Category Archives: Hockey News

Laine ‘prepared for anything’ as contract talks with Jets stall

Patrik Laine and the Winnipeg Jets appear to be at a crossroads.

The restricted free agent said contract talks with the Jets have been non-existent all summer, and he isn't sure what it means for his future with the organization, according to Sportsnet's Chris Johnston.

Laine said he'll be playing "somewhere" next season; he just doesn't know where.

"Well, you never know. It's still business, you've got to be prepared for anything," Laine said. "But yeah, you never know where you’re going to play next year so I’m just prepared for anything."

Laine did admit he wants to be back in a Jets uniform next season.

"Well I’ve got nothing bad to say about Winnipeg, you know? It's been good so far. But you never know, so that's kind of my comments."

Laine is among a long list of unsigned, star-studded RFAs, along with Mitch Marner, Brayden Point, Matthew Tkachuk, Mikko Rantanen, and others. Player agents are reportedly waiting for Marner's contract to set the market.

Kyle Connor, Winnipeg's other big-name RFA, said earlier this week that he plans to sign a new deal before the start of training camp.

The Jets already watched Tyler Myers, Ben Chiarot, and Brandon Tanev depart in unrestricted free agency, and they traded Jacob Trouba. The club has a projected $17.6 million in cap space remaining, according to CapFriendly.

Laine and Connor combined for 64 goals last year, although Laine was plagued by inconsistency, scoring 18 of his 30 markers over a 12-game span.

Copyright © 2019 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Forecasting Canada’s roster for potential 2021 World Cup

With news that the NHL is "cautiously optimistic" that current CBA talks might lead to a World Cup in February 2021, we've decided to predict what each team's roster could look like should the tournament take place.

We adopted the NHL's format for the 2016 World Cup. Canada, the United States, Sweden, Finland, Russia, and the Czech Republic all send teams, while Team North America (players aged 23-and-under from Canada and the U.S.) and Team Europe (players from other European countries) round out the field.

Teams are comprised of any combination of 20 skaters and three goalies. Any Canadian or American player under 24 years old on Feb. 1, 2021, is automatically assigned to Team North America. However, we've added our own caveat: If a player suited up for Team North America in 2016, he is eligible to represent Canada or the U.S. this time around, even if he's still under 24.

In this edition, we project Team Canada's roster.

Head coach: Mike Babcock

Babcock may draw criticism from Toronto Maple Leafs fans, but his record with Team Canada is flawless. Until he proves otherwise, he's the man for the job.

Forwards

Dennis Pajot / Getty Images Sport / Getty
LW C RW
Brad Marchand Sidney Crosby Patrice Bergeron
Steven Stamkos Connor McDavid Mark Stone
John Tavares Nathan MacKinnon Mark Scheifele
Taylor Hall Ryan O'Reilly Tyler Seguin
Jonathan Toews

Notable omissions: Logan Couture, Brayden Point, Claude Giroux, Jonathan Huberdeau, Sean Monahan, Sean Couturier

The Marchand-Crosby-Bergeron trio was unstoppable at the 2016 World Cup and is essentially unbreakable, even though all three players are already in their 30s. Stone and his puck-retrieving prowess would be an excellent complement to offensive dynamos McDavid and Stamkos. MacKinnon, Tavares, Scheifele, Hall, and O'Reilly are all virtual locks.

Choosing the last couple of forward spots was difficult, but a more proven Seguin got the nod over Point; if the Lightning phenom puts together another 40-goal season, that could change. Leaving off Couture, a proven clutch performer, was tough, but Toews, who had an offensive resurgence in 2018-19, got the nod instead.

Defense

Dennis Pajot / Getty Images Sport / Getty
LD RD
Josh Morrissey Drew Doughty
Morgan Rielly Brent Burns
Thomas Chabot Alex Pietrangelo
Colton Parayko

Notable omissions: Mark Giordano, Kris Letang, P.K. Subban, Shea Weber, Mathew Dumba, Shea Theodore

Giordano was the most difficult cut from this team. If the tournament took place today, the reigning Norris Trophy winner is undoubtedly on it, but he will be 37 by 2021 and it's unlikely he'll be playing at his 2018-19 form. Chabot, Rielly, and Morrissey will all be in their primes.

Leaving Letang off the team was also difficult. However, he brings many of the same elements that Doughty and Burns do, while the 6-foot-6 Parayko offers more defense and penalty-killing prowess.

Goalies

Minas Panagiotakis / World Cup of Hockey / Getty
G
Carey Price
Marc-Andre Fleury
Matt Murray

Notable omissions: Braden Holtby, Devan Dubnyk, Jordan Binnington

Unless injuries catch up to Price, there won't be much debate as to who should start between the pipes.

Others in this series:

  • United States (Friday night)
  • Sweden and Finland (Saturday)
  • Russia and Czech Republic (Sunday)
  • North America and Europe (Monday)

Copyright © 2019 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

NHL ‘cautiously optimistic’ CBA talks could lead to 2021 World Cup

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly is "cautiously optimistic" about collective bargaining agreement talks with the Players' Association, and he believes the two sides are committed to a 2021 World Cup of Hockey if the current CBA can be extended or renewed, according to Sportsnet's Chris Johnston.

If a 2021 World Cup came to fruition, it would occur in February, with the NHL taking a break during the 2020-21 season to stage the event.

"The general state of things, there seems to be a lot of agreement on," Daly told Johnston. "It's very kind of amorphous right now but there doesn't seem to be like a huge sticking point on the issues we've talked about. I think there’s general agreement kind of directionally. Where we should be going.

"I think both sides have been open that the agreement's not a perfect agreement and could be improved, but nobody’s holding out for a home run."

The NHL gets until Sept. 1 to trigger a 2020 end date for the current CBA. If the league elects against that, the NHLPA would get until Sept. 15 to do the same. If neither side exercises its termination option, the current CBA would run through September 2022.

NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr called the deadline "artificial" because there would still be a year left on the current agreement if either side triggered early termination.

Regardless, there's ample time to find a resolution, which increases the chances of best-on-best international hockey returning.

The two sides would love to establish a long-term calendar for international events, Johnston added. Olympic participation is a sticking point. However, the NHL and NHLPA want to add an in-season World Cup, which would replace the 2021 All-Star Game.

Daly said a 2021 World Cup would be "about a week in length."

The United States won the inaugural World Cup in 1996, while Canada took the next two in 2004 and 2016, with the latter marking the last best-on-best tournament because the NHL skipped the 2018 Olympics.

The NHL originally targeted a fall 2020 return for the World Cup, but the league abandoned that possibility in January.

Copyright © 2019 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Report: Thornton expected to re-sign with Sharks

It appears veteran center Joe Thornton will be back with the San Jose Sharks for at least one more season.

The 40-year-old told reporters during the NHL Awards in June that he planned to return for the 2019-20 campaign, and, according to The Athletic's Kevin Kurz, there is "no doubt" Thornton will re-sign with the Sharks in the near future.

Teammate Timo Meier also feels confident about the future Hall of Famer's return to the Bay Area.

"I think everybody that knows 'Jumbo' expects him to be back," Meier said according to NHL.com's Dan Rosen.

"The way he's training and the way he's still in shape with his 40 years, I don't doubt that he's coming back. He'll be playing until he can't anymore. Probably he'll play longer than he can walk. I really hope he's going to be back because he's just a huge presence and the guys all love him there and obviously we all know what kind of hockey player he is."

Thornton has spent 14 seasons with the Sharks, playing each of the previous two campaigns on one-year deals. The former Hart Trophy winner is the franchise's all-time leader in assists and ranks second in both games played and points.

The Sharks have $4.68 million in projected cap space with a roster of 21, including 11 forwards, according to CapFriendly.

Copyright © 2019 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Aho: ‘I’m happy with my situation’ after offer sheet played out

Carolina Hurricanes forward Sebastian Aho has no regrets about his offer sheet saga with the Montreal Canadiens.

"It's done and that's the best part because now I don't have to think about it for the next five years," Aho told NHL.com's Dan Rosen. "Last year was awesome in Carolina with great teammates, a great coach. I love it in Carolina."

The Habs tendered the 22-year-old a five-year, $42.27-million offer sheet on July 1. He signed it, forcing the Hurricanes to decide whether to match the deal.

The decision was a no-brainer for Carolina's brass, but speculation about Aho's intentions and whether the 'Canes could afford to retain him ran rampant.

"It wasn't an easy decision, but at the same time I had literally like a day or less, actually, to think about it," Aho said. "It felt right. Now I'm thinking about it, I'm happy with my situation. It worked out. It really did.

"I did sign an offer sheet with Montreal and I'm thankful for them to offer me that contract, but I'm happy to be in Carolina."

The Hurricanes announced their intention to match the offer sheet on July 2, and the team officially did so on July 7. Owner Tom Dundon said the process was a "waste of time."

Aho recorded a tremendous third NHL season in 2018-19, leading the Hurricanes with 83 points in 82 games before pacing the club in playoff scoring too, notching 12 points in 15 postseason contests.

Copyright © 2019 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Hedman feeling 100 percent after injury struggles last season

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman is feeling fully healthy ahead of his team's training camp after injuries derailed the conclusion of his 2018-19 campaign.

"If I wasn't 100 percent, I wouldn't be here right now, I'd be in Tampa," Hedman said, according to NHL.com's David Satriano from the European Player Media Tour in Sweden. "I'm excited and ready to go."

Hedman missed 12 regular-season games and two playoff contests due to a couple of upper-body injuries last season. He suffered the first ailment late in the campaign after colliding awkwardly with Carl Hagelin of the Washington Capitals before sustaining a separate injury in the first round of the playoffs against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

"Body is great," Hedman said. "I've been able to do what I want to do this summer. I'm fortunate enough to skate with my hometown team Modo (in Sweden) and they've taken good care of me ever since I went over to Tampa. My offseason has been great and looking forward to the last few weeks before I head over to Tampa for the final touches."

Injuries aside, Hedman had another fantastic showing last season. The 28-year-old produced 54 points in 70 games, was a Norris Trophy finalist, and was named to the NHL's second All-Star team.

Copyright © 2019 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.