Greg Wyshynski

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Greg Wyshynski is the editor of Puck Daddy. A former managing sports editor for The Connection Newspapers, he's written for Deadspin, AOL Sports and is the author of "Glow Pucks & 10-Cent Beer: The 101 Worst Ideas in Sports History." Born and bred in New Jersey, living in Northern Virginia. Did we mention he likes booze?

  • Who will be Las Vegas NHL team’s first general manager?

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    Las Vegas owner and president Bill Foley has his brain-trust assembled in Montana this week to figure out the next steps for the NHL expansion team. That includes its continuing work on a name, logo and colors with the League – although we doubt “Neon Knights” will get much traction.

    That also includes finding the team’s first general manager, as Foley told the Las Vegas Review Journal that they want a short list of three to five candidates set and start scheduling interviews.

    From Steve Carp:

    “We talked to the NHL last week, and we were explained how the protocol works when it comes to contacting other teams,” Foley said. “We want to play by the rules and not make any mistakes. The NHL told us what we have to do, and we’re good with that.”

    Foley is overseeing the search. Former NHL player Murray Craven, Foley’s adviser on hockey matters since he began his quest to acquire a franchise 2½ years ago, will have input. But Foley will make the final call.

    “My hope is we’ll have our general

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  • NHL Free Agent Frenzy: Puck Daddy’s Winners and Losers of Day 1

    TAMPA, FL - May 20: Steven Stamkos #91and Victor Hedman #77 of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrate the win against the New York Rangers after the overtime period in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Final during the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Amalie Arena on May 20, 2015 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)
    TAMPA, FL – May 20: Steven Stamkos #91and Victor Hedman #77 of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrate the win against the New York Rangers after the overtime period in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Final during the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Amalie Arena on May 20, 2015 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

    The NHL saw 119 players signed for $630 million on July 1, which is a lot of dough even if it doesn’t compare with the NBA, whose free agent totals rivaled the gross domestic product of Belize.

    There were winners in the NHL. There were losers, at least at first glance, in the NHL. And here they are:

    WINNER: Steve Yzerman and Jeff Vinik

    Let’s begin with the obvious: The Tampa Bay Lightning are blessed by playing in a state with a favorable tax rate, so that Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman can sign cap-friendly contracts and make oodles of cash. And in the case of Stamkos, Yzerman lucked out that his heart was still with the Lightning and

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  • Alex Radulov swears he’s a changed man for Montreal Canadiens

    (Photo by Artyom Geodakyan\TASS via Getty Images)
    (Photo by Artyom Geodakyan\TASS via Getty Images)

    Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin hasn’t exactly earned the benefit of the doubt from his fan base this week, what with the controversial P.K. Subban trade and the heavy flirtation with franchise nemesis Milan Lucic as a free agent.

    Then it was announced on Friday that the Canadiens had signed Alex Radulov, former member of the Nashville Predators and CSKA of the KHL, to a 1-year deal worth $5.75 million.

    And eyes rolled.

    Radulov has a reputation. It’s not a good one. There was the time he broke his contract with the Predators to leave for the KHL. There was the time he hit a coach with a hockey stick. There was the time he came back to the NHL in a cameo appearance with the Predators in 2012, and then infamously broke curfew in the playoffs.

    But Bergevin claimed that he did due diligence on Radulov, not only in a face-to-face meeting but in a conversation with Radulov’s former teammate and new Canadiens defenseman Shea

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  • David Backes with emotional, frustrating farewell to St. Louis Blues

     


    Once in a while, you see a free agent leave a team and realize that the player and the team have become synonymous.

    Such is the case with David Backes and the St. Louis Blues.

    Backes was a career player for the Blues, through 727 games and 49 more in the postseason. But as his contract expired after last season, so did his time in St. Louis. Backes signed with the Boston Bruins for five years and $30 million on Friday.

    It was an emotional goodbye.

    But couldn’t the sides come together? The Blues are taking one more run at it with coach Ken Hitchcock and most of the same cast that made the Western Conference Final last season.

    Why not bring the captain back?

    (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
    (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

    Because it wasn’t a question of next season, according to GM Doug Armstrong. It was a question of the fourth or fifth

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  • Dan Hamhuis is a genius signing by Dallas Stars

    VANCOUVER, BC - FEBRUARY 18: Dan Hamhuis #2 of the Vancouver Canucks looks on from the bench during their NHL game against the Anaheim Ducks at Rogers Arena February 18, 2016 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)
    (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

    The last time Dan Hamhuis hit free agency, it was a giant mess.

    Please recall how the Philadelphia Flyers acquired his negotiating rights. Then the Pittsburgh Penguins made a trade with the Flyers – which is Haley’s Comet rare – to get those rights after Hamhuis passed on the Flyers. And then he ended up signing a $27-million, six-year contract with the Vancouver Canucks after all of that was done.

    This time, it was a little bit easier: Hamhuis signed a two-year, $7.5-million deal with the Dallas Stars. That’s a $3.75 million cap hit.

    That’s a great, great deal for the Stars.

    Dallas already had a need for more veteran efficiency on the blueline, a need that was only intensified when Alex Goligoski was traded to the Arizona Coyotes. Hamhuis is the goods, and his analytics are strong as well:

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  • Eric Staal says ‘significant minutes’ drew him to Minnesota Wild

     


    Eric Staal did not have a good year.

    The Carolina Hurricanes captain had his lowest points per game average since his rookie year at 0.47, which was a byproduct of his disastrous stint with the New York Rangers in which he had six points in 20 games. He followed that with zero points in five games in the playoffs, skating to a minus-7.

    After the season, Staal faced unrestricted free agency. His primary consideration for the next step of his career: To play a large, important role. Preferably at center, his natural position, where the Rangers didn’t play him.

    “I think I can have a good bunch of years left. I can be effective offensively, more than I have been. I can be better. But I have to stay confident and know that I have the ability to be a difference-maker on an important team, in a larger role,” he said in April.

    He found such a role in Minnesota.

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    Staal agreed to a three-year deal with the Minnesota Wild on Friday, with an annual cap hit of $3.5 million. It’s a far cry from

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  • David Backes signs with Bruins in NHL free-agent surprise

    ST LOUIS, MO - MAY 15: David Backes #42 of the St. Louis Blues (R) celebrates with Jaden Schwartz #17 after scoring a first period goal against Martin Jones #31 of the San Jose Sharks (not pictured) in Game One of the Western Conference Final during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scottrade Center on May 15, 2016 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
    (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

    David Backes has carved out a reputation in the NHL over the last 10 seasons with the St. Louis Blues as a rugged, blue-collar player.

    So naturally, as he leaves the Blues as a free agent, he joins the NHL’s epitome of the blue-collar aesthetic, the Boston Bruins.

    “Just the ideology those players have. They’re all-in. That mentality,” said Backes on TSN on Friday, after signing a five-year, $30-million deal. “It was a fit on all accords.”

    Backes played 79 games with the Blues last season, scoring 21 goals and 24 assists. He had 460 points in 727 games with the Blues, who drafted him No. 62 overall in 2003. Backes has been a Selke Trophy finalist and finished fourth in the voting twice.

    The Bruins were flush with cash heading into the summer. Backes, 32, gives Boston one of the deepest groups at center in the NHL: David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron and Backes. (In the case of the latter two, they have a pair of the best defensive centers in hockey.)

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  • Milan Lucic signs with Oilers; right move for Edmonton?


    The Edmonton Oilers signed Milan Lucic, one of the biggest fish in the free-agency pool in name and bulk, as the NHL frenzy started on July 1.

    And it’s the first palpable example of the Connor McDavid Effect.

    “I think it’s self explanatory. They have a pretty special young player there. That’s what the decision comes down to. Getting a chance to play with one of the best young players that I’ve seen since I’ve come into the NHL,” Lucic said on TSN. “Whether I play with him or not, there’s light at the end of the tunnel with him [on the team].”

    Lucic, 28, spent last season with the Los Angeles Kings, scoring 20 goals and 35 assists in 81 games, with 79 penalty minutes. That was after eight years with the Boston Bruins in which he tallied 342 points in 566 games. Many of those eight years were spent with Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli, with whom Lucic won the Stanley Cup in 2011.

    The contract is seven years at $6 million annually. That’s the cap hit Lucic had on his previous deal, signed

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  • Brian Campbell returning to Blackhawks: Report

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    The Chicago Blackhawks were done after one round last season partially because their defense was exposed.

    Trevor van Riemsdyk, Erik Gustafsson and David Rundblad all weren’t ready for prime time. The loss of Johnny Oduya in the previous offseason – and the team’s inability to replace him with either Trevor Daley or Rob Scuderi, whom they acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins for Daley – left the team’s blue line thin.

    So the Blackhawks have decided to dip into the past for some help: Brian Campbell, who won a Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 2010. According to Pierre LeBrun of TSN, the deal is done for July 1.

    Campbell’s massive 8-year, $57-million contract that he signed with the Blackhaws in 2008 was moved by the team to the Florida Panthers and former GM Dale Tallon in 2011. He’s spent the last five years there, scoring 175 points in 376 games and being a steady hand on the blue line – especially in helping along phenom Aaron Ekblad. Campbell was a plus-31 last season.

    He doesn’t

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  • Darren Helm handed 5-year deal from Red Wings

     

    NHL
    NHL

    Darren Helm is fast. This has been his greatest virtue in his nine NHL seasons with the Detroit Red Wings, and as the Pittsburgh Penguins reminded us in their Stanley Cup run, it’s also a precious commodity in today’s NHL.

    Let’s keep that in mind as the news hits on July 1 that Helm has been re-signed to a five-year extension by the Red Wings. According to Aaron Ward, the deal has an annual average value of $3.85 million.

    Helm played 77 games last season with 13 goals and 13 assists, skating 15:04 for new coach Jeff Blashill. He was one of their top guys as far as ice time on the penalty kill. Helm was also a positive possession player at 52 percent Corsi at 5-on-5, although playing the majority of his minutes with Pavel Datsyuk might be a factor there.

    So the Red Wings sign a role player for five years. One that, perhaps, could be expansion draft bait.

    They now have $14.2 million to sign Danny Dekeyser, Petr Mrazek and a replacement for Pavel Datsyuk that will probably be Frans

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