With just under two weeks to training camp, things should be heating up in contract conversations between the Vancouver Canucks and the men from Creative Artists Agency (CAA) representing Canucks defenceman Quinn Hughes and top centre Elias Pettersson. While we await signatures from the two Restricted Free Agents …
Let’s Skate! …
— General Manager Jim Benning of the Vancouver Canucks isn’t the only Canadian-based GM under a little pressure to get a deal or two done. Pierre Dorian in Ottawa is trying to get a contract signed with franchise RFA forward Brady Tkachuk. Maybe Dorian and Benning are waiting for each other. Who will set the market. Maybe it’s up to GM Bill Guerin in Minnesota. He’s trying to get reigning NHL Rookie-of-the-Year Kirill Kaprizov signed. The Calder Trophy winner spent the two previous seasons playing in Russia. Kaprizov, like Hughes, is a 10.2(c) RFA, meaning he hasn’t accrued the sufficient number of games at the NHL level to earn arbitration or offer-sheet rights. Besides ‘holding out’, Kaprizov has one other threat he could follow through on that wouldn’t be in Hughes’ arsenal. He could head back and play in Russia, and some rumours have persisted he might do so.
Meanwhile, in case you missed it, Dorian signed a contract of his own three days ago, inking a four-year extension to stay on in the nation’s capital as Senators’ GM. Benning is under contract through the 2022-’23 season.
— It was touch and go with the Covid pandemic as to whether the Stanley Cup would find its way to Europe to visit the hometowns of Victor Hedman and Ondrej Palat this year, or if those guys and others would have to give it a miss for a second consecutive summer. We were updating matters here at VHN in ongoing conversations with the Hockey Hall of Fame folks. It worked out. Happy to see Hedman, Palat, and players in Russia having the opportunity to celebrate with the chalice in front of their home folks.
— One team that’s occasionally mentioned among those with a Stanley Cup shot, especially considering their superstar talent up front, is the Edmonton Oilers. We’ve heard talk of Connor McDavid working to find his defensive game this summer. Mark Spector of Sportsnet has a preview of the Vancouver Canucks’ Pacific Division rival in conversation with their head coach Dave Tippett.
— In Pittsburgh, Brian Burke made comments that could be parsed to openly wonder if the Penguins are putting the onus on the Penguins core to prove themselves this season or be broken up?
— The KHL in Russia and the pan-European Champions League are already underway. The German League started its season last night and the SHL in Sweden cranks up its regular season this Saturday.
Enjoy the hockey action!