Flurry of NHL Signings, Trades and Injury News in July 2011
There has been a recent flurry of action in the NHL as we get within about six weeks of training camps opening up. The big news today was that Tampa Bay has signed their All World center Seven Stamkos to a five-year, $37.5 million dollar contract. This and the re-signing of forward Teddy Purcell for two more years is a big statement by the team that they intend to not just be competitive, but legitimate contenders for at least the next few years. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman knows how to win and clearly he is putting that knowledge to use in Tampa.
In other contender news, Pittsburgh Penguin defenseman Brooks Orpik underwent hernia surgery today. He underwent a similar procedure on his left side last year and showed no ill signs during the season. Dr. Lawrence Biskin performed the surgery and says Orpik will need six to eight weeks to recover. He should be ready to go when the season starts.
Penguin’s forward Evgeni Malkin is way ahead of his rehab schedule for the knee surgery he underwent in February. In a video posted on the Penguin website we can watch Malkin doing strength and conditioning drills as well as some stick handling and agility drills. Penguin coach Dan Bylsma has said that Malkin is “probably ready to go.” He went on to add that Malkin likely could have played back in the spring had the Penguins advanced further into the playoffs.
With Malkin and Crosby looking ready to go and Orpik getting surgery now so that he will be ready when the season starts the Penguins are looking to come out fast and make a statement early.
In case you have been under a rock Penguin rivals the Philadelphia Flyers have signed former Penguin star Jarmir Jagr. Jagr won back-to-back Stanley Cups with the Penguins in 1991 and 1992. He has also played for the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers. The last two seasons he has played in Russia. When his contract with Russian team Avangard Omsk was up he announced that he would like to return to the NHL. The Penguins, Red Wings and Flyers all showed interest and Jagr ended up signing a $3.3 million dollar one-year contract with the Flyers.
The Red Wings not only lost out on Jagr, but long time goaltender Chris Osgood has retired. The Red Wings immediately signed Ty Conklin as the new backup for up and coming starter Jimmy Howard.
Last up, we stay in the East where the New Jersey Devils have announced Peter DeBoer as their new head coach. DeBoer was the head coach of the Florida Panthers for the past three seasons where he compiled a record of 103-107-36, but never led the team to the playoffs. He also served as an assistant coach for Team Canada at the 2010 world Championships. In his defense the Florida Panthers are a mess and recently underwent wholesale management changes so he never had much to work with. He says he wants to commit to a defensive style of play and use their strength and size to play some dump and chase. New Jersey is not a great team right now, but with Brodeur in net they always have a chance to win. His defensive style should help them compete while they restock and rebuild the offensive side of this team.