Latest NHL Buzz
One trend from NHL teams this summer has been giving 2-3 year deals to very limited 4th line players/defensemen who can provide some toughness, while players coming off down years but have actual upside and proved themselves in the past like David Booth, Steve Downie and Lee Stempniak, were forced to take paycuts and play on one year prove it deals.
That trend has continued into late August as Devin Setoguchi has taken a $2.5 million paycut, signing a one year, $750,000 contract with Calgary Flames.
Setoguchi was a player seen as a potential fit for the Penguins on a low risk deal like he got, but sources contend GM Jim Rutherford has been against awarding anymore one-way contracts before camp, as he wants to keep his options open for the last forward spot.
BRUINS REMAIN CLASS OF THE EAST?
The Tampa Bay Lightning are the media darlings right now and they truly look on paper of being a serious Stanley Cup contender, but not everyone inside NHL circles is ready to proclaim them as the team to beat in the East.
Despite cap issues, inability to bolster their roster and not to mention a second round exit, the buzz among executives, scouts around the league continues to point to a consensus of the Boston Bruins being the team to beat in the East when the season starts.
RANGERS DOING LOTS OF HOMEWORK ON MALONE
Sources close to Ryan Malone say the former Penguins and Lightning winger getting busted for a DUI and cocaine possession in April might have ended up being the best thing for him.
“It was a wake up call for him,” a source close to Malone said. Malone is said to be in excellent shape, training in Minnesota right now, and is determined not to end his career by being remembered for his off-ice issues, those close to him say.
Lightning officials for one believe Malone’s decline in play over the last two years had more to do than just his body breaking down.
Malone while nicknamed “King of the Southside” when he played in Pittsburgh, is said to have been in a real bad way (off the ice) the last couple years and his lack of commitment off the ice only got worse when his wife Abby filed for divorce in 2012.
Things obviously hit rock bottom for him this past April. Was it really a wake up call? No one truly knows but whoever brings Malone in on a tryout invite or two-way contract is likely to get a very motivated player I hear.
As expected for a player who has been on the decline and was arrested for a DUI/cocaine possession (cocaine charge is expected to be thrown out) during the NHL season, teams have not been blowing up Malone’s agent’s phone.
That said a few are considering him.
At the recommendation of Rick Kehoe, one team that has done extensive homework on Malone is the New York Rangers, Inside Pittsburgh Sports has learned. They have spoken to Malone about a training camp invite and a possible two-way contract. However, not clear if the Kevin Hayes signing limits Malone’s chances of joining New York.
Malone is currently training with Rangers players Derek Stepan and Ryan McDonagh.
Malone’s agent Mike Luit has reached out to many teams including the Penguins. A source says GM Jim Rutherford is not interested in bringing Malone into the room but the Penguins are considering some potential tryout candidates and with their being no risk, I won’t rule it out just yet, but there’s little talk right now of a homecoming for Malone from his inner circle.
Malone’s dad Greg has a ton of close relationships around the league, including Pittsburgh. Someone is going to bring Malone in and give him a look.