DePaoli’s Thursday Morning Pens/NHL Notes
*NHL executive Bill Daly told reporters in Vancouver that the NHL salary cap could be as high as $63.5 million for the 2011-2012 season.
That is great news for teams like the Flyers, Penguins, Rangers but not good news for small market teams who are struggling to spend to the minimum cap floor.
It’s amazing how much the cap has increased since the lockout when the league had a $39 million cap in 2005-2006.
The transformation of the Penguins as a franchise has also been something to watch. They have evolved into one of the strongest financially and they are right up there with big market teams like the New York Rangers, when it comes to being able to spend what they want.
*The Penguins I’m told have gone into the off-season with expectations that the cap will be in the $62.2 – $62.5 million range. With around $55 million committed for the 11-12 season, the Penguins figure to have at least $6.5 million to spend this summer.
If the cap increases anymore than that, it’s considered a great thing for them but don’t look for some extra wiggle room to lead the Penguins to overpaying any of their free agents to be.
However, cap going up does increase the Penguins keeping a few more free agents to be than they would have been able to do if the cap stayed in the $59 million range.
Could see Arron Asham being a possible beneficiary.
*Colin Campbell stepping down in his role as NHL disciplinarian has been seen as a good thing by fans and many around the league. The significance of Brendan Shanahan taking over is that the league now gets some fresh eyes and an individual whose been apart of the new era of the NHL.
Campbell stepping aside is a start of getting rid of the old guard.
*Winnipeg (Atlanta Thrashers) will play in the Southeast for the 2011-2012 season before the NHL moves the franchise to the Western Conference in 2012-2013.
The fight to move to the Eastern Conference is on between Detroit, Columbus and Nashville.
Detroit has been trying to orchestrate a move to the East for years but the NHL wants to keep them in the West in the worst way. Columbus and Detroit are the only Eastern time zone teams playing in the East.
*Love the move by the New York Rangers yesterday in acquiring defenseman Tim Erixon (6-3, 205) and a fifth-round draft pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft from Calgary in exchange for forward Roman Horak and two second round draft picks in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.
Erixon, the Flames first round pick in 2009 and is considered by many as an elite prospect and could have a big impact in the NHL. He would have been a top-10 pick if he re-entered the draft and is considered by some scouts as NHL ready for next season.
“Tim is an outstanding young defenseman with good size and mobility,” stated Rangers GM Glen Sather. “He plays a complete, all-around game, and we feel he is an excellent addition to our developing, young defense corps.”
Erixon rated as Calgary’s top NHL prospect during the 2010-11 season, represented Sweden at the 2009, 2010, and 2011 World Juniors and was on the Swedish World Championship team that won the silver medal in Slovakia last month.
Erixon, 20, skated in 48 games with Skelleftea of the Swedish Elite League (SEL) this season, registering five goals and 19 assists for 24 points, along with 40 penalty minutes. He established career-highs in games played, assists and points while skating in his third full season in Sweden’s top league.
The Rangers are developing a nice young foundation on the blueline with Marc Staal, Dan Girardi, Erixon, Ryan McDonagh and 2010 1st pick Dylan McIlrath.
*Raffi Torres picked a perfect situation in Vancouver last summer. He had troubles getting a job and didn’t sign until late August after he struggled mightily in Buffalo following the 2010 NHL Trade Deadline.
He was misplaced in Buffalo being brought in as a top-6 forward.
In Vancouver, he’s excelled in a third line role and has been a very valuable player for the Canucks. Torres and his agent saw Vancouver as a place Torres could fit long-term and that’s how things may be playing out.
“They have a lot of great players for him to play with and we feel that if he
plays to his abilities that it will be a place where he can play for several years after this year, ” Pittsburgh based agent Steve Reich told me in August of 2010.