This week, I focus on a few major moves down in Raleigh, as well as the 2019 NHL All-Star Game in San Jose.
1. Teuvo Teravainen Gets PaidFor those of you who read BT consistently know that I am interested in the business side of hockey just as I am with what happens on the ice. The biggest news on the business side of hockey this week was Hurricanes’ winger, Teuvo Teravainen, was the recipient of a five year, $27 million extension. At first, I didn’t like the deal at all. After thinking about it for a few days, I’ve decided it’s a great deal for everyone.
It’s an amazing deal for Carolina because they have locked up one of their better young players for a great price. Teravainen has consistently improved each year of his career and it looks like he is cementing himself as a top-line forward in the NHL. He scored a career-high 64 points last year and is on pace to surpass that total this season. If Teravainen can match this level of play over the course of his five-year contract, he will be well worth the $5.4 million cap hit.
Not to mention, the Hurricanes have shown flashes this year of being able to compete soon and are now in the perfect spot to accelerate their rebuild. They don’t have too much money tied into their forward unit, only Jordan Staal, Nino Niederreiter, and now Teravainen, are signed past 2020. So, they will have a ton of cap space to sign a big free agent and re-sign forward Sebastien Aho. It helps that one of their future stars, Andrei Svechnikov, is in the first year of his rookie contract.
Factor in that the Canes’ top five defensemen are all under contract for at least another year. If they can sign or develop a great goaltender soon, they will significantly increase their chances of hoisting the Stanley Cup.
For Teravainen, the contract is great for two reasons. The first is if he doesn’t play well, he is going to make $27 million regardless, so he has some security. The second is if he exceeds expectations, he will reach free agency at the ripe age of 30-years-old, so he can cash in on another nice contract then.
Overall, I’m a big fan of this deal for both sides and that doesn’t happen very often in the NHL.
2. Nino Niederreiter is Tearing it UpLast week, I wrote about how I thought the Wild were not so smart for basically giving away Nino Niederreiter in the middle of a playoff chase. It’s never a good idea to declare that a team has won a trade after one week. As of right now, the Hurricanes have won this trade. Niederreiter has already scored four goals in as many games with Carolina. To put it in perspective, he had only scored nine goals so far this season in Minnesota. Could it just have been one hot week? It could be. This scoring outburst shows Niederreiter clearly fits in well with the Hurricanes and if he continues to play well their future as a franchise will continue trending up.
As for Rask and Minnesota, he has only mustered one assist in three games. Again, it’s only been three games but Niederreiter has clearly benefited from the trade and Rask has not.
3. Coyne Schofield & Co. at the Skills CompetitionsArguably the biggest news of the weekend was the presence of members of the US and Canada’s Women’s National Teams. Kendall Coyne Schofield of the US stole the show in the fastest skater competition as she recorded a blazing fast time of 14.376. That was faster than Arizona’s Clayton Keller. Coyne Schofield was not the only women to take part in the festivities. Briana Decker and Renata Fast of the USWNT and Rebecca Johnston of Canada’s WNT were also invited to participate.
I think it’s awesome that the NHL invited these talented women to take part in All-Star weekend. They should take it a step further and let them suit up with the NHL’s best to play in the All-Star Game. It would be a great way for these women to show everyone how good they really are and how they compare to NHL players. Letting these talented woman play alongside NHL stars would send a great message to young, female hockey players and reinforce the league’s message that hockey really is for everyone.
4. The All-Star Game is Dying
I’m a big fan of All-Star games. It’s a great opportunity for fans to see each superstar from around the league and it provides a break in the season where the game of hockey can be celebrated. I think the inclusion of the players from the US and Canada’s Women’s National Teams was an awesome component of this year’s All-Star Weekend. The All-Star game is still in need of a major face lift. The league is trying so hard to find a formula that works that will inject some life into the game, and they haven’t had too much luck. The game itself just isn’t that interesting because it’s not competitive. It’s almost impossible to see any sort of competitiveness in an All-Star Game because the players won’t hit and won’t play at 100%. And they shouldn’t.
My idea would be to host the World Cup of Hockey each year during the All-Star Break. We have seen that the one non-NHL competition that really gets fans, and players excited, is the Olympics. Everyone loves international hockey and it is for sure more compelling than any All-Star Game. Obviously, the league doesn’t love the idea of pausing the NHL season for three weeks and letting their brightest superstars risk injury for free. I think a mini WCH could be a potential solution as a stop-gap while the league figures out what they will do with the Olympics and a way to upgrade the traditional All-Star Weekend.
5. Sidney Crosby’s Trophy CaseIf this All-Star Game was notable for any reason, it was because of the inclusion of the players from the US and Canada’s Women’s National Teams. When you look back on this All-Star Game in the record books, you will see that it was the year Sidney Crosby won the game’s MVP award. Crosby has now won almost every trophy you can win in the NHL. I could list each award Crosby has won, though it would be easier to list the trophies he hasn’t. The Selke trophy is now the only award that Crosby has had the opportunity to win and has not yet won. Sure, the All-Star Game MVP award doesn’t mean much, but it’s an addition to his trophy case nonetheless. And to everyone who thinks I hate Crosby and the Penguins for no reason, here I am praising him. ■
Blake Isaacs is a die-hard Red Wings fan that doesn’t go to as many games as he should. He is also a big fan of 7-Eleven Slurpeees, Chipotle, and all things Michigan State. Follow him on Twitter @bisaacs1995.