The Toronto Maple Leafs have fired coach Paul Maurice and assistant coach Randy Ladouceur, paving the way for a new GM who will bring in whoever he wants. Yeah. Like Maurice was the problem here.
The Flames were not happy when Mark Giordano signed to play in the RSL last year. They signed him to a three-year deal so he is back in the NHL. With some ice time, this guy could get 35 points and 100 penalty minutes next year. His long-term upside is 50 points and 150 PIMs – a roto-league dream.
Some light at the end of the tunnel for poolies: Jacques Lemaire is actually considering not coming back. He has been coaching for years and is wondering if he just wants to relax. I say he will come back…and he's only teasing us. But this does indicate that he could be gone soon. In which case, the Wild players would get about 15 more points each.
Jeff Halpern tore his ACL in last night's World Championship game. This puts training camp in jeopardy, as recovery time is generally 4-6 months.
The Sabres signed prospect Nathan Gerbe to a three-year entry level deal. Gerbe led America in NCAA scoring. The problem? He is 5-5. That's Theo Fleury territory. He ranks 294 on my fantasy prospects list, but moved up a little with my Fantasy Prospects Report research (on sale now, out June 1), and he moves up into the top 130 with this news.
There are some questions as to whether Valtteri Filppula will play in Game 1 Thursday. He has a leg injury suffered last week. I didn't think it was anything that would keep him out, so I didn't mention it Monday, but apparently he has missed practice all week. He thinks he will practice today, but I will let you know.
Dallas has a pair of players who are close to a return. Stu Barnes is hoping to skate today and Philippe Boucher practiced with the team yesterday. Both are questionable for tomorrow. Stay tuned.
Evgeni Nabokov and Henrik Lundqvist have joined Russia and Sweden respectively in the WHC Tourney.
Vancouver prospect Jozef Balej, ranked 254 on my fantasy prosepcts list (but at one time was a top 50 guy), has signed to play in the Czech League next season.
The Predators signed hulking undrafted winger Ian McKenzie. He is a long shot for the NHL, but if he gets there it will probably be as an intimidating checker. The 21-year-old had 14 points in 12 playoff games for Seattle.
The Islanders signed an even bigger undrafted winger in Joel Rechlicz. 6-4, 220 pounds with 206 penalty minutes in 50 IHL and AHL contests. It was a three-year deal so they must have plans for him.
Alexander Korolyuk signed a deal to play in the RSL for another year, in case you were holding out hope…
Ditto for Oleg Kvasha. It's too bad for him, as he looked real good in Phoenix over a 15-game span or so in 2006-07 after the deadline.
Goaltender Mika Noronen has signed on for another year in the RSL.
Lasse Pirjeta (remember him?) has signed to play in the Finnish League.
One of my prospect failures of about 12 years ago…Vesa Viitakoski (Flames fans might remember him) has signed to play another year in Finland. Just had to mention it…because I was really high on him oh so many years ago. We all have our mis-steps…