent waiting in the wings. Devante Smith-Pelly, Rickard Rakell and Emerson Etem were all knocking at the door last season, and the club still has the likes of William Karlsson (53rd overall, 2011) and Nicolas Kerdiles (36th overall, 2012) in the mix.

Report: Canadiens, Markov close to new deal

Andrei Markov
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Montreal Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov is a fan favorite and it looks like he’ll be staying in Quebec.

According to Richard Labbe of La Presse (link in French), Markov’s agent, former NHL forward Sergei Berezin, says his client is close to re-signing with the Habs. Translation courtesy Chantal Ledoux:

“We know what Habs management wants, and they know what Andrei wants,” Berezin said. “There are no surprises and I am optimistic in this case, the main reason being that I feel the team wishes to keep Andrei, and Andrei wants to remain with this team. That’s what’s important to understand. The rest are just details we need to work out.”

 Markov has played 13 seasons in Montreal and made his debut with the team in the 2000-01 season. In that time he’s scored 98 goals and piled up 442 points and helped take the Canadiens to the playoffs seven times. He’s as much of a fixture in Montreal as any player that’s played there since Saku Koivu.

After putting three seasons of injuries behind him he’s been a key contributor the past two seasons with 73 points and has missed just one game. If Markov parted ways with the team at this point in his career it’d be stunning. Expect him to continue patrolling the Montreal blue line alongside Alexei Emelin for at least another season.

Wild sign Finnish league sniper Keranen

Minnesota Wild logo

The best player in the Finnish league is on his way to Minnesota.

Michael Keranen, who was voted by his peers as the SM-liiga’s top performer last season, has agreed to a two-way deal with the Wild for next season, GM Chuck Fletcher announced on Thursday.

“We are excited to get Michael under contract for next season,” Fletcher said in a statement. “He had a very good year in Finland and our scouting staff thinks he is ready for the challenge of coming to North America.

“We are happy to add him to our lists of prospects and look forward to seeing how he performs in training camp.”

Keranen, 24, captured two of Finland’s biggest awards last season. The first was the “Golden Helmet” — the league’s top player, voted by the players — which was previously won by the likes of Tim Thomas, Ville Leino, Saku Koivu and Brian Rafalski.

The second is the Lasse Oksanen Trophy, awarded annually to the SM-liiga’s best player during the regular season. Two years ago, current Blackhawks goalie Antti Raanta captured the trophy.

Keranen won this year’s awards on the strength of scoring 52 points in 52 games for Tampere, leading the league with six game-winning goals. It was a major breakout campaign for the flashy forward, who shattered his previous career high of 27 points and has been described as something of a late bloomer.

Bergevin, Lombardi, Murray named GM of the Year finalists

Ray Shero

Montreal’s Marc Bergevin, Los Angeles’ Dean Lombardi and Anaheim’s Bob Murray have been nominated for the 2014 General Manager of the Year award, the NHL announced on Friday.

This marks Lombardi’s first time as a finalist and the second for Murray and Bergevin, who finished behind Pittsburgh’s Ray Shero for last year’s award.

The voting, conducted among the 30 club general managers and a panel of NHL executives, managed to overlook what GM Jim Nill did in Dallas this year. Despite orchestrating the Tyler Seguin blockbuster, drafting Valeri Nichushkin and overseeing the end of a five-year playoff drought, Nill wasn’t named one of the three finalists — which has to come as something of a surprise, especially given this was his first year in charge.

That said, perhaps Nill will be relieved he wasn’t among the nominees.

Of the four previous GM of the Year award winners — the honor was implemented for the 2009-10 campaign — two have lost their jobs. Vancouver’s Mike Gillis, who won in 2010-11, was dismissed from his gig in early April; Shero, who won the award last year, was fired shortly after Pittsburgh’s collapse to the Rangers in the second round of this year’s playoffs.

Here’s the rundown of the three finalists, per NHL.com:

Marc Bergevin, Montreal Canadiens

Bergevin guided the Canadiens (46-28-8, 100 points) to their second 100-point season since 1992-93, leading the team to the playoffs for the second time in as many years as general manager. He bolstered the offense with the summer signing of Daniel Briere and also added grit with the offseason acquisitions of Douglas Murray and George Parros. Bergevin then shored up the roster with midseason trades for Thomas Vanek, Mike Weaver and Dale Weise, all of whom played critical roles in the team advancing to the Eastern Conference Final for the second time in the past five seasons.

Dean Lombardi, Los Angeles Kings

Under the direction of Lombardi, the Kings (46-28-8, 100 points) earned their fifth consecutive playoff berth, recorded their fourth 100-point season in franchise history and made their third straight appearance in the Western Conference Final. He solidified the team’s blue line by re-signing defensemen Alec Martinez, Jake Muzzin and Slava Voynov and did the same up front by bringing back Dustin Brown, Kyle Clifford, Trevor Lewis and Jordan Nolan. Lombardi then kick-started the club’s offense with the addition of Marian Gaborik at the Trade Deadline; after being blanked six times in 63 games prior to his arrival, the Kings were not shut out once in the final 19 contests of the regular season with Gaborik in the lineup.

Bob Murray, Anaheim Ducks

Murray paved the way for the finest season in Ducks history, leading the team to its second straight Pacific Division title; the top record in the Western Conference for the first time in club history; and franchise records in wins (54), points (116), points percentage (.707), home wins (29) and road wins (25). He set the Ducks up for success by re-signing Matt Beleskey, Saku Koivu, Ben Lovejoy and Kyle Palmieri as well as enticing Teemu Selanne to return for one final season. Murray also traded for Mathieu Perreault during the preseason; added depth players in Mark Fistric, Tim Jackman, Stephane Robidas and Jakob Silfverberg; and oversaw the development of young goaltenders Frederik Andersen and John Gibson.

In case you’re wondering, the two GMs that won the award and are still employed are Phoenix’s Don Maloney and St. Louis’ Doug Armstrong.