Marco Sturm, the highest-scoring German player in NHL history, has agreed to become the head coach and general manager of Germany’s national team.
“I’m very proud that the DEB [German hockey federation] gives me the huge responsibility and I’m really immensely looking forward to this challenging and exciting task I will work on with huge motivation,” Sturm said, per the IIHF website. “Together we want to go the next step with German ice hockey.”
Sturm, 36, retired last January after a 15-year NHL career that went through San Jose, Boston, Los Angeles, Washington, Vancouver and Florida. He also represented Germany at nearly every international level, participating in three Winter Olympics.
As mentioned in his quote above, this new gig will be a challenge. Sturm, who doesn’t have any pro coaching experience, inherits a struggling national team; Germany finished a disappointing 10th at the 2015 World Hockey Championships, suffering one of the biggest blowouts of the tournament, a 10-0 loss to Canada.
This came on the heels of an equally disappointing effort at the ’14 tourney, in which the Germans needed group stage wins over Latvia and Kazakhstan to avoid relegation.
Currently, there are seven German skaters in the NHL: Tobias Rieder, Dennis Seidenberg, Christian Ehrhoff, Marcel Goc, Leon Draisaitl, Korbinian Holzer and David Wolf. Thomas Greiss and Philipp Grubauer are the country’s lone netminders.
The St. Louis Blues have signed forward Magnus Paajarvi to a one-year, one-way contract, the club announced on Wednesday.
According to Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the deal is worth $700,000.
Paajarvi filed for player-elected arbitration prior to Sunday’s deadline.
The 24-year-old split last season between the St. Louis Blues and the American Hockey League’s Chicago Wolves.
In 10 games with the Blues, Paajarvi registered an assist and a minus-2 rating. He scored 11 goals and 18 assists in 36 AHL games.
Paajarvi was acquired by St. Louis from the Edmonton Oilers in the David Perron trade in July 2013.
Less than a year ago, the Washington Capitals had no idea who would be their second-line center.
They know now.
It’s Evgeny Kuznetsov, the talented 23-year-old Russian who just signed a two-year extension with the club.
“I played good hockey but I have to play better,” Kuznetsov said, per CSN Washington. “I’ll try to focus on my game and what the coach tells me. If everybody does the right job probably something good will happen.”
Next season, the Caps could have a first line comprised of Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie, and a second line featuring Kuznetsov between Andre Burakovsky and Justin Williams.
“[Kuznetsov] filled a hole at second-line center that we’ve been trying to fill for a number of years,” Caps general manager Brian MacLellan said in May.
With a defense headlined by John Carlson and Matt Niskanen, and with Braden Holtby in goal, you’ll excuse Caps fans for finding it difficult to contain their excitement.
Related: Caps landing ‘affordable’ Williams a sign of the new free agency
Vladimir Tarasenko had a conference call with reporters this morning, the day after his eight-year, $60 million extension with the Blues was announced.
Can you sense a theme?
The Blues, despite icing a number of strong teams since joining the NHL in 1967, have never won the Stanley Cup. The last three seasons they’ve had good teams during the regular season, only to be eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. They haven’t been past the second round since 2001.
In Tarasenko, the Blues boast an elite goal-scoring winger who’s only 23 years old.
“We saw, I think just the tip of the iceberg of what Vladi can do in this league last year,” GM Doug Armstrong said yesterday, per NHL.com.
“Vladimir signed for eight years, Alex Pietrangelo signed for (seven), I think the nucleus of our defense and our forwards are here for the foreseeable future and we can build around that group.”
Safe to say, if St. Louis doesn’t win a championship over the next five or six years — a period when Tarasenko and Pietrangelo will be right smack in their primes — it’ll be even more heartache for the Blues and their fans.
Related: Blues appear set in the short-term, but difficult decisions loom
The Philadelphia Flyers need to agree to terms with restricted free agent Michael Del Zotto, but they’re otherwise pretty much set for training camp. That doesn’t mean the rest of the summer will be uneventful though.
Jakub Voracek is going into the final season of his four-year, $17 million contract and the Flyers might avoid the uncertainty that comes with that by re-signing him this summer. His agent Petr Svoboda has begun talks with the team, per CSN Philly.
The 25-year-old forward scored 22 goals and 81 points in 82 contests last season, so he’s in line for a big raise. He’s not much older than Vladimir Tarasenko, who signed a eight-year, $60 million deal on Tuesday. It’s not a perfect comparable because Tarasenko is more of a goal scorer while Voracek has more NHL experience. Voracek also has a better track record over the last three seasons with 189 points in 212 games compared to Tarasenko’s 135 points in 179 contests.
In fact, over the last three campaigns, Voracek ranks eighth in total points among players that are 28 years old or younger. Of those in the top-10, the only ones to re-sign within the last year were Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews (ninth and 10th respectively), who inked matching eight-year, $84 million contracts. But of course, Kane and Toews are being paid for more than just their point production.
CSN Philly speculated that Voracek is probably looking at a five-year deal that comes with at least a $7 million annual cap hit and in this market, that would probably be seen as good value.