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.
Last spring when Eddie Lack was looking for help designing his new mask, Roberto Luongo tweeted the 27-year-old with his own design suggestion. Now with the Carolina Hurricanes, Lack decided to pay tribute to his former Vancouver Canucks teammate by putting Luongo’s face on his mask.
The St. Louis Blues have signed forward Vladimir Tarasenko to an eight-year, $60 million contract.
With a cap hit of $7.5 million, the deal makes Tarasenko the highest-paid player on the Blues.
One of the league’s top young stars, the 23-year-old had 37 goals in 2014-15, fewer than only four others in the NHL. He added six more goals in six playoff games.
The Blues drafted Tarasenko 16th overall in 2010.
As far as recent comparables go, it’s not easy to come up with many, given Tarasenko was a restricted free agent coming off his entry-level deal. Brandon Saad just signed a six-year, $36 million deal with Columbus, but his production pales next to Tarasenko’s.
Elite scoring wingers-wise, Phil Kessel is on an eight-year deal with an $8 million cap hit (shared now by both the Leafs and Penguins), while Corey Perry is also on an eight-year deal, with an $8.625 million cap hit.
Kessel, 27, and Perry, 30, each have a longer track record, but Tarasenko is considerably younger. And, of course, Kessel and Perry signed those deals as pending unrestricted free agents, which gave them more leverage in negotiations.
Expectations for Nazem Kadri have always been high. When you’re a seventh overall draft pick, that’s going to be the case.
But with Phil Kessel gone and Tyler Bozak potentially out the door next, new coach Mike Babcock expects the 24-year-old Maple Leafs center — armed with a one-year, prove-it contract — to take his game to another level next season.
“He gets to come in and have a heck of a year and put the screws to us. Why wouldn’t he? If I’m him, I’m going to have the best year of my career because I’m training the way I should and living the way I should, then why wouldn’t I have a short-term deal?”
Kadri finished 2014-15 with 18 goals and 21 assists in 73 games. While those numbers don’t exactly scream “elite player,” it should be noted he played mostly with Daniel Winnik and Mike Santorelli.
With that in mind, it’ll be interesting to see if Babcock gives Kadri more time with James van Riemsdyk, who skated almost exclusively with Kessel and Bozak on Toronto’s much-maligned first line.