In case you’re not on Twitter, Ilya Kovalchuk has announced his retirement from the NHL. Kovalchuk, 30, leaves 12 years and $77 million on the table from the Devils, who will have a $250k cap recapture penalty for the next 12 (!!) years, until 2024-2025. Signing Kovalchuk cost the Devils a first round pick (due to the circumvention issue), and probably cost them Zach Parise as well.
Category: Around the League
Faced with precious little cap space and a host of key players to re-sign, the Penguins did a marvelous job of keeping a successful core intact. Pittsburgh opened the offseason by inking Evgeni Malkin to a long-term deal and also managed to retain key UFAs Pascal Dupuis and Chris Kunitz below market value. It seemed like Pittsburgh would be unable to meet Kris Letang’s contract extension demands and that he might be dealt over draft weekend as Jordan Staal was last year, but the Penguins managed to keep their high-scoring defender happy with an eight-year, $58 million extension.
Pittsburgh lost trade deadline acquisitions Jarome Iginla, Brenden Morrow and Douglas Morrow as free agents and also allowed pest Matt Cooke to exit, while trading depth forward Tyler Kennedy to San Jose. But amidst all that, the Penguins were able to bring back Rob Scuderi, a defender they regretted letting leave in the first place. Pittsburgh has no room to operate under the salary cap so another trade might be coming and the Penguins are still planning to rely on Marc-Andre Fleury in goal next season, so it’s hard to classify them as a ‘better’ team. However, the Penguins kept an extremely talented roster together for the most part and should again be a Cup favorite heading into 2013-2014.
Former Ranger Brendan Shanahan will be a member of the 2013 Hockey Hall of Fame inductees. Chris Chelios, Scott Niedermayer, Geraldine Heaney, and Fred Shero will also be inducted. Shanny played two seasons with the Rangers, putting together a line of 52-56-108 in 140 games. For his career, Shanny was one of the best power forwards to ever play the game, scoring 658 goals and adding 698 assists, with over 2,500 PIMs.
This July 5th, was perhaps the most stupid free agency opening in living memory. When a player scratched in the Cup Final (Victor Stalberg) can turn his level of ‘performance’ into a four year deal you have to wonder. When Andrew journeyman Ference can – at 34 no less – turn his bottom pair duties for Boston into four years 12+ million you continue to wonder.
When Ryane Clowe – for all his obvious talent – can turn an injury, concussion plagued season and 3 goal production into a five year deal with a significant pay rise you know the last of the sane general managers have lost their marbles.
There were countless deals this Friday that left heads scratching, that made a mockery of the lockout (once again) and left teams who managed somehow to exercise caution in a good position. Maybe it was just that the Rangers couldn’t spend this summer what others could but the Rangers figure to benefit from all this madness.
Per Bob McKenzie, Tomas Kaberle (Montreal), Rostislav Olesz (Chicago), and Steve Montador (Chicago) are the only three players on buyout waivers today. They will clear tomorrow and then be bought out by their respective clubs. With these moves, Montreal and Chicago have used both of their compliance buyouts.
Vinny Lecavalier (Tampa), Danny Briere, and Ilya Bryzgalov (Philly) are also expected to be on waivers during the buyout period.
In case you missed it, John Tortorella was introduced as the Canucks head coach today, marking the first time in history that teams have swapped head coaches in the same offseason. As per John Shannon of Sportsnet, the Canucks were also granted permission by the Rangers to talk to current assistant coach Mike Sullivan. Larry Brooks had initially reported that Sully was definitely out as assistant coach, so this shouldn’t be much of a surprise.
Here’s the Torts press conference, which was interesting to say the least.
The Edmonton Oilers surprised a few people yesterday when they fired head coach Ralph Krueger after just one lockout shortened season. While the Oilers organization was a bit cryptic about the firing, the reason became clear a few hours after the firing. The Oilers will actually be hiring Toronto Marlies head coach Dallas Eakins, with a press conference slated for tomorrow.
Eakins was a top coaching candidate for a lot of teams with coaching vacancies, including the Rangers. It is rumored that Alain Vigneault is still the front runner for the job in New York, with names like Ken Gernander, Mark Messier, and Lindy Ruff still in the mix.
In case you missed the news yesterday, the NHL and the NHLPA approved a new rule that makes visors mandatory for any player who has played less than 26 NHL games. Players who have played 26 or more games will have the option of wearing a visor via a grandfathered rule. Those who have played 25 games or less will not have an option, and will be forced to wear visors. Due to this rule change, expect a modification to the “instigator with a visor” penalty as well.
There are currently no Rangers who have played less than 26 games on the active roster. Chris Kreider has played 23 regular season games, but has cleared the 26 game threshold with playoff games.
The news that was all but official is not officially official, as Mike Morreale at NHL.com is reporting that Yankee Stadium will be hosting two outdoor NHL games during Super Bowl week in 2014. The Rangers will face the Devils on January 26, 2014 at 12:30pm, and then the Islanders on January 29, 2014 at 7:30pm. The Rangers will be the visiting team in both games.
The biggest news of the season, and possibly the year, occurred yesterday as the NHL has partnered with the You Can Play Project. For those unfamiliar with YCP, it is a foundation started by Patrik Burke (son of Brian Burke, brother of the late Brendan Burke) that delivers the message of tolerance and education on LGBT issues in sports.
This partnership is the first of its kind between a professional sports league and a LGBT program, and represents a significant step in the right direction for tolerance. Over the past year, several players have made videos in support of the project, but those were done without connection to the league. With the league fully on-board, the YCP Project will continue to make strides.
Kudos to the NHL and the NHLPA. You can read the full press release after the jump.