The long and winding Boston Bruins road of keeping tabs on New York Islanders center Mat Barzal from afar continues this weekend. That’s because Barzal has signed a three-year extension with the Isles after missing the first few days of camp while the Islanders and his representation hammered out the details on the bridge deal.
The contract is believed to be for $21 million after both sides attempted a long-term deal that simply couldn’t come together given all of the unknowns moving forward for the NHL landscape. It also underscores just how important the creative, dazzling Barzal has become to the Islanders after winning the Calder Trophy in a brilliant rookie season. He’s going to be making a cool $10 million in the last year of the current deal, which is a big, big number.
The #Isles re-signed 23 y/o RFA C Barzal for 3 year $7M Cap Hit. On expiry, will be RFA w/ Arbitration rights, $8.4M Qualifying Offer, & 1 year from UFA Eligibility.
— PuckPedia (@PuckPedia) January 9, 2021
Watching Barzal develop into a star top center for the Islanders while the aging David Krejci enters his final contract year with the Boston Bruins creates quite a dichotomy of what is for the B’s, and what will never be after they passed over him three times in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft. At least the Bruins will have two members of that first round expected to be on their NHL roster with Jake DeBrusk entering his fourth season, and Jakub Zboril finally pushing for a job with the big club after signing a two-year, one-way deal with the B’s in the offseason.
But it still stings B’s fans to watch Barzal continue to be a star on Long Island, just as it’s a gut punch to list off names like Travis Konecny, Kyle Connor, Brock Boeser and Thomas Chabot that could have been Bruins picks as well.
Now on to the puck links:
*Good on Avs power forward Gabriel Landeskog for saying that NHL players shouldn’t be cutting the line for COVID-19 vaccinations as things roll out in the United States. (Colorado Hockey Now)
*David Krejci said that he’s “excited” to play Zdeno Chara eight times this upcoming season and made reference to the 43-year-old’s age as one of the reasons why. Boy, Krejci has some kind of courage. (Boston Hockey Now)
*Corey Crawford officially announces his retirement from the NHL after abruptly exiting training camp with the New Jersey Devils this past week. He’ll always be remembered as the Blackhawks backstop during the dynastic years in Chicago. (NHLPA)
*Helmet ads are helping to save the NHL this season, but what is going to be their saving grade economically moving forward? I, for one, have no issues with the ads on the helmets, or with the divisions being sponsored. If it helps the NHL survive and saves people’s jobs, I’m not sure why anybody should have an issue with it. (The Athletic)
*Apparently Rangers D-man Tony DeAngelo would like some privacy during this very difficult time after he’s shuttered his twitter account.
I asked #NYR for a response to Tony DeAngelo’s announcement of his exit from Twitter and preference for Parler, a platform that was reportedly used to plan Wednesday’s storming of the Capitol:
“Any discussions we have with Tony will be kept private.”
— Mollie Walker (@MollieeWalkerr) January 9, 2021
*Which rivalries are you most excited for this season? For the Bruins, I think the B’s and Rangers could get pretty nasty this year and I am definitely here for it.
Which rivalry are you most excited for this season?
Ft. Blake Bolden (@SportBlake), @JamisonCoyle, Arda Ocal (@Arda), Sarah Nurse (@nursey16), @AnsonCarterLA, @JamieHersch, @AmalieBenjamin, @DavidAmber, Pete Jensen (@NHLJensen) & Natalie Spooner (@natspooner5) #NHLFaceoff pic.twitter.com/mBCiVOWlLQ
— NHL (@NHL) January 9, 2021
*Thanks to legendary zebra Wes McCauley for the new official hand signal from referees for fighting in the NHL. This is great, even if it’s not being used as much these days. (BarDown)
*For something completely different: What a tragic shame, this totally avoidable loss of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who was apparently a hockey guy and a big fan of the New Jersey Devils. (RollCall.com)