Weekly Notebook: Huberdeau, Jarry, Isles, Kane, Lowe, More…
General manager Brad Treliving was playing a bad hand and somehow has managed to keep the Calgary Flames in the game by persuading Jonathan Huberdeau to stay for eight years.
Matthew Tkachuk's desire to leave Calgary and Johnny Gaudreau's departure as a free agent could have been devastating for the franchise. Now, after signing Huberdeau to an eight-year deal, they may be on the road to partial recovery.
We will have to wait now to see how it plays out. The Flames have definitely lost offensive might and grit, but perhaps Weegar will help Calgary's defense and maybe the Flames' future is bright.
But the situation is certainly not as bleak as it was when Tkachuk said he wanted out.
If you are Flames fan, you need to look at this messy situation in its entirety. The Flames were forced to trade Tkachuk, 24, and lost Gaudreau to free agency. Now, they have Huberdeau locked in, MacKenzie Weegar on defense, a should-play-in-the-NHL prospect in Cole Schwindt and a lottery-protected first-round pick in 2025.
Everyone owns an opinion about whether Huberdeau or Gaudreau is the better player, but they are at least comparable. Both are exceptional offensive performers. There is almost exactly one year difference in age. Huberdeau is 29 and Gaudreau is 28.
Tkachuk is worth more than Weegar, Schwindt and a first-round pick. But at the very least, the signing of Huberdeau makes this Flames' outcome far less calamitous.
2. Keep an eye on Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry's contract situation. He can become an unrestricted free agent next summer. The Penguins need to sign him before the start of the 2022-23 season to avoid his contract becoming a distraction.
3. In case you are wondering, Phil Kessel can still help an NHL team's offense. Last season, he registered 52 points on a poor hockey team. He will be a bargain for some team.
4. The New York Islanders have just over $11.2 million in salary cap space to re-sign Noah Dobson, Alexander Romanov and Kieffer Bellows. If they can trade Josh Bailey ($5 million), would they have enough space then to sign UFA Nazem Kadri? And which team is going to take Bailey's $5 million. The Kadri-to-the-Islanders scenario is complicated.
5. Minnesota Wild prospect Brock Faber was named captain of Team USA for the upcoming World Junior Championships. San Jose Sharks prospect Thomas Bordeleau and Notre Dame's Landon Slaggert are alternates.
6. Eighty-five years ago today 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey coach Herb Brooks was born in St. Paul, Minnesota. He was killed in an automobile accident in 2003. He was 65 at the time.
7. Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane enters this season needing 195 points to become America's top NHL point producer. Kane has 1,180 points and leader Mike Modano has 1,374. Phil Housley (1,232) is between those two players. Kane will likely end this season playing for a different NHL team.
8. According to Cap Friendly, Huberdeau will be the 14th player making $10 million or more next season. The list: Connor McDavid ($12.5 million), Artemi Panarin ($11.6 million), Auston Matthews ($11.6 million), Erik Karlsson ($11.5 million), John Tavares ($11 million), Drew Doughty ($11 million), Mitch Marner ($10.9 million), Huberdeau ($10.5 million), Carey Price ($10.5 million), Anze Kopitar ($10 million), Aleksander Barkov ($10 million), Sergei Bobrovsky ($10 million) and Jack Eichel ($10 million).
9. Former Dallas Stars and Philadelphia Flyers winger Michael Raffl signed a two-year deal to join Lausanne Hockey Club in Switzerland's National League on Thursday.
10. Kevin Lowe, an original NHL Oiler in 1979, has retired as the team's
alternate governor. Lowe is 63. Defenseman Lowe scored Edmonton's first NHL goal. In the same game, Wayne Gretzky wasassessed Edmonton's first NHL penalty.