There weren’t anywhere near as many big stories as there were a week ago around the NHL but there were still some notable ones which are highlighted in our top stories of the week.
Dorion Extension: While Senators GM hasn’t been able to work out a new contract yet for top RFA winger Brady Tkachuk, he did get one contract done this past week – his own. Set to enter the final year of his deal, Dorion and the Sens agreed on a three-year contract extension with a club option for 2025-26. (Those options aren’t legal in player contracts but are still allowable for non-playing personnel.) Dorion has been with Ottawa since 2007 when he joined them as their Director of Amateur Scouting, eventually moving up the ranks before becoming GM for the 2016-17 season.
Mikheyev Requests Trade: Maple Leafs winger Ilya Mikheyev reportedly requested a trade earlier this offseason although the team clearly hasn’t granted that request. The 26-year-old has spent his two NHL seasons in Toronto but is coming off somewhat of a disappointing year that saw him post just seven goals and ten assists in 54 games. Mikheyev is entering the final year of his contract and has a $1.645MM AAV. Considering he’s likely to play either on their second or third line, the Maple Leafs would be hard-pressed to find a suitable replacement at that price tag which likely has played a role in them not moving him elsewhere yet.
Surgery For Crosby: The Penguins likely won’t have their captain available for the start of the regular season as Sidney Crosby underwent wrist surgery. The expected recovery timeline is six weeks which would run through to the third week of October where Pittsburgh would have played a handful of games on their regular season schedule. GM Ron Hextall indicated that Crosby has played through the injury for several seasons now and that after trying less invasive options, they opted to have the surgery done. Crosby is entering his 17th NHL season and has averaged more than a point per game in every one of them, even with the recent wrist issues.
Calgary Adds Defensive Depth: There is typically one common element on teams coached by Darryl Sutter – grit. The Flames have already added plenty of it this offseason and added even more with the signing of veteran Erik Gudbranson to a one-year, $1.95MM contract. The 29-year-old split last season between the Senators and Predators, who added him at the trade deadline. Gudbranson, whose AAV was cut by just over half of his previous deal, had four points in 41 games along with 64 blocks and 111 hits and should be on the third pairing in Calgary. The Flames also brought back Michael Stone on a one-year, one-way contract for the league minimum.
Backes Signs And Retires: Veteran winger David Backes received one final contract as he inked a one-day deal with the Blues and immediately announced his retirement. The 37-year-old played in 965 career NHL contests, 727 with St. Louis before stints in Boston and Anaheim. In his prime, he was one of the more productive power forwards in the game, recording six seasons of more than 20 goals and 200 hits while finishing in the top five in Selke Trophy voting from 2011-12 through 2014-15. Overall, his career comes to an end with 561 points along with over 2,600 hits and 1,148 penalty minutes.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.