All posts by Josh Gold-Smith

Longtime NHLer Martin Hanzal retires

Former Arizona Coyotes forward Martin Hanzal's career has come to an end.

"It's a little bit of a relief because the last couple of years I wasn’t sure if I'd play another NHL game or be healthy again so now it's official: I am retired from the NHL," Hanzal told NHL Network's Craig Morgan. "If I was healthy, I would probably still be playing, but after three back surgeries and especially after the last one, I just can't do it anymore. I was doing everything I could after this last one and it took me a year to get back on the ice."

Hanzal sat out this past season while rehabbing in Europe and was limited to only seven games with the Dallas Stars in 2018-19. He played only 38 with the club in the previous campaign.

"When I went to see the doctor again, it was either do another surgery or be done playing," Hanzal added. "Even the doctor said, 'We're not sure another surgery will help.' I still have a long life ahead of me. I don't want to do another surgery when it's not 100 percent sure it will even help."

Hanzal collected 127 goals and 338 points in 673 career contests. The 33-year-old spent nearly 10 of his 12 NHL seasons with the Coyotes, and he also appeared in 20 games for the Minnesota Wild in 2016-17.

The Czech center notched the fastest hat trick in team history (20:27) while playing for Arizona against the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2008. It was the first three-goal game of his career.

The Coyotes drafted him 17th overall in 2005.

Copyright © 2020 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Report: Red Wings, Tyler Bertuzzi head to arbitration

The Detroit Red Wings and forward Tyler Bertuzzi opened salary arbitration proceedings Sunday after failing to reach an agreement on a new contract, reports Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman.

On Friday, Bertuzzi reportedly filed at $4.25 million, while the club did so at $3.15 million.

Under the NHL's collective bargaining agreement, an arbitrator must decide within 48 hours of the hearing's conclusion. However, unlike previous years, the team and the player are no longer permitted to continue negotiating after the session begins.

Bertuzzi's hearing was scheduled for Sunday when the full list was released on Oct. 13. The 25-year-old restricted free agent is coming off a two-year contract carrying an average annual value of $1.4 million. He signed that pact in June 2018.

He collected 21 goals and 48 points across 71 games this past season, matching his goal total from 2018-19 and notching one more point in two fewer contests. This was the left winger's second full campaign with Detroit, and he's played parts of four years with the Red Wings, who drafted him 58th overall in 2013.

Bertuzzi is the first player to get to this stage this offseason. Other NHLers who had hearings this year signed beforehand, including Sam Reinhart, Ilya Mikheyev, Connor Brown, and Jake Virtanen. Buffalo Sabres goaltender Linus Ullmark is on the docket for Monday, while his teammate, Victor Olofsson, is slated for Nov. 4.

Of the 26 players who filed for arbitration on Oct. 10, there are 13 who've yet to settle their cases, according to CapFriendly. The hearings are scheduled through Nov. 8.

Copyright © 2020 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Sabres re-sign Reinhart to 1-year, $5.2M contract

The Buffalo Sabres inked forward Sam Reinhart to a one-year deal worth $5.2 million, the club announced Sunday.

Reinhart was a restricted free agent who had a salary arbitration hearing scheduled for Tuesday.

The 24-year-old ranked second on the Sabres with 22 goals and 50 points while averaging a career-high 20:38 of ice time over 69 contests in 2019-20. It was the third straight season in which he played in all of the team's games.

Copyright © 2020 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

John Scott: Blackhawks’ rebuilding letter was embarrassing

John Scott believes members of the Chicago Blackhawks' front office should be ashamed of themselves for the message they conveyed to fans earlier this week.

"The fact that they are just giving in to their fan base and having to write that letter is embarrassing," the former Blackhawks agitator said on his "Dropping the Gloves" podcast Thursday.

On Tuesday, the Blackhawks shared a letter in which they committed to rebuilding their roster.

Chicago parted with two pieces of the core from their championship years, allowing goaltender Corey Crawford to sign with the New Jersey Devils on the first day of free agency and trading Brandon Saad to the Colorado Avalanche in a deal that netted them defenseman Nikita Zadorov one day later.

A day after the trade, Blackhawks players aired their frustration, as other core veterans were reportedly "pissed" about the moves and said to have "had enough." Captain Jonathan Toews said "a lot of this comes as a shock because it's a completely different direction than we expected."

"I would be upset if I were Toews or (Patrick) Kane, I would be embarrassed if I was the organization, and if I was a fan, I'd be like, 'Great, I complained and they answered me, so guess what? I'm going to complain some more and they better answer me again or else I'm going to be super upset," Scott said.

"You shouldn't have to explain your moves to Twitter trolls just because you made a couple trades," he continued. "It just looks weak. It looks soft. I don't like it."

Scott also mentioned he believes the club wouldn't have written the letter had former team president John McDonough still been with the organization. The Blackhawks fired McDonough in April and replaced him with Danny Wirtz, the son of owner Rocky Wirtz.

McDonough was widely credited with resurrecting the franchise and helping it win three titles in six years.

Scott played parts of two of his eight NHL seasons with Chicago. He retired in 2016.

Copyright © 2020 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Dermott excited to play with Thornton, who he ‘grew up watching’

If the age disparity between Joe Thornton and many of his new Toronto Maple Leafs teammates wasn't apparent enough, Travis Dermott offered a reminder Saturday.

"I'm really excited to meet him," the young defenseman said of the veteran forward, according to TSN's Mark Masters. "It's going to be really cool to have him on the bench beside me. It's definitely a guy I never thought I'd be playing with. Someone that I definitely grew up watching a lot."

Dermott, who will turn 24 in December, re-signed with the Maple Leafs on a one-year deal worth $874,125 on Friday. Meanwhile, the 41-year-old Thornton inked a one-year, $700,000 pact with Toronto last week.

The Maple Leafs boast several young stars, including 23-year-olds Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, and 24-year-old William Nylander. Toronto iced the NHL's sixth-youngest team this past season, but the club now ranks 15th, according to Elite Prospects.

That change is due not only to the addition of Thornton, but also 32-year-old forward Wayne Simmonds and goaltender Aaron Dell, who's 31, as well as 30-year-old blue-liners TJ Brodie and Zach Bogosian.

Copyright © 2020 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Maple Leafs re-sign Dermott to 1-year, $874K deal

The Toronto Maple Leafs agreed to terms with defenseman Travis Dermott on a one-year contract worth $874,125, the club announced Friday.

Dermott was the Maple Leafs' final restricted free agent who's expected to crack the NHL roster. Joey Anderson is on the team's reserve list.

His signing puts Toronto more than $1 million over the salary cap, according to CapFriendly.

The 23-year-old collected 11 points across 56 games while averaging 17:19 in ice time during the 2019-20 campaign.

Dermott has spent all three of his NHL seasons with the Maple Leafs, who drafted him 34th overall in 2015.

Copyright © 2020 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

NHL partners with gaming association to promote responsible betting

The NHL is teaming up with the American Gaming Association to encourage responsible betting, the league announced Friday.

Through their "Have A Game Plan, Bet Responsibly" public service campaign, the NHL and AGA will display messages in arenas and on digital platforms. The campaign's recommendations include setting and adhering to a gambling budget, maintaining betting as a social activity, understanding odds, and using trusted, regulated operators.

This is the second partnership between the AGA and a professional sports league after NASCAR joined the gaming entity's efforts in September.

Regulated sports betting is legal in 18 states and the District of Columbia. Eleven of the 23 U.S. jurisdictions currently allowing legal sports betting are home to NHL clubs, according to the league's release.

Copyright © 2020 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Agent: Mikheyev took less money so Maple Leafs could be cap-compliant

Ilya Mikheyev's agent says they did the Toronto Maple Leafs a favor at his client's expense.

“Ilya decided to step off a little bit from an already agreed number to help the team fit under the cap,” Dan Milstein told Sportsnet's Luke Fox on Tuesday night. “For Ilya, it was less about the money, but more about the role in the organization. He wishes to win the Stanley Cup. It's been a lifelong dream.”

The Maple Leafs and Mikheyev initially agreed to a cap hit exceeding the $1.645 million that accompanied the two-year contract the two sides announced Tuesday, according to Milstein.

However, the club then called the agent back - while he was on the phone with Mikheyev outlining the original deal - and asked if he'd be willing to take a slight decrease in pay to accommodate Toronto's cap situation.

The 26-year-old forward signed his new pact fewer than 24 hours before he was scheduled to have a salary arbitration hearing. He reportedly filed for a one-year contract at $2.7 million, while the team offered two years at $1 million.

Mikheyev became a fan favorite in his rookie campaign while posting eight goals and 15 assists over 39 games in 2019-20. He returned for the playoffs in August after his regular season came to an early end when his wrist was cut by a skate in December.

The Russian winger spent four years with the KHL's Avangard Omsk - his hometown squad - and signed a one-year, $925,000 deal with the Maple Leafs in May 2019.

Toronto's projected cap hit for 2020-21 is now $81,675,200, according to CapFriendly. The cap ceiling will be $81.5 million next season. Defenseman Travis Dermott is the lone remaining restricted free agent on the club's NHL roster.

Copyright © 2020 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Agent: Interest in Hoffman ‘very strong’

Mike Hoffman's representative says his client isn't lacking suitors 11 days into free agency.

Interest in the productive forward "has been very strong," Robert Hooper told The Athletic's Adam Vingan on Monday.

Hooper revealed that 13 teams have inquired about Hoffman, five or six of which he described as having serious interest. However, the agent cited teams' financial limitations and the general uncertainty about next season as reasons for the winger still being available.

“I think teams are a little paralyzed at this point in time by the flat cap,” Hooper said. “I think some of the teams that would love to add Mike Hoffman to their roster have had difficulty moving pieces around in order to make room for a guy like Mike. The feedback on him has been very positive. It’s just a matter of making it fit.

“It’s just a situation where until we know when the puck’s being dropped, there’s no pressure on either side to really do anything.”

Last week, it was reported that Hoffman was considering signing a one-year contract, much like the one Taylor Hall inked with the Buffalo Sabres on Oct. 11. Hooper confirmed Monday that his client isn't ruling that out.

“There’s no issues on a one-year deal,” Hooper said. “Obviously, if you’re going to take a one-year deal, you want to put yourself in a good situation, because you’re going to be back in the market next year again.”

Hoffman is arguably the best UFA remaining on the market. The nine-year veteran, who'll turn 31 in November, racked up 29 goals and 59 points in 69 games this past season. He's notched 0.364 goals per game since becoming an NHL regular in 2014-15, which equates to 29.9 per 82 games over that span.

Copyright © 2020 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Report: Coyotes to re-sign Fischer to 2-year deal

The Arizona Coyotes will ink Christian Fischer to a two-year, one-way pact, a source told NHL Network's Craig Morgan.

Arizona issued Fischer a qualifying offer but he didn't accept it by Sunday's deadline of 5 p.m. ET, according to Morgan. However, contract talks continued after the deadline passed.

Fischer is the Coyotes' lone remaining restricted free agent. The 23-year-old is not eligible for salary arbitration.

The 6-foot-2, 214-pound winger collected six goals and three assists while averaging just over 11 minutes in ice time across 56 games with Arizona this past season. It was his third full campaign with the Coyotes, who drafted him 32nd overall in 2015.

Fischer notched a career-high 15 goals across 79 contests in 2017-18 after tallying three goals over seven games in his first taste of NHL action during the previous season. However, he's failed to build on that since, combining for only 17 goals and 27 points in 127 games during the last two campaigns.

Copyright © 2020 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.