By: Erin Walsh
I have decided to start a new series of articles titled “Around the NHL” to give everyone some news and updates on what’s going on with other teams. I will be posting these weekly from here on out and will be going through the teams in alphabetical order. These articles are fairly long, so read about your favorite team, or read about everyone in your division. The offseason articles will be broken up by division. If I feel that during the regular season having all teams in one article is too much, it will continue to be broken up by division. This week we will start with the Atlantic Division. So, let’s get started!
Boston Bruins: The Boston Bruins have done a lot this offseason between signings and community events. The B’s have re-signed Ryan Spooner, Austin Czarnik, Zane McIntyre, Malcolm Subban, Tim Schaller, Jordan Szwarz, Noel Acciari and Tommy Cross. Other additions include signing Paul Postma, Kenny Agostino and Anders Bjork. Jimmy Hayes was bought out by the B’s this offseason because he didn’t add anything extra to the club and John-Michael Liles will not return to the Bruins for the 2017-18 season. Jay Leach has also been hired as the head coach of the Providence Bruins.
The Bruins also went to Beijing and Shanghai this offseason as a part of Bruins Global to teach kids in China the sport of hockey as well as conditioning exercises. Brandon Carlo and Tim Schaller visited New Hampshire Motor Speedway and got up close and personal with some of NASCAR’s greatest athletes.
Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs and former player Mark Recchi were inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Mark Recchi played a huge role in Boston’s 2011 Cup run and definitely deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.
The B’s added six new prospects this offseason. At 18th overall they selected defenseman Urho Vaakanainen from JYP of the SM-Liiga. At 53rd overall they selected forward Jack Studnicka from the Oshawa Generals of the OHL. Other picks the Bruins made include goaltender Jeremy Swayman, Cedric Pare, Victor Berglund, and Daniel Bukac.
Patrice Bergeron won his fourth Selke Award as the NHL’s best defensive forward and Brad Marchand was named an NHL First Team All-Star. Defenseman Colin Miller got drafted by the Las Vegas Golden Knights in the expansion draft. The Bruins have still not re-signed David Pastrnak which is worrying Bruins fans everywhere. The Bruins have decided to take the youth approach for the 2017-18 season and will get young guys like Anders Bjork and Charlie McAvoy in the lineup.
The NHL also announced during the offseason that the B’s will host the 2017 Discover NHL Thanksgiving Showdown against the Pittsburgh Penguins on November 24.
Buffalo Sabres: The Buffalo Sabres have had an interesting offseason to say the least. Buffalo’s superstar Jack Eichel still has not been signed yet. Eichel said that he would not re-sign with the Sabres if Dan Bylsma was still the head coach. A day after Eichel said this, both head coach Dan Bylsma and GM Tim Murray were fired. The new GM is Jason Botterill and the new head coach is Phil Housley.
This offseason the Sabres have added defenseman Nate Beaulieu, former Montreal Canadien. They have also added former Oiler, Benoit Pouliot, and former Wild players Jason Pominville and Marco Scandella. Buffalo sent out both Tyler Ennis and Marcus Foligno to Minnesota to acquire both Pominville and Scandella. Both Robin Lehner and Chad Johnson agreed to contracts and will remain with the Sabres for the 2017-18 season. The Las Vegas Golden Knights selected William Carrier in the expansion draft and also received a sixth round pick from Buffalo.
The Buffalo Sabres had six picks in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. With the No. 8 pick in the draft, the Sabres selected Casey Mittelstadt from Eden Prairie High School in Minnesota. Mittelstadt won the Mr. Hockey Award for being the top player in the state of Minnesota. At 37th overall Buffalo selected center Marcus Davidsson from Djurgardens of the SHL. At 54th overall, goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen was drafted. Other picks made by the Sabres include Oskari Laaksonen, Jacob Bryson and Linus Weissbach.
The Sabres are hoping to have a better season and they are hoping that all of their players stay healthy. The Sabres are still in a rebuild so they seem to be sticking with young guys to fill out their roster.
Detroit Red Wings: Unfortunately the Red Wings had to say goodbye to their long time home Joe Louis Arena. The Red Wings will now be playing at the brand new Little Caesars Arena. Little Caesars Arena will be a major upgrade from the Joe and the fans should be excited. The Joe has many memories, but it’s time to make some memories at the new arena.
The Red Wings have re-signed Xavier Ouellet, Martin Frk and Tomas Tatar, while also adding veteran defenseman Trevor Daley. The Wings have renewed their affiliation with the Grand Rapids Griffins of the AHL for five years. The Griffins won the 2017 Calder Cup.
In the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, the Red Wings had 11 picks. With the ninth overall pick the Red Wings selected Michael Rasmussen from the Tri-City Americans of the WHL. At 38th overall the Wings selected Gustav Lindstrom from Almtuna IS of Allsvenskan. Other picks included Kasper Kotkansalo, Lane Zablocki, Zach Gallant, goaltender Keith Petruzzelli, Malte Setkov, Cole Fraser, Jack Adams, Reilly Webb and Brady Gilmour. The Las Vegas Golden Knights selected Tomas Nosek in the expansion draft.
Luke Glendening underwent ankle surgery in June and should hopefully be ready to play by October. Anthony Mantha was named the Red Wings Rookie of the Year.
The Wings are looking to have a bounce back year in their new arena after finishing 25th in the league last season.
Florida Panthers: This offseason has been pretty nice for the Panthers. The Panthers continue to do many community events including reading to a numerous amount of children, teaching children how to play hockey, and much more.
The Panthers have re-signed Mark Pysyk and Alex Petrovic as well as signing their first round draft pick Owen Tippett to a three-year entry-level contract. They have also signed Radim Vrbata to a one year contract. With these signings also came the buyout of forward Jussi Jokinen. Evgeny Dadonov really excelled overseas and was signed to a three year contract.
Jack Capuano was named an associate coach, and Paul McFarland and Ben Cooper have been named assistant coaches. Bob Boughner was named the head coach in June. Shawn Thornton was hired as the VP of Business Operations and Bryan McCabe was promoted to Director of Player Personnel.
The Florida Panthers had five picks in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. In the first round at 10th overall they selected Owen Tippett from the Mississauga Steelheads of the OHL. Tippett is a speedy skater and an elite goal scorer who could very well make the Panthers roster for the 2017-18 season. Along with Tippett, the Panthers selected Aleksi Heponiemi, Max Gildon, Tyler Inamoto and Sebastian Repo. The Las Vegas Golden Knights took Reilly Smith in the expansion draft.
Aaron Ekblad and his Panthers team are ready to make a splash during the 2017-18 season.
Montreal Canadiens: The Montreal Canadiens have had a very interesting offseason. With the departures of Andrei Markov and Alexander Radulov, the Habs had some holes to fill. This offseason the Canadiens have added many fantastic players. Those players are Jonathan Drouin, Karl Alzner, Mark Streit, Ales Hemsky, Peter Holland, David Schlemko and Joe Morrow. The Habs have also re-signed Alex Galchenyuk, Jacob De La Rose and superstar goaltender Carey Price.
Throughout the offseason Habs players have been talking about their hometowns and dishing on what it’s like living there vs Montreal. They have also been posting articles titled “Fitness Fridays” and have been interviewing players like Pedro Martinez (former Montreal Expo), JJ Watt (Houston Texans) and Laurent Duvernay-Tardiff (Kansas City Chiefs) about the sports they play and also about the sport of hockey. *These articles can all be found on the Montreal Canadiens website.*
In the 2017 NHL Entry Draft the Montreal Canadiens had seven picks. Their first round pick at 25th overall was Ryan Poehling from St. Cloud State University. Other picks included Josh Brook from the Moose Jaw Warriors of the WHL, Joni Ikonen from Frolunda, Scott Walford, Cale Fleury, Jarrett Tyszka and goaltender Cayden Primeau. Alexei Emelin was taken by the Las Vegas Golden Knights in the expansion draft.
The Canadiens added many assets this offseason and are expected to have another great year under head coach Claude Julien.
Ottawa Senators: The Sens have done a lot this offseason. They have re-signed Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Ryan Dzingel, Mike Condon, Tom Pyatt and have also signed veteran defenseman Johnny Oduya.
Mike Hoffman found time to visit the Honda Indy Toronto race. Kyle Turris, JG Pageau and Chris Wideman have all helped out in their communities this summer and are looking forward to getting back on the ice soon. The Sens have also launched the 2017-18 Little Sens Learn to Play Program across Ottawa and the surrounding areas. This program had over 400 participants sign up in the first week. The goal of the program is to teach kids about the great sport of hockey while also teaching them about teamwork, respect and leadership.
Senior advisor of hockey operations, Daniel Alfredsson has decided to step down from his role and take a break from hockey to figure out what he would like to do next. He thanked the Senators organization and fans for their unconditional support.
Erik Karlsson underwent surgery to repair tendons in his left foot and is expected to make a full recovery by the start of the 2017-18 season. Derick Brassard underwent shoulder surgery to repair the torn labrum in his right shoulder. Brassard’s surgery went well and he is hopeful that he will be ready for the start of the 2017-18 season.
The Senators had four picks in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. In the first round at 28th overall they selected Shane Bowers from the Waterloo Blackhawks of the USHL. They also drafted Alex Formenton of the London Knights, Drake Batherson of the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, and goaltender Jordan Hollett of the Regina Pats. The Las Vegas Golden Knights selected Marc Methot in the expansion draft.
With the injuries to Karlsson and Brassard the Sens may have some holes to fill early in the season if those guys aren’t ready to go.
Tampa Bay Lightning: With the departure of Jonathan Drouin, the Lightning had a hole to fill this offseason. Tampa has re-signed Ondrej Palat, Tyler Johnson, Jake Dotchin, Cory Conacher, Gabriel Dumont, Yanni Gourde, Andrej Sustr and Peter Budaj. The Lightning have also added Dan Girardi, Mikhail Sergachev, and Chris Kunitz. Tampa is packed with talent for the 2017-18 season and adding Kunitz just made their offense even better than it already is.
Former Lightning captain, Dave Andreychuk was inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Andreychuk was a huge part of Tampa’s success in the past.
In the 2017 NHL Entry Draft the Lightning had six picks. At No. 14, the Lightning selected Cal Foote from the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL. Foote is the son of two-time Stanley Cup Champion Adam Foote. Other picks included Alexander Volkov from SKA-1946 St. Petersburg of the MHL, Alexey Lipanov from Moscow, Nick Perbix, Cole Guttman, and Sammy Walker. The Las Vegas Golden Knights selected Jason Garrison in the expansion draft.
If Steven Stamkos can stay healthy, the Lightning have a serious chance at winning the 2018 Stanley Cup.
Toronto Maple Leafs: The Maple Leafs have many rising stars, including Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner. The Leafs have re-signed Zach Hyman, and Nikita Zaitsev while also signing free agents Dominic Moore, Ron Hainsey and Patrick Marleau. The free agents signed will be able to mentor this young Maple Leafs team and lead them to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The NHL announced this offseason that the Toronto Maple Leafs will be traveling to Washington to take on the Capitals in 2018 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series.
The Maple Leafs had seven picks at the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. At No. 17 the Maple Leafs drafted Swedish defenseman Timothy Liljegren from Rogle BK of the Swedish league. Other picks include Eemli Rasanen from the Kingston Frontenacs of the OHL, goaltender Ian Scott, Vladislav Kara, Fedor Gordeev, Ryan McGregor and Ryan O’Connell.
All in all the Maple Leafs have had a great offseason. Adding veterans is exactly what they needed to help the young guys transition to the NHL smoother.
*To find out more about the prospects drafted, visit EliteProspects.com*