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Fehr: Players made 'significant concessions' in last CBA talks

Fehr: Players made 'significant concessions' in last CBA talks

21/08/2018, USA, Hockey-Ice, NHL (ice-hockey), Article # 27545902

The NHL's collective bargaining agreement can be terminated in September 2019, and players haven't forgotten what happened the last time the CBA expired.

"We will be having lots of discussions with players over the course of the ensuing season, starting in the fall, about what that means and how we approach it and what's on players' minds and so on," NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr told The Athletic's Katie Strang. "And players are cognizant of the fact that in the last negotiations they made a series of significant concessions. And we'll sort of leave it at that."

Triggering the CBA's opt-out clause would end the current agreement following the 2019-20 season, two years ahead of its September 2022 expiration. The league and the players' association each have the right to opt out on different dates next September.

Fehr, who has been the head of the NHLPA since 2010, led the players through negotiations - and a lockout - five years ago. A deal was finally reached in January 2013, resulting in an abbreviated 48-game season and several changes to the CBA. Those changes included an even split of hockey-related revenue (players received 57 percent in the previous arrangement), a reduction in the maximum length of contracts, and a cap on salary variance through each year of a contract.

While the players may seek some modifications to the agreement, owners could be comfortable continuing down the current path. In November 2016, the NHL offered to extend the CBA through 2025 in exchange for allowing players to participate in PyeongChang 2018. The proposal was ultimately rejected.

However, at least two major issues could make the NHL more amenable to a deal this time.

The first is the potential entry of a Seattle expansion team, which could begin play in 2020-21. The new club would have to pay a $650-million fee, which is not included in the current calculation of hockey-related revenue. Those new dollars would be evenly split among the owners of current franchises, excluding the Vegas Golden Knights.

Additionally, several players' contracts include significant signing bonuses during the 2020-21 season. These must be paid regardless of whether or not a season is played, and it's difficult to imagine owners being thrilled to write those checks if league revenue streams are stopped by another lockout.

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					Devils sign 1st-round pick Ty Smith to 3-year contract

Devils sign 1st-round pick Ty Smith to 3-year contract

21/08/2018, USA, Hockey-Ice, NHL (ice-hockey), Article # 27545112
New Jersey Devils sign 1st-round draft pick Ty Smith to 3-year, entry-level contract

Oilers sign Jerabek to 1-year deal

Oilers sign Jerabek to 1-year deal

21/08/2018, USA, Hockey-Ice, NHL (ice-hockey), Article # 27544959

The Edmonton Oilers have agreed to terms on a one-year contract with free-agent defenseman Jakub Jerabek, the team announced Monday.

Jerabek joins the Oilers after splitting last season between the Montreal Canadiens and Washington Capitals. The 27-year-old appeared in two playoff games for the Stanley Cup-winning Capitals, picking up one assist.

A native of the Czech Republic, Jerabek signed with the Canadiens this past offseason as an undrafted free agent after spending the previous year in the KHL. He's tallied two goals and six assists across 36 career NHL games.

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Canadiens trade Rychel to Flames for Shinkaruk

Canadiens trade Rychel to Flames for Shinkaruk

21/08/2018, USA, Hockey-Ice, NHL (ice-hockey), Article # 27544115

The Montreal Canadiens and Calgary Flames pulled off a minor deal Monday.

Kerby Rychel is heading from the Canadiens to the Flames in exchange for Hunter Shinkaruk, the clubs announced.

Both forwards are unsigned restricted free agents, and both were selected in the first round of the 2013 draft, with Rychel going 19th to the Columbus Blue Jackets and Shinkaruk selected five picks later by the Vancouver Canucks.

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Rangers sign Tokarski to 1-year deal

Rangers sign Tokarski to 1-year deal

21/08/2018, USA, Hockey-Ice, NHL (ice-hockey), Article # 27543270

The New York Rangers have agreed to terms with goaltender Dustin Tokarski on a one-year pact, the club announced Monday.

He'll compete with Marek Mazanec and Alexandar Georgiev for the backup job, according to NHL.com's Dan Rosen.

Tokarski has played only 34 games at the NHL level over six seasons with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Montreal Canadiens, and Anaheim Ducks. He spent all of last season with the Philadelphia Flyers' AHL affiliate, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, posting a .915 save percentage in 39 contests.

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Report: Maple Leafs offering Pickard in trade talks

Report: Maple Leafs offering Pickard in trade talks

21/08/2018, USA, Hockey-Ice, NHL (ice-hockey), Article # 27543074

With a potential logjam in the Toronto Maple Leafs' crease, the club is reportedly shopping Calvin Pickard, according to James Mirtle of The Athletic.

Pickard is set to battle Curtis McElhinney and Garret Sparks for the backup role this season.

McElhinney has served as Frederik Andersen's second in command for the last season and a half and has fared admirably, posting a 17-12-1 record, a .925 save percentage, and a 2.45 goals-against average in 32 games.

Meanwhile, Sparks is coming off a stellar season in the American Hockey League where he was awarded the Aldege "Baz" Bastien Memorial Award as the league's most outstanding goaltender. He also led the Marlies to a Calder Cup championship.

Pickard also had a solid year in the AHL, going 21-9-1 with a .918 save percentage and a 2.31 goals-against average. The 26-year-old does have NHL experience, largely spent with the Colorado Avalanche, and holds a career record of 28-44-7 in 87 games.

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Fantasy: 5 unheralded players who will benefit from playing with a star

Fantasy: 5 unheralded players who will benefit from playing with a star

20/08/2018, USA, Hockey-Ice, NHL (ice-hockey), Article # 27542546

There is more to fantasy than evaluating the skill of individual players. Overall team success, coaching, and perhaps most importantly, the quality of linemates all play a major role in determining one's fantasy value.

Here are five unheralded forwards who will benefit from playing on a star-studded line this season:

LW/RW Travis Konecny, Flyers

Konecny's inclusion is a mix of his top-line status and his projected growth as a player. Heading into his third NHL campaign, the 21-year-old spent the bulk of the last season on the Flyers' top line with Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux and potted 24 goals, 13 more than in his rookie year.

He finished the campaign on an especially encouraging note:

Stat 1st half 2nd half
GP 40 41
G 5 19
A 9 14
P 14 33
SOG 74 103
ATOI 13:17 16:30

The production and ice time increase were largely due to his promotion to the team's first line, and he has earned the right to stay there. The former first-round pick is highly skilled and plays with intensity and ferociousness despite his small stature.

He could score 30-35 goals and finish with around 60 points in a full season with Couturier and Giroux.

LW Zach Hyman, Maple Leafs

Hyman spent the bulk of his first two NHL seasons playing alongside Auston Matthews and William Nylander, but Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock plans on lining him up with John Tavares and Mitch Marner this season.

The 26-year-old was a serviceable offensive player last year, but his 15-goal, 40-point season wasn't quite enough to put him on the fantasy radar in most leagues. However, he accomplished that feat with limited time spent on the man advantage.

James van Riemsdyk and Leo Komarov are both gone, which opens up space on the Leafs' power play. Babcock may look to Andreas Johnsson and Kasperi Kapanen to fill the vacancies, but Hyman could get a shot if those options don't work.

Hyman can likely be selected in one of the final rounds and should be taken if available. It's entirely possible he scores 25 goals this season, and while they may not be the prettiest, they'll count just the same.

C/RW J.T. Miller, Lightning

If playing with Tavares and Marner is Park Place on a Monopoly board, then skating alongside Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov is Boardwalk: prime first-line real estate for Miller.

He's more heralded than most players on this list, totaling 58 points last year and 56 in the season prior. However, he should smash both of those totals this campaign. Of his 58 points a year ago, 18 came in the 19 games after being traded to the Lightning and playing with Stamkos and Kucherov, and nearly half of his goals (10 of 23) came in Tampa.

Miller will need to be drafted before the middle rounds, but his 35-goal, 70-point potential is worth the price.

RW Ty Rattie, Oilers

With only 49 career NHL games under his belt with minimal production, Rattie is easily the most unheralded player on this list. However, in the final 12 games last year, he scored five goals and added four assists while primarily flanking Connor McDavid on the Oilers' top line.

His spot alongside McDavid isn't guaranteed, but with the way he finished last year and the lack of wingers Edmonton added in the offseason, the top-line job is seemingly his to lose.

Rattie was a prolific scorer in junior and produced in the AHL, so it's possible the 25-year-old is just a late bloomer. He's worth a pick in the final round, as McDavid's presence gives him 25-goal potential.

RW Tom Wilson, Capitals

Wilson's breakout 14-goal, 35-point season resulted in a six-year contract with a $5.17M average annual value, and there are two men who played massive roles in his big payday: linemates Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov.

Wilson will get a chance to line up beside the two superstars once again this season. It's realistic to expect him to score 20-25 goals for 40-50 points, considering he was still playing in the team's bottom-six for the first couple of months last year.

Power-play time remains unlikely, but considering he's bound to be among the league leaders in PIMs and hits, he's still worth a late-round pick as long as one of those categories is included in your league.

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Klingberg excited to grow into complete defenseman under new coach

Klingberg excited to grow into complete defenseman under new coach

20/08/2018, USA, Hockey-Ice, NHL (ice-hockey), Article # 27540334

John Klingberg believes a new voice in the room could be just what he needs to help take his game to the next level.

The Dallas Stars defenseman has already played under two coaches in only four seasons in the NHL, and will soon skate for his third bench boss in Jim Montgomery when training camp opens next month.

But Klingberg believes Montgomery, who is making his NHL debut after spending the last five seasons at the University of Denver, can help round out his game.

"I want to be 'the guy,' sure," Klingberg told NHL.com's Mike Zeisberger. "But if I'm going to be a true, true No. 1, I have to play more defensive minutes. That's maybe something I have a chance to do this year. I want to take that next step and prove to the coaches that they can trust me defensively as well."

While Klingberg has been no stranger to scoring, wrapping last season with 67 points, he's often been criticized for his apparent flaws in the defensive end. That point was driven home when Klingberg, who finished one point shy of the league lead for points by defensemen, finished a distant sixth in Norris Trophy voting, receiving just a single first-place ballot.

The 26-year-old led all Dallas defensemen with more than 24 minutes a game, while averaging more than three minutes nightly on the man advantage. However, he was infrequently called upon for more defensive assignments, as his ice time on the penalty kill ranked seventh among Stars rearguards.

Furthermore, Klingberg received plenty of favorable ice time last season as he started nearly 55 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone. Only 18 defenders (less than one per team) exceeded that number, while the next closest Stars defenseman trailed Klingberg by more than three percent.

As the blue-liner looks to build his game, he had the opportunity to share his ideas with Montgomery, who spent some time in Klingberg's native Sweden to not only meet the defenseman, but also better familiarize himself with his new lineup. In all, it appears the brief introduction went over well.

"The great thing is, the coach knows what I think and I know what he thinks," Klingberg said. "We're already a step ahead of the game."

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Trotz plans to change culture, raise expectations for Islanders

Trotz plans to change culture, raise expectations for Islanders

20/08/2018, USA, Hockey-Ice, NHL (ice-hockey), Article # 27539626

Barry Trotz's vision helped guide the Washington Capitals to the Stanley Cup. Now, the 56-year-old is confident that a similar vision, one that emphasizes defense and preaches accountability, can help restore the New York Islanders as a winning franchise

"There's going to be change. It's going to be structurally, on and off the ice, expectations are going to change," Trotz told The Athletic's Arthur Staple. "Nothing against any former regimes, but we have our own vision of what we want to do, how we're going to do it.

"They've done a lot of good things here. There's certain things in the way things are managed or established, the rules or how you do things. To me, culture change is an attitude - getting the right attitude, standing for something."

Related - Islanders legend Trottier: Lamoriello, Trotz bring credibility to franchise

Most importantly, it's up to Trotz and his staff, many of whom followed him from Washington, to shore up the team's biggest weakness: its play in its own end.

"One of the easiest things to correct, if there's a commitment and a buy-in, is keeping the puck out of your net," Trotz added. "We'll need a bigger buy-in, we'll put some structure, we'll make sure the details are there and we'll make players accountable. If they're not, we'll get someone who can be accountable."

Trotz's system will be tested in trying to clean up the Islanders' leaky defensive coverage. New York allowed a league-worst 296 goals last season, more than any team in the last decade.

After rotating between goalies Jaroslav Halak and Thomas Greiss last year, the team will turn to a new starter in Robin Lehner, who inked a one-year deal in free agency. Lehner, 27, posted a 42-61-22 record with a .916 save percentage and a 2.77 GAA over the last three seasons with the Buffalo Sabres.

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