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.
Jonathan Quick wrote a great piece on the strengths of some of the league’s biggest offensive threats. (The Players’ Tribune)
Columbus Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno feels the Brandon Saad acquisition is “a big statement.” (Bluejackets.nhl.com)
Speaking of Saad, he used his day with the Stanley Cup to bring it to the 911th Airlift Wing. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)
The upcoming 2016 Winter Classic will be particularly special for Mass. natives Brian Flynn and Jimmy Hayes. (NHL.com)
By signing Sean Couturier to a six-year, $26 million, the Philadelphia Flyers are betting that he’ll grow his game offensively. (CSN Philly)
The Montreal Canadiens signed defenseman Jarred Tinordi to a one-year, two-way contract on Wednesday. The financial terms have not been disclosed.
At this point, the Habs only have one pressing concern remaining: re-signing RFA Alex Galchenyuk. Naturally, much like the New York Rangers with Derek Stepan, getting Galchenyuk under contract will be more challenging than signing the likes of Tinordi and Michael Bournival.
Tinordi, 23, managed to play in 13 regular season games last season, generating two assists. He didn’t receive any reps in the playoffs, but he does have some postseason experience, as he played in five playoff games in 2013.
It’s likely that the young blueliner – drafted 22nd overall in 2010 – will need to battle for playing time. It won’t be easy, yet he has at least one ace up his sleeve:
The Montreal Canadiens have re-signed RFA forward Michael Bournival to a one-year, two-way deal worth $600,000 at the NHL level, per TVA.
Bournival, 23, split last season between Montreal and the club’s AHL affiliate in Hamilton, scoring five points in 29 games with the Habs. He failed to appear in any postseason games after playing in 14 during the Canadiens’ run to the 2014 Eastern Conference final.
Last year was a bit of a setback for Bournival, especially after scoring seven goals and 14 points in 60 games during his rookie campaign.
What’s more, things don’t promise to get any easier next season as the Habs retained the services of their two trade deadline pickups — forwards Bryan Flynn and Torrey Mitchell. That adds to an already crowded group that only saw two significant departures this offseason: P.A. Parenteau, who was bought out of his contract, and Manny Malhotra, who wasn’t brought back in free agency.
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.
The Pacific Division continued to get tougher on Friday in the wake of Milan Lucic’s arrival in Los Angeles.
The Anaheim Ducks signed Brian McGrattan while the Arizona Coyotes added tough guy John Scott on a one-year deal.
Scott spent the 2014-15 season with the San Jose Sharks scoring career-high three goals and four points to go along with 87 penalty minutes in 38 games. The 32-year-old has a history with Coyotes’ assistant GM Darcy Regier as the two were together in Buffalo.
According to TVA’s Renaud Lavoie, Scott’s deal is a one-way contract worth $575,000.
Arizona also signed Steve Downie to a one-year deal on July 1.
The Canucks added Brandon Prust in a trade with the Montreal Canadiens.
“L.A. got tougher in bringing in Lucic. Other teams got tougher,” Canucks GM Jim Benning said on Thursday when discussing the Prust acquisition. “I don’t want our younger players getting picked on this year. I want them to go out, be able to play and feel comfortable.
“With (Derek) Dorsett and Prust in the lineup, they’re going to create a safe working environment for our young players.”
Dorsett (17) and Prust (16) were second and third in fighting majors last season, according to Hockeyfights.com. Colorado’s Cody McLeod led the league with 19.
Downie was 14th in fighting majors last season with eight.