A fan's perspective on the National Hockey League
Chris Pronger heading to Cali
The Chris Pronger saga began soon after the Edmonton Oilers were eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs. It has ended today with the Oilers dealing the former Hart and Norris trophy winner to the Anaheim Ducks. For sending Pronger to Anaheim, the Edmonton Oilers will receive forward Joffrey Lupul, top prospect defenseman Ladislav Smid, Anaheim's first-round pick in 2007, a conditional first-round pick and Anaheim's second-round pick in 2008.
Flurry of free agent signings
With the 2006-07 NHL salary cap expected to hit the $44 million mark, this free-agent season has started off with a band with some high priced talent signing on the dotted line. Zdeno Chara's four year $37.5 million deal with the Boston Bruins, Ed Jovanovski's five year $32.5 million contract with the Phoenix Coyotes and Patrick Elias' decision to stay in New Jersey for the next seven year for $42 million were probably the biggest signings. The Bruins also sured up their forwards by getting ex-Thrasher Marc Savard's name on a five year, $20 million contract.
Trades mark pre-free agency period
The NHL entry draft this past weekend had some notable picks but trades overshadowed the event in Vancouver. The action started last Friday with Florida and Vancouver getting together for a blockbuster. Some pretty high-profile players like Alex Tanguay, Pavol Demitra, Todd Bertuzzi, Roberto Luongo and Andrew Raycroft changes teams. Earlier this week we also go the news that Oilers defenseman Chris Pronger was not happy in Edmonton (or atleast his wife wasn't) and so we've had a flurry of trade speculation involving just about over other team. Here are more details on some of the major trades:
2006 NHL Trade Deadline
Unlike past years, the NHL trade deadline has not only been moved up, but general managers have to take player salaries into account thanks to the salary cap. Does this mean we will see fewer deals this year? It is a possibility, especially with this being the first trade deadline day in the salary cap NHL and with a lot of teams still fealing that they are in the playoff race. This year the trades started last night with a couple of medium-big names already dealt.The next hour or so could end up being frenetic as teams try to jockey for the playoff run.
Hurricanes acquire Doug Weight
The Carolina Hurricanes are having a resurgent year, after a dismal 2003-04 regular season. The added some veteran scoring to their lineup by acquiring center Doug Weight from the St. Louis Blues. The deal sees Weight and prospect Erkki Rajamaki go to the Carolina Hurricanes for Jesse Boulerice, Mike Zigomanis, the draft rights to unsigned Swedish prospect Magnus Kahnberg as well as a first-round pick in 2006 and two fourth-rounders.
Rangers looking to bulk up
The New York Rangers are one of the pleasant surprises of the "new NHL". They are currently fifth in the Eastern Conference with 57 points and rumour has it that the team is looking to add players for a playoff run. Veteran defenseman and former Ranger Brian Leetch was being hotly pursued by general Glen Sather. But the Bruins declined the deal that would have sent defenseman Tom Poti back their way.
Owen Nolan close to returning
Owen Nolan hasn't played a game this season is still mired in a dispute with the Toronto Maple Leafs regarding a knee injury from the 2003-04 season. But reports indicate that he is close to completing his rehab and could sign with an NHL team. So far, the San Jose Sharks are supposed to be near the top of Nolan's list. He has a house and business (a restaurant) in the area and played for the Sharks from 1995-2003. With the recent addition of Joe Thornton
, Nolan could find himself in a very good sitation to shine offensively.
Blockbuster NHL trade - Joe Thornton now a San Jose Shark
In what is surely the biggest trade of the 2005-06 NHL season, the Boston Bruins have traded franchise centre Joe Thornton to the San Jose Sharks for forwards Marco Sturm, Wayne Primeau and defenseman Brad Stuart. The Bruins have been in a tailspin this season, playing like an uninspired team with plenty of underachievers. Joe Thornton who was their first overall draft pick in 1997 and is their captain was having a banner season with 33 points in 26 games. The San Jose Sharks have also been struggling and hope to turn their fortunes around by adding this superstar.
Dynamo Moscow wants Ovechkin back
And can you blame them? Even though Sidney Crosby stole much of the spotlight over the last couple of years and in the early parts of this season, one could easily make the case that Alexander Ovechkin
has been the best NHL rookie so far this season. Now his old Russian team, Dynamo Moscow, wants a U.S. court to enforce a Russian arbitrator's ruling that it still owns the rights to the first overall pick from the 2004 NHL draft. This summer, Ovechkin met a deadline to opt out of his 2005-06 contract with another Russian club, Avangard Omsk. This meant he could play with the Washington Capitals of the NHL. But his previous Russian club, Dynamo Moscow, says that it has the rights to the 20 year old phenom because it matched Avangard Omsk's offer to Ovechkin but without an opt-out clause.
Brett Hull calls it a career
After playing just 5 games into his 19th NHL season, Brett Hull announced his retirement on Friday. The circumstances around his sudden retirement are unfortunate, as he was off to a slow start and looked somewhat out of place in this "new NHL". Brett Hull
ends his career with 741 regular season goals, only Wayne Gretzky and Gordie Howe have scord more often in NHL history. He played with the Calgary Flames, St. Louis Blues, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings and Phoenix Coyotes over his great hockey career - winning two Stanley Cups with the Stars and Red Wings.