Examining the changes to NHL nets, the KHL’s “threat” to the NHL, remembering the victims of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl plane crash, plus updates on Hal Gill, Ryan Whitney, Torey Krug, Mattias Ohlund and more.
COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The NHL hopes small but significant changes to their nets will increase scoring.
SI.COM: The KHL may be expanding and getting more lucrative advertising, but they remain far from a serious threat to the NHL’s dominance.
TORONTO SUN: Former NHL star turned player agent Igor Larionov senses NHL GMs are cooling toward Russian players. Still, Larionov continues to push his clients toward the NHL, where they would face better competition.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The KHL continues to suffer growing pains, but it has survived longer than its critics expected. While the KHL had difficulty attracting top NHL talent in their playing prime, they could pose a threat to poach prospects by offering more than they can receive on NHL entry-level deals. It’s already become a headache for one NHL club (Washington Capitals, who continue to wait for Evgeny Kuznetsov), and could affect other clubs over the course of this NHL CBA.
NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: Several NHL stars remember former teammates who were the victims of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl air crash. Former Edmonton Oilers defenseman Ryan Whitney will attend St. Louis Blues training camp on a tryout basis. Phoenix Coyotes GM Don Maloney expects prospect blueliner (and PEI native) Brandon Gormley will be playing for the Coyotes at some point this summer.
COURIER-POST ONLINE: The Philadelphia Flyers have invited UFA blueliner Hal Gill to training camp on a tryout basis.
CSNNE.COM: Boston Bruins young defenseman Torey Krug isn’t taking anything for granted as he prepares for his first full NHL season.
MIAMI HERALD: Florida Panthers promising center Nick Bjugstad is hoping to earn a full-time roster spot after playing 11 games with the club late last season.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: How the front-loaded contract of injured blueliner Mattias Ohlund weighs on the Lightning’s payroll.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Under normal circumstances, Ohlund’s knee injuries would force his retirement. However, because his contract is heavily front-loaded, the Lightning would be tagged under the new salary cap recapture rule. If he retires now, the penalty is a cap hit of over $1.357 million per season. If he’s bought out next summer, they would face a cap hit of over $2.1 million for 2014-15, over $3.1 million in ’15-’16, and falling to $500K per season over the final two years. Thus, the Bolts are likely to keep him on long-term injury reserve.