Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Blackhawks Waive Two

The Blackhawks have reportedly placed both goaltender Corey Crawford and defenseman Aaron Johnson on waivers today, likely in order to send them down to the minors.

With this news, it should be safe to say that Antti Niemi has won the back-up job in Chicago, making it a battery of new faces for the crease.

Neither Crawford or Johnson were part of the 12 Blackhawks taken in last night's draft.

Coyotes Sign Lang

Here's one that I missed out on yesterday. The Coyotes decided to sign Robert Lang to a new 1-year deal on Tuesday, adding some veteran talent to the young squad. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The previously-unrestricted free agent forward played in 50 games for the Canadiens in 2009, scoring 18 goals and 21 assists before a season-ending injury. Lang, 38, doesn't have a great deal of career left in the NHL and may be finding his last full season with the Coyotes.

Sabres Send Two Down

The Sabres continued to send down some of their young talent on Wednesday, shipping Nathan Gerbe and Mike Weber down to the AHL. Both Gerbe and Weber haven't had the best of luck cracking the Sabres line-up in their career, being sent down to the AHL at pretty much every turn.

The Sabres don't have the most up-to-date roster posted, but here is a rough estimate of what it should look like.

Derek RoyCraig RivetRyan Miller
Jason PominvilleToni LydmanPatrick Lalime
Thomas VanekSteve Montador
Tim ConnollyAndrej Sekera
Drew StaffordHenrik Tallinder
Clarke MacArthurChris Butler
Paul GaustadNathan Paetsch
Dan PailleTyler Myers
Jochen Hecht

Mike Grier

Matt Ellis

Patrik Kaleta

The Sabres have a fairly complete line-up above, but there does seem to be a bit of a logjam among the defensemen. Having eight projected defensemen usually means that one will be cut before the start of their season.

The line-up above has just enough players on the forward lines to suit a full team, so there shouldn't be much of an issue there. Thomas Vanek (pictured) leads a fairly similar core group of players, along with a number of new depth faces. This should be a pretty hard working club again this season.

Salary CapThe 22 players that are listed above, surprisingly don't come at a very reasonable cost. Their current cap number, if the list of players is correct, sits at $56.2 million, only $600,000 short of the cap ceiling. No matter what their line-up looks like, they will likely be keeping only 22 players in their opening night line-up.

Last night was the annual draft for the Opiated Sherpa website and there were six Sabres taken all together. Ryan Miller, Thomas Vanek, Derek Roy, Jason Pominville, Tim Connolly and Drew Stafford were all selected in rounds 2 through 12.

Little Kostitsyn Unhappy

Well, I hope you didn't take Sergei Kostitsyn in your hockey pool. The younger brother was suspended by the Canadiens today for not reporting to the Hamilton Bulldogs of the AHL. Kostitsyn has reportedly demanded a trade to leave the Canadiens organization, trying to find some greener pastures.

Kostitsyn was not taken last night in the pool draft and rightly so.

Thrashers Add Popovic

Further to the signing of Maxim Afinogenov yesterday, the Thrashers signed defenseman Mark Popovic to a 1-year deal, thanks to a good camp as a professional tryout. Popovic and Afinogenov were two players that really impressed in Thrashers camp and they were greatly rewarded with a new deal. The deal is reportedly worth $600,000 this season, but the cap was not going to be a concern this season for the Thrashers.

Ward Signs Extension

On Wednesday morning, news leaked out that Cam Ward has signed an extension with the Carolina Hurricanes. The reported deal is for six seasons, worth a grand total of $37.8 million. That works out to be a cap hit of $6.3 million per season. At the end of the 2010 season, Ward was scheduled to become a restricted free agent.

Ward has quickly established himself as one of the NHL's premier goalies over the past number of seasons, winning a Stanley Cup and earning many-a-win for the Hurricanes in the regular season. Last year, Ward finished with 39 wins and 6 shutouts for the Hurricanes and listed third among all goalies in pool rankings. That's some very established company he was with.

Salary CapSince his extension does not begin until the 2010/2011 season, there is no change to any of the Hurricanes cap figures for this coming season. The forecast for the 2011 season already lookings rosy, as the Hurricanes already have 12 of their key players signed on at a cap hit of $39.5 million. That number does not include figures for Zach Boychuk, Drayson Bowman or Brandon Sutter.

At the draft last night, Ward was taken 14th overall, in the first round by Stacey. Ward was the sixth goalie taken in the first round and has plenty of potential to be in the top three once again. At the 14th pick, he could end up being a huge bargain.

Sundin Retires

On Wednesday, Mats Sundin announced that he is retiring from the NHL, ending quite the career, which spanned 18 seasons over three teams (Quebec Nordiques, Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks).

With the season starting tomorrow, this announcement will quell any inklings that were lingering about coming back for another season or not. If you can recall last season, it was quite the circus surrounding Sundin and his decision whether or not to play for another season and for who.

Sundin played in 1,346 career games in the NHL, scoring 564 goals and adding 785 assists. His career-high in scoring came back in 1992-'93, when he scored 47 goals and 67 assists in 80 games for the Nordiques, two seasons before being moved to the Maple Leafs.

Sundin will be best remembered for his 13 seasons as a Maple Leaf and becoming their all-time leading scorer in franchise history.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Panthers Ink Kulikov

The Panthers announced today that they have signed their first round pick from this past Summer's draft, defenseman Dimitri Kulikov. Kulikov signed the rookie maximum, 3-year, entry-level deal with the Panthers toady, which may be pending at the NHL offices, because of the final bits of investigating surrounding his rights in Russia. I have seen a spot or two saying that its all been cleared up, so I think we're okay here.

There were no financial figures disclosed with the announcement and the Panthers have yet to make their final cuts, so a team update will follow all of that.

Devils Waive Three

Further to my post this morning, the Devils did in fact put three players on the waiver wire, likely to be sent down to the minors. Rob Davison, Jay Leach and Tim Sestito all have to clear waivers to head down to Albany of the AHL. I also expect to see one more player get sent down, now likely one that doesn't have to clear waivers.

Atlanta Signs Afinogenov

It's official now... the Atlanta Thrashers have signed Maxim Afinogenov to a new 1-year deal, worth $800,000. Afinogenov was a traning camp invite this Summer and he came out and impressed enough for his new deal, as expected. Afinogenov did express an interest of playing with Ilya Kovalchuk and Nikolai Antropov, so the deal shouldn't come as a big surprise to anyone. Now, it's time to predict how many points he will get with the Thrashers this season.

The Thrashers' active roster is sitting at 27 players, so when the cuts come down, I will post a roster then.

Preds Update Their Roster

A small surprise, as the Predators started the process of cutting down their roster this afternoon. Alexander Sulzer, a young defenseman, was sent down with four other players. Sulzer signed a one-way deal this Summer and was thought to be a bit of a lock on the team, but it looks like he was played out of the line-up and will continue to hone his craft in the AHL.

Rookie standout, Colin Wilson, was also designated a non-roster player, because of a lingering groin injury. He wasn't placed on the Injured Reserve, but is also considered inactive. He is one player that should make an impact this year, when he's healthy.

J-P DumontShea WeberPekka Rinne
Jason ArnottRyan SuterDan Ellis
Martin EratDan Hamhuis
David LegwandKevin Klein
Joel WardFrancis Bouillon
Steve SullivanCody Franson
Ryan JonesTeemu Laakso
Jordin Tootoo

Jared Smithson

Ben Guite

Marcel Goc

Patric Hornqvist

Wade Belak

Mike Santorelli

Colin Wilson

Salary CapAt 23 players, the Predators now have an annual cap hit of $43.4 million, leaving plenty of room over the floor and under the ceiling. The Preds will have to tack on Wilson's $1.725 million (or a portion, thereof) to the cap total, when he is deemed healthy and ready to be in the line-up.

Sens Trim Down to 23

The Senators have now finalized their 23-man roster with the official sending down of Christoph Schubert and the inclusion of defenseman Brian Lee. Schubert cleared waivers today without any claim and Lee did not need to be placed on waivers, so the move was straight-forward.

Daniel AlfredssonFilip KubaPascal Leclaire
Jason SpezzaChris CampoliBrian Elliot
Alex KovalevChris Phillips
Milan MichalekAlexandre Picard
Nick FolignoAnton Volchenkov
Mike FisherMatt Carkner
Jonathan CheechooErik Karlsson
Chris Kelly

Jarkko Ruutu

Ryan Shannon

Jesse Winchester

Shean Donovan

Chris Neil

Peter Regin

Salary CapThe Senators' 23-man roster now sits at $54.1 million against the cap, a fair bit better than where they were sitting before the Dany Heatley trade. This has now been a pretty good Summer for the Senators. It wasn't looking this rosy when the Summer began... a huge understatement!

Pens Sign Two

Two signings to report out of Pittsburgh. Ryan Bayda, who was invited to Penguins camp, signed a 1-year, two-way deal with the club last night. That deal was worth $500,000. This morning, the Penguins signed free agent defenseman, Martin Skoula, to a new deal details were not disclosed.

I'm still waiting to see if there are any roster moves in accordance with these deals, so an active roster will be coming soon.

Blue Jackets Now At 23

The Columbus Blue Jackets have officially set their 23-man roster thanks to a number of roster moves. The Jackets placed Fredrik Modin on the injured reserve, thanks to his knee injury. Both Mathieu Roy and Alexandre Picard have been waived in order to be sent to the minors. Matthew Calvert has been sent back to juniors in Brandon of the WHL. All of these moves have now made the active roster within the limits.

Rick NashFedor TyutinSteve Mason
Kristian HuseliusMike CommodoreMathieu Garon
R.J. UmbergerJan Hejda
Antoine VermetteKris Russell
Jakub VoracekMarc Methot
Derrick BrassardAnton Stralman
Fredrik ModinRostislav Klesla
Jason Chimera

Raffi Torres

Samuel Pahlsson

Jared Boll

Andrew Murray

Derek Dorsett

Nikita Filatov

Michael Blunden

Salary CapNot that there was any worry about the salary cap, but the Blue Jackets approximate salary cap number today, minus Modin, is now sitting at $45.6 million. That's pretty good shape for the year.

Oilers Waive Reddox

I don't think Liam Reddox was going to be much of a fantasy player this year or not, but this is more of an FYI for the Oilrs roster. Reddox has been placed on waivers to head down to the minors, if he clears tomorrow. This will remove him from the active roster.

Sabres Demote McCormick

The Buffalo Sabres made one more cut today, as Cody McCormick has been sent down to the AHL. The Sabres have been really quiet on their own website as to who is and who isn't on their roster this training camp, so it's been really difficult to gauge where they are this year. No team update can be provided as of yet, but hopefully we have one in the next day or two.

Three Flames Clear Waivers

The Flames have three players that have cleared waivers on Tuesday: Jason Jaffray, Jamie Lundmark and Colin Stuart. I am assuming that they have been placed on waivers to head to Abbotsford of the AHL. The Flames needed to make a couple more cuts to the line-up and it looks like they will carry 22 players into the season after these three get sent down.

Jarome IginlaDion PhaneufMiikka Kiprusoff
Olli JokinenJay BouwmeesterCurtis McElhinney
Daymond LangkowCory Sarich
Craig ConroyMark Giordano
Rene BourqueAdam Pardy
Curtis GlencrossRobyn Regehr
David MossStaffan Kronwall
Dustin Boyd

Nigel Dawes

Fredrik Sjostrom

Eric Nystrom

Brandon Prust

Brian McGrattan

Salary CapThe remaining 22 players on their active roster now carry a cap hit of $55.2 million, a very flexible $1.6 million away from the cap ceiling. This shuld be of great comfort to the Flames management and all of their fans.

Canucks Send Hodgson Back

I really need an animated gif for sending kids back to the junior ranks, but I don't have one now, so the minors it is. The Canucks announced today that they have sent Cody Hodgson back to the Brampton Battalion on Tuesday, thus ending his chances of making the team this year. Hodgson was a popular off-season pick for the Calder Trophy this year, but a back injury hampered his training camp, thus not earning a spot with the club this season.

The Canucks have also placed defensemen Brad Lukowich, Michael Funk and Lawrence Nycholat on waivers, thus likely removing them from the active roster as well.

Daniel SedinKevin BieksaRoberto Luongo
Henrik SedinChristian EhrhoffAndrew Raycroft
Ryan KeslerAlex Edler
Pavol DemitraMathieu Schneider
Alex BurrowsSami Salo
Mikael SamuelssonWillie Mitchell
Steve BernierShane O'Brien
Kyle WellwoodAaron Rome
Mason Raymond

Jannik Hansen

Ryan Johnson

Darcy Hordichuk

Rick Rypien

Tanner Glass

Sergei Shirokov

Salary CapSo, with injuries to both Mathieu Schneider, Jannik Hansen and Pavol Demitra eliminated from the opening day roster equation, the Canucks have an active roster of 22 players at an annual cap hit of $55.3 million, a clear million underneath the cap ceiling. Questions will rise when injuries heal and space may be needed to be made to fit these players in.

Islanders Claim Rob Schremp

It appears my allusion to claiming someone off waivers was not too far off. The rumour was this morning that the Islanders would be submitting a waiver claim for Rob Schremp and... voila! There it is.

Schremp had to be placed on waivers by the Oilers to be sent down to the AHL for the first time this year, risking losing him to another team for nothing. On Tuesday, the Islanders became that team and will now add him to their roster.

Salary CapSchremp signed a new deal with the Oilers this year, worth $715,000 against the cap. That isn't quite a deal that would solve the problems that I had pointed out in their team update this morning, but I guess it won't hurt. I'm still thinking that they have another deal or two up their sleeves to get this season opened correctly.