With puck drop on the regular season getting closer, activity around the league is starting to pick up as well. Here are the biggest stories around the game over the past week.
Boyle Diagnosed With Leukemia: Devils center Brian Boyle was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia, a form of bone cancer. Doctors revealed that they caught the disease early and the expectation is that it will be able to be treated with medication although more tests will still be performed. Boyle remains hopeful that he will be able to suit up on opening night which is certainly a promising sign. Everyone here at PHR wishes Boyle the best as he goes through the treatment and recovery process.
The Lupul Saga: It has been an eventful week for Maple Leafs winger Joffrey Lupul. He suggested on social media that Toronto cheats the system when it comes to LTIR but he later deleted those comments. Although he elected not to opt for a second opinion on his failed physical, the league has stepped in and decided that they’d like a second look. They have ordered an independent evaluation of Lupul and it’s possible that they could block Toronto from placing him on LTIR if they deem he is healthy enough to play. It was also reported that the NHL is in the middle of the same procedure with Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa.
Panthers/Coyotes Trade: September trades aren’t particularly frequent in nature but Florida and Arizona made a somewhat notable swap of veterans with defenseman Jason Demers heading to the desert in exchange for winger Jamie McGinn. The deal gives the Coyotes another top-four defender with the Panthers paying 15% of his $4.5MM contract for the next four years while Florida adds some depth up front having lost several wingers this offseason while shedding some financial obligations in the future.
St. Louis Injuries: The injury bug has not been kind to the Blues so far. Over the past week, they lost forward Zach Sanford for the next five-to-six months as he required surgery to fix a disclosed shoulder as well as defenseman Jay Bouwmeester to a fractured ankle with no firm timeframe for his return (he will be re-evaluated closer to the start of the season). Then it was revealed that winger Alex Steen will miss the rest of training camp with a hand injury and he will also be re-evaluated at the end of the preseason which calls his availability to start the year into question as well. (And this week didn’t get off to a great start either with Robby Fabbri now on the shelf as well.)
Wild Extend Koivu: Minnesota will be keeping its longest-tenured player in the fold for a while longer as the team reached an agreement on a two-year, $11MM extension with center Mikko Koivu. The 34-year-old (who also serves as team captain) has been with the Wild since they drafted him sixth overall back in 2001 and is the franchise leader in many categories including games played, assists, and points.
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