The NHL All-Star Skills Competition is scheduled for this evening, and though Sidney Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon have both pulled out due to illness and injury there are still an incredible amount of talented players taking part. Most notable however may be the final entrant in the fastest skater competition: Kendall Coyne. A member of the US Women’s National Team, Coyne will take MacKinnon’s place after the Colorado Avalanche forward suffered a foot injury this week. The Olympic gold medalist is known for her speed and posted a 14.226 yesterday during event testing according to Emily Kaplan of ESPN. Though that wouldn’t have been enough to dethrone Connor McDavid last year, it would have put her ahead of Zach Werenski, Noah Hanifin and Josh Bailey in the competition. We’ll see what Coyne can do tonight, along with the rest of the competitors:
The decision is in. Nashville Predators forward Ryan Johansen has been suspended two games by the Department of Player Safety for his high stick on Winnipeg Jets forward Mark Scheifele. As the accompanying video explains:
It is important to note that the high-sticking rule states that players are responsible for their stick at all times. While we accept Johansen’s assertion that he was not attempting to intentionally strike Scheifele in the head, this is not a case where a player is so off balance or otherwise unable to control his stick that the play can be sufficiently penalized by the on-ice officials. On this play, Johansen raises his stick as part of his pivoting motion to get around his opponent. This is a common movement uses regularly by NHL players when space is tight, however players who attempt this maneuver are responsible for ensuring they bring their stick back to the ice in a safe manner.
It continues by explaining that Johansen has no history with the league’s disciplinary arm, as he has never been suspended or fined in his career. That seems to have saved him from further punishment, as these violent stick infractions are often penalized with longer suspensions. As it stands, the Predators will be without Johansen for just the next few days. He will be eligible to return for the team’s game on Wednesday against the Vegas Golden Knights, before the team breaks for the All-Star festivities.
While two games without one of their star centers is difficult, the Predators are in a good position to deal with it even if they did eventually lose to the Jets. Nashville sits ten points ahead of the Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars in the Central Division, safely in the second playoff position. The bigger issue might be for Johansen going forward, given that this incident will now be taken into account every time he is involved in any play that may warrant supplementary discipline.
With the holiday season having come and gone, PHR continues its look at what teams are thankful for as the season heads towards the midway mark. There also might be a few things your team would like down the road. Let’s take a look at what’s gone well in the early going and what could improve in the second half for the Winnipeg Jets. Click here for the other articles in this series.
What are the Jets most thankful for?
In what many considered to be the most competitive division in the NHL, the Winnipeg Jets are right at the top with the Nashville Predators who are ahead by just one point. The Jets boast a 25-13-2 record and while the team has suffered numerous injuries throughout the season, the team has been in the thick of things all season and much of that is due to the team’s depth and experience, especially on the blueline as multiple players, especially Dustin Byfuglien have struggled with injuries. However, the team hasn’t missed a beat as they are ranked 8th in goals scored, averaging 3.33 goals per game.
Who are the Jets most thankful for?
Their veterans. The team has gotten solid performances from many of their top players, but the team’s top two players have been Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler, who have the glue to keep the team together. Scheifele has 22 goals and 27 assists and has been a constant on the team’s top line, while Wheeler has just six goals, but has 44 assists on that same first line. Scheifele, who scored 23 goals last season in 60 appearances, is already one goal away from tying that mark in just 40 games. He is averaging 22:40 in ATOI this season, almost two minutes more than his career-high. Wheeler is also playing a career-high 21:26, nearly a minute better than his career-high and he is on pace to break his career high in assists.
What would the Jets be even more thankful for?
The team needs to get Connor Hellebuyck, their goaltender going if they really want to make a deep run this season. While most of the preseason chatter revolved around their backup goaltending situation, Laurent Brossoit has been nothing short of fabulous for the Jets. Hellebuyck, on the other hand, hasn’t found his game yet. After being a Vezina Trophy candidate a season ago when he put up 44-11-9 record, a 2.36 GAA and a .924 save percentage, but his numbers are not nearly as impressive one year later. Through 31 appearances, Hellebuyck has 12 losses, more than he had last season with a 2.89 GAA and a .908 save percentage. The team will need more from him if they hope to make a deep run in the playoffs with teams like the Predators in their way.
What should be on the Jets’ Holiday Wish List?
More depth from their other lines. The team has gotten a lot of offense from their first line and you can’t complain too much about the 24 goals that Patrik Laine already has, despite having just seven assists to go with that number. However, what the team needs is more scoring. Once you get past Nikolaj Ehlers (15 goals) and Kyle Connor (13 goals), few forwards have been able to step up to add more depth scoring. The team needs more players in that middle-six to step up and start scoring goals to give the offense an even bigger spark, so that the first and second lines aren’t preyed upon by opposing team’s top defenses.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The NHL has announced the four rosters for the 2019 All-Star Game today, scheduled to be held on January 26th in San Jose. Earlier today, Alex Ovechkin, who was elected captain of Metropolitan Division squad, told the league that he wouldn’t be attending and will accept the punishment of missing one game either before or after the break. Connor McDavid, Nathan MacKinnon, and Auston Matthews will represent the Pacific, Central and Atlantic respectively, as the other captains. A replacement Metropolitan captain for Ovechkin has yet to be named.
The full rosters are as follows:
*Denotes team captain
One final skater spot on each roster has yet to be announced, as it will be determined by the “Last Man In” fan ballot, a concept borrowed from Major League Baseball. The format of the current All-Star Game, which requires one representative from each team on these smaller 3-on-tournament rosters, was bound to cause some confusion with the initial selections. Seven top-twenty scorers were not selected – Mitch Marner, Brayden Point, Leon Draisaitl, Sean Monahan, Matthew Tkachuk, Phil Kessel, and Gabriel Landeskog – and several will inevitably remain out of All-Star participation even after the fan ballot additions. Morgan Rielly, the league’s top-scoring defenseman, and Mark Giordano, enjoying an elite season on both sides of the puck, are two surprising omissions on the blue line. Several of the league’s top goalies are also going to miss out, ineligible for the fan ballot, including Ben Bishop, Frederik Andersen, and Andrei Vasilevskiy. The “Last Man In” will be an intriguing new addition to the All-Star process, with nominees to be named shortly, but more than a few notable names will be left out regardless. Meanwhile, the health of players like Price and Chabot for Team Atlantic and Hall for Team Metropolitan will bear watching, as those players may opt to skip the All-Star festivities, opening up more players to selection.
The NHL released their Three Stars of the Week earlier today, and to absolutely no one’s surprise Alex Ovechkin received the top honors. Ovechkin recorded back-to-back hat tricks last week and seven goals total in his three games, giving him 29 on the season. That puts him on a pace for a career-high, something unthinkable for the 33-year old winger. Ovechkin now has 636 career tallies, and should challenge some of the all-time leaders in the category before he’s finished.
While Ovechkin is racking up his usual accolades, two young centers are trying to carve out their own legacies in the NHL. Mark Scheifele and Jack Eichel were second and third stars respectively, after outstanding weeks. Scheifele especially was a dominant offensive presence, recording 11 points in just four games for the Winnipeg Jets including two overtime winners.
- Pekka Rinne was expecting retirement after the 2018-19 season. That’s what the goaltender told Alex Prewitt in his latest profile for Sports Illustrated. The Nashville Predators goaltender believed that he would sail off into the sunset after his current seven-year $49MM deal expired at the end of this year, but that all changed when he inked a new two-year extension in November. Rinne is still playing at an incredible level, and going into tonight led the league with a .929 save percentage and 1.96 goals against average. That puts him in prime position to challenge for the Vezina Trophy once again, an award he took home last season after previously finishing as a finalist three times.
- Mathew Dumba is off to an exceptional start for the Minnesota Wild, with 12 goals and 22 points in just 32 games. The right-handed defenseman also doesn’t shy away from the physical side of the game, as seen this weekend when he took on Matthew Tkachuk of the Calgary Flames in a round of fisticuffs. Unfortunately, Dumba will now be out for at least a week with an upper-body injury. Head coach Bruce Boudreau wouldn’t give much more information on the subject, but did note that it’s not necessarily the worst timing for the team given the holiday break that they’ll enjoy next week.
The NHL has decided on their Three Stars for the most recent week of hockey, and leading the way is someone who is no stranger to individual accolades. Sidney Crosby is the first star, after recording seven points in three games including two highlight reel efforts against the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames. Crosby continues to shine as he enters the back half of his career, and is well on his way to another point-per-game campaign.
The other two spots go to young Western Conference stars, with Mark Scheifele and Mikko Rantanen garnering second and third star respectively. Scheifele has developed into one of the very best two-way centers in the entire league, and will lead the Winnipeg Jets into action in Finland this week. Rantanen meanwhile is part of the hottest line in hockey for the Colorado Avalanche, and currently leads the league in points with 21 through his first 12 games.
- The NHL has announced a partnership with MGM Resorts to enter the world of sports betting, giving the organization use of their official branding and trademarks. Commissioner Gary Bettman spoke very positively about the development as he announced it, and also explained that player tracking systems will be ready to implement next season. The league expects the partnership to first and foremost help with fan engagement, though it also will provide a new revenue stream.
- Though it had been expected, head coach Jeff Blashill of the Detroit Red Wings confirmed that Michael Rasmussen will remain with the team for the time being. Rasmussen has currently played nine games in the NHL this season, meaning his next test will burn the first year of his entry-level contract. Blashill spoke highly of his young rookie, and explained that he’ll be moved back to center as they deal with injuries to some of their other options.
For some time now, the landscape of NHL contracts has been changing, trending away from short and relatively inexpensive contracts for young restricted free agents. These “bridge deals” had long been used by teams to keep promising young talent on a reasonable price tag after their entry-level contract expired. While teams have been complicit in the movement away from bridge deals, players have simply begun to produce at a much higher level far sooner than in the past and, in turn, agents have demanded more term and salary than they ever had the leverage to command previously. The bridge deal is not yet extinct, but players and their representatives are having a much easier time landing expensive, long-term deals as early as possible in recent years.
While the beginning of the end for affordable youth can be traced back to superstars like Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin – whose cap hits now look like bargains some years later – it is within the last few years that young players of a lesser caliber than the all-world exception have been able to land similar pacts. The architect of multiple recent deals of great length and value has been Mike Liut of Octagon Sports. A former NHLer himself, Liut is the director of Octagon’s hockey division. Forbes reports that Liut manages 22 clients and over $325MM in player salary. His efforts to eliminate the bridge deal have played no small part in that impressive total. Liut negotiated the eight-year, $60MM contract signed by the St. Louis Blues’ Vladimir Tarasenko back in 2015, when Tarasenko had less than 200 NHL games to his credit. He then put together the eight-year, $49MM contract of the Winnipeg Jets’ Mark Scheifele in 2016, before he became the point-per-game player he is today. However, the crown jewel of Liut’s collection has to be the massive eight-year, $68MM contract belonging to the Edmonton Oilers’ Leon Draisaitl. Signed last year, Draisaitl’s deal carries an $8.5MM cap hit that is among the top fifteen players in the league. Yet, Liut somehow landed Draisaitl that deal after just two and half seasons, only one of which was truly impressive.
Now, Liut has a chance at a repeat performance of the Draisaitl deal not once, not twice, not even thrice, but with four different prominent players this off-season. Liut counts Patrik Laine, Mikko Rantanen, Brock Boeser, and Jake Guentzel among his clients and each of those four is set to have their entry-level contract expire this off-season. Winnipeg’s Laine has finished in the top ten in goal scoring in each of his first two seasons and was second only to Ovechkin for the league lead last year. Colorado’s Rantanen recorded 84 points in 81 games last year and currently shares the NHL lead in points and assists. Vancouver’s Boeser finished second in Calder Trophy voting last year and led the Canucks in scoring. Pittsburgh’s Guentzel is a Stanley Cup champion and a proven clutch scorer. Liut has shown an ability to bypass the bridge deal before and has an excellent chance at landing each of these players an expensive long-term deal. Other restricted free agents like Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, and Sebastian Aho are also certain to land similar deals. As such, in an off-season with an abnormal amount of high-profile RFA’s, each one could end up with an expensive, long-term extension. The effect, as Liut hopes, that the bridge deal dies as a result.
Navigating the Salary Cap is probably one of the more important tasks for any general manager to have. Teams that can avert total cap chaos by walking the tightrope of inking players to deals that match their value (or compensate for future value without breaking the bank) remain successful. Those that don’t see struggles and front office changes.
PHR will look at every NHL team and give a thorough look at their cap situation heading into the 2018-19 season. This will focus more on those players who are integral parts of the roster versus those who may find themselves shuttling between the AHL and NHL. All cap figures are courtesy of CapFriendly.
Current Cap Hit: $74,274,122 (under the $79.5MM Upper Limit)
F Patrik Laine (one year, $925K)
F Kyle Connor (one year, $925K)
F Kristian Vesalainen (three years, $925K)
F Jack Roslovic (two years, $894K)
F Brendan Lemieux (one year, $839K)
D Sami Niku (two years, $775K)
The Jets were hit hard when many of their entry-level deals expired a year ago and next year won’t be too much different as the team, which is now starting to feel the strain of the salary cap, will have to find a way to hand over a lot of money to Laine, who could receive a long-term deal at an extremely high price. Of course, the 20-year-old is worth that money. The winger scored 36 goals in his rookie campaign and topped that with a 44-goal season last year. If he can reach numbers even close to that, he could be one of the highest players in the league in a year.
Connor should also cost the team a good deal of money as the 21-year-old winger posted 31 goals in his first full NHL season last year and looks to be heading in a similar direction and could also get himself a contract in the $5MM+ range in one season. The team gets another year for Roslovic, who is currently playing in the bottom-six, but don’t be surprised if the 21-year-old center might eventually move into the top-six at some point in the season.
It’s still too early to know where Vesalainen stands, but the highly-touted prospect will get time immediately in a bottom-six role and develop his skills. With three years on his entry-level deal, the team hopes it can get some cheap scoring options from him for a few years.
One Year Remaining, Non-Entry-Level
D Jacob Trouba ($5.5MM, RFA)
D Tyler Myers ($5.5MM, UFA)
D Ben Chiarot ($1.4MM, UFA)
F Brandon Tanev ($1.15MM, UFA)
F Andrew Copp ($1MM, RFA)
D Joseph Morrow ($1MM, RFA)
F Nic Petan ($874K, RFA)
F Marko Dano ($800K, RFA)
G Laurent Brossoit ($650K, RFA)
While the team is deep in forwards, their defense has many long-term questions surrounding them. Two of those players have contracts that will expire at the end of the season. Trouba is the most interesting. Despite holding out several years ago and showing little interest in Winnipeg, it looked like things were improving after Winnipeg enjoyed an impressive season last year that took them to the Western Conference Finals. However, another difficult negotiations that failed to bring in a long-term deal and the team may be forced to move on from Trouba sooner than later. He can be an unrestricted free agent after the 2019-20 season.
Myers is also a candidate for the team to move on from as the veteran is on the final year of a seven-year, $38.5MM deal. While Myers is still a very productive player, the long term deals the team has already signed off on as well as potential deals with Laine and Connor could make him a cap casualty as well. The team has Niku, among others, sitting in the AHL waiting for a spot to open and some could open up at the end of the year.
Two Years Remaining
The team made a couple of free agent signings last offseason, including bringing in goalie Steve Mason and signing Kulikov. Mason has already been traded away after a disappointing season, while Kulikov has had trouble fitting in as well, even being held out of several playoff games last year. The 27-year-old is barely holding onto his spot as a third-line defender and could find himself fighting for time eventually if he can’t improve his game.
Morrissey is a different story. The partner to Trouba has been a solid defender and has continued to improve his game and will still be a restricted free agent in a few years, giving the team another opportunity to lock him up long-term.
Three Years Remaining
Byfuglien is locked up long-term and in many ways is the face of the franchise, who produces both physicality and offense for the team. The 6-foot-5, 260-pound blueliner did just provide eight goals last year, one of the lowest totals of his career, but the 33-year-old still managed to produce 45 points. The team needs the veteran to continue his dominant play for a few years more if the team intends to continue a long-term Western Conference run.
The team also needs Perreault to continue playing solid hockey as one of their best bottom-six forwards. The 30-year-old posted 17 goals last year, one goal shy of his career-high. The 25-year-old Lowry is another player who the team needs to step up for the franchise. He posted 15 goals in 2016-17, but managed to score just eight goals last year in 45 games. However, his passing game showed quite a bit of improvement.
Four Or More Years Remaining
G Connor Hellebuyck ($6.19MM through 2023-24)
F Mark Scheifele ($6.13MM through 2023-24)
F Nikolaj Ehlers ($6MM through 2024-25)
F Blake Wheeler ($5.6MM in 2018-19; $8.25MM through 2023-24)
F Bryan Little ($5.29MM through 2023-24)
The franchise has quite a few blue-chip players already locked up long-term with the most important position, goaltending, looking to be in good shape after the team signed Hellebuyck to a six-year, $37MM deal. The 25-year-old posted an impressive breakout season that saw him post a 2.37 GAA and a .924 save percentage and should be a major positive for the team over the next six years.
The team signed Wheeler, their captain, to a long-term extension this offseason. He will finish out his previous deal at $5.6MM, but will start on a four-year extension at $8.25MM. Wheeler posted 20 goals for the fifth-straight season, but also saw his points total surge as the 32-year-old put up a career-high 91 points last year, way better than his previous career-high of 78 points.
Ehlers signed a seven-year extension at this time last season and the 22-year-old posted a career-high 29 goals last season playing on the other side of Laine and producing one of the team’s most dangerous lines. The team also has Little working as a second-line center, although many believe that he’d be better off with a bottom-six role down the road, which would make him an expensive long-term cost at $5.29MM.
F Mark Stuart ($583K in 2018-19)
Retained Salary Transactions
Still To Sign
Best Value: Scheifele
Worst Value: Kulikov
(Excluding entry-level contracts)
The Winnipeg Jets have done an incredible job so far drafting and developing high-end talent and so far have done an excellent job keeping them in the fold for what the team hopes to be a solid five year run for a Stanley Cup. The team has already locked up many of their top players and while they still have a few more to go, they look well on their way to doing that. The only real question is how general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff handles his defense as he has a pair of major decisions to make within the next year when it comes to dealing with Trouba and Myers.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
It may be the slowest stretch of the off-season, but the odds-makers at Bovada are staying busy. As Sports Illustrated’s Michael Blinn writes, the first odds for the NHL’s MVP Award, the Hart Trophy, for the 2018-19 season are out. Very few could have predicted that the New Jersey Devils’ Taylor Hall would have taken home the title this past season at this point last year. Is next year’s winner even on the board? Or will it be one of the heavy favorites?
To no surprise, Edmonton Oilers phenom Connor McDavid has the best odds to win the Hart for the second time in three years after being crowned in 2017. McDavid has 10/3 odds to win the award and those are actually pretty fair odds. Even last season, when McDavid was not even a finalist for the Hart, he nevertheless was the league’s leading scorer with 108 points, six more than the next-best player. It was the second season in a row that McDavid won the scoring title and that trend seems unlikely to change if he remains healthy. However, there are some who will say that McDavid’s Hart chances are tied to the success of the Oilers. The argument this past season was that he could not truly be the most valuable player in the league when his contributions still left Edmonton far from a playoff spot. With a roster that has been largely unimproved this off-season, another regular season disappointment for the Oilers could make it hard for McDavid to get back on top.
Next up is two-time Hart winner Sidney Crosby at 13/5. The face of the Pittsburgh Penguins dynasty has long been considered the best player on the planet. Yet, one would think that Crosby might actually have more than two MVP titles. Crosby has scored between 84 and 120 points in every healthy season of his career, but his impressive supporting cast detracts from the impact of those unbelievable numbers. Especially last season, when Crosby was narrowly outscored by both Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel, it would have been close to impossible for him to win the Hart. Malkin (18/1 odds) and Kessel (75/1 odds) are still Penguins and barring injuries to one or both, Crosby would have to take his game to an even higher level to get back into Hart consideration.
Maple Leafs centers John Tavares and Auston Matthews both have 10/1 odds to win the Hart, as the odds-makers clearly expect there to be plenty of offense to go around in Toronto next season. Injuries held Matthews to 63 points last season, outside the top 50 in scoring, while a healthy Tavares only managed to tie for sixteenth with 84 points for the New York Islanders. Both players will greatly need to improve their production to be Hart – and it is certainly possible now that they are playing together – yet an improvement by both could land them in Crosby/Malkin territory where they cancel each other out in the Hart race.
Reigning Stanley Cup, Conn Smythe, and Maurice Richard winner Alex Ovechkin also has 10/1 odds to take home the Hart. Ovechkin has done it three times before, more than any other active player in the league. However, Ovechkin’s 49 goals last year only came with 38 assists, as his 87 points kept him outside the top ten in scoring. At 33 years old this season, the Washington Capitals captain will have to fight both the aging process and a potential Cup hangover to improve his production if he wants a fourth Hart. Ovechkin’s 10/1 odds seem like a stretch.
At 15/1 are both the 2018 winner Hall and finalist Nathan MacKinnon, as well as Nikita Kucherov and Mark Scheifele. This is where the value lies in these early odds. The former duo greatly benefited from both excellent seasons – 97 points for MacKinnon and 93 points for Hall – but also being far and away the best players on the New Jersey Devils and Colorado Avalanche respectively. Both should again lead the way for their clubs and if they match their previous output and again sneak into the postseason, it would be no surprise to see them both back in consideration next year. As for Kucherov, he was the favorite to win the Hart for a long stretch last season as he led the league in scoring. Although his production tailed off as the season closed out, the dynamic Tampa Bay Lightning winger still managed to finish third with 100 points. Tampa will be top contenders again and promise to light up the score board with Kucherov leading the way. Perhaps this time he can seal the deal on the Hart. Scheifele is a dark horse candidate who could be the breakout star of the coming season like Hall and MacKinnon last year. The Winnipeg Jets franchise center played in only 60 games last year, but scored 60 points and continues to show flashes of brilliance. He could be a savvy pick to take home the hardware.
Among the rest of the field are some very interesting options. Los Angeles Kings star Anze Kopitar, a Hart finalist last season, has 18/1 odds and new weapon to play with in Ilya Kovalchuk (50/1 odds). Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux has 25/1 odds despite finishing second only to McDavid at the top of the scoring charts last season with 102 points. Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand, also 25/1 odds, was arguably the most dangerous scorer in the league last season when on the ice, finishing 13th overall in scoring with 85 points in just 68 games – the only player in the top 50 to play in less than 70 games. Bargain odds belong to Artemi Panarin at 50/1. The Columbus Blue Jackets dynamo gets better each year since coming over to the NHL and could toy with 100 points in his second year with the team. That would make for an interesting off-season, as Panarin is slated for free agency next summer.
What do you think? Does Bovada have the right names at the top? Or will the Hart winner be another unpredictable upset like Hall?
The Winnipeg Jets have proven to be a place where winning and success is starting to take fruition. Over the last couple of years, the team hasn’t had much trouble signing their key free agents, whether it’s Dustin Byfuglien, Mark Scheifele, Nikolaj Ehlers or Connor Hellebuyck.
That’s why its troubling to see the Jets and defenseman Jacob Trouba going to arbitration, the first player to take the Jets to arbitration in their history. This will be the second time the two sides have gone against each other in contract negotiations with the first encounter being quite heated and made it clear that Trouba didn’t want to be in Winnipeg. Considering that only one case in out of 55 last year went to arbitration, this just is another bad sign, according to Paul Wiecek of the Winnipeg Free-Press.
No matter what happens, the damage will have been done as arbitration only increases animosity between teams. With still lingering effects to the 15-game holdout between Trouba and the Jets, this will only worsen the problem. Wiecek suggests the team has two years to fix the problem and should start looking for a trade partner as soon as possible, because no matter how much he claims he loves it in Winnipeg, it looks more and more like he’ll bolt the first chance he reaches unrestricted free agency. Trading him as soon as possible will only bring home the best returns, which would be another solid defenseman.
- Mark Lazerus of The Chicago Sun-Times writes that the Chicago Blackhawks will know more about the status of goaltender Corey Crawford in the coming weeks. The veteran goaltender, who missed a large portion of the season last year, is expected to start skating soon and so far looks to be on track to returning this season. “I ran into him [Monday] and talked to him for a while,” general manager Stan Bowman said on Tuesday. “Things are looking good. He said he hasn’t done a whole lot of on-ice stuff yet, but a few of our guys were just starting to skate today, as well. I think they’ll get ramped up over the next six weeks and get more on-ice preparation. I know he’s been training off-ice. Hopefully, things are good.”
- The Minnesota Wild announced their new affiliation with the Allen Americans as their new ECHL franchise for the 2018-19 season. The team, based in Allen, Texas, has been a successful franchise over its nine years of existence, making the playoffs nine straight years including five years in the CHL and another four in the ECHL. They won the President’s Cup in 2013 and 2014, while winning the Kelly Cup in 2015 and 2016. The Wild used their Rapid City Rush last year as their ECHL affiliate.