While there was a consistent flow of trade rumors this week, no team pulled the trigger on a big move. That’s not to say there weren’t several additions, as well as subtractions, this week, as a big extension, a free agent signing, a suspension, an injury, and a coaching staff change are the stories of the week:
Hischier Extended Seven Years: The New Jersey Devils may be off to a surprisingly rough start to the season, but young centerpiece Nico Hischier remains a bright spot for the team. A timely source of good news for a disappointed fan base, the Devils announced a seven-year, $50.75MM extension. The new $7.25MM cap hit for the 2017 first overall pick is hardly an overpay so long as the talented center continues to develop. Especially in light of a increasingly higher salary cap ceiling, the new deal could be a bargain for New Jersey, particularly toward the end of the contract.
Panthers Add Boyle: Respected veteran forward Brian Boyle was a surprise omission from this summer’s list of free agent signings, but the Florida Panthers recognized a need in their bottom six and addressed it with a one-year deal for the two-way ace. Boyle actually enjoyed one of the best seasons of his career last year and has been a highly valuable hired gun late in his career. An affordable addition of experience and ability, Boyle could prove to be a key signing by Florida. The Philadelphia Flyers made a similar addition, signing Chris Stewart to a one-year deal.
Zykov Suspended 20 Games: Young Vegas Golden Knights forward Valentin Zykov will be out of the lineup for some time, as the NHL announced a 20-game suspension as a result of a failed drug test. Zykov reportedly violated the joint Performance Enhancing Substances Program and as a result will sit until late November. While the Golden Knights claim Zykov admitted to taking an illegal substance, the player continues to state that he is unaware of how he failed the drug test.
Hjarlmarsson Out Three Months: Niklas Hjalmarsson’s penchant for shot blocking has cost him, as the Arizona Coyotes defenseman will miss an anticipated three months with a cracked fibula in his left leg. One of the more dependable defensive blue liners in the NHL, Hjalmarsson’s loss is a major blow for the ‘Yotes. The injury has sparked trade rumors in the desert, as Arizona was already off to a shaky start before losing one of their top players. Toronto Maple Leafs center John Tavares was another big-name injury this week, out two weeks with a broken finger.
Fitzgerald Joins Devils’ Bench: Considered by many to be the most improved team in the league heading into this season, the New Jersey Devils have not gotten off to the start than most expected. Head coach John Hynes is on the hot seat and the organization wants a closer look at the situation in the locker room. Assistant GM Tom Fitzgerald will add assistant coach to his list of responsibilities for the time being, joining Hynes’ staff. It could be a sign of things to come for New Jersey if they don’t turn things around soon.