The Ottawa Senators are on a ho-hum week thus far, following up on a dreadful defensive effort against the Florida Panthers with a much better one against the Tampa Bay Lightning. In today’s edition of Thursday Links, News and Notes, in addition to the few storylines surrounding the team, we look at some major headlines around the league that have recently evolved from mere rumours and speculation.
- For the second time in his career, Ilya Kovalchuk’s contract was terminated by an NHL team. He cleared unconditional waivers on Tuesday and is now an unrestricted free agent. A mutual termination is similar to a buyout, except the team pays zero salary as opposed to a reduced amount. The Kings are no longer on the hook for his salary, however his 6.25M cap hit still remains for the two years remaining on his deal as Kovalchuk was at least 35 years old when he signed. He reportedly wants to keep playing in the NHL and sign with a contending team, at minimum salary if necessary. The Bruins reportedly (you’re going to want to read the replies in this tweet) have interest in his services:
Per source Ilya Kovalchuk wants to sign with a contender and would be OK with a minimum salary. Bruins are interested— Igor Eronko (@IgorEronko) December 17, 2019
- The deal seemed to be in the works for a while, and it was made official on Monday; Taylor Hall is a member of the Arizona Coyotes. They acquired him along with prospect Blake Speers in exchange for prospects Nick Merkley, Kevin Bahl and Nate Schnarr, as well as a lottery-protected 1st rounder in 2020 and a conditional 3rd rounder in 2021 (The conditional pick will be a 2021 2nd if Arizona wins a playoff series OR signs Hall to an extension, a 2021 1st if both of those conditions are met, and a 2021 3rd if neither is met). This seems like a solid package for Hall, to me it has a decent chance of ending up better than what Ottawa received for a signed Mark Stone, although I don’t see any of acquired prospects being close in value to Erik Brannstrom. Bahl is a promising young defensemen though, as he will be on Team Canada for the World Juniors. Hall played his first game with his new team on Tuesday, assisting on the game-winning goal against those lowly San Jose Sharks.
- On the subject of the World Juniors, Team USA has assembled its preliminary roster of twenty-six players, and 2019 2nd rounder Shane Pinto’s hopes of making the team are still alive. It’s likely that one more forward will be cut before the tournament for a final total of thirteen so Pinto isn’t a lock to make the final roster yet, however the fact that that he’s practicing on the team’s second power-play unit is a good sign:
USA PP units in practice— Corey Pronman (@coreypronman) December 16, 2019
Caufield Regula Brink
Zegras Pinto Kaliyev
- 2018 4th rounder Jonathan Gruden was less fortunate, as he didn’t survive the recent round of cuts and was returned to London yesterday. He currently has 11 goals and 20 assists in 29 games with the Knights.
- After being a healthy scratch in two games and seeing less than four minutes of ice time in another, Max Lajoie was reassigned to Belleville on Wednesday. Andreas Englund and Cody Goloubef are still in Ottawa, and as long as they are two of the six defensemen up with the big club, D.J. Smith’s group will have to work even harder to win hockey games.
- Interestingly enough, Marc Methot’s name was recently brought up as a potential candidate to return to the nation’s capital after he changed his Twitter profile picture to him in a Senators jersey. Bruce Garrioch quickly made it clear that Methot is still not at one-hundred percent and hasn’t decided if he wants to attempt a return to the NHL:
There’s very little to this story, but with Ottawa’s defence corps currently depleted, GM Pierre Dorion may add a player via free agency or waiver wire to lower the team’s chances of being overwhelmed each game.