Senators trade Nikita Zaitsev to Blackhawks: How the deal helps Chicago reach the cap floor – The Athletic
By Mark Lazerus and Ian Mendes
The Senators have traded defenseman Nikita Zaitsev to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for future considerations, Ottawa announced Wednesday. Chicago also receives a second-round 2023 draft pick and a fourth-round 2026 draft pick in the deal. Here’s what you need to know:
- Zaitsev has five assists and zero goals in 28 games this season for the Senators, his fourth with the franchise.
- The 31-year-old has one year remaining on a seven-year, $31.5 million deal he signed in May 2017.
- The Blackhawks now have nine picks in the first two rounds over the next two drafts (four first-round picks and five second-round picks).
The Athletic’s instant analysis:
What they’re saying
“We are getting an NHL caliber defenseman and acquiring very valuable draft capital in this upcoming draft and beyond,” Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson said in a statement. “Nikita gives us added depth on the right side and we anticipate him joining us soon.”
What Zaitsev means for Chicago
The Blackhawks have a bevy of young defensemen knocking on the door of the NHL, and Zaitsev appears to be another veteran body in the way. But with Jake McCabe, Jack Johnson and Connor Murphy all on the trading block, it’s possible a few spots will open up anyway for the likes of Isaak Phillips, Ian Mitchell, Alex Vlasic and 2022 first-rounder Kevin Korchinski.
Davidson’s priority at this point is accumulating as much draft capital as possible as the NHL squad bottoms out. And he hasn’t even moved Patrick Kane, McCabe or Sam Lafferty yet. This also helps the Blackhawks reach the cap floor next season, with Jonathan Toews ($10.5 million), Kane ($10.5 million) and about $3.6 million of Duncan Keith’s recapture penalty coming off the books. — Lazerus
Why did the Senators make this move?
This absolutely feels like a precursor to another trade for Ottawa. By dumping Zaitsev’s contract, the Senators are out from his contract, which carried a $4.5 million cap hit through the end of next season. Ottawa is clearing out cap space, likely with the intention of adding another defenceman at some point before the March 3 deadline.
It would seem strange that general manager Pierre Dorion would suddenly feel the need to send a second- and fourth-round pick to Chicago to take Zaitsev’s contract unless he had something else brewing. We’ll likely be able to analyze this trade from an Ottawa perspective once the other shoe drops. — Mendes
NHL trade grades: Senators dump Nikita Zaitsev on Blackhawks
Why Zaitsev didn’t fit in Ottawa
Over the past couple of seasons, Zaitsev has become a lightning rod for criticism in the Senators’ fan base. His play in the defensive zone was likely not commensurate with his $4.5 million salary and he found himself demoted to the AHL at the end of November. Even though Zaitsev returned to the club in December and played a fairly steady role, it felt like his days were numbered after the demotion.
At this stage of the game, he’s likely a sixth or seventh defenceman on most NHL teams. He doesn’t generate a ton offensively, but he’s able to kill penalties if needed. When he first arrived in Ottawa in 2019-20, Zaitsev was hailed as the long-term fit alongside Thomas Chabot on Ottawa’s top pairing. However, as the years progressed, Zaitsev found himself sliding down the depth chart. — Mendes
What’s next for the Blackhawks?
Weaponizing cap space is important and a key part of Davidson’s grand plan. But the real fireworks should begin any day now, with pretty much the entire roster short of Seth Jones and Philipp Kurashev available to anyone who wants to throw a draft pick Chicago’s way.
Kane is the headliner, of course, but the Blackhawks believe they can leverage a first-round pick for McCabe — easily their best defenseman this season — if they retain half of his $4 million cap hit over the next two seasons. Lafferty, a speedy penalty-killer who has scored 10 goals this season (including four shorthanded), is on the market, too, and the Blackhawks are hoping he’s worth a second-rounder to somebody. — Lazerus
(Photo: Nick Turchiaro / USA Today)
Son of Flyers GM Daniel Brière charged for pushing wheelchair down stairs – CBC Sports
Three misdemeanour charges were filed Monday against the son of Philadelphia Flyers interim general manager Danny Brière after a video posted on social media showed him and another Mercyhurst University athlete pushing an unoccupied wheelchair down a staircase.
Police in Erie, Pennsylvania, filed charges of criminal mischief, criminal conspiracy to commit mischief and disorderly conduct against Carson Brière, who completed his third hockey season at Mercyhurst. Patrick Carrozzi, listed as a senior member of the school’s lacrosse team, faces the same three charges, according to documents filed with District Judge Sue Mack.
The two are scheduled to appear in court on May 22.
The wheelchair’s owner, identified as Sydney Benes, filed a complaint saying the fall down the stairs damaged the left brake handle, broke the right arm rest’s plastic molding, bent a rear handle and caused the wheels to drag when moving forward. Benes said the wheelchair was purchased a year ago, costing $2,000 US.
It’s unclear if Brière or Carrozzi have lawyers who can speak on their behalf.
Brière and two other athletes were placed on interim suspension, while the school investigated the matter.
A message seeking comment left with a Mercyhurst athletic department spokeswoman was not immediately returned.
Last week, the 23-year-old Brière apologized in a statement released through the NHL’s Flyers.
“I am deeply sorry for my behaviour on Saturday,” he said. “There is no excuse for my actions, and I will do whatever I can to make up for this serious lack of judgment.”
Danny Brière, who was promoted to run the Flyers after Chuck Fletcher was fired two weeks ago, said he was shocked to see his son’s actions and called them “inexcusable,” while saying his son “accepts full responsibility for his behaviour.”
Mercyhurst previously released a statement saying the actions displayed in the video fall short of the school’s “belief in the inherent dignity of each person,” adding the school’s “tradition also reminds us that students and all people who make poor choices deserve opportunities to learn, change behaviours and atone for harmful actions.”
Carson Brière previously was dismissed from Arizona State’s hockey club in 2019 for what the school called a violation of team rules.
Player grades: With blood in the water, Edmonton Oilers finally cage Sharks in overtime – Edmonton Journal
For much of Monday night’s chaotic affair at Rogers Place, it appeared the Edmonton Oilers were destined to lose their third home game of the season to a bottom-three club. But when the dust settled on a wild game that featured 4 goals overturned by video review (3 against the SJS, 1 against EDM), several goal posts, some inexplicable missed calls and a number of circus saves by San Jose’s James Reimer, the Oilers emerged with a 5-4 win in overtime.
Unlikely scoring heroes emerged for the Oilers in the persons of Mattias Ekholm who scored a pair of game-tying goals and Darnell Nurse, who untied it in the dying seconds of the fourth frame. They along with 2-goal man Erik Karlsson of San Jose scored the game’s final 5 goals. Hard to imagine 3 defenders chosen as the game stars in a 9-goal, 83-shot game, but such was the unpredictable nature of this wild affair.
Edmonton dominated the flow of play, with shot attempts of 84-45, shots 51-32, high danger chances of 27-15 and expected goals of 5.7 to 2.7. The tilt of the ice was reflected in our own counts of Grade A shots (31-14 Edmonton) and the subset of 5-alarm chances (17-8). Fair to conclude that the better team won, even as it took 64 minutes and 45 seconds to prove it.
Far too much happening far too fast in this game for precision coverage (which can also be said about the Oilers defence). Grade comments will focus on our tally of contributions to Grade A Shots (GAS), which for the uninitiated usually show best on wingers — who have the most offensive opportunity with the least defensive responsibility — and worst of defencemen, with centres somewhere in the middle. Here is our running count from this game.
No grade but a special shout out to Oilers video coach Jeremy Coupal, who went 3-for-3 on challenging apparent Sharks goals that were ultimately overturned by razor thin technicalities.
#2 Evan Bouchard, 7. Led Oilers’ d-men with 26:01 in ice time and showed well, even as he had a couple of wobbly moments which Ekholm cleaned up. Earned an assist on the 3-3 goal. Rang the post late in OT and then was robbed by Reimer on the rebound. GAS: +5/-0, outstanding for a d-man.
#5 Cody Ceci, 5. Made a bad mistake on San Jose’s third goal when he drifted to the left boards to help Nurse, allowing the eventual goal scorer (Karlsson) to race up the middle of the ice unmolested. Made a goal-saving play in the crease to hold the deficit to 4-3 in the third, raising his grade by a full point. GAS: +1/-3.
#10 Derek Ryan, 4. Played just 9:17 and had little impact on the game. Positive stats of 1 shot, 1 hit, 1 takeaway, and 2/3=67% on the dot. GAS: +0/-1.
#14 Mattias Ekholm, 8. Scored a pair of massive goals that each tied the score, 3-3 midway in the second, then 4-4 late in the third. Both times unexpectedly busted into the slot, delivering a precision backhand under Reimer’s glove in the first instance, then an absolute rocket of a slapshot to the top corner in the second. Also positively involved in the sequence leading to Yamamoto’s goal. Played 22:28 including a team-high 2:07 on the (perfec) penalty kill. 5 shots, 2 hits, 2 giveaways, 2 blocks. GAS: +4/-4, which factored in on 3 GF, 1 GA. Through 10 games in Edmonton, Ekholm has posted outstanding boxcars of 3-6-9, +15 (!) with the Oilers winning 8 of those games.
#18 Zach Hyman, 5. His usual solid grinding in the trenches, leading to some good chances but no goals. Appeared to score on a fortuitous deflection off his body inside the blue paint, but it was overturned for goaltender interference by Hyman himself. Docked 1 grade for a weak backcheck on the third Sharks goal. GAS: +4/-1.
#19 Devin Shore, 4. Played a game-low 5:59 with little to show for it. A couple of iffy decisions. GAS: +1/-0.
#21 Klim Kostin, 4. He too played little, just 7:57. 3 hits but 2 giveaways. GAS: +1/-0.
#25 Darnell Nurse, 7. Some chaos on his watch, but plenty of good moments as well, most notably the game-winning goal scored on a breakaway with just 15 seconds remaining in OT. Nice sprint from a big defenceman with 29 shifts and nearly 25 minutes on his game log. GAS: +5/-4.
#26 Mattias Janmark, 5. Earned an assist on Bjugstad’s 1-1 goal, but among those burned on San Jose’s fourth. Played just 8:47, though his 1:28 on the PK led all forwards. GAS: +3/-1.
#27 Brett Kulak, 4. Played in an all-lefty D pair with Broberg and had some chaotic moments behind the blueline, notably on the 2-2 when he stepped up to try to do his young partner’s’s job only to leave his own area uncovered. Bam! Breakaway. Goal. GAS: +0/-2.
#29 Leon Draisaitl, 8. All over the ice, with the Oilers dominating possession (shot attempts 28-9 at 5v5). Set up both of Ekholm’s goals. Did everything but score himself, firing 7 shots on goal and an eighth that rang iron. Was twice robbed by Reimer on a late powerplay, firing a pair of one-timers from his favourite spot that were foiled by a flailing glove save that just deflected the puck over the crossbar, and then seconds later by a diving stop by Reimer that defied belief. Great stretch pass to send McDavid in alone. Dominated the faceoff dot with 20/29=69%. GAS: +14/-1, and no, that is not a typo.
#36 Jack Campbell, 4. Allowed 4+ goals for his sixth straight start, but unlike the others, managed to pull out the win. It would have been 7 goals but he was saved thrice by video review. All 3 were ugly goals — down too early on a shot over his shoulder, a going-wide shot that bounced off the inside of his blocker arm and into the net, and an ineffectual dive on a 2-on-1 where the shot slid under him and into the middle of the net. At least 1 iffy goal that did count, a fat rebound punted into the slot for the 1-0. His defence was little help on the 2 breakaways, but Campbell thwarted neither. Finally settled down late in the game and contributed some nice stops, including a dandy off Tomas Hertl in OT. 32 shots, 28 saves, .875 save percentage.
#37 Warren Foegele, 6. A mostly solid game, highlighted by a great pass to Bjugstad for the 1-1. Played 13:27, the most on the bottom 6, including over a minute on each special team. GAS: +4/-1.
#56 Kailer Yamamoto, 8. His best game in quite some time, he was buzzing around all night. Scored the 2-1 by converting a chance from the slot, seconds after creating the chaos with a dangerous tip on net. Set up the game winner with a heads-up stretch pass to Nurse in OT. Respectively his 10th goal and 10th assist of the season, in the process becoming the 10th Oilers forward with double-digit goals. Played 20:05, with 3 shots, 2 hits, and boxcars of 1-1-2, +3. GAS: +9/-0.
#72 Nick Bjugstad, 6. Another effective game at 3C, playing 12:34 in all situations including a shift in overtime. Scored the 1-1 by going to the net and converting Foegele’s sharp pass. Unable to cut out a key pass on the 4-3. Led the Oilers with 4 hits. GAS: +4/-1.
#86 Philip Broberg, 5. Back in the line-up for a second straight game, on a 6-man D crew this game. Played 13:27, delivering a relatively conservative game, even as he was involved in a goal each way. Made a strong play in the neutral zone and an effective ring-around pass to Janmark to kick-start the 1-1. But he (and Kulak, Kane and Hyman) got beaten for a breakaway on the 2-2. The only Oiler to not generate a shot, nor even an attempt for that matter. GAS: +1/-2.
#91 Evander Kane, 2. Surely his poorest game as an Oiler. Kane was a day late and a dollar short all night. Directly involved in 3 Sharks goal with poor coverage or none at all in the case of a particularly lame backcheck on the first Karlsson goal. Led the squad with 3 giveaways. Took the only 2 Oilers penalties of the game and got away with a third. He did draw a penalty and produce a dangerous thrust on net in the third, barely enough to avoid the dreaded “1” grade. Natural Stat Trick had him on the ice for 2 scoring chances for, 11 against, this on a night the Oilers went 48-18 in that count with Kane on the bench. Our own counts are similarly damning — GAS: +1/-6, especially poor for a winger.
#93 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, 8. Outstanding all-around game, firing 7 shots on net, passing effectively, and working his tail off. Both of his assists came from won battles, the first on the edge of the San Jose crease, the second deep in the defensive zone late in overtime. Was one of several Oilers to ding the iron. Was also tackled by Reimer, a “good penalty” to save a goal had the refs even realized it was a penalty at all. 2 takeaways and a solid 6/9=67% on the dot. GAS: +9/-1.
#97 Connor McDavid, 8. His magic hands deserted him from time to time, but he nonetheless created scoring opportunities all night long. Couldn’t score himself, but earned primary assists on Yamamoto’s goal and Ekholm’s second. 11 shot attempts off his own stick, 6 on net and another on a third period breakaway that found the post. 9/13=69% on the dot. Played a monstrous 28:06 and was still flying at the end of it. GAS: +13/-1, and that’s not a typo either.
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Follow me on Twitter @BruceMcCurdy
Fanatics to become NHL official on-ice uniform outfitter in 2024-25 – NHL.com
Fanatics will become the NHL’s official on-ice uniform outfitter in 2024-25, taking the next step as a performance brand and longtime NHL partner in a 10-year agreement announced Tuesday.
This will be the first time the Fanatics logo will appear on game uniforms in professional sports. But the company has made Major League Baseball game uniforms with the Nike logo since 2017, and it has made the NHL Authentic Pro line of official performance and training apparel and headwear worn by players, coaches and staff since 2018.
Fanatics’ partnership with the NHL has evolved over the past two decades to include NHL e-commerce and retail operations, fan apparel and headwear, replica jerseys, licensed memorabilia, performance and training products, on-ice Stanley Cup champions apparel and headwear, and now official on-ice uniforms for players and authentic jerseys for fans.
“This expansion of our partnership with Fanatics is a reflection of our shared commitment to innovation, performance and serving our players and fans,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. “… Our players and fans should look forward to what Fanatics will bring to the best uniforms in all of sports.”
Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin called this a “seminal moment” in the company’s history and “a testament to the hands-on, collaborative relationship” it has built with the NHL over the years.
“I can’t wait to see our brand on official on-ice uniforms for the first time,” Rubin said.
Adidas has been the NHL’s official on-ice uniform outfitter since 2017-18 and will finish strong next season, said Brian Jennings, NHL senior executive vice president of marketing and chief branding officer.
Jennings has seen the jerseys for the 2023 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic between the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton on Oct. 29 and the 2024 Discover NHL Winter Classic between the Vegas Golden Knights and Seattle Kraken at T-Mobile Park in Seattle on Jan. 1. He has been involved in the development of the jerseys for the 2024 Honda NHL All-Star Game at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on Feb. 3.
“We’re going to be doing some incredible stuff next year to delight and excite our fans,” Jennings said. “What we anticipate is a professional and seamless transition. We’ll have a pivot point and move on over to Fanatics for the ’24-25 season with that same thrust for our event designs and team designs being at the forefront.”
When Fanatics takes over, the company won’t make radical changes, said Doug Mack, CEO of Fanatics Commerce, the merchandise division. It will have a multiyear plan to make gradual, data-driven changes over time, the way it has with products in the past.
“We look for evolution, not revolution,” said Mack said. “We’re not going to change it up just to change it up.”
Feedback from fans has helped guide the design process of replica NHL jerseys, leading to innovations like a more tailored female jersey and foldable crests for easier storage. Mack said replica jerseys have received a 4.5-star rating on a 5-star scale, on par with authentic products.
Feedback from players and equipment managers has contributed to the design process of the NHL Authentic Pro line and the on-ice Stanley Cup champions apparel.
“They understand the nuances and the importance of servicing, listening and having a feedback loop from the players and staff, which is really critical and will continue to be ongoing in this relationship,” Jennings said.
Each NHL game jersey today is made in a factory in Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec, near Montreal. Fanatics will continue to use the same factory, the same specs for players and even some of the same fabrics, at least at first. The company has assembled a team of people with decades of experience working on NHL on-ice and performance products.
“We’re going to inject them into the equation so that we can bring Fanatics innovation with also the best of what’s been done in the past, and that’s why I think fans should be excited,” Mack said. “There’s a lot to like about what’s been done historically, but each time we’ve done something new with the NHL, we’ve actually taken that and taken it to the next level.”
What might the next level look like for official on-ice uniforms?
“I believe what you’ll see over time is an evolution in the chassis of the jersey, an evolution in design elements, and that’s going to be player-driven,” Mack said. “As you see the exciting stars of the game, we’re going to want to know what they feel will help them feel great about their performance. We’ll translate that into the product, and then the fan will be getting something that’s really player — and equipment manager — informed.”
Jennings said Fanatics will keep the NHL on the cutting edge.
“The vision projecting out two or three years is to really start to look at what innovations we can make in the uniform business,” Jennings said. “One of the things that we talk a lot about is making sure nobody leapfrogs us as far as having our sweater and our uniform being at the forefront of any of the leagues as far as world-class design and performance for the athlete.
“And then ultimately for a fan who wants an authentic jersey, they can get that, and Fanatics already makes a replica jersey that is certainly very fan friendly.”
Fanatics will apply the innovative vertical commerce model it uses for other products to the authentic NHL jerseys, allowing fans to purchase them in real time when, for example, a team acquires a player.
“We think we’ll be uniquely positioned to capitalize and grow the business,” Jennings said.
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