While the jury’s still out on Stefan Matteau after his entry-level contract, his new two-year deal announced by the Devils will cover key seasons that might go a long way towards determining what kind of career he has.
His contract comes with a $612,500 annual cap hit, according to The Record’s Tom Gulitti.
The 21-year-old was taken with the 29th overall pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Known more for his physical game than offensive prowess, he has gone on to record 25 goals, 53 points, and 106 penalty minutes in 128 AHL contests over the last two seasons.
He also has two goals and four points in 24 career games with New Jersey, including a goal in seven contests last season. His lone 2014-15 marker with the Devils is a good example of the type of play New Jersey is hoping from him going forward:
“He has to use his size and strength. He’s a big boy,” Devils president Lou Lamoriello told NJ.com at the time. “He has to get in the corners. He has to finish checks and go to the front of the net.
“He’s not a finesse player, nor will he be, but he has skills.”
One of the most interesting personalities of recent memory might be at the end of his playing career.
While helping young goalies at a summer camp, Ilya Bryzgalov told HC Lada of the KHL’s official website that he might decide to retire in the next month and a half.
His plan for now is to return to Philadelphia to be with his family. He doesn’t see himself signing with a KHL team, but he didn’t want to rule it out either.
In the end, we could see things play out similarly to how they did last season when he entered the campaign without a contract and wasn’t actively looking for an NHL gig, but ultimately chose to return when the Ducks approached him. Of course, it also wouldn’t be surprising if history didn’t repeat itself given that he posted a 4.19 GAA and .847 save percentage in eight contests with Anaheim. He decided to return to his family after the Ducks sent him to the minors in February.
It’s also worth noting that regardless of what he decides, he will be collecting paychecks from Philadelphia through 2027 due to his buyout in 2013.
If this proves to be the end of his career then he’ll be retiring with a 221-162-54 record, 2.58 GAA, and .912 save percentage in 465 career games with Anaheim, the Coyotes, Flyers, Edmonton Oilers, and Minnesota Wild.
(H/T Puck Daddy)
Vincent Lecavalier never seemed to mesh with former Philadelphia Flyers coach Craig Berube, but will things work out any better for him under new bench boss Dave Hakstol?
Flyers GM Ron Hextall’s preference might be to never find out, but getting another team to take the final three seasons of his five-year, $22.5 million deal can’t be an easy task and retirement isn’t an option Lecavalier is willing to entertain. So while the possibility of a move certainly exists, both sides might ultimately have to make do with each other.
For Philadelphia, that means hoping Lecavalier will bounce back after scoring just eight goals and 20 points last season. For the 35-year-old forward, that means hoping he’ll get more ice time after being limited to an average of 12:38 minutes per game and even spending some time as a healthy scratch.
“I’m still in shape,” Lecavalier said, per NHL.com. “I really just want to get my chance. I am confident in my abilities and I move on.
“I kept a good attitude. You do not want to be a cancer in the room. You want to stay a good teammate, and that’s what I tried to do. A good bunch of guys, it makes things easier. It is the past. I want to be in shape in September and playing hockey, that’s it.”
The coaching change should provide him with a fresh start, but hurdles remain. He’s well past his prime now and has been plagued by injuries for years. The Flyers still have a lot of alternatives up the middle too, which might lead to Hakstol pushing Lecavalier to the right wing as Berube did.
Hakstol wants to withhold judgment until he can see his players’ training camp performances, per CSN Philly, so if nothing else it sounds like Lecavalier will get that chance he’s after.
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.
Chicago lost more than Patrick Sharp’s offensive contributions when they dealt him. (Chicago Tribune)
T.J. Oshie ran into one of the two players he was traded for, Troy Brouwer, while touring Kettler Capitals Iceplex. (Washington Post)
Maple Leafs assistant general manager Kyle Dubas feels prospect Frederik Gauthier is “an interesting paradox.” (Toronto Star)
While some might have predicted Matt Beleskey would end up with a significantly bigger contract than the five-year, $19 million deal he signed, Beleskey wasn’t one of them. (Boston Herald)
When Noah Hanifin woke up on Saturday, he wasn’t sure that he would be signing with the Carolina Hurricanes that day, but ultimately he felt ready to go pro after spending a season with Boston College. (The News & Observer)
It looks like Mike Gillis, the former president and general manager of the Vancouver Canucks, will be teaching Sports Law at the University of Victoria. (UVIC)
Finally, we already mentioned it on Saturday, but if you haven’t read Sheldon Souray’s retirement letter then it really is worth it. There’s strong language in it though, so please keep that in mind. (The Players’ Tribune)
The unrestricted free agent market has slowed to a crawl, but there are still some noteworthy players left for the taking and they might end up with buyer-friendly contracts at this point.
Here’s a sampling of the most interesting names:
Cody Franson — His return to Nashville didn’t go as scripted, but he’s still a 27-year-old (28 in August) defenseman that recorded 33 and 36 points in each of his last two seasons. Agent Gerry Johannson felt back in June that Jeff Petry’s six-year, $33 million extension was in the right “ballpark” for Franson, but at this point it would be interesting to see if he would settle for a one-year contract in the hope of finding more favorable conditions with his next deal.
Alex Semin — He had just six goals and 19 points in 57 contests last season and Hurricanes GM Ron Francis cited his compete level as a reason for buying him out. Semin has had a wildly inconsistent career, but when he’s at his best, he’s a top-tier goal scorer. The fact that he’s reportedly interested in a one-year deal suggests that the risks involved in signing him will be managed. Under those conditions, he at least has the potential to provide any team with a significant boost.
Christian Ehrhoff — Concussion problems limited Ehrhoff to just 49 games with the Pittsburgh Penguins last season and that’s likely part of the reason he’s still on the open market. However, he has breached the 30-point mark six times and most recently in 2013-14. So perhaps his next one-year deal will go better than his last.
Marek Zidlicky — He’ll celebrate his 39th birthday in February, but he can still be a big contributor with the man advantage. In fact last season he was tied for 12th place among defensemen with 20 power-play points (34 overall).
Brad Boyes — He had a decent 14 goals and 38 points in 78 contests in 2014-15 with a Panthers team that didn’t do much offensively, but was nevertheless bought out. Although he’s unlikely to ever rise to the level he was at in 2007-2008 when he scored 43 goals, he’s still a decent secondary scorer and has traditionally be very effective in shootouts.
While Johnny Oduya is out there too, he’s expected to make his decision within the week. The Buffalo Sabres and Chicago Blackhawks are among his potential destinations.