As I reported earlier, a new era begins tonight in Tampa. Steven Stamkos will replace Martin St-Louis as team captain.
— Louis Jean (@LouisJean_TVA) March 7, 2014
That day might be right around the corner. Kuznetsov, who has been playing with Traktor in the KHL, was released from his contract on Thursday. It was announced by the KHL on their Facebook page (if you want to read the translation, RussianMachineNeverBreaks.com has you covered).
Next come negotiations with the Capitals on a contract and assuming that doesn’t take all that long — which it shouldn’t being an entry-level deal — the NHL. It’s a trade-deadline acquisition of sorts, only they didn’t give up anything for him and he’s not a rental.
Jonathan Ericsson thinks he could do it too.
“He could probably come in and play today without even practicing, that’s how good he is,” Ericsson told NHL.com. “Well, to be realistic, maybe he’ll need a few practices. But if he practiced for a week you wouldn’t even know he was gone for a year and a half.”
Andrew MacDonald was the Flyers’ primary target.
After making his debut with the Blues on Sunday in Phoenix, a 4-2 come-from-behind win over the Coyotes, Ryan Miller discussed his potential long-term future in St. Louis Monday afternoon.
Acquired from Buffalo in a blockbuster trade last week, Miller will become an unrestricted free agent after the 2013-14 season. He’s had no discussions regarding an extension with the Blues yet, but the goaltender said that he is open to the idea of remaining with the club beyond this year.
With the NHL’s trade deadline arriving at 3 p.m. Wednesday, there’s no reason for the Hurricanes not to listen to any reasonable offer for anyone, including all three goalies and both Staal brothers. It’s time to start over, at least to the extent possible at this time of year.
Whether Jim Rutherford remains general manager after this season or not – and surely owner Peter Karmanos must realistically assess whether Rutherford is still the right man for this job – he is still in charge at the deadline, and his mandate must be to best prepare the ground for the future.
The ball is in Chris Phillips’ court.
It’s believed the Senators have tabled an offer to Phillips on a contract extension and he’ll have to decide in the next couple of days whether he wants to take the deal to remain with the club.
With a cap hit of $3.083 million this season, the 35-year-old Phillips will be a UFA on July 1. He has expressed a desire to remain with the club but it’s believed he’ll have to accept a pay cut.
It’s not known what term Phillips was offered but the two sides haven’t had any discussions in the last couple of days.
The Senators want to keep Phillips in the fold because he’s been a good soldier for the organization, has helped shepherd the club through rough waters and can still contribute on the ice.
But if Phillips doesn’t accept the extension — and he is negotiating this contract himself — then he could be dealt by Wednesday’s 3 p.m. EST trade deadline because the club will check to see what it can get in return.