Canada beats US for Ivan Hlinka title... Belanger's signing a secret but looks bad for Flash... Pronger not feeling perfect... Conroy signs & once gave interview without taking a breath
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NEW! Canada beat the US 1-0 yesterday to take the title at the Ivan Hlinka tourney... Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had the only goal of the game and Tyson Teichmann had the shutout for Canada. Nugent-Hopkins finished the tourney with 5+2=7 in five games to lead the Canadians and certainly helped his stock for the 2011 draft with was already quite high.
Reports say that Eric Belanger has agreed to a deal with the Capitals but it won't be announced until they pull off a trade. Let's deal with Belanger first... he's a 3rd line player, which is where he played with the Caps last season, so don't think that this means that he'll be the Caps #2C this coming season. Last year was his ninth NHL season and he set a career high with 41 points, so we can be pretty sure of what his typical level of output is (see: 30-something). Speculation has Tomas Fleischmann as the player the Caps are looking to move and this would make sense as Flash played some center last year so moving him would keep the #2C spot open for one of Mathieu Perreault or Marcus Johansson. This hurts Flash if it ends up happening as wherever he goes, it won't be as good as his situation with the high-flying Caps (unless he ends up on Sidney Crosby's wing).
Canada beat the Slovak's 6-3 on Wednesday at the Ivan Hlinka tourney and have advanced to the semi-finals where they'll meet the Czechs on Friday. Boone Jenner (who's a potential top 10 pick in the 2011 NHL Draft) led the way yesterday with two goals.
Chris Pronger's recovery from offseason knee surgery is moving along slowly and he indicated yesterday that it may not be 100% by the time the beginning of the season rolls around and so he might miss some action to start the year... keep this in mind if your a fan of Prongs or own him in a keeper league.
The Leafs have signed prospect Jerry D'Amigo (ranked 175th in our Fantasy Prospect Rankings) to an ELC, so he'll leave RPI and will try to impress at Leafs camp next month but likely the Leafs just thought he'd develop better in the OHL or with the Marlies as opposed to a small school in a weaker conference... we wouldn't get your hopes up yet.
Craig Conroy re-signed with the Flames but it's a two-way deal so he's likely going to be in tough to make the team in training camp and will probably spend part of the season in the AHL... not that you should care as he shouldn't be on anyone's fantasy team and we don't think this will have any impact on Mikael Backlund's chances of making the team.
The NHL is "investigating" the contracts signed by Luongo, Savard, Pronger & Hossa and the internet is aflutter with all the possibilities & ramifications and acting like this is breaking news... Ahhh, the NHL has been "investigating" these deals since they were signed, we've all known this, but even an NHL spokesman said yesterday that he wouldn't say "investigating", more like "looking at them"... which really means that they're putting on a show to not make the arbitrator look like a fool. I wouldn't be worried about any of these deals being voided, actually, Vancouver & Boston might be down with that but it's not happening. The one that confuses us is how can anyone say that the Flyers are trying to circumvent the cap when they shot themselves in the foot by signing Pronger to a seven-year, over-35 contract which means that his cap hit stays on the books even if Pronger retires.
Neither of these recent signings was significant but combined they spell doom for some prospect's chances this season... Chicago has signed Jordan Henry & Nick Boynton to one-way deals and while neither has any fantasy value this gives the Hawks seven dmen on one-way deals and means that prospects like Shawn Lalonde, Ivan Vishnevskiy & Brian Connelly won't be with the Hawks to start the year as some had hoped... they'll have to start in the AHL and hope to get the call if there are injuries.
Well, the arbitrator in the Ilya Kovalchuk case did use common sense... imagine that! He upheld the NHL's rejection of the contract, making Kovy a free agent again. We expect that he should come to a new agreement with the Devils soon for a similar but slightly shorter deal & maybe, if we're lucky, the league will reject that as well and we can do this all over again!
The Predators have re-signed goalie Mark Dekanich on a two-way deal... he's expected to have the inside track on the Preds back-up job this year after two strong seasons in the AHL but his two-way deal means that its no slam dunk... this should make for an interesting training camp.
Canada beat the Swedes yesterday 6-3 in their opener at the Ivan Hlinka tourney, Sault St. Marie winger Dan Catenacci had two for Canada and top prospect Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had 1+1=2. Canada was back at it today and handed it to the Swiss 7-3, Nugent-Hopkins had the hat-trick.
Teemu Selanne made it official with the Ducks yesterday... as we said last week, he can still bring it and although you have to be aware about injuries at his advanced age, he is still very productive when he plays.
The Red Wings signed dman Ruslan Salei to a one-year deal... he had a back injury that kept him out of most of last season with the Avs and, assuming he's healthy, he'll only be filling a depth role for the Wings, so we don't think he has much fantasy value. This move does hurt Jakub Kindl's chances though, he's got a one-way deal, so he should be on the team but he may have to start out the year as the 7th dman and wait for an injury. Kindl's a good looking prospect who is ranked #59 in our Prospect Rankings.
Reports out of Sweden say that Panthers goalie prospect Alexander Salak has signed to play for Farjestad next season... not sure how that works as he had a deal with Florida for this season but it's likely a loan arrangement as they didn't really have any use for him with Markstrom expected to handle the #1 duties in Rochester.
The ruling in the Ilya Kovalchuk case is expected to come down on Monday... the conventional wisdom seems to be that there's no way the arbitrator wouldn't let the contract stand as is, despite everyone acknowledging that common sense says its a shady deal... so I'm not sure how wise that is. Either way, we don't expect him to be playing anywhere but New Jersey next year, they'll work out a new deal if they have to.
We were kinda hoping for some dirt from new CBJs coach Scott Arniel in this article titled "Filatov may shake up top-six mix" but we were left disappointed to find that its really just speculation from Aaron Portzline about RJ Umberger moving to the 3rd line to open a spot on one of the top 2 lines for Nikita Filatov. Filatov is already in Columbus getting ready for training camp and says he's bulked up to 185 pounds, all good signs as he looks to make an impact this season and reward fantasy GMs (including this scout) for their patience.
We're working on a bunch of lists for the Breakout Bible (which should be out next week)... one that's giving us pause right now is our Top 10 Superstar Breakouts, we're debating which dmen are poised to eclipse the 50 point barrier for the first time and this raised a few interesting questions, such as... who's more likely to turn the trick on the Canucks, Alex Edler or Christian Ehrhoff?... does Alex Goligoski benefit from Gonchar's departure?... Can PK Subban be the first rookie dman since the lockout to reach 50 points?... and is it really in our best interests to doubt Tyler Myers?
What's distracting us this week?
- NEW! A Virtual O-Pee-Chee pack opening for you to try... ahhh the memories.
- NEW! What's better than one arena? How about four stacked on top off each other?
- With Craig Conroy's signing it seems only fair we revisit one of the greatest interviews of all time. In Conroy we trust. (h/t to the awesome St. Louis Game Time for reminding us how awesome this clip is)
- Cristobal Huet takes the Cup to Paris. Enjoy it while you can Parisiennes... we're pretty sure you can't take the Calder (AHL) Cup out for a day.
- Pro Hockey Talk has a list of goalies that could be affected by the goalie equipment changes. It's really just a list of the shortest goalies in the league... we don't think there is much to worry about here.
- That picture of the Prince of Wales trophy we showed you last week... was a hoax. Well duh.
- We saw this on Pensburgh's birthday tribute for Crosby's 23rd birthday last Saturday. It's from a few years ago but man it's got some classic Crosby clips. What a dork! Although, we really could have lived without hearing about and seeing Crosby's disgusting jockstrap.