1) Finally the LONG off-season is over and the NHL starts back in action this weekend. Technically teams' had rookie camps this past week, but the regular squads didn't have to report until tomorrow. Since last week there has been tons of news to report/comment on. We'll touch on each important item; giving our 2 cents and relay and inside info we are hearing.
- Teemu Is Coming Back: The 41-year-old former All-star will return for his 19th season, in the NHL after agreeing to a one-year, $4 million contract. This will be Salanne's 14th season as a Duck (in 2 stints). It will also allow the Finn a chance to return to play where his career started, Winnipeg. For those interested, that game is scheduled for Saturday December 17th!
- Luke Schenn Re-signs: From what we've been told by sources close to the situation its a 5 year deal which will have a $3.5 or so million average yearly hit to the Maple Leafs' salary cap. The 21 year old defensemen was coming off his Entry level Contract (ELC) which gives players little leverage, but with GM Brian Burke wanting to form the team in Schenn's image it was imperative to get this deal done. As a 3rd year pro he led the league among defensemen with 251 hits and led the team with 168 blocked shots.
- Sidney Crosby: The word out of Pittsburgh is that Superstar center Sidney Crosby will attend the Penguins training camp, starting tomorrow. Unfortunately for Pens fans this isn't really news at all. Sid will only be taking part in 'skating drills', and from what we've been told, he probably won't even be doing that full time from the start either. Essentially the only change is he won't be doing his daily skating work outs alone. Until he is cleared for 'contact' he is NOT ready to contemplate a return date. And as we have reported before, even then his career will be VERY tenuous from that point forward. The next concussion will likely be his last
- Tyler Myers: Great news out of Buffalo where the monster defensemen, and former Rookie of the year (and likely future Norris finalist/team captain) signed a lengthy contract extension prior to training camp opening. The deal we're told contains a bunch of bonuses and differing salaries but the bottom line its a 7 year deal with a cap hit of about 5.5 million. Not a bad deal for either side as Myers, like Luke Schenn, would have had little real leverage other then sitting out next season. Nice to see the Sabres getting things done proactively, and avoiding the bad feeling like is happening in our next story.
- Drew Doughty: This situation went from friendly, to business-like, to testy, to now down right cantankerous. As we wrote back in early August folks expected Drew to be in camp on time with at least a one year deal signed. Things started to fall apart as an apparent power play with agent Don Meehan has formed. Meehan wants his current client Doughty to be the Kings highest paid player. More than his former client Anze Kopitar. Kopitar dropped Meehan as an agent at the urging of former King Luc Robitaille (now in the Kings front office). So you can see its more complicated then most contracts. Meehan wants 7 mil. Kings have a drop dead number of 6.8. Seems to be such a small difference, but as a non affiliated agent told us "most of the problems here are more about egos than dollar numbers". This one could get uglier before it gets rectified. Its entirely possible Doughty will miss the opening game. Once that happens we're told Kings management might become even more hard lined and allow the kid to swing in the wind a few weeks. A trade IS NOT likely though. Stay tuned as this situation is very fluid!
- Islander Moves: Some definite positives on the Island to report. Firstly to the surprise of many (especially the Canadian media) John Tavares, the first overall pick in 2009 signed a 6 year extension. Many were surprised by the timing. Most thought Johnny T would first wait to see if the team was going to remain on the island. However he appears to be committed to try to be part of the rebuild and see it through. The 5.5 mil cap hit(starting next season) is very reasonable if he becomes the super-star everyone is expecting the soon-to-be 21 yr old will be. Will this stop the incessant trade rumours? No. It'll just change the story line to this being an imminent sign and trade. LOL In addition to Tavares, the Isles also signed 2008 1st round (9th overall) pick Josh Bailey to a 2 yr 2 million deal. Had a deal not been reached Bailey would not play in the NHL this season, as its Wang's rule that if a player is not in camp he doesn't play until next year. Bailey has shown signs of being the solid 2-way player Snow thought he drafted but perhaps was rushed too quickly into the NHL
- New NHL Guide lines for Social Networks: Our response: ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ. Who cares. Its pretty meaningless. Its not like there have been a plethora of controversial statements made on Twitter the past couple of years. I guess little Gary wanted to make sure he was clear to the players that they best not say anything about him in cyberspace
- Brad Marchand signs: As we expected Brad Marchand signed a 2 yr 5 mil deal. The 23-year-old will be paid $2 million this season and $3 million next season. A reasonable raise considering Marchand had a decent regular season, but shined in the post season.
3) There you have it. A brief run down on the many stories around the league as we are about to start training camps. In the upcoming weeks look for:
- Fauxrumors will ofcourse publish our annual preseason predictions for all 30 teams. Doing each conference in separate posts.
- We will also, as we have done in the past, make our preseason playoff, and Cup winner predictions post as well.
- Additionally as the season is about to start look for our annual 'who will get the axe first' post in which we handicap what coaches are most likely to be fired.
- We plan to renew our popular weekly picks every Saturday and try to stay above 'The Mendoza line' (.500)