The reason behind the Flames shipping Daymond Langkow to Phoenix…Eric Staal comments on the Hurricanes off-season changes….Tomas Vokoun explains why he accepted less money to join the Capitals…Nicklas Lidstrom on the changes to the Red Wings roster…The Devils could retire Scott Niedermayer’s number.
CALGARY SUN: Eric Francis reports the Flames shipped center Daymond Langkow to the Phoenix Coyotes for winger Lee Stempniak yesterday was done not just to free up cap space ($2.6 million in space) while adding a younger player, but also because of their depth at center.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: They’ll have Olli Jokinen, Brendan Morrison, Matt Stajan, and David Moss, plus as Francis points out, it appears they’ll get young Michael Backlund a chance on the first line while Morrison recovers from knee surgery. Granted, they haven’t addressed the need for a quality first line center for Jarome Iginla’s line, but they do have more depth on their other lines, making the move of Langkow “a no-brainer”.
RALEIGH NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes captain Eric Staal returned to the ice yesterday, and commented on his team’s off-season moves, including the additions of Tomas Kaberle (“a great presence on the blueline”), Anthony Stewart, Alexei Ponikarovsky (“has had a lot of good seasons under his belt…”), Tim Brent (“had a good strong season with the Leafs as a fourth line center…”) and Brian Boucher (“a quality goaltender and quality guy”). Staal also commented on the departure via free agency of friend and former linemate Erik Cole, saying “that’s the way this business works” while saying he was excited for Cole.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes had no trouble scoring last season, but struggled defensively. It’ll be interesting to see how their off-season changes affects their performance this season, especially Staal’s.
WASHINGTON POST: Lindsay Applebaum reports goaltender Tomas Vokoun said he accepted less money this summer to sign with the Capitals as a UFA because he wanted to enjoy hockey and play with great players.
“It’s been really tough for me. I lost four years. I’ve been sitting every summer here in South Florida, which I love, in the afternoons swimming in the pool, and by 7:30 at night I put on the TV and watch playoff hockey every single year. If you care and love playing hockey, it’s not an easy thing to do.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: He’ll get his wish with the Capitals this season, where it’s expected he’ll be their starting goaltender. The last time Vokoun played in the post-season was 2006-07 with the Nashville Predators.
DETROIT NEWS: Gregg Krupa reports Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom said this season could feel a bit like a transition year for his club, given that Brian Rafalski, Chris Osgood, and Kris Draper are no longer on the team. He doesn’t expect a decline in the team’s overall play.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If there’s one thing the Wings do well, it’s their seamless roster transitions. While Lidstrom is getting older and no longer logs as many minutes as he once did, he’ll still be a valuable part of the Wings lineup this season.
NORTHJERSEY.COM: Tom Gulitti reports there are indications the New Jersey Devils could retire the number (27) of former Devils defenseman Scott Niedermayer on December 16.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As they should, since Niedermayer was a key part of the Devils three Cup championships.