July 18 — Television Teams & Free to a Good Home

Last Night’s News 📰

FILING FOR ARBITRATION: Yesterday, 24 restricted free agents filed for salary arbitration before the 5:00 p.m. ET deadline, including Andrew Mangiapane (Calgary Flames), Kailer Yamamoto (Edmonton Oilers), Ethan Bear (Carolina Hurricanes), and Vítek Vaněček (New Jersey Devils). Teams have until 5:00 p.m. ET today for club-elect arbitration filings, and hearings are to take place July 27-Aug. 11. 

FROM INTERN TO EMPLOYED: One year after completing the Arizona Coyotes’ coaches internship program, Nathaniel Brooks joins the Coyotes as their skill development coach. Brooks will bring 15 years of development coaching experience to Arizona and was the recipient of the 2019 Herb Ebisuzaki Coaching Award as the best minor coach in the Greater Toronto Hockey League. 

PETRY DISHED TO PITTSBURGH: On Saturday, the Montreal Canadiens traded 34-year-old defenseman Jeff Petry and 23-year-old forward Ryan Poehling to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Mike Matheson and a fourth-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft. Petry had 27 points (six goals, 21 assists) in 68 games last season.

LEAFS NOT DONE: The Toronto Maple Leafs will worry about the impending cap crunch some other time after signing Calle Järnkrok to a four-year, $8.4 million contract and coming to terms with restricted free agent Pierre Engvall on a one-year, $2.25 million contract this weekend. Currently, about $1.5 million over the cap, and with Rasmus Sandin still unsigned, something has to give in Toronto.

LEAVING HIS JANMARK: On Sunday, Mattias Janmark inked a one-year, $1.25 million contract with the Edmonton Oilers. Janmark, 29, had nine goals and 16 assists last season with the Vegas Golden Knights.

By the Numbers – Start of Free Agency

The free agency portion of the 2022 NHL offseason began last Wednesday, and while there are still plenty of players available and moves yet to happen, plenty of big-name players have signed with or traded teams over the past five days. Here are some notable numbers from the first week of free agency.

Vincent Trocheck is among the players who found new homes in the first five days of free agency, leaving Carolina to sign a seven-year deal with the New York Rangers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

157 – Per spotrac.com, the number of free agents signed as of Sunday night. Of those 157, 143 signed with new teams while 14 re-signed with their club. There have also been eight trades since the beginning of free agency, according to NHL.com.

9.75 – Average annual value (AAV), in millions, of the seven-year contract that Johnny Gaudreau signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets, the most of any free agent signing so far. Gaudreau, the 28-year-old star who scored 115 points last season with the Calgary Flames, was the top unrestricted free agent on the market. 

2 – Players who signed seven-year contracts. Gaudreau signed for seven years with Columbus after being offered eight years ($10.5 million AAV) from Calgary, while Vincent Trocheck, who had 51 points with the Carolina Hurricanes last season, signed a seven-year deal with the New York Rangers ($5.625 million AAV). 

24 – Restricted free agents who filed for arbitration before the deadline, which was 5:00 p.m. ET on Sunday. The deadline for teams to file for arbitration is tonight at 5:00 p.m. ET and arbitration hearings will take place July 27-Aug. 11, though players and their teams can agree on a deal at any point before that.

9 – Players the Hurricanes, Flames, and Colorado Avalanche have each lost to free agency so far, tied for the most of any team. Among the former Canes who signed elsewhere are Trocheck and Max Domi. Players like Darcy Kuemper and André Burakovsky have led the emanation from the Stanley Cup champs, while the Flames parted ways with Gaudreau. 

Still Free

We are five days removed from the free agent frenzy last Wednesday, but we won’t blame you for feeling as though it’s been far longer. Wednesday was an absolute barrage of activity, and Thursday brought the shocker of Johnny Gaudreau to Columbus. Since then, however, it’s been relatively quiet, which is strange since plenty of substantial talent remains available.

Cap space is dwindling across the league, while clubs spent the early days of free agency shoring up weaknesses and filling holes. But someone’s going to end up with these guys!

Nazem Kadri

Nazem Kadri’s getting paid, so why not wait a little longer and let the Cup celebrations linger? (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

It was a redemption season for Stanley Cup champion Nazem Kadri in Colorado, and it still seems like he holds all the cards. After all, plenty of teams could use a gritty, hardnosed No. 2 center who spent last season setting a new career-high in points and emphatically refuting all suggestions that he was a liability come playoff time. The list of teams with cap space and hopes of 2022-23 contention isn’t long, but the Calgary Flames and Detroit Red Wings make sense. Could the Avs find a way to hold onto him?

John Klingberg

John Klingberg is still looking for a new home (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

For all the free agent dollars thrown around last week, it’s curious that no one snatched up one of the most consistent offensive blueliners over the past few years. John Klingberg will still get his money somewhere, though. The Dallas Stars appear to have moved on after adding Colin Miller to their back end, but maybe there’s a fit in Ottawa, where the Senators have gone all-in up front with Alex DeBrincat and Claude Giroux but desperately need some defensive help.

Nino Niederreiter

Where’s the love for Nino? (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

With all due respect to those who remain in the free agent pool, most players without a contract tend to be in the midst of their twilight years (Phil Kessel, Paul Stastny, and long-time Bruins teammates Patrice Bergeron and David Krejčí). So then, what of Nino Niederreiter, a physical power forward who is just 28 and is coming off a 24-goal campaign? There’s a possible match with the New York Islanders, who took him fifth overall back in 2010.

NHL Franchises as TV Shows

Summer is a time for hockey fans to recharge, which involves catching up on some of our favorite shows. While watching “Schitt’s Creek” (which we highly recommend), we started thinking about which shows represent our favorite NHL franchises. We quickly realized some are more obvious than others, and it honestly all started with some golden gals in the sunshine state. Let’s dive in.

Pittsburgh Penguins as “The Golden Girls”

“Thank you for being a friend” should be the anthem for the Pittsburgh Penguins as they enter the 2022-23 season as one of the more seasoned teams in the NHL. Pittsburgh has its own Dorothy Zbornak, Blanche Devereaux, and Rose Nylund in the form of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang, playing together since the 2006-07 season and winning three Stanley Cup championships in 2009, 2016, and 2017. If you’re wondering about Sophia Petrillo, that would be 37-year-old Jeff Carter saying, “picture it—Los Angeles, 2012”.

New York Islanders as “Yellowstone”

John Dutton once said, “if it’s progress you want, then don’t vote for me. I am the opposite of progress.” While the NHL is changing, the one thing that remains the same is New York Islanders general manager (GM) Lou Lamoriello. The 79-year-old has a reputation for being old school and doing things his way, similar to Dutton, as the GM values trust and is known to keep his decisions close to the vest until it is time to strike. Will the Islanders be able to make a splash this summer and find their way back to playoff contention? If the Duttons can keep the vultures away from their ranch, there is hope Lamoriello’s team will find their way back to the Eastern Conference Final. 

Edmonton Oilers as “The Office”

To the outside world, Michael Scott is incompetent and has no business being a regional manager of Dunder Mifflin, Inc. His decision-making is highly questionable, and he doesn’t exactly have the trust of those around him. There is no denying that the hockey world has questioned Edmonton Oilers’ general manager Ken Holland for quite some time. The Duncan Keith trade, re-signing of Mike Smith, and signing of Evander Kane were all head-scratchers that did not make sense to the outside world. Like Scott, Holland somehow came out on top as his team made it to the Western Conference Final. Time will only tell if Connor McDavid will one day go to Holland and say, “what a great boss you turned out to be. The best boss I ever had.”