Yesterday, the Lightning officially announced the signing of Gemel Smith.
Sean O’Brien posted a chart that showed Smith was a positive contributor for the Providence Bruins last season.
His per game rate certainly backs up the praise. pic.twitter.com/psR92gkVty— Sean OBrien (@SeanOBrien81) July 8, 2019
You can read more about Smith and where he fits into the depth chart in Syracuse later today when Justin goes in depth on how the Crunch roster looks after all the free agent signings.
Another of the Crunch veterans from last season won’t be returning as Hugo Labrie signed with the Belleville Senators.
The WBS Penguins added a goalie for the upcoming season.
Sharks forward Kevin Labanc signed a strange contract with the Sharks.
Sharks re-sign Kevin Labanc to $1 million, 1-year deal: https://t.co/JQSy1yIXuq— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) July 8, 2019
For a player who scored 56 points last season, a one year, one million dollar deal is well below market value. Evolving Hockey had him projected at three years and over three million dollars per season. Some have suggested this is a “prove it” contract that will allow Labanc to sign a higher dollar extension next season. But with the Sharks needing cap space, this one seems a little fishy. If he signs an extension as soon as he’s eligible on January 1st, we’ll all know what happened here.
The Vegas Golden Knights continue to shop former Lightning prospect Nikita Gusev. While he’s far from a prospect anymore, he should still have plenty of value to NHL teams but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Vegas is reportedly shopping him for a 2nd round pick and a later pick. Gusev reportedly wants a two year four million dollar contract. And so far, seemingly no takers. In a league desperate for affordable talent, that’s a bit of a head scratcher.
And last but not least, let’s check in on who’s getting the most traffic over at Elite Prospects. Probably a recently drafted player or a big free agent signing. Yep, yep, yep, yep, uh...
Most clicked players last week at https://t.co/IH1xm2FwcF— Eliteprospects (@eliteprospects) July 8, 2019
1) Alexander Kerfoot 43,888
2) Sebastian Aho 21,450
3) Artemi Panarin 19,406
4) Nikita Gusev 19,021
5) Keanu Reeves 18,497
6) Tyson Barrie 15,678
7) Patrik Berglund 14,865
8) Calle Rosen 12,738
According to his very real profile from when he played college hockey in the early 80s, Keanu is 6’1” 185 lbs, which puts him right on the cusp of having enough size to be an NHL goalie. At age 54, he’s certainly an overage prospect. But if John Wick wants to play professional hockey, I’m not telling him he can’t. I’d prefer to keep my face unpistol-whipped, thanks.
Highlight of the Night:
It’s not hockey but Vladimir Guerrero Jr. put on a show in the MLB home run derby last night. Even if you don’t like baseball, anyone can appreciate a young superstar mashing balls into a squishy pulp that dissipates into the night sky before it lands.