My latest for the CanucksArmy – Kevin Connauton is getting closer to NHL duty.
Interesting story in Vancouver – Dan Ellis emailed a reporter with a local paper with reasons why he would be a good back up behind Cory Schneider. Can't fault him for thinking outside the box.
“I would love to back up Cory if the spot becomes available. Helping young goalies get to their full potential is fun to be a part of. Sometimes just lightening their load makes all the difference in the world.”
The Peter Mueller sign is another worthy risk by the Florida Panthers. Does it signal a trade? Not necessarily, but it does open up a forward to be moved in any Luongo deal (the Canucks would love to add Kris Versteeg, while the Panthers would probably be more willing to move Scottie Upshall or Tomas Kopecky).
The Wojtek Wolski contract is fantastic for the Caps. At such a low cap hit (well below $1 million), there is essentially no downside. Wolski has been training for the past two summers with Stamkos and the Gary Roberts crew – didn’t translate into success last season, though. It will be interesting to see how he is utilized in Washington. He needs to be in a top six role to thrive.
Good news for Mike Smith owners – the Coyotes have extended his goalie coach, Sean Burke, for another three years. Burke will also assist GM Don Maloney.
Buffalo's two 2012 1st round picks – Zemgus Girgensons, and Mikhail Grigorenko, have been playing together at developmental camp.
Girgensons is committed to the University of Vermont for next season, but he hasn't ruled out turning pro with a strong training camp.
Girgensons played in the USHL last year (and not the CHL), which makes him eligible to sign with Buffalo and play right away (either at the NHL or AHL level).
This week has been the biggest for my blog – my Alexander Semin post has generated a ton of interest. Thanks to all of those who read it. Semin is far from a perfect player, but many of his warts are overemphasized. He's a very solid two way forward, and hopefully will get a chance to prove that in a situation that attempts to maximize his assets next season.
"Almost all of his linemates have had better goals-against ratios while playing with him compared to playing without him (excluding Ovechkin in 2010-11). Only one of 14 linemates from the past three seasons performed significantly better defensively without Semin than with him. Some saw almost no difference with and without Semin on the wing, while others saw a significant improvement in their defensive play. He may lack grit, heart, intensity, and a "motor that doesn't quit," but Semin has been a very strong defensive forward in recent years. Read that out loud a few times, now."
If you ever want me to take a deeper look at a team, player, or situation, fire me an email. Always looking for column topic suggestions.
The Hurricanes have inked Marc-Andre Gragnani to a one-year, two-way deal. As I wrote on Twitter yesterday, this is the only time you will see "Gragnani" and "two-way" in the same sentence.