Tag: Shawn Thornton

Riley Sheahan, Gregory Campbell

Bruins’ Campbell may be moving from center to wing


Boston Bruins forward Gregory Campbell has been known for his faceoff prowess on the fourth line, but he could be moving to the wing next season and he’s OK with that.

As D.J. Bean of WEEI in Boston shared, Campbell discussed his possible move off the pivot and he said he’s willing to do whatever it takes to keep going.

“I’ve been a center for the last four years, but I’€™m not going to [demand anything]. I want to be in a spot where I can complement other guys,” Campbell said. “If they throw me with whoever it is and I have to play wing and we’™re a successful line, then so be it. That’€™s where I want to be. I have played center for a long time, so it may take me a few games, but I’™m sure I can do it.”

The Bruins haven’t done anything drastic this offseason aside from losing Jarome Iginla to the Colorado Avalanche and Shawn Thornton to the Florida Panthers. They have young guys that will likely have to jump into the lineup and fill out ranks and that includes centers Ryan Spooner and Alexander Khokhlachev.

If they force their way into the Bruins lineup, having Campbell slide over to the wing will help them adapt.

Shawn Thornton calls Florida his ‘first choice’

Shawn Thornton

For the first time since the 2007-08 season, Shawn Thornton will play for a team other than the Boston Bruins. It might be hard to believe considering his new team’s lack of playoff success, but Thornton told NHL.com that signing with the Florida Panthers is actually a meaningful move for the enforcer.

“Florida was my first choice. I like where the team is going,” Thornton said. “I obviously know [Panthers GM Dale Tallon] from Chicago. I love the area. I’ve already been down a couple of times checking it out with the wife. We’re really, really excited to be a part of it.”

It almost sounds like a reunion for both player and GM, in some ways. One could argue that both Tallon and Thornton are seeing their careers wind down at the same time, although the pugnacious player provides the most obvious example with what might be his final NHL contract.

“A long time ago we started off together,” Tallon said. “I signed him to his first contract. He can play it any way you want. He’ll surprise you with his skills and he’ll score some highlight-film goals, but he knows his role. His fitness level is incredible, his nutrition. He’ll really be a great leader in our locker room for our young guys. He’ll show them the way. He and Derek (MacKenzie) will really make a good tandem. It’ll be hard to play against. It’s a fourth line that will play with a lot of energy and enthusiasm and toughness.”

The 37-year-old seems pretty confident about his versatility, while others wonder if he’s part of a dying breed. We’ll find out soon enough, but if nothing else, it sounds like Thornton is happy to join the Panthers.

‘The talent was always there’ in Florida, says Luongo

Vancouver Canucks v Florida Panthers

The Panthers haven’t fared very well over the last two seasons — finishing 29th and 30th overall in consecutive years — but, according to veteran goalie Roberto Luongo, that lack of success wasn’t due to a lack of talent.

“I like it — the talent was always there,” Luongo said in previewing the upcoming campaign, per Vancouver’s Team 1040 radio. “We had a lot of good talent in the young kids, but we needed to surround them with some good veterans.”

Florida has been stockpiling talent for quite some time now, and should (theoretically) reap some of the rewards this season… even though all that talent is still remarkably young. Former Calder winner Jonathan Huberdeau, 21, is entering his third professional campaign, while Finnish center Aleksander Barkov — who is still just 18 years old — will embark on his sophomore year.

Big things are expected from another 18-year-old, Aaron Ekblad, the first overall pick at this year’s draft and it’s also worth noting that Nick Bjugstad, last year’s leading scorer, just turned 22 last week.

But as Luongo mentioned, veterans were in big demand to help these kids along. That’s partly why Florida GM Dale Tallon went on a summer spending spree, dropping more than $53 million to bring in the likes of Dave Bolland, Shawn Thornton, Jussi Jokinen and Luongo’s former teammate in Vancouver, Willie Mitchell. In Bolland, Thornton and Mitchell the Panthers inherited five Stanley Cup championships; they also brought aboard a veteran NHL coach in Gerard Gallant with the aim of providing stability after going through two coaches (Kevin Dineen and Peter Horachek) last season.

“I’ve heard a lot of great things about our new coach,” Luongo explained. “I think for our team, honestly, it’s a matter of making sure everything comes together at the beginning of the season with the new coaching staff.

“If we can stay healthy, I think we’ll be in the mix.”

Could the Chicago-Florida pipeline open once again?

Dale Tallon

Two things happened today that could be related somewhere down the road:

1) Chicago gave Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane matching eight-year, $84 million extensions.

2) This…

The Panthers and Blackhawks have one major thing in common — Tallon. He used to serve as the GM in Chicago and, during his tenure with the Panthers, has shown great affinity for his old Windy City buddies.

Brian Campbell, Tomas Kopecky, Brandon Pirri, Jimmy Hayes and Dylan Olsen all came directly from Chicago and, on July 1, Tallon kept the trend going by signing two more of his old ‘Hawks: Shawn Thornton and Dave Bolland.

So it’s pretty clear Tallon likes getting guys out of Chicago. Which brings us back to Kane and Toews.

When their extensions (and $10.5M cap hits) kick in for the 2015-16 campaign, GM Stan Bowman is going to be in a world of financial hurt. Per Capgeek, the club will have just 15 players under contract for $65 million, and there are some big negotiations down the road: Brandon Saad, a budding star in his own right, will need a new deal after next season; same goes for versatile center Marcus Kruger and offensive defenseman Nick Leddy.

(Blueliner Johnny Oduya is a UFA after next season too.)

It stands to reason that Bowman will need to move one of his high-priced forwards not named Toews or Kane in order to make this all fit. Patrick Sharp’s name has been floated on numerous occasions, as he’s on the books at $5.9M through 2017.

Sharp, it should be noted, has scored 30-plus goals in four of his last six seasons.

Sure sounds like someone Tallon might be interested in acquiring, no?

Washington Capitals were free agency’s biggest spenders

Washington Capitals Introduce General Manager Brian MacLellan And Coach Barry Trotz

Now that free agency has, for the most part, settled down it’s time to step back and see who did the most damage.

No, we don’t mean who improved themselves the most — we’re talking about raw dollars spent. This year’s winner? The Washington Capitals.

Sure there are more players left to be signed, but the big crush is over. Considering no one has been officially signed since July 4, we’ll say it’s pretty much done for now.

As Alex Prewitt of The Washington Post shared and CapGeek.com tabulated, the Capitals spent the most money on new contracts this summer spending $69.65 million on 14 years worth of deals to Brooks Orpik, Matt Niskanen, and Justin Peters.

The Tampa Bay Lightning were next on the list with $64.85 million spent over 15 years worth of contracts. Adding Anton Stralman, Brian Boyle, and Evgeni Nabokov didn’t really make the numbers pop but re-signing Ryan Callahan to a six-year, $34.8 million deal sure did.

Rounding out the top three are the Florida Panthers were the next biggest spenders with $60.4 million spent on 18 years worth of deals to Willie Mitchell, Jussi Jokinen, Dave Bolland, Derek MacKenzie, Shawn Thornton, and Al Montoya. While the Panthers broke the bank on Bolland, their total shows every little bit adds up.

The spending of the former Southeast Division foes helped keep the New York Islanders ($57.95 million) and Buffalo Sabres ($46.375 million) out of the top three of the list, but did go to show that making sure to get above the salary floor takes a bit of work.

The Isles added $15.587 million to their cap total for next season while the Sabres added $14.875 million. Those two are distant runners-up to the New Jersey Devils ($18.262 million) and Florida ($17.3 million) to boosting their cap number.

It’s like what Sabres GM Tim Murray has been saying whenever he was asked about whether his team will hit the cap floor or not: “Spending money is easy.” As for the cap floor, only the Calgary Flames have yet to reach the $51 million mark according to Cap Geek and they’re under that by just $563,333.