Loui Eriksson has been at the center of trade speculation for the last few weeks, and his name came up again when agent J.P. Barry was on Sportsnet radio today. Barry explained that he will work with Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning on how to go about Eriksson’s future, and noted that “for a lot of hockey reasons, it might be better for Loui to play somewhere else.” These comments come after Eriksson spoke out last month about how he was being used and how he didn’t see eye to eye with head coach Travis Green.
The 33-year old was infamously part of a spending spree on July 1, 2016 that has resulted in some of the worst contracts around the league, and still has three years remaining on the deal he signed that day. Eriksson comes with a $6MM cap hit for those three years, and actually has a full no-trade clause for this season. That means he gets to have a say in where he plays in 2019-20, but it may be difficult to find a taker given he has scored just 32 total goals in his three seasons in Vancouver.
- The Buffalo Sabres announced they have hired Don Granato and Mike Bales as assistant coaches, adding them to Ralph Krueger’s staff that also includes Steve Smith. Goaltending coach Bales recently parted ways with the Carolina Hurricanes and was immediately linked to the Sabres, given his history with Buffalo GM Jason Botterill from their time in Pittsburgh together. Granato meanwhile spent the last two seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks, but has plenty of head coaching experience in the USHL, ECHL and AHL.
- The Windsor Spitfires have convinced Egor Afanasyev to commit to the OHL next season, giving them another intriguing weapon to deploy up front. The 18-year old forward starred for the Muskegon Lumberjacks in the USHL last season scoring 62 points in 58 games and could very well find himself selected early in this month’s NHL Entry Draft. Afanasyev was ranked 16th among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting, and is an attractive mix of size and skill that could be snapped up by a team who believes in his ceiling. No matter what NHL team picks him, the 6’4″ forward will be part of an excellent junior program in Windsor and should be given every chance to develop.