It was a quieter week around the hockey world with some COVID-related cancellations garnering plenty of attention. Those can be found among the top stories from the past seven days.
Hartman Extension: Wild winger Ryan Hartman decided to avoid the risk of being non-tendered this offseason, instead inking a three-year, $5.1MM contract extension. The deal represents a $200K pay cut compared to his current contract but gives him some job security at a time where teams are expected to be more hesitant than usual to qualify role players that have arbitration eligibility. As someone who has been in that situation before, getting a three-year deal – his longest since his entry-level pact – is something he’ll definitely appreciate. The 26-year-old is logging nearly 15 minutes a night this season, a career-best.
Cancellations: Last week was somewhat reminiscent of a year ago when leagues and tournaments started shutting down. This was the case at the junior level on two different fronts as the WHL revealed that they will not hold any playoffs, a decision that will allow NHL-contracted players to be recalled once their regular season comes to an end. Meanwhile, the OHL announced that their season will not even get underway let alone hold a postseason as COVID-19 case numbers in Ontario have risen quickly in recent weeks. That means that players that are in the minors because that league wasn’t underway means that they’ll be able to remain there for the rest of the season. On the international front, the Women’s World Hockey Championships were abruptly cancelled as a result of an escalating COVID-19 caseload in Nova Scotia. However, there are other cities that have shown an interest in trying to hold the event later in the summer, providing some hope that the tournament will get another shot.
Marleau Sets The Record: All records are supposed to be meant to be broken but some have stood the test of time without an expectation of being broken. The all-time games played mark was one of those that could be classified as unlikely to be reached but Sharks forward Patrick Marleau has set the new benchmark when he played in his 1,768th career regular season game, breaking the previous record held by Gordie Howe. The 41-year-old is in his 23rd career NHL season, three fewer than Howe who suited up in 26 NHL campaigns (plus six more in the WHA). Marleau is set to become an unrestricted free agent in July and will have to decide if he wants to continue to add to his record or retire with his name now atop the record book.
Injuries In Detroit: It has been a tough few days on the injury front for Detroit. Already without Bobby Ryan for the rest of the season and Robby Fabbri who has been out for three weeks, Tyler Bertuzzi and Frans Nielsen were then ruled out for the rest of the season. Captain Dylan Larkin was then ruled out for the rest of the year, giving them five forwards on the shelf. Long out of the playoff picture, head coach Jeff Blashill will have an opportunity to evaluate some younger players and those on the fringes of the roster down the stretch.
Jaskin Eyeing NHL Return: With KHL contracts expiring this coming Friday, there should be some players signing NHL contracts soon after. One of those could be winger Dmitrij Jaskin whose agent Allain Roy confirmed that the 28-year-old is looking to return to the NHL for next season. While he was more of a physical energy player in his first stint in North America, Jaskin’s offensive abilities have come to light back at home with 69 goals and 54 assists in 117 games with Dynamo Moscow which should help generate some more interest in his services. Arizona is known to be one of the teams talking to Roy about a deal for Jaskin for next season.
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