With the regular season but a stone's throw away, we have been eagerly awaiting word on how the Winnipeg Jets' roster situation will look to begin 2015-16. And the dust has indeed begun to settle, with news of J.C. Lipon's reassignment to the Manitoba Moose:
As for Nic Petan, Thomas Raffl, Nik Ehlers and the d-corps surplus, they remain questions which will be answered soon enough. The Godfather of Hockey himself weighed in earlier today on the State of the Jets:
Expect Nikolaj Ehlers and Nic Petan to be on WPG's 23-man roster. Jets trying to move surplus D (Pardy or Harrison) before waivers.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) October 5, 2015
UPDATE: Answered soon enough indeed, with Bob McKenzie subsequently reporting that Jay Harrison has been placed on waivers. This leaves the Jets eight healthy defencemen (plus Grant Clitsome), which is fine if the team plans to carry 13 forwards. The current 13 include Copp, Ehlers, Petan and Peluso, but not Thomas Raffl. If Raffl is to make the squad, another shoe will have to drop.
And across the NHL, we are hearing of waivers and rumours of waivers. The near-future sounds to be an interesting one for goaltenders in particular, with Jeremy Smith, Dustin Tokarski and Jean-François Bérubé all hitting the waiver wire, not to mention the situation in Calgary:
CGY still has 3 goalies - Hiller, Ramo, Ortio - and all require waivers. It's possible (tho not guaranteed) CGY opens with 3 G on roster.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) October 5, 2015
Meanwhile, Philadelphia Flyers fans across the galaxy are celebrating like it's 4 ABY, with GM Ron Hextall giving the ol' slash to the back of Andrew MacDonald's legs (figuratively, I presume):
#Flyers will carry $4.05M in dead space if MacDonald is sent to AHL. His $ would be more than the entire Phantoms' team salary combined.— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) October 5, 2015
Who could have seen this disaster coming? I mean, other than literally every analytics guy. Watch the games, nerds. https://t.co/ryd4CXQuTg— Down Goes Brown (@DownGoesBrown) October 5, 2015
Ron Hextall right now.... pic.twitter.com/rYlOrBs9X4— Kat (@KitKat_P) October 5, 2015
And now the news.
All Central Division, All The Time
- Here's a season preview from a different angle, as InGoal Magazine's look at the Central Division in 2015-16 focuses on the netminders. According to Paul Campbell, Connor Hellebuyck and Eric Comrie mean that "No team can compete with the Jets goaltending potential". The overall conclusion is a bit more middling, however: "The future in goal looks very bright for the Jets, but the present is overcast." Thanks, Pavelec. (InGoal Magazine)
- As suspected, Bryan Bickell will indeed start the season with the Chicago Blackhawks despite clearing waivers. So far as wake-up calls go, the team has pretty well put its last bullet in the chamber. Shame that rumoured Bickell-for-Nikita Nikitin trade didn't happen; it might have been fun. (Yahoo! Sports)
Bryan Bickell on being placed on waivers: "I'm just taking it as an awakening, set a fire," #Blackhawks— Chris Hine (@ChristopherHine) October 3, 2015
- Skating on a line with Artem Anisimov and Patrick Kane, KHL phenom Artemi Panarin finally saw some preseason action and did not disappoint. Even that occasional curmudgeon Joel Quenneville sounded impressed: "He has a terrific shot, real good instincts. I like that line. It could be fun to watch; the kid’s got a real nice gift of finding pucks and getting it off quickly." (CSN Chicago)
- Behold, the 2015 Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks have received their rings, ones featuring "355 round, pear, marquise and custom princess-cut diamonds" according to USA Today. Is it just me, or does the logo's eye look like a warped money sign and/or an Egyptian hieroglyph?
- In a fair seeming quid-pro-quo, in order "to uproot his family from their Southern California home, Beauchemin demanded a three-year contract, although he might have averaged more money on a one- or two-year deal." That extra year of commitment causes some concern, but in the meantime, Francois Beauchemin's addition does give the Colorado Avalanche d-corps much-needed depth. (Denver Post)
- Speaking of much-needed depth, our Texan friends report that "By all accounts, Niemi was the better goalie this preseason". Maybe the Dallas Stars had the right idea when not banking on a Kari Lehtonen bounceback, after all. Also, the emergence of Mattias Janmark has to be a) exciting for Stars fans; and b) making Curtis McKenzie somewhat uncomfortable. (Defending Big D)
- Forget the Art Ross Trophy: if Jamie Benn carries Dallas to the playoff promised land, he'll be a favourite to win the Hart Memorial Trophy. (NHL)
- Here is the 227th (rough estimate) offseason/preseason article on Mikael Granlund's yet-unrealized potential. I've said it before and I'll say it again: if Granlund's game makes a qualitative leap, it potentially moves the Minnesota Wild to the forefront of contention. (StarTribune)
- Sticking with both Minnesota and Michael Russo, Christian Folin is another player the team hopes to see more from in 2015-16. I'm not sure if he's more than a depth defenceman, but Wild fans probably aren't shedding too many tears over Folin vanquishing Nate Prosser to the press box. In other news, their d-corps of Suter-Spurgeon, Brodin-Dumba and Scandella-Folin could be one of the more underrated in the league. (StarTribune)
- In order to prepare for his reclamation year, Cody Hodgson spent the offseason training in Sweden with a champion speed skater and an expert in biomechanical movement. With Mike Ribeiro and Mike Fisher both 35-years-old, a bounceback season could carve out a place for Hodgson in Nashville's future plans down the middle. (The Tennessean)
- Owing to both injuries and a stellar training camp, Robby Fabbri seems locked in to start 2015-16 with the big club. This potentially sets up a St. Louis Blues top-nine of Steen-Stastny-Tarasenko, Fabbri-Lehtera-Schwartz and Jaskin-Backes-Brouwer, which is some pretty nice forward depth. The article's true highlight, however, was this quote from head coach Ken Hitchcock: "To me, the Stastny line is the Stastny line". Thanks for the analysis, coach. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
- Interesting news coming from the Manitoba Moose, as Jussi Olkinuora has been reassigned to the ECHL's Tulsa Oilers. An AHL tandem of Connor Hellebuyck and Eric Comrie was somewhat unexpected, to say the least. (Winnipeg Sun)
- Jon Waldman's new book, 100 Things Jets Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die, is set to go on sale October 15th in bookstores across Winnipeg. I do hope that "cheer for a winner" makes the list somewhere (and no darn it, the WHA does not count). (Metro Winnipeg)
- Thing #101 that Jets fans should do before they die is listen to Episode 2 of the AIH 20416 Podcast, co-hosted by yours truly and @sliiiiip. Find us on iTunes, Stitcher, and CyberEars!
Hey everyone! Episode 2 is up and ready for your ears! Download it on iTunes or Stitcher, or go here to listen: http://t.co/U4wja1z2TL— AIH 20416 Podcast (@AIH20416) October 5, 2015
And A Few Scattered Others
- With both Anthony Duclair and Max Domi making the Arizona Coyotes' roster, the Desert Dogs will at least have some excitement come 2015-16. Also, it was nice to see the organization err on the side of development and send Dylan Strome back to his junior team. On an Erie Otters squad now without Connor McDavid, his OHL season will be one to watch. (Arizona Sports)
- By signing Jonas Gustavsson to a one-year, one-way contract worth $700,000, Goose would seem to have vanquished Jeremy Smith in the battle to spell Tuukka Rask on occasion. They should be able sneak Smith through waivers, right? (Boston Globe)
- The New Jersey Devils have signed undrafted goalie Ken Appleby to an entry-level contract. With the amount of goalies who slip through the cracks every year (see also: McNiven, Michael), it's no wonder selecting goalies high in the draft has gone out of style. (Fire and Ice)
- Speaking of goaltending, the
BrooklynNew York Islanders will likely start the season with Thomas Greiss in net, thanks to an injury to Jaroslav Halak. That sound you just heard was Isles fans rejoicing over Chad Johnson being far, far away. (Newsday)
- San Jose Sharks forward Raffi Torres is set to have a hearing today for his high hit on Jakob Silfverberg of the Anaheim Ducks. I've defended Torres in the past, but this latest incident was just frustratingly ridiculous. (TSN)
- Despite a hobbled Nicklas Backstrom, it looks like Derek Roy will not stick with the Washington Capitals. That's showing a fair amount of faith in 20-year-old Andre Burakovsky. (The Score)
- And finally, no one told me that on October 1st, 2015, @damone1799 won the internet:
Thanks for reading!