The Chicago Blackhawks got eight amazing seasons from star forward Marian Hossa from 2009 to 2017 and that is expected to continue in the future. Granted the 40-year-old’s playing career is over, but in an interview with Chicago Blackhawks President John McDonough, The Athletic’s Scott Powers (subscription required) writes that McDonough feels that Hossa will definitely work with the Blackhawks.
Obviously, Hossa is still under contract as his rights are owned by the Arizona Coyotes for the next two seasons, but McDonough said that Hossa will have a role within the organization when Hossa’s contract is up.
“He will work for the Blackhawks. Rocky (Wirtz) and I feel very strongly about that,” McDonough said. “Marian Hossa’s contributions to the Blackhawks are immeasurable. Immeasurable. Not just his on-ice performance, which is Hall of Fame. The way he goes about himself personally and professionally and he’s kind and respectful and polite … But Marian Hossa will play a role here when he’s done, and we’ll have that conversation with him.”
Hossa scored 186 goals with the Blackhawks and helped the franchise win three Stanley Cups during that time.
- Scott Billeck of NHL.com writes that the Winnipeg Jets have high hopes that 2017 first-round pick Kristian Vesalainen is ready to take on an NHL role this season. The 20-year-old played in three leagues last season, which included a return-trip to Jokerit of the KHL. He played five games for the Jets last season before choosing to return to the KHL where he scored six goals and 17 points in 31 games. With Jokerit’s season over, Vesalainen decided to return to North America and join the Manitoba Moose of the AHL where he posted four goals and 13 points in 22 games. However, Vesalainen has continued to work on his strength and conditioning, which he hopes might get him a chance at a bottom-six role next season. “Vesalainen is stronger and where he could do the drills last year because he’s a gifted man, it wasn’t easy for him to drive through drills and always push,” head coach Paul Maurice said. “And at the end of practice, he’s still coming out of the corner now hard. He’s just physically stronger. He can do an hour long of all those drills and he’s just a more mature player. How that relates to [training camp], we’ll see. But clearly, there’s been some good work done there.”
- The Athletic’s Saad Yousuf (subscription required) writes that the Dallas Stars are getting good reports on defenseman Stephen Johns, who sat out the entire 2018-19 season with concussion-related symptoms. The scribe writes that there are still questions that linger with the 27-year-old, including the fact that he still needs to be cleared by team doctors, but the team hopes that the 6-foot-4, 225-pound blueliner can contribute to the blueline despite not having been on the ice for 18 months. Johns scored eight goals in 75 games for Dallas back in the 2017-18 season.
- In his most recent mailbag, The Athletic’s John Glennon (subscription required) writes that while the Nashville Predators are likely done with offseason moves (minus signing restricted free agent Rocco Grimaldi), he wouldn’t be surprised if the Predators attempted to move center Nick Bonino during training camp or early in the season. Bonino is coming off a solid season (17 goals, 35 points) and has just two years remaining on his contract at $4.1MM AAV, which makes him an interesting trade candidate for teams in need of a veteran center. Colton Sissons, who just signed a seven-year, $20MM contract, could easily take over Bonino’s role as the center on the fourth line.