Happy Saturday, folks. There are 54 days until training camps open, and NHL teams are busy getting their rosters in order.
Around the NHL …
The Philadelphia Flyers signed a young power forward who will be an important piece in their rebuild. Florida’s Matthew Tkachuk may be on a new team, but he and Edmonton’s Evander Kane still have bad blood, and the Pittsburgh Penguins and Flyers have a lot in common. (Hint: It has to do with cap space, not on-ice talent.)
Oh, and the Islanders get an “A” for connecting with their season-ticket holders. They purchased $25,000 of Mega Millions tickets and said they will share some of the winnings with their fans if they beat the odds. Hey, good PR can go a long way, right?
Before we get to some of the stories around the NHL, let’s first get into the latest Flyers news: They signed RFA Owen Tippett on Friday, and if he has a breakout season, he will be well worth the two-year contract he received. His annual cap hit is $1.5 million.
Without question, defenseman Ryan Ellis is the key for whether the Philadelphia Flyers will make a lot of improvement this season.
Ellis played just four games last season because of a pelvic injury, and it would be surprising if he is ready for the start of the 2022-23 campaign.
You can argue that Sean Couturier’s return n to form is the key for the offense. The 29-year-old center is coming off back surgery.
But you could also argue that, among young players on the team, no one will be more important than Tippett.
Known as “Tip,” the 23-year-old right winger seems ready for a breakout season more than any of the other young players on the team not named Joel Farabee, who is only 22 but has already established himself as a quality performer in his 170 games.
Tippett has played in 115 NHL games, which is more than Morgan Frost (77), Noah Cates (16), Cam York (33), and Wade Allison (15), players expected to be on the opening-night roster.
Barring an injury, this will be Tippett’s first full NHL season, and considering he scored 25 goals over his last 57 AHL games, he appears on the verge of NHL success.
The 6-foot-2, 207-pound Tippett had a total of 10 goals in a combined 63 NHL games with the Flyers and Florida last season.
A 20-goal season in 2022-23 seems like a doable aspiration.
Philly Hockey Now: The Flyers hope the Tippett signing pays big dividends. Here’s my full explanation — Philly Hockey Now.
Around the NHL and National Hockey Now
Pittsburgh: The Flyers can’t compete with the Penguins on the ice, but they are comparable in one area: the cap. Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher has received lots of criticism from Manayunk to Medford on how he handles the cap, including from this space, but he does have lots of company,. As Dan Kingerski of Pittsburgh Hockey Now points out, the Pens are not in a good cap position. And they are not alone. There are 12 teams over the $82.5 million cap, and 10 more that “can’t afford a free lunch.” (Teams can exceed the cap by 10 percent in the summer.)
And, so, while trade rumors swirl around the NHL, making a deal is not so easy with so many teams in cap hell. Pittsburgh Hockey Now.
Florida: Don’t invite Florida’s Matthew Tkachuk and Edmonton’s Evander Kane to the same barbecue. It will be must-watch TV when their teams meet next season. Sort of like the old days when Dave Schultz and the Philadelphia Flyers met the Boston Bruins and Terry O’Reilly. Sammy Silber of Washington Hockey Now has the story.
Anaheim: Righthanded-shooting John Klingberg, who had 47 points with Dallas last season, signed a one-year contract Friday with Anaheim. The 29-year-old Swede received $7 million. He was the top defenseman on the free-agent market, and it’s a bit surprising he chose the lowly Quack Quacks. (But the Ducks now look better than the Flyers, which is important in the Connor Bedard Sweepstakes.)
Islanders: Say this about the New York Islanders: They are creative. No, not necessarily in the trade market. I’m talking about the public-relations market. They bought 25,000 Mega Million tickets (cost: $50,000) and will happily divide the money if they hit the $1.28 billion jackpot. They would divide winnings with their full season-ticket holders, suite holders, staff, and the Islanders Children’s Foundation. Here’s the fun story on New York Islanders Hockey Now.