• Five potential trade targets for the Dallas Stars this offseason. (Blackout Dallas)
• Islanders heading back in time? Lou Lamoriello is leading the New York Islanders into a new era, one that will be headlined by dominant and physical play from all members of the team. (Eyes on Isles)
• Luke Richardson, with over 600 games of pro hockey experience at both the NHL and AHL level, joins the Canadiens as an assistant coach. (Canadiens)
• The most talked about point-per-game player in the KHL last season not named Ilya Kovalchuk is heading to Long Island on a one-year deal. (Islanders)
• The Washington Capitals winning the Stanley Cup is going to boost the game in the nation’s capital. (Washington Post)
• Blackhawks first-round draft pick Adam Boqvist ready for anything after dealing with dyslexia. (Chicago Tribune)
• Texas boy with half a heart gets dream hockey rink thanks to Make-A-Wish Foundation. (KHOU 11)
The fire’s been turned up on Erik Karlsson trade speculation in the last few days. After the Sens made their franchise defenseman a contract offer on Sunday, the team allowed interested teams to speak to him about a potential trade/extension, too.
Assuming they trade him, the Senators should be able to get a strong return for Karlsson, but who’s going to give them the best offer? And who is the 28-year-old willing to sign an extension with?
Let’s take a look at the five logical landing spots for the Sens captain. There are more than five, but these are the teams that stand out for various reasons:
• Vegas Golden Knights
It’s been reported over and over again that the Golden Knights made a strong push to acquire the Swedish blueliner at the trade deadline, but that didn’t end up working out. Now, they’ve got more time to get something done. GM George McPhee still has to sign RFAs William Karlsson, Colin Miller and Shea Theodore, but he has over $18 million at his disposal.
Looking at what Vegas has to offer, it would seem logical to think that the Sens would want Cody Glass, who was the sixth overall pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. The Golden Knights aren’t loaded with high-end prospects, so they probably won’t want to part ways with Glass, especially after he posted a 102-point season in the WHL. Will the Sens be willing to accept a Glass-less package?
• Tampa Bay Lightning
The Bolts would have to create some cap space to make this happen because they only have $4.446 million left to spend, but that shouldn’t be a problem if the Sens are willing to ship them Karlsson.
Things could get really tricky if the Sens insist on Tampa Bay taking Bobby Ryan‘s $7.25 million cap hit as part of the deal, too.
The Lightning have some good prospects like Cal Foote, Taylor Raddysh and a few others, but the Sens will likely want immediate help, too. Would the Lightning give up a Brayden Point or a Mikhail Sergachev? Probably not. So is there enough there for these two sides to make a deal? It’ll be up to GM Steve Yzerman to get creative.
• San Jose Sharks
The Sharks whiffed on their attempt to land John Tavares, so they can now shift their focus to Karlsson. This summer, general manager Doug Wilson has proved that he’s capable of thinking outside the box when it comes to acquiring players and creating cap space. If he can pull this off, it would be huge for the organization.
San Jose already has Brent Burns, so a one-two punch with him and Karlsson would be devastating to face for the rest of the league.
Wilson has over $8 million to spend and he only has one RFA (Chris Tierney) to lock up. One of the issues though, is that the Sharks don’t have a first-rounder, as they traded it to Buffalo for Evander Kane (the Sharks could keep their pick if they finish in the bottom 10 of the league).
• Philadelphia Flyers
Here’s a team that hasn’t necessarily been linked to Karlsson in the mainstream media, but they could be a fit for his services.
The Flyers have money to spend right now, as they have $14.7 million in cap space. Yes, they’ll have to start paying Ivan Provorov big money next season, but you can worry about that later. Talents like Karlsson aren’t made available very often, so you have to make it work.
Philadelphia has plenty of quality prospects at their disposal and the roster is young enough that they can afford to move some of them away.
A blue line of Provorov, Shayne Gostisbere and Karlsson would be one of the best in the entire NHL. Now they only need to find a goalie.
• Colorado Avalanche
The Avalanche and Senators made a blockbuster deal last season when Matt Duchene moved to Ottawa, so we know that they’ve worked together before.
The Avs have just under $14.5 million to spend on the cap and they don’t really have any significant players to re-sign this summer. There’s plenty of room for them to fit Karlsson under the cap. Would they be willing to take Ryan, too?
The big thing Colorado has going for them, is that they currently own Ottawa’s first-rounder in 2019. The Sens can say whatever they want about being competitive in 2018-19, but if they lose Karlsson, their lottery odds will likely increase next season. Imagine finishing in the lottery and missing on a chance at Jack Hughes?
Right now, there’s pressure on the Sens to be good because they don’t have that draft pick. If they use Karlsson to get that pick (and other stuff), that would take away the pressure to be good. They could just opt for a quick rebuild because they’d own their own top selection, again.
Just when Ottawa Senators fans thought it was safe to scroll Twitter again, word of an impending Alex Burrows buyout surfaced.
At times, it’s easy to feel some sympathy for Senators GM Pierre Dorion, as the team is clearly operating on a stringent budget. Such thoughts make it easier to understand all the gymnastics involved in the Kyle Turris – Matt Duchene trade, among other decisions that seem to blow up in Ottawa’s face.
This Burrows situation is a painful intersection for the Senators, on the other hand, as penny-pinching collides with unforced errors.
Error 2: They immediately turned around and handed Burrows an extension, which they’re paying their way out of this summer. Giving Burrows another deal was already questionable, but being that it is a 35+ contract, that decision looks and looked even worse.
In hindsight, it’s difficult to stifle a snicker at Dorion’s “elated” comments after landing Burrows.
“We’re elated,” Dorion said after the trade, via the Ottawa Citizen. “The best sign for me is when I have five key veterans in our locker-room come up and I think one wanted to hug me and the other (one) shook my hand and thought this was a great move for our organization.
As you’d expect, plenty of people are dunking on the Senators for their latest blunder.
looks like signing burrows to that contract was a case of the senators biting off more than they could chew
It will be interesting to see if Burrows, 37, lands with another NHL team (or plays overseas?). If he retires, the cantankerous winger would end his career having scored 409 points in 913 regular-season games and 39 points in 85 playoff contests. Not bad for an undrafted player.
But definitely a bad move by the Senators. They’ve had a knack for those, on and off the ice, recently.
The 2018-19 NHL schedule has arrived and the 1,271-game journey to the Stanley Cup Playoffs begins Oct. 4 and ends April 6. We’ll have banners being raised, old friends being reacquainted, outdoor games, games in Europe and nearly a full slate on the season’s final day.
Here’s a look at a dozen notable dates on this coming season’s schedule:
Oct. 3, 2018 – Boston Bruins at Washington Capitals
It’s not the Penguins like we all wished, so the Capitals will have to raise their first Stanley Cup banner against the Bruins. They’ll also be playing for a new head coach before traveling to Pittsburgh for a visit with Sidney Crosby and the Penguins the next night.
Also on Opening Night, we’ll get to see the Toronto Maple Leafs hosting the Montreal Canadiens, the Calgary Flames visiting the Vancouver Canucks and the San Jose Sharks playing host to the Anaheim Ducks.
Oct. 4, 2018 — Philadelphia Flyers at Vegas Golden Knights
An historic inaugural season ended in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final. But despite the tough defeat, there was plenty for the Golden Knights and their fans to be proud of. When fans return to T-Mobile Arena for their 2018 home opener, there will be a nice celebration with a banner or two going up in the rafters.
Boston Bruins at Buffalo Sabres
Sabres fans get a first glimpse of Rasmus Dahlin in action when they take on the Bruins in the home opener. The expected 2018 No. 1 overall pick brings plenty of hope to Buffalo as the fanbase prays hard that he, Jack Eichel and Casey Mittelstadt can end their years of misery.
Oct. 6, 2018 – Nashville Predators at New York Islanders
Trotz makes his debut as Islanders head coach against one of his old teams. And no matter how free agency goes, this will be an interesting night at Barclays Center. Either John Tavares will be in the Islanders lineup, having committed to the franchise with a long-term extension and thereby garnering a huge ovation, or he’ll be wearing another jersey and the mood in Brooklyn will be quite glum.
This day will also see the Edmonton Oilers and New Jersey Devils facing off in the NHL Global Series in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Oct. 10, 2018 – Vegas Golden Knights at Washington Capitals
A rematch of the Stanley Cup Final that saw the Capitals victorious in five games. Maybe by Oct. 10 Alex Ovechkin will have been separated from the Cup.
Oct. 26, 2018 – Ottawa Senators at Colorado Avalanche
Matt Duchene has been a visiting player against the Avs, but that game actually took place in Sweden last season, so he’s yet to return to Pepsi Center as a Senator. Now, given the state of the Senators, we may get to late October and Duchene could be on a different team. But if he’s still with Ottawa, the reception he gets upon coming back to Denver should be interesting considering how his time with the franchise ended.
Dec. 1, 2018 – Columbus Blue Jackets at New York Islanders
As the Islanders prepare to leave Barclays Center in a few years, this game will be the first of 20 this coming season at their former home of Nassau Coliseum, now known as NYCB Live. The team will play games there over the next few seasons as a new arena gets built by Belmont race track in Elmont.
Nov. 1-2, 2018 – Florida Panthers vs. Winnipeg Jets
Jan. 1, 2019 – Chicago Blackhawks vs. Boston Bruins
Hey, what do you know? An outdoor game featuring the Blackhawks. After taking a year off, the Blackhawks are back outside for the Winter Classic and will take on the Bruins at Notre Dame Stadium. There will be plenty of shots of Touchdown Jesus and lots and lots of stories of Vinnie Hinostroza’s time in South Bend.
Jan. 18, 2019 – New York Islanders at Washington Capitals
Trotz returns to D.C. where he’ll get some very, very long ovations from the crowd and enjoy a tribute video ending with him raising the Stanley Cup.
Jan. 25-26, 2019 – All-Star Weekend, San Jose
A bit of a change this year as the Skills Competition has been moved to Friday night of All-Star Weekend and the 3-on-3 divisional tournament taking place on Saturday.
Feb. 23, 2019 – Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Philadelphia Flyers
The home-and-home Battle of Pennsylvania outdoor series concludes this February when the Penguins visit the Flyers at Lincoln Financial Field for a Stadium Series game. The Penguins were 4-2 victors when the two met in 2017 at Heinz Field. Hopefully the jersey choices are a little better than what they wore in their previous meeting.
April 6, 2019 – Super Saturday
The final day of the 2018-19 regular season will see 30 teams in action, with hopefully some playoff seeds and spots still up for grabs before we get to the postseason.
Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion met with the media on Thursday afternoon ahead of the 2018 NHL draft, and while he refused to comment on the team’s plans regarding superstar defenseman Erik Karlsson and other players on the roster, he did speak extensively about the recent decision to trade veteran forward Mike Hoffman.
Earlier this week the Senators traded Hoffman, one of the team’s top forwards, to the San Jose Sharks in return for a package of players and picks that included veteran forward Mikkel Boedker.
The trade came less than a week after it was revealed that Hoffman’s fiance, Monika Caryk, was accused of harassing Melinda Karlsson.
The first question Dorion faced was a blunt one: Why did you trade Mike Hoffman?
“Trading Mike Hoffman was something we needed to do,” said Dorion (via Sportsnet).
“We talk about — our dressing room was broken,” he continued. “We have to have a dressing room that wants to win together. Key components for us moving forward are, character, leadership, accountability, and we’re very happy with the return we got on Mike Hoffman. We feel Mikkel Boedker is a good player, he had a great second half, he was San Jose’s fifth leading scorer in their two rounds in the playoffs. We know with the culture that we’re aiming to get that he is going ot fit in that dressing room. I did talk to one player, not about his hockey abilities but about him as a person, that played with him, Matt Duchene, and Matt’s words to us were that he’s a great guy, he’s perfect for our room, and the culture we’re trying to build.”
Boedker has two years remaining on his current contract that pays him $4 million per season. He is coming off of a 2017-18 season that saw him score 15 goals and 37 total points for the Sharks.
Shortly after acquiring Hoffman from the Senators, San Jose turned around and flipped him to the Florida Panthers for a collection of draft picks.
Dorion was then asked when he first found out about the harassment that the Karlsson’s were subjected to following the death of their son.
“We heard a rumor at the end of the season,” said Dorion. “If we acted on every rumor we hear, we couldn’t do our job in management as a general manager. No player ever came to us about these things. At the start of every year we address the team. We address the team saying the general manager, our management group, we have an open door policy about anything personal or professional. The only thing we tell our players is don’t come see us about ice time. That is the coaches job.”
He continued: “I think when we address the players this year at the start of the year we are going to make sure in situations like this, they can definitely come to us. I think it’s important. I think in all of this the victim is Melinda Karlsson. If we can do something about it, we wish that this situation could have been prevented.”
This was just one of the many issues the Senators are facing this offseason.
The other serious one involves assistant general manager Randy Lee who is currently suspended indefinitely as he faces second-degree harassment charges for an incident involving a hotel shuttle bus driver in Buffalo during the NHL scouting combine.
Dorion said on Thursday that Lee’s situation will be re-evaluated following the court proceedings.
The Senators also have a big decision to make regarding the No. 4 overall pick and whether or not they keep it (Dorion seems to anticipate they will) or send it to the Colorado Avalanche to complete the Matt Duchene trade (why they should consider it).