Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 5 days ago
NBC Sports Group announced its 2015-16 NHL schedule on Monday, with 105 NHL regular-season games spread between the networks.
Some teams made out great. Some teams … not so much. Here’s a look at the winners and losers in NBC’s 2015-16 TV schedule.
LOSER: Connor McDavid
He’s the most hyped NHL prospect since Sidney Crosby. Teams literally tanked last season for a chance to draft him. And what does that translate into for the Edmonton Oilers on American TV, after zero appearances in 2014-15?
McDavid will be on NBCSN on March 1, against the Buffalo Sabres. Yes, Jack Eichel was the only way for Connor McDavid to get on NBC.
Clearly, someone at the network read too much into the dismal ratings for the NHL Draft. Connor McDavid getting one game on NBC doesn't help the game in the U.S. Unless this the NHL's sneaky way to sell more Center Ice subscriptions.
WINNER: Outdoor Games
Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 5 days ago
Derek Stepan and the New York Rangers avoided arbitration (as expected) with a multi-year contract (as expected) worth $39 million.
And that might be where it doesn’t meet your expectations.
From the Rangers:
Stepan, 25, registered 16 goals and 39 assists for 55 points, along with a plus-26 rating and 22 penalty minutes in 68 games with the Rangers this past season. Stepan was one of two NHL players who ranked tied for fifth or higher on his respective team in all of the following categories in 2014-15: assists, points, game-winning goals, plus/minus rating, shots on goal, power play goals, power play assists, power play points, shorthanded goals, shorthanded assists, and shorthanded points (along with Jonathan Toews of the Blackhawks). In addition, he was one of three NHL players who tallied 55 or more points, posted a plus/minus rating of plus-25 or better, and recorded 25 or fewer penalty minutes in 2014-15.
Is he worth $6.5 million annually?
All contracts are context. Given what he’s accomplished, his age, the highs and the lows of his peers, it’s not outlandish.
Anyone need a mostly-used Dan Girardi at $5.5 million through 2020?
MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY
The NHL is introducing a new 3-on-3 overtime format next season because the majority of its member teams loathe the impact the shootout has on the standings and wanted to minimize how many are played.
Which would signal that, in fact, the NHL’s teams don’t like the shootout.
But that doesn’t matter to commissioner Gary Bettman, who believes that “overwhelmingly fans like it,’ and hence it’s here to stay.
“I think to the extent some people wanted to see fewer shootouts, this will get us there, and that’s fine. The shootout isn’t going anywhere. You go to a building during a shootout, everybody’s on their feet, nobody is leaving, which is what it was designed to do. It’s exciting, it’s fun, it’s entertaining, and so if we’re going to try and reduce the number of shootouts, this may do it.”
If it’s a necessary evil – ostensibly because the same people who saw PIXELS this weekend wave their foam fingers during the shootout in eye-shot of Gary Bettman – then it should be minimized.
Alex Chiasson thought he was worth closer to the $2.475 million he was asking for in his arbitration case, rather than the $1 million the Ottawa Senators submitted.
In the end, the judge sided with the team.
On Sunday morning, the Senators announced that Chiasson has been awarded a $1.2 million one-year deal. Acquired in the Jason Spezza deal from the Dallas Stars, the forward made $900,000 last season while posting 11 goals and 15 assists in 76 games – off his pace from the previous season (13-22-35) but still impressive in less ice time (13:23) than he had in 2013-14 (15:07).
According to the Ottawa Sun,the Sens might have sought a trade for Chiasson had he won his case:
The Senators currently have 11 forwards on one-way contracts -- 10 if they could ever find a way to move Colin Greening -- and that does not include Mike Hoffman, the 27-goal scorer who is scheduled to go to arbitration July 30.
Instead, the arbitrator felt the Sens’ case was stronger.
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Will Derek Stepan break the $7 million mark?
As we wrote previously, that’s the status-symbol annual average value for young NHL players getting new contracts. Twenty-eight players will make over $7 million against the cap next season. Ryan O’Reilly’s contract will pay him $7.5 million annually when it kicks in for 2016-17.
O’Reilly gets mentioned a lot when it comes to Stepan, although that contract isn’t usable in the New York Rangers center’s arbitration case. In fact, Stepan is asking for less than what O’Reilly received from the Buffalo Sabres: According to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, Stepan is asking for $7.25 mllion against the cap in his arbitration filing.
The Rangers? They’re asking for $5.2 million against the cap, which would still slot Stepan ahead of Derick Brassard ($5 million AAV) to make him the team’s second-highest paid forward behind Rick Nash ($7.8 million).
It’s a tough first challenge from GM Jeff Gorton, for sure.
Adam Larsson was selected fourth overall in the 2011 NHL Draft by the New Jersey Devils. He’s not nearly as accomplished as his classmates in the top 10 – he’s squarely the third-best defenseman in the first round as far as pro achievements, behind Dougie Hamilton and Jonas Brodin.
What Larsson does have is flashes of brilliant potential and one solid season out of four in the NHL: His 2014-15 campaign as a 22-year-old defenseman, with 24 points in 64 games -- 18 of them at even-strength -- and 20:58 per game in ice time. Liberated from Peter DeBoer’s prison for young defensemen, and paired with solid veteran Andy Greene, Larsson showed what he’s capable of being.
It was enough to sell the Devils: Larsson signed a 6-year, $25-million deal on Saturday ahead of arbitration. It breaks down as $2.5 million in 2015-15; $3 million in 2017-18; $4.5 million in 2018-19; $4.85 million in 2019-20; $5.05 million in 2020-21. That's a $4.16 million AAV.
MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY
Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 8 days ago
Quebec City was one of only two cities to submit bids for an NHL expansion franchise last week, which means it’s time for major Canadian newspapers to explain why the League’s inherent bias against the Great White North will prevent the return of the Nordiques.
Yes, the normal course of events is to build a state-of-the-art arena and then have the NHL drop a team into it like a coin in a fountain.
As Kansas City will no doubt tell you …
The fact is that Quebec built an arena well before the NHL’s formal decision to explore expansion. One assumes they were privy to that new cycle’s arrival, but by no means was there a direct line between “build an arena” and “acquire a team,” nor is that a “normal course of events.”
Wow, there’s a lot to unpack here.
AHEM, Arizona …
Oh boy, here we go …
Lou Lamoriello shocked the hockey world on Thursday when he resigned from the New Jersey Devils’ presidency and agreed to become the general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
It wouldn’t be Lou if we didn’t have more questions than answers right now – after all, this is the man who used “status quo” to address 80 percent of the media queries he fielded over 28 years with the Devils.
Here are five vital questions about Lou Lamoriello’s decision to leave the Devils, join the Leafs and his introductory press conference.
1. Is Lou ready to be less important than his coach?
Mike Babcock has an eight-year contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs worth a reported $50 million. Lou Lamoriello has a 3-year deal that we imagine isn’t netting him $6.25 million annually.
Which is to say that for the first time in his NHL career, Lou Lamoriello is less important to the organization than his coach.
Leafs president Brendan Shanahan – also more important than Lou, for that matter – doesn’t see this as a problem.
Oh, wait …
3. Can an old dog learn new math?
Which NHL players do you hate the most?
Ask the question, and you’ll hear names like Milan Lucic and Corey Perry, i.e. players that draw your ire but ones that you'd take on your team in a heartbeat. Pests like Brad Marchand have their virtues too, when they're on your side.
There’s a difference, then, between players that you hate and players that you loathe.
The irredeemable player is loathsome. The fraudulent or counterfeit player is loathsome. The player that skirts the rules, plays injuriously and doesn’t do anything to balance that out is loathsome.
The Puck Daddy brain-trust debated this topic recently, and came up with this list of The Top 10 Most Loathsome Players in the NHL.
(Please note: We tried to keep this list restricted to on-ice/hockey-related reputations, understanding that Slava Voynov, Semyon Varlamov and others who have engaged in loathsome off-ice behavior are likely atop your own lists.)
And here … we … go.
10. Tyler Bozak, Toronto Maple Leafs
9. Mike Smith, Arizona Coyotes
8. John Scott, Arizona Coyotes
7. Mike Ribeiro, Nashville Predators
6. Ondrej Pavelec, Winnipeg Jets
5. Raffi Torres, San Jose Sharks
4. Patrick Kaleta, Buffalo Sabres
Lou Lamoriello is the New Jersey Devils.
Or at least was, until this year, when he gave up his general manager job to Ray Shero and then decided to leave the organization for the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday.
But from the moment he started in 1987 to 2015, Lamoriello presided over the transformation of the organization from a “Mickey Mouse” operation perpetually in the shadow of its geographic rivals to a three-time Stanley Cup champion whose essential players – including Martin Brodeur, Scott Stevens and Scott Niedermayer – were some of the best of their generation.
While recent results haven’t been stellar, the Devils and their fans owe Lamoriello for that transformation, and for every once of respect this organization has earned during his tenure. And while his micromanagement might not have maximized the promotional opportunities for the club – nor did his slavish commitment to defensive hockey – Lamoriello leaves as, perhaps, the most important general manager in New York sports history.