- Jen Neale at Puck Daddy9 hrs ago
As of publishing, there are 23 players who have elected salary arbitration proceedings to drive their contract negotiations. Only restricted free agents can opt-in to the hearings.
(For the first time in what feels like ages, Ryan O'Reilly and P.K. Subban are not listed.)
From the NHLPA, here's a list of the lucky contestants:
There are some heavy hitters on this list. Players and teams can continue to negotiate contracts up until the day of the arbitration hearing date (sometime between July 20 to August 4). Conventional wisdom is to try to avoid the actual proceeding because things can get ugly.
Each side puts in a contract number they think is reasonable, and a neutral third party hears why the number is or isn't justified.
Usually the player wants more than the team is willing to hand over. From there, the club puts up a 'this is why you suck' argument as to why they shouldn't pay what the asking price is. Hurt feelings taken away from this hearing (yes, it happens) can impact a player's decision as to if he wants to resign with the team when he hits unrestricted free agent status in the future.
- Jen Neale at Puck Daddy10 hrs ago
The Chronicles of Stanley is an occasional series this summer that tracks the Chicago Blackhawks as they each get their special alone time with the Stanley Cup.
Did you know Scott Darling is the first Chicago-area raised player to win the Stanley Cup? True story.
Chicago's backup goaltender is from Lemont, Illinois, about 40 minutes (according to Google Maps) outside of the city. He was given the honor of being the first Blackhawks player to have his day with the Cup.
And how did he and his loved ones celebrate the championship? By getting tattoos, of course.
Prior to Lord Stanley's arrival, Darling went to Michael Figueroa at Spider Tattooz to get a large black and white tattoo commemorating the win. Also included in the drawing of the Cup and the Chicago skyline is a 'CR' in honor of the Blackhawks late assistant equipment manager Clint Rief who passed away during the season.
- Jen Neale at Puck Daddy13 hrs ago
St. Louis Blues fan Libby Lu captured the nation's attention afterhaving an epic meltdown over T.J. Oshie being traded to Washington. We felt her pain.
(Admit it, you've been there. I melted down as a 16-year-old when Teemu Selanne was traded from Anaheim to San Jose.)
The five-year-old, clad in a St. Louis Blues jersey (and ironically, a red, white, and blue bow), could not be more adorable as she and her dad took to Sportscenter for an interview Sunday morning. When asked if she could pose one question for T.J. Oshie, what would she ask, she responded coyly:
"Does he have a swimming pool?"
Commence heart melting as the anchor brings in Oshie on the phone and the intense swimming pool discussion begins.
If that doesn't give you the warm fuzzies, then your heart is two-sizes too small, Mr. Grinch.
Got to love the attention span of a five-year-old. By the end of the interview, she was elsewhere, even as Oshie promised her free swag.
- - - - - - -
- Josh Cooper at Puck Daddy14 hrs ago
Cody Franson is still on the unrestricted free agent market. Yup, you read that right – a young, big, right-handed shooting offensive defenseman is still available.
Mind, blown – well not really, but Franson's availability is somewhat fascinating that he hasn't picked a team, or a team hasn't picked him, since free agency started July 1.
At one point it appeared Franson was going to cash in mightily in this period. He’s 27 years old, 6-foot-5 and a right handed shot. But strangely, he’s still around for teams looking for blueline help.
As players got scooped up at a medium speed Wednesday, Franson bid his time.
Why has it taken this long? Generally blueliners of Franson’s 6-foot-5 size and offensive ability – he had 32 points in 55 games with Toronto last year – go in UFA pretty quickly.
Why the trepidation for the man who has signed three-straight one-year contracts just to get to this point – to choose a longer term deal?
- Josh Cooper at Puck Daddy1 day ago
Rich Clune’s story is also one of addiction and mental health awareness. The unrestricted forward has been sober for five years now and wears it like a badge of honor. And he’s gone to great lengths to keep it that way.
In the 2012-13 season with Nashville he got elbowed in the face and hurt his jaw. Instead of taking painkillers he took ibuprofen because was important for him to not trigger any addictive thoughts in his head.
“I had this nasty cut that wouldn’t heal and essentially my skin was just like pulling away from my jawbone,” he said.
Clune believes that life is about decisions. You either decide to make your existence better, or you don’t.
“Everyone has their own cross to bear and I think it’s OK to ask for help but ultimately you’re in charge of your own reality,” he said.
Clune has a lot of thoughts and many interests. He’s a hockey fighter along the lines of the current-day skilled enforcer. But he’s a deep thinker.
Ask about hockey culture and he brings up sociology studies.
Clune is currently living in Los Angeles. He’s working out, reading, writing and taking acting classes. He’s also trying to find that next contract. In spite of his role as a fighter, he can play.
- Josh Cooper at Puck Daddy2 days ago
Joel Ward and his glorious behind are going to the San Jose Sharks.
The 34-year-old Ward signed a three-year $9.825 million for an annual salary cap hit of $3.275 million.
This is a per-year raise from Ward’s prior deal, a four-year contract signed with Washington that paid him $12 million overall. Ward was one of the clutch glue type players on the free agent market, along with new Caps forward Justin Williams. The latter actually saw his salary drop to $3.25 million over two years as an essential replacement for Ward.
How does Ward fit with the Sharks? He’s a big, powerful forward with a strong cycle game. These attributes would fit nicely on Joe Thornton’s wing. But they have yet another 30 something under contract into the second half of that decade for a lot of money. However, he should fit nicely in the puck possession system favored by new coach Peter DeBoer.
- Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy2 days ago
Ryan O’Reilly and the Buffalo Sabres have agreed to a seven-year, $52.5 million extension for the 24-year old forward.
The cap hit comes in at $7.5 million per year.
O’Reilly, who spent the first six seasons of his NHL with the Colorado Avalanche, is another young piece acquired by Sabres GM Tim Murray. He’ll join 23-year old Evander Kane, who they traded for in February, 18-year old No. 2 overall pick Jack Eichel and 25-year old Tyler Ennis, who was extended last summer.
The makeup of the extension is interesting. According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, all seven years come with a $1 million salary and the rest coming via signing bonuses. So O’Reilly protects himself from escrow and with all the bonus money, a buyout, sort of like what we saw with David Clarkson’s deal with the Maple Leafs.
- Josh Cooper at Puck Daddy2 days ago
Brandon Saad has been signed to a six-year contract worth a reported $6 million per-year by the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Saad, who was an integral part of Chicago’s last two Stanley Cups and was acquired by Columbus the day before his restricted free agency was set to begin. So the questioning starts – if you’re the Blackhawks, who at one point intimated they would go to the mat to re-sign Saad, would you have spent that type of money and term on a 22-year-old forward who has never scored 30 goals and hit a career-high of 52 points last season?
There was always the question of whether Saad was prone to an offer sheet with the salary cap strapped Blackhawks, and Chicago at least got NHL-ready players in Mako Dano and Artem Anisimov in the package for Saad.
- Jen Neale at Puck Daddy2 days ago
Here are your Puck Headlines: A glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at email@example.com.
The thighs are great but this is still the best photo of Martin St. Louis and my life goal. pic.twitter.com/tKL16cy9j2
• For your Hall of Fame consideration: Martin St. Louis laying on a gurney while having beer fed to him as he appears to be getting stitches. Like a boss. [@DaveLozo]
• Anaheim welcomes back another former member of management, and a former Toronto Maple Leafs GM, Dave Nonis, as assistant to the regional manager "Special Assignment Scout and Consultant to Bob Murray." [Ducks]
• Great first person read from Harley Haggarty on the life of a junior league enforcer. [Players Tribune]
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy2 days ago
It's a (gettin' down on Fridays) edition of Marek vs. Wyshynski beginning at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT, and we're talking about the following and more:
Special Guest Star: Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
• NHL Free Agency!
• Hockey News and Views
Question of the Day: Who impressed you the most in the free agent frenzy!? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or hit us on Twitter with the hashtag #MvsW to @wyshynski or @jeffmarek. Click here for the Sportsnet live stream or click the play button above!