The Vegas Golden Knights have their first arbitration hearing coming up with defenseman Nate Schmidt, scheduled for August 3rd. Despite that, Steve Carp of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that the two sides have had productive talks and are positively progressing towards a deal before the hearing. Schmidt is one of the most exciting young players for the Golden Knights, with excellent speed and dynamic puck-moving ability.
He was stuck behind several other names in Washington, but it’s expected he’ll play a big role for Vegas this year as he heads into his age-26 season. If he does settle for a one-year deal through arbitration, he would still be a restricted free agent next year. That’s if the team doesn’t work out a long-term deal with him first.
- Alexandre Texier, the 45th-overall pick from this year’s draft will be heading to Finland next year to continue his development. The French center will suit up for Liiga’s KalPa for the next two seasons, before reevaluating his position with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Texier is just 17 years old still, but has shown some tremendous raw potential in terms of skill and offensive ability. The Finnish league is notorious for creating solid two-way forwards, something the Blue Jackets will hope Texier picks up on during his time there.
- Joni Ikonen, the Montreal Canadiens’ second-round pick will also return to KalPa according to Uffe Bodin of Hockeysverige. Ikonen played the last two seasons in Frolunda of the SHL, and showed off in the U18 World Juniors this season with 8 points in 7 games for Finland. Selected 58th-overall, Montreal is hoping he can stay at center long term. He’ll develop at home for at least one more season before they try to bring him over to North America.
- The New York Islanders have promoted Greg Cronin from assistant to associate coach for next season, keeping him on Doug Weight’s staff for the time being. The Isles had already hired Kelly Buchberger and Scott Gomez as assistant coaches, rounding out a staff with a ton of experience either on the ice or behind a bench. Cronin has been an assistant with the Islanders and Toronto Maple Leafs, while also holding head coaching jobs in the AHL and NCAA.