NHL notes: Canucks place Jacob Markstrom on waivers
Vancouver Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom was placed on waivers Friday. (IAN KUCERAK/QMI Agency)
It seems like every year the Vancouver Canucks are prepared to give away a highly-touted goalie.
This time it’s Jacob Markstrom. The 24-year-old was placed on waivers Friday.
With two NHL-calibre goalies on the roster – Ryan Miller and Eddie Lack – Markstrom was the odd man out despite a one-way contract that pays him $1.4 million this season.
“It’s a tough decision to make,” general manager Jim Benning said. “Lack has been great in pre-season and that played a part in this.”
Markstrom was acquired by Vancouver in the Roberto Luongo trade with the Florida Panthers. Drafted 31st overall in 2008, the Swedish netminder was long considered Florida’s goalie of the future.
If Markstrom clears waivers he’ll likely be assigned to the AHL, but that appears unlikely. Hockey analyst Pierre McGuire reported via TSN at least four teams are interested in his services.
It was a disappointing development for Markstrom, Benning said.
“I spoke with Jacob. He’s disappointed but he understands our decision. He’s worked really hard and will continue to work hard.”
Pittsburgh Penguins forward Beau Bennett had to be helped off the ice after getting injured at practice Friday.
Penguins coach Mike Johnston said the skate of Kasperi Kapanen clipped Bennett on the heel.
“He was in the drill as you saw. Kapanen’s skate clipped him in the heel and he fell awkwardly,” Johnston said. “Early indications seem that it wasn’t as bad as it looked.”
Bennett missed a significant amount of time last season with a wrist injury that required surgery. He had three goals and seven points in 21 regular-season games, and one goal and five points in 12 playoff games.
Meanwhile, forwards Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz will play in their first game this pre-season when the Penguins host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday.
The offensive duo missed time at the beginning of training camp with unspecified injuries, but have been skating for the past several days.
“Yeah, I feel good,” Crosby said. “It will be good to get in a game and get back in there. It’s been awhile.”
The injuries keep piling up for the Philadelphia Flyers.
Sean Couturier (upper body) and goalie Ray Emery (lower body) are both day to day.
Asked if he was concerned about either injury, coach Craig Berube told CSN Philly, “No, I’m not concerned right now. I think we’re OK.”
More serious, however, is the injury sustained by free-agent signee Ryan White, who will miss the next five months with a pectoral tear. The former Montreal Canadiens centre had surgery to correct the problem weeks ago.
White, 26, signed a one-year, $575,000 contract with Philadelphia this offseason. He spent the first five years of his career with Montreal.
The Nashville Predators signed restricted free-agent defenceman Ryan Ellis to a five-year, $12.5 million contract Friday.
Ellis will make $1.5 million in 2014-15, $2 million in 2015-16, $2.5 million in 2016-17, $3 million in 2017-18 and $3.5 million in 2018-19.
Ellis, 23, ranked third among Preds blueliners in points (six goals, 21 assists) during the 2013-14 season.
In 144 career NHL contests since 2011-12, the 5-foot-10, 179-pound native of Freelton, Ont., has recorded 44 points (11 goals, 33 assists).
Ellis was Nashville’s first choice, 11th overall in the 2009 NHL draft.
After Derek Stepan fractured his fibula in practice, teammate Martin St. Louis sent a text message to New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault offering to make the switch to centre, according to the New York Daily News. Vigneault, however, is not ready to make such a drastic change ... Los Angeles Kings forward Kyle Clifford admitted to the L.A. Register he played the majority of the Stanley Cup final with a broken wrist after sustaining the injury in Game 1. “It was fun,” he said, “we won.”