The long and contentious Jared Cowen saga seems to finally have an end date put in place, as the arbitration hearing has been set to determine whether the Toronto Maple Leafs were actually able to buy out the defenseman. Toronto successfully bought Cowen out earlier this summer, but the NHLPA has filed a grievance and contends that they were not allowed to do so, due to Cowen’s continuing injured status.
On October 19th, according to Bob McKenzie, an arbitrator will decide whether to uphold or reverse the buyout. If Cowen wins, he would be due his $4.5MM salary, where as if the buyout was upheld, he’d earn just $750K this season and next.
For the Maple Leafs, that $3.75MM in savings would help the rebuild even further, as they’ve used their financial power to gain assets (or, usually, rid themselves of burdens) over the past few seasons. Cowen underwent hip surgery this summer and won’t be ready for any kind of hockey until February at the earliest.
- For the Blue Jackets, this season holds a lot of promise. One of the biggest stories will be the debut of Zach Werenski, the team’s top prospect (outside of perhaps Pierre-Luc Dubois). As Werenski gets ready to make his preseason debut on Thursday, he wrote a piece for NHL.com describing the journey he’s taken so far. “I’m trying to make the NHL. It’s a little nerve-wracking, I won’t lie, but I feel confident that I can make it happen,” he writes, being honest with himself and the reader instead of spouting bravado. Werenski certainly seems ready; he joined the Lake Erie Monsters late last season, and led them with 14 points in the playoffs en route to a Calder Cup victory.
- Still with Columbus, Tom Reed of the Columbus Dispatch reports that Dillon Heatherington has suffered a fractured wrist and will be out 6-8 weeks. A second-round pick in 2013, he was set to continue his development at the AHL level this season. Aaron Portzline, also of the Dispatch, adds that fellow prospect Keegan Kolesar has undergone hernia surgery and will be out at least six weeks. Kolesar scored 61 points in 64 games with the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL last season, and will head back for one more year.