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FlightZone: Gonchar's Last Hurrah

Second star to the right, and straight on till morning.

Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

As per the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and the Penguins' official Twitter feed, the team has signed Sergei Gonchar to a professional tryout contract. It's a feel good story if nothing else:

And now the news.

Central Division

An examination of the various options facing both team and league when it comes to Patrick Kane. It's little surprise that the Slava Voynov suspension may be something of a template, though on the matter of cap relief via Long-Term Injury Exception "it seems reasonable to assume the league would use it again if Kane eventually is charged—and likely in a more timely manner." (Sports Illustrated)

Nate MacKinnon is an off-the-board pick for Colorado's Most Important Player I can get behind. Matt Duchene is a fairly known quantity at this point; it's MacKinnon's development which will largely determine the top-six's fate, especially with Ryan O'Reilly now gone. (ESPN)

Francois Beauchemin and Johnny Oduya constitute half of this "Four NHLers who could struggle on their new team" list, alongside goalies Martin Jones and Cam Talbot. Hard to argue with these hypotheticals, though I trust Dallas to overcome Oduya's shortcomings more than Colorado with Beau. (Sportsnet)

Pegging Montreal above Winnipeg on a list of the seven Canadian teams is completely understandable in my opinion (only one of these teams has Carey Price, and hint: it's not the Jets). But have we really reached the point where Calgary is slotted above us, too? (The Hockey News)

I've been following and posting J.J. Regan's season previews in anticipation of his article on the Jets, but I didn't expect this. I agree with a certain someone that the piece isn't actually that far off, but at least mention Jacob Trouba and Nik Ehlers so that we think you did your homework. It should also be noted that the article has been edited; it once said something to the effect of having no budding superstars aside from a few notable goaltending prospects. I guess someone pointed out Ehlers after all. (CSN Washington)

And All The Rest

4 years at $4 million per might seem a bit pricey for someone whose NHL career high is 38 points, but our ornithology friends seem fairly pleased with the Carl Hagelin contract and probably rightly so. (Anaheim Calling)

Look, I love me some Matt Irwin and Zach Trotman, I really do, but they're no Johnny Boychuk or Dougie Hamilton. Considering it's carrying around a boat anchor or three, that Boston d-corps sure could use some reinforcement. (ProHockeyTalk)

A few days ago I complimented ESPN's 'Most Important Player' series for their selection of Martin Jones with the San Jose Sharks. Now, they go off the board to designate Ryan Murray as Columbus' equivalent. They're undoubtedly aided by a healthy and productive Murray, perhaps even greatly so (that Columbus defence isn't exactly the pinnacle of excellence). But on a team with Ryan Johansen, Sergei Bobrovsky and new acquisition Brandon Saad, he wasn't the first name which came to mind, at least not yet. (ESPN)

Speaking of Columbus, it sounds as if they're not going to be involved in the Ilya Nikulin sweepstakes:

Two pseudo top-pairings of Dekeyser-Green and Ericsson-Kronwall doesn't sound too bad for Detroit. One reservation I have though is how the remaining defencemen constitute a fair amount of money dedicated to either bottom pairing or press box duty. Long story short, anybody interested in a slightly used Kyle Quincey? (CBS Sports)

Newsflash: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is pretty good. Mark Spector also speculates that the Nuge will be flanked by Jordan Eberle, whereas Taylor Hall will be moved to McDavid's wing. If that results in lines such as Pouliot-Nuge-Eberle and Hall-McDavid-Yakupov, which is the top line? That's a pretty good one-two punch on paper, at the very least. (Sportsnet)

For Martin Brodeur, joining the New Jersey Devils now "would be as if I was joining Pittsburgh instead." (The Hockey News)

I had completely forgotten that Robbie Russo was set to hit free agency today. Considering their recent pipeline losses of Stephen Johns and Michael Paliotta, Chicago seems like a decent potential landing spot for the NCAA defenceman and former New York Islanders draft pick. At the very least, it sounds as if we can rule out the Rangers: 

Rotoworld's 2015-16 Preview Part 3 wraps up their glance at the Metropolitan Division. For folks worried about David Perron in Pittsburgh, Corey Abbott does well to remind us that James Neal didn't find instant success with the Penguins either. (Rotoworld)

And finally, the Toronto Maple Leafs continue their quest to become both Detroit North and New Jersey North, with the hiring of Jacques Lemaire as a special assignment coach. While I trust Mark Hunter to find value anywhere in the draft, is anyone else starting to worry that the Leafs might be too good next season? Not playoff-caliber, goodness no, but perhaps edging their way out of the bottom five. (Yahoo! Sports)

Thanks for reading!