Nicklas Grossmann

Flames terminate Nicklas Grossmann’s contract

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The Nicklas Grossmann era in Calgary hasn’t exactly been memorable, and now it’s over.

According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Grossmann has cleared waivers and he and the Flames have decided to terminate his contract.

The veteran joined the team on a professional tryout in September. He signed a one-year contract with the Flames right after training camp.

It’s no secret that the Flames have been one of the worst teams in the league so far in 2016-17. Grossmann obviously isn’t the only reason for that, but he hasn’t played well enough.

The 31-year-old had a minus-4 ratings and two penalty minutes, while averaging 13:01 of ice time in three games.

It sounds like Grossmann will continue his pro hockey career in Sweden.

“I have agreed with Calgary about this solution,” Grossmann told expressen.se (quotes have been translated). “It would seem like a step back to go to their farm team in the AHL and play there, given where I am in my career.”

He picked up 13 goals, 86 points and 314 penalty minutes in 592 NHL games with Dallas, Philadelphia, Arizona and Calgary

Calgary waives veteran d-man Grossmann

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An aftershock on Tuesday, one day after team president Brian Burke laid into his club — Calgary has waived blueliner Nicklas Grossmann, per Sportsnet.

Grossmann, 31, had appeared in three games for the Flames this year, averaging just over 13 minutes per night. He caught on with Calgary after attending training camp on a PTO, and it was largely assumed his past relationship with head coach Glen Gulutzan (the two were together in Dallas) played a key role in translating that PTO into a guaranteed contract.

But now, Grossmann is up for grabs.

It’s worth pointing out this transaction comes on the heels of Burke’s rant on Monday to Sportsnet 960 The Fan. After calling out Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan, Burke also took a shot at the club’s blueline, saying “Deryk Engelland, you can make a case, has been out best defenseman.”

While that was largely viewed as a shot at the likes of Mark Giordano, T.J. Brodie and Dougie Hamilton, it didn’t do Grossmann any favors.

Looking ahead, it’s likely Grossmann will clear, at which time the Flames could send him down to AHL Stockton.

 

Current road trip ‘make or break’ for Arizona’s playoff chances

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For most of the year, folks wondered if — or, when — the Arizona Coyotes would eventually fall out of playoff contention.

And now — as they’re about to embark on a five-game road swing through Washington, Tampa Bay, Florida, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh — the Coyotes are talking about it themselves.

“We’re looking at it as a huge part of the season,” Kevin Connauton said, per the Arizona Republic. “We gotta go on this road trip, and we gotta play some good hockey. We gotta grind out a couple of road wins because this is a key point in the season.

“This could really, at the end of the day, make or break things for us.”

The Coyotes are in a pretty curious spot.

Realistically, they’re probably not going to make the postseason. Heading into tonight’s game at Verizon, they’re five points back of the second wild card spot in the Western Conference, and would need to leapfrog Minnesota to get there.

But the fact Arizona’s in this conversation at all is surprising.

Picked by many to be one of the worst teams in the NHL, the Coyotes have impressed, thanks in large part to the outstanding play of rookies Max Domi and Anthony Duclair. Throw in some surprisingly good netminding from another rookie, Louis Domingue, and the usual solid contributions from blueliner Oliver Ekman-Larsson, and the Coyotes have put together what has to be seen as a successful campaign — playoffs or no.

Which is why, regardless of how this trip goes, the club’s immediate future might already be decided.

While GM Don Maloney said there won’t be a purge similar to last year, it’s likely that Arizona will be a seller at the Feb. 29 deadline. There’s been a ton of rumored interesting around pending UFA Mikkel Boedker, while veteran free agents like Nicklas Grossmann and Boyd Gordon could also be flipped for picks.

Add it all up, and Connauton was right — this road trip could make or break the Coyotes’ playoff chances.

Yet it’s entirely possible those chances won’t be broken by wins or losses.

Coyotes claim Connauton off waivers from Columbus

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Kevin Connauton‘s NHL journey will see him head back West — on Wednesday, the Coyotes claimed him off waivers from Columbus, per TSN.

Connauton was deemed expendable by the Jackets in the wake of the Seth Jones acquisition and the activation of Cody Goloubef (broken jaw) off IR.

That left CBJ with a surplus of blueliners — previously, Andrew Bodnarchuk had been claimed by Colorado — and the decision was made to expose Connauton on the wire.

And that’s when Arizona swooped in.

A decent offensive defenseman — he had eight points in 27 games this year — Connauton is still relatively young and has over 100 games of NHL experience. The 25-year-old is also in the last of a three-year, $2.05M deal with a $683,333 cap hit, and will be a nice insurance policy on Arizona’s back end.

Veterans Nicklas Grossmann and Zbynek Michalek have dealt with injuries this season, combining to miss 16 games.

For Connauton, the move back West should be familiar. He began his NHL career with the Vancouver organization, before spending a few years in Dallas.

Coyotes sign recently acquired d-man Elliott

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Arizona has inked blueliner Stefan Elliott to a one-year, $650,000 deal, per General Fanager.

Elliott, 24, was acquired from Colorado last week for Brandon Gormley, a flip of two young defenseman that have yet to establish themselves at the NHL level. Elliott was the 49th overall pick in 2009, Gormley the 13th overall pick in 2010, but neither has appeared in more than 40 games in a single season.

With Arizona, Elliott should have a better shot at a bigger role.

The Coyotes are pretty thin on the back end, and young. Only Nicklas Grossmann and Zbynek Michalek are over 30, while the likes of 24-year-olds Klas Dahlbeck and Philip Samuelsson — both relatively untested at the NHL level — are projected to battle for spots.

It’s worth noting that Elliott is the last of all this year’s restricted free agents to sign a new contract.