Archive for the ‘NHL’ Category

After 11 NHL seasons, Ondrej Pavelec is calling it a career.

Pavelec signed a one-year contract with the New York Rangers last summer to back up Henrik Lundqvist. He suited up in 19 games for the Blueshirts in 2017-18, posting a .910 save percentage.

He finishes his career with 398 appearances, recording 156 wins and 18 shutouts.

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He may not be the dominant middleman Montreal Canadiens fans were hoping for, but there will be a new top center in La Belle Province this season.

Speaking with TSN 690’s Tony Marinaro on Monday, Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin confirmed summer acquisition Max Domi will skate at center, while last offseason’s big-ticket addition, Jonathan Drouin, will move to the wing.

“(Drouin) has been playing the wing since the beginning of camp,” Bergevin told Marinaro. “We have Max Domi playing in the middle right now …

“The first half of last year, I think (Drouin) had a hard time (at center). The second half, especially toward the end, he got better and better,” Bergevin continued. “We’re going to try Max in the middle because he did play some center in Phoenix last year. We’d like to try that for now but we know we could also put Jonathan in the middle if need be, so it just gives us more options.”

With the Arizona Coyotes last year, Domi saw a stretch of games at center midseason – his first time playing the position since age 16 – and played well defensively according to former bench boss Rick Tocchet. He appeared in all 82 games with the Coyotes a year ago, finishing the campaign with nine goals and 36 assists. However, he was less than 45 percent efficient in the faceoff dot, far behind fellow centers Derek StepanChristian Dvorak, and Brad Richardson.

Bergevin also rattled off how he envisions the rest of his lineup fitting in at center.

“We’ve got (Phillip) Danault. There’s (Tomas) Plekanec, there’s (Matthew) Peca,” Bergevin said. “Right now we have Big Mac (Michael McCarron), but he could also play the wing. We have (Jacob) de la Rose, who can also play the wing.”

Bergevin added that top prospects Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Nick Suzuki have been trying their hand at center in training camp as well.

Aleksander Barkov is the new captain of the Florida Panthers.

The 23-year-old center will be the 10th player to wear the “C” in franchise history, the club announced Monday.

Barkov established career highs with 51 assists and 78 points last season, and was named a Lady Byng Trophy finalist for the second time.

He also finished fourth in the voting for the Frank J. Selke Trophy, awarded to the NHL’s best defensive forward, and is generally regarded as one of the league’s best two-way centers.

Barkov takes over the captaincy from Derek MacKenzie, who occupied the role for the previous two campaigns.

In statements issued by the team Monday, Panthers general manager Dale Tallon expressed confidence that Barkov is ready to be captain, and head coach Bob Boughner called him “the complete package.”

Barkov said he was fortunate to learn from MacKenzie and fellow former Panthers captains Willie Mitchell and Ed Jovanovski earlier in his career.

The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed general manager Jarmo Kekalainen and president of hockey operations and alternate governor John Davidson to multi-year extensions, the team announced Thursday.

The Blue Jackets also promoted Bill Zito from assistant GM to associate GM, and signed him to an extension as well.

“Under John Davidson’s leadership, our club has made great strides over the past six seasons and this long-term commitment speaks to the confidence that our ownership group, led by John P. McConnell, has in his vision for our team,” said Blue Jackets President Mike Priest. “The plan implemented by our hockey operations senior management team is working and we are pleased that these talented and committed individuals will continue to lead our hockey operations efforts for years to come.”

In five full seasons with both Kekalainen and Davidson at the helm, the Jackets have made the postseason three times, accumulating a franchise-record 108 points in 2016-17, but have failed to win a playoff series.

Kekalainen, a native of Finland, became the first European-born GM in NHL history when he was hired in February of 2013.

The Blue Jackets’ brass are set to make some key decisions that could drastically alter the franchise. Star goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky and dynamic forward Artemi Panarin are both unrestricted free agents after next season.

The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline reported last month that negotiations between Bobrovsky and the club have stalled, and initial discussions were far apart. Meanwhile, Panarin has made it clear he’s not ready to sign an extension, forcing the Jackets to explore trade options.

Contract negotiations between the Vancouver Canucks and star forward Brock Boeser are officially on the backburner.

After beginning preliminary discussions about an extension in late August, Canucks general manager Jim Benning said Thursday that the two sides will now wait until the end of the 2018-19 campaign to finalize a deal.

“(Boeser) loves playing in Vancouver and wants to be here long term,” Benning told Rick Dhaliwal of Sportsnet 650. “At the end of the day, we both agreed that he will play out the last year of his entry-level deal. At the end of the year, we’ll circle back and figure out a deal long term.”

Despite appearing in just 62 games last season, Boeser tied Daniel Sedin for the team lead in scoring with 55 points. His 29 tallies finished second among all rookies, trailing only Winnipeg Jets forward Kyle Connor, who netted 31 goals.

That sort of production could mean Boeser is due for a major raise. This season, the 21-year-old will carry a $925,000 cap hit, but he can also pull in another $850,000 in performance bonuses.

Restricted free-agent forward Sam Reinhart has signed a two-year extension with the Buffalo Sabres, the club announced Wednesday.

The deal is reportedly worth $3.65 million per season, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

Reinhart appeared in all 82 games for the Sabres last season, notching career highs with 25 goals and 50 points.

With Reinhart’s contract done, just four RFAs remain: Anaheim‘s Nick RitchieNew Jersey‘s Miles WoodToronto‘s William Nylander, and Vegas‘ Shea Theodore.

Despite falling three wins short of the Stanley Cup in their inaugural season, fan interest in the Vegas Golden Knights hasn’t cooled down.

For the second year running, Stubhub has listed the Golden Knights as the NHL’s most in-demand club, outselling the runner-up Toronto Maple Leafs by 27 percent.

The avid fan interest is a repeat of last season, when the Golden Knights played in front of more than 18,000 nightly at T-Mobile Arena.

This year, the team’s first preseason game against the Arizona Coyotes took in an above-capacity crowd, according to ESPN’s Emily Kaplan. For the coming campaign, the Golden Knights are also involved in four of Stubhub’s top 10 in-demand games.

Vegas’ home opener comes Oct. 4 against the Philadelphia Flyers.