The game of Hungry Hungry Hippos that NHL GMs played on Wednesday has focused the hockey news this weekend. Teams snapped up most of the big names, and teams did it so quickly that I promise you’ll be watching a game in October and exclaim, “I didn’t know he signed there!” It happens to the best of us. In the Daily, Jack Eichel’s agents ripped the Buffalo Sabres pretty well, more NHL trade chatter, and we analyzed the Pittsburgh Penguins offseason.
Are the Penguins intentionally taking a step back?
Pittsburgh Hockey Now: The column went semi-viral because it spurred a lot of good discussions. I was happy about that–it wasn’t hyperbolic or vitriolic. The Penguins are worse off, which doesn’t fit with “win now.” Why?
Here’s a direct comparison of the Penguins offseason vs. their Metro Division rivals.
Vegas: I know you’re still following it, trying to will Marc-Andre Fleury to Pittsburgh. I hated to report that Fleury wasn’t coming back, though I’m glad the Post-Gazette did a full story. It provided me some cover! Now a report that Fleury will report to Chicago.
NHL Trade Chatter & National Hockey Now:
UPDATE: Maple Leafs Hot Stove: Toronto fans seemed pretty pleased the Toronto Maple Leafs added power forward, but non-qualified UFA Nick Ritchie on an affordable two-year deal.
The Athletic: There are two big names on the market. Vladimir Tarasenko is the other. The St. Louis Blues signed Brandon Saad to a healthy free-agent deal. Jeremy Rutherford believes that means a Tarasenko trade is soon.
TSN: Eiche’s agents released a statement to the media ripping the organization and process. That’s where we are with Eichel.
Buffalo’s ask is too much. No one has the capital to get it done. Four BIG pieces, including a first-round pick. It’s on the high end of fair, but no one will cripple their team for a player who needs risky back surgery.
Vegas: Interesting–Alex Tuch will be out for six months, and Vegas GM Kelly McCrimmon asked Ryan Reaves where he wanted to be traded before dealing him to the Rangers. McCrimmon was in communication while it happened.
Yeah, umm, about Fleury?? A rival GM called McCrimmon a choice name. I didn’t like that my colleague Jimmy Murphy printed the quote on Twitter, but it was fascinating that a GM would allow that conversation on the record. Vegas is getting a bit of a rep.
NHL.com: The Blue Jackets signed Zach Werenski to a hefty new six-year contract.
Boston: David Krejci called it an NHL career. The only free agent center to score more than 40 points will head home to play in the Czech Republic.
Sportsnet: Charles Barkley helped convince Wayne Gretzky to take the TNT analyst gig. Now you know who to blame.
National Hockey Now:
Washington: Alex Ovechkin has learned English well enough to use some country slang after his new contract, “I don’t wanna go nowhere!”
Philly: The Flyers signed bought-out goalie Martin Jones to backup/push Carter Hart. Other names were on the market. Did Chuck Fletcher make the right call?
NYI: NHL trade scuttle is the Islanders may have to trad Anthony Beauvillier for a defenseman. Stefan Rosner says–big mistake.
FLA: I know Penguins fans wanted Sam Bennett via the NHL trade market. He’s now a Florida Panther for a long time–and he’s quite happy about it.
Det: The Red Wings lost Darren Helm via free agency this week–the last member of that 2008 Stanley Cup team that skated with the Cup on Pittsburgh ice.
Colorado: Making sense of the Avalanche offseason. It’s been great and rough at different times.
San Jose: Bonino, Bonino, Bonino! The San Jose Sharks snagged Nick Bonino, Andrew Cogliano, and James Reimer. But are they right for the Sharks?
Vancouver: The Canucks and GM Jim Benning hit the free-agent market for a bunch of names you’ve heard but are borderline NHL players. They signed two-way deals. Vancouver’s AHL team should be dynamite.
Lastly, THANK YOU! Pittsburgh Hockey Now met with a business advisor on Friday as the first step to some heavy-duty expansion and upgrades. Great things are coming, and your readership and participation are the reason. It’s nice to be able to go for a slice of pizza and not check my bank balance first. That wasn’t the case three years ago when were started this pipe dream.
The network is exploding, and people want to be a part of it. I won’t let you down. I promise.