As the shortened NHL 2012-13 season finally begins, check out the latest on Alexander Edler, Daniel Alfredsson, Andrei Markov, James van Riemsdyk, Nikolai Khabibulin, Steve Begin and Mark Scheifele.
VANCOUVER PROVINCE: The Canucks last night re-signed defenseman Alexander Edler to a six-year, $30 million contract extension which begins in 2013-14, worth an average annual cap hit of $5 million. Edler was eligible for UFA status in July.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As one pundit observed when the deal was announced, Edler left money on the table to remain long-term with the Canucks. He undoubtedly would’ve received much more on the open market this summer. It’s a good move by the Canucks but also ties up a considerable chunk of change (nearly $23 million) in their blueline corps beyond this season.
This’ll put more pressure upon Canucks management to shop Roberto Luongo this summer (if he isn’t moved by the April 3 trade deadline), and we can anticipate Keith Ballard ($4.2 million) becoming a compliance buyout candidate in July.
OTTAWA SUN: Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson isn’t ruling out the possibility of returning next season.
SPECTOR’ S NOTE: That’ll depend, of course, on how he plays this season. If he does return, it’ll only be with the Senators.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens oft-injured defenseman Andrei Markov begins this shortened season healthy.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Habs fans will be hoping he remains healthy throughout the season, especially with rising blueline star P.K. Subban still out of the lineup due to contract negotiations.
TORONTO SUN: New Maple Leafs winger James van Riemsdyk claims he’s prepared for the spotlight of the season opener against Montreal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I just hope he’s prepared for the fishbowl existence of a Maple Leaf.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers goalie Nikolai Khabibulin is not yet ready for game action as he continues to rehab a hip flexor injury. The club recently called up Yann Danis to back up starter Devan Dubnyk.
CALGARY SUN: The Flames have signed veteran forward Steve Begin, who began his NHL career with the Flames back in 1997.
WINNIPEG SUN: Mark Scheifele is getting his second chance to crack the Jets roster.