Sven Baertschi Opts Out Of NHL Return

Pro Hockey Rumors

Canucks winger Sven Baertschi was expected to be among Vancouver’s list of nine recalls for their upcoming Qualifying Round series against Minnesota but that won’t be the case anymore.  Instead, he has informed the team that he has opted out of returning, reports Rick Dhaliwal of TSN 1040 and The Athletic.

This season was one to forget for the 27-year-old as he spent the majority of the season the minors with AHL Utica.  To his credit, he was quite productive with the Comets, picking up 13 goals and 33 assists in just 43 games but it failed to materialize into much of an NHL opportunity has he had just six games with Vancouver where he had two assists.

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NHL training camp rosters announced for Return to Play teams

Training camps will begin Monday as part of Phase 3 of the NHL Return to Play Plan. Teams will then travel July 26 to one of two hub cities, where they will begin Phase 4, the resumption of play, with the Stanley Cup Qualifiers starting Aug. 1. The 12 Eastern Confernece teams will play in Toronto and the 12 Western Conferene teams will play in Edmonton. Here are the training camp rosters that have been made official by NHL teams.

Training camp rosters are limited to 30 skaters plus an unlimited number of goalies.

Arizona Coyotes

Forwards: Brayden Burke, Michael Chaput, Lawson Crouse, Christian Dvorak, Hudson Fasching, Christian Fischer, Conor Garland, Michael Grabner, Taylor Hall, Barrett Hayton, Vinnie Hinostroza, Clayton Keller, Phil Kessel, Brad Richardson, Nick Schmaltz, Carl Soderberg, Derek Stepan; Defensemen: Kyle Capobianco, Jakob Chychrun, Jason Demers, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Alex Goligoski, Jordan Gross, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Ilya Lyubushkin, Aaron Ness, Jordan Oesterle, Victor Soderstrom; Goalies: Adin Hill, Darcy Kuemper, Ivan Prosvetov, Antti Raanta


Boston Bruins

Calgary Flames

Carolina Hurricanes

Forwards: Sebastian Aho, Ryan Dzingel, Warren Foegele, Morgan Geekie, Steven Lorentz, Jordan Martinook, Max McCormick, Brock McGinn, Martin Necas, Nino Niederreiter, Jordan Staal, Ryan Suzuki, Andrei Svechnikov, Teuvo Teravainen, Vincent Trocheck, Justin Williams; Defensemen: Jake Bean, Joel Edmundson, Haydn Fleury, Jake Gardiner, Dougie Hamilton, Brady Skjei, Jaccob Slavin, Trevor van Riemsdyk, Sami Vatanen; Goalies: Anton Forsberg, Petr Mrazek, Alex Nedeljkovic, James Reimer; Injured: Brett Pesce

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Calgary Flames’ Travis Hamonic first to opt out of NHL restart


Flames defenseman Travis Hamonic became the first NHL player to opt out of this summer's restart.

Calgary GM Brad Treliving announced Hamonic's decision Friday night, just hours after the NHL and NHLPA officially agreed to move forward with a 24-team tournament, scheduled to begin Aug. 1.

"Earlier this evening Travis called me to inform us that he has decided to opt out of the NHL return to play program," Treliving said in a statement.

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NHLPA and NHL Ratify Four-Year CBA Extension and Return to Play Plan

Following a 142-day pause, the National Hockey League will drop the puck with a five-game schedule of Stanley Cup Qualifiers on Saturday, Aug. 1, as the National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA) and NHL ratified a four-year extension to the Collective Bargaining Agreement (through 2025-26) and a Return to Play Plan. The sweeping agreements pave the way for the resumption of the 2019-20 NHL season toward the crowning of a Stanley Cup champion by early October and provide an updated economic framework for the League and its Players, including addressing the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

When competition resumes, the 12 participating Eastern Conference teams will play in Toronto, while the 12 participating Western Conference teams will compete in Edmonton. The Conference Finals and Stanley Cup Final will take place in Edmonton. Each team will be permitted to bring a maximum of 52 individuals into the Secure Zones in the hub cities, including a maximum of 31 players.

In keeping with the League's commitment to the health and safety of all participants, each of the 52 Club personnel will live inside a secure "bubble" – the Phase 4 Secure Zone – and will be tested daily for COVID-19 as well as being administered daily temperature checks and symptom screenings. 

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CBA In The Time Of COVID: New Agreement Gives Players And Owners Stability In A Time Of Chaos

The Hockey News

If there’s one underlying theme to the collective bargaining agreement that will ensure labor peace in the NHL for at least the next six seasons, it’s certainty. And when you’re in the throes of a worldwide pandemic that has thrown almost everything you’ve ever known into disarray, that’s a precious commodity.

There are some aspects of this deal that the owners will not particularly like. And there are a lot more reasons for the players to dislike this agreement even more. But both of them held their noses and approved it because, in reality, they had almost no choice. So the next time you get caught up in putting a pox on both their houses for being greedy, pigheaded and shortsighted, remember today. Because both the owners and the players did an imperfect deal in order to save their league.

But back to the certainty factor. The owners continue to have it when it comes to player costs, now more than ever. The salary cap will remain flat at $81.5 million next season and likely won’t rise much beyond that through the life of this deal.

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NHL hubs: Edmonton, Toronto chosen; Rogers Place to host Stanley Cup Final

Pro Hockey Talk

If the NHL’s Return to Play plan goes off without a hitch, the Stanley Cup will be awarded this fall in Edmonton.

As Edmonton and Toronto will serve as hub cities, only one was going to be selected to host both the conference finals and the Cup Final. Low COVID-19 rates across the province of Alberta was a factor in the decision.

That means for the first time since 1988, the Cup will be handed out on Edmonton ice.

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Henrik Lundqvist is back working out with the Rangers

New York Post

Henrik Lundqvist took the ice for the first time in New York on Wednesday after traveling back from Europe.

The Rangers goaltender posted a photo to Instagram of himself in net during the team’s Phase 2 voluntary small-group workouts, writing, “Feels good to be back on the ice at the training center again.”

“A lot of unknown right now but hockey is fun, I know that!” he added.

Lundqvist, 38, had been waiting to be cleared to participate in Phase 2 after arriving from Europe last week, along with a handful of other European players who spent the coronavirus pandemic quarantine overseas. 

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Good, bad, and neutral: Breaking down Devils hiring Lindy Ruff as head coach

Pro Hockey Talk

The wayward New Jersey Devils took major steps to chart a clearer course on Thursday — for better or worse. Tom Fitzgerald saw the “interim” tag lifted, making Fitzgerald their established GM. In tandem with that decision, the Devils hired veteran bench boss Lindy Ruff as their head coach.

Ultimately, we only know so much about Fitzgerald’s vision. He’s certainly put in his reps, especially as an assistant GM (first with the Penguins starting in 2009, then the Devils in 2015). Beyond that, we can only speculate regarding how Fitzgerald wants to rebuild New Jersey. Aside from what we can occasionally parse through buzzwordy quotes.

But is Lindy Ruff really the best fit for Devils head coach? Considering Ruff’s decades of experience at head coach and assistant coach levels, we have a lot of evidence to sort through.

Let’s tackle the Ruff – Devils fit question by looking at it three ways: the good (experience), the bad (recent results), and the neutral (some underlying stats and arguments).

The Good: If nothing else, the Devils gain experience with Lindy Ruff as head coach

Ruff served as an NHL head coach for 19 seasons, with his 1,493 games coached ranking seventh all-time. Ruff’s 736 wins place him sixth in league history, which will be a sexier talking point than a middling .561 career points percentage.

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New CBA Eliminates Free Agent Interview Period

Pro Hockey Rumors

Over the past several days, news has been trickling out about some of the new elements of the CBA.  TSN’s Frank Seravalli was the first to report (Twitter link) that there is a big change coming to free agency as the interview period has been removed.  Now, teams won’t legally be permitted to talk to players until the opening of free agency.  While that had previously been speculated to be November 1st, that’s now projected to be October 9th as per the tentative critical dates calendar.  Having said that, that seems likely to be pushed back a little bit as some of the other target dates in there (such as camps opening July 10th) have already been delayed slightly; camps won’t open now until the 13th.

This will once again fundamentally shift the free agent landscape.  The interview window was put in during the last CBA to give teams a chance to speak to players in advance to gauge their interest in joining their franchise. 

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COVID-19 Outbreak In Edmonton Hospital Doesn’t Alter NHL Plans

Pro Hockey Rumors

All services have been closed to the public at Edmonton’s Misericordia Hospital after a COVID-19 outbreak left 20 patients and 15 staff members infected, per Nicole Bergot of the Edmonton Journal. Edmonton, of course, is prepared to be one of the NHL’s hub cities as play resumes on August 1.

The NHL and NHLPA have seemingly put together an amazing week of work to find common ground in the hopes of returning to play – and as of right now, this outbreak doesn’t change the NHL’s plans, per Jason Kay of the Hockey News. These playoffs – should they happen – will be unlike anything the NHL has orchestrated in recent years.

To briefly recap: the 5 through 12 seeds in each conference are preparing for head-to-head five-game series on neutral ice that will determine the final four playoff competitors in each conference. Though the stakes are as high or maybe higher than a traditional NHL playoff series, the scope and logistics are much different.

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