The Phoenix Coyotes’ future in Glendale is in doubt, but they still managed to keep the foundation of their franchise in place, even if it’s proving costly. Saturday’s rumor was confirmed on Sunday as the team handed goalie Mike Smith a six-year contract, according to Fox Sports Arizona’s Craig Morgan.
The exact financial terms aren’t clear just yet – this post will be updated with those details – but earlier rumors pegged the annual cap hit at somewhere between $5.5 million and $5.7 million.
Update: It appears that the cap hit is $5.67 million, placing the six-year total to $34.02 million, according to Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic. McLellan also notes that the deal isn’t 100 percent official yet.
Morgan points out the misgivings about the franchise’s future in the Smith camp, but $33 million or more can make Glendale, Seattle, Quebec or any number of locations seem like paradise.
For many, the risks of this deal outweigh the potential rewards.
Smith is a little up there in age at 31. His career has been full of ups and downs (including two seasons with less than a 90 save percentage) and his fragility has limited him considerably. (The 67 regular season games he played in 2011-12 towers over every other year of his career; his second-best mark is 42.)
That being said, Smith did impress in 2011-12. His numbers were nearly identical to those of Jonathan Quick’s breakout campaign and his postseason success wasn’t that far off, either, as he was the driving force for a franchise-first run to the Western Conference finals.
Apparently that provided enough evidence for a franchise with an unstable future to make Smith their goalie of the future.
Coyotes keep head coach Dave Tippett
GM Don Maloney stays in the fold
Mathew Barzal has agreed to terms with the New York Islanders on an eight-year extension, a move that keeps the franchise’s top forward under contract for the balance of his prime.
The deal is worth $73.2 million with an annual salary cap hit of $9.15 million, according to a person with knowledge of the contract. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team did not announce terms.
Barzal has led the team in scoring, or been tied for the lead, every season since he became a full-time NHL player in 2017-18. He has 349 points in 411 regular-season and playoff games for the defensively stingy Islanders, who qualified for the postseason three consecutive times before an injury- and virus-altered last year.
“We feel recharged,” Barzal said recently. “We feel like everybody had good summers and worked hard, and we got that excitement back.”
Barzal, now 25, is coming off putting up 59 points in 75 games. The offensive star will now be asked to round out his game.
“I’m a fan because Mat has the ability to raise his game and to be a special player,” general manager Lou Lamoriello told reporters at the team’s practice facility on Long Island. “And now, with this contract and our faith in him, (it) puts that responsibility on him. We’re trusting that. It’s up to him to respond to that.”
OTTAWA, Ontario — Ottawa Senators goaltender Cam Talbot is expected to be out five to seven weeks with what the team called an upper-body injury.
The Senators initially called Talbot day to day with what they hoped was a minor injury. Instead he’s now expected to miss at least the first month of the NHL season.
Ottawa claimed goalie Magnus Hellberg off waivers from the Seattle Kraken upon announcing Talbot’s expected absence. Hellberg, who played for Sweden at the Beijing Olympics could split time with countryman Anton Forsberg while Talbot is out.
The Senators acquired Talbot from Minnesota during the offseason to make him their starter after the Wild opted against bringing him back along with Marc-Andre Fleury. Talbot, 35, had a 2.76 goals-against average and .911 save percentage this season.
Losing Talbot is a blow to the Senators, who also acquired winger Alex DeBrincat from Chicago and signed longtime Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux as part of a move toward contending and ending their playoff drought.
CHICAGO — Blackhawks forward Boris Katchouk will be sidelined for four to six weeks with a left ankle sprain, the team announced.
The 24-year-old Katchouk played almost 12 minutes during a 3-0 preseason loss to Detroit on Saturday night. He was acquired in a multiplayer trade with Tampa Bay in March.
The Blackhawks open the season on Oct. 12 at Colorado.
The team also said forward Jujhar Khaira is day to day with a right ankle injury.
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Ducks defenseman Urho Vaakanainen was taken off the Honda Center ice on a stretcher after he crashed into the end boards in the first period of Anaheim’s preseason game against the San Jose Sharks.
The Finnish defenseman was conscious and alert with full movement in his extremities at UCI Medical Center, the Ducks said.
The frightening incident occurred midway through the opening period when Vaakanainen smashed into the boards at a dangerous speed behind the Sharks’ net. Vaakanainen appeared to be concentrating on the pass he had just made to Derek Grant, who scored the Ducks’ opening goal on the assist.
Vaakanainen’s teammates came onto the ice and gathered around him as he was taken away on the stretcher.
The Ducks acquired the 23-year-old Vaakanainen from Boston last March in the deal that sent longtime Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm to the Bruins. After recording two assists in 14 games for the Ducks last season, Vaakanainen is attempting to win a top-six role on Anaheim’s defense this fall.