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Duffer’s Dabbles: Arrival Of NHL Rookie Camps Means Hockey Season Isn’t Far Off



Hockey is back, people.

Some NHL rookie camps have already opened, others are just around the corner. The Detroit Red Wings will hit the ice for their NHL rookie tournament for the first time on Thursday. Main training camp will open on September 23. Both are again being held this season in Traverse City, Mich.

On the where will they be playing this season from, center Tyler Bozak has opted to stay with the St. Louis Blues, signing a one-year deal with the team where he won the Stanley Cup in 2018-19 for the NHL minimum of $750,000.

The New Jersey Devils signed three journeyman NHLers to PTOs – forwards Jimmy Vesey, Mark Jankowski and Tyler Wotherspoon. Remember when Vesey was the most-pursued college free agent in hockey?

Here’s a look at 10 current NHL UFAs who could find themselves settling for PTOs to get into an NHL training camp.

Wild, Kaprizov Still Far Apart

In Minnesota, Bill Guerin, GM of the Wild, insists the team has made what he describes as “a pretty good offer” to Calder Trophy winner Kirill Kaprizov. So far, though, Kaprizov isn’t biting.

Montreal Canadiens forward Tyler Toffoli was reacting to the Jesperi Kotkaniemi offer-sheet fiasco. While describing the entire episode as “bizarre,” Toffoli also viewed things from his former teammate’s perspective. “You’re not going to turn down $6 million.”

Evidently, $8 million is an entirely different matter. There are reports that’s what the Ottawa Senators are offering RFA forward Brady Tkachuk – eight years at $64 million.

Wondering when the Edmonton Oilers will take advantage of having the best player in the NHL in their lineup and actually make a playoff run? So is he. Oilers captain and reigning Hart and Art Ross Trophy winner Connor McDavid says is high time the Oilers step up and become Stanley Cup contenders.

The Great One is on board and the rest of the cast isn’t bad, either. Former NHL stars Rick Tocchet, Ed Olczyk and Anson Carter will be joining Wayne Gretzky on NHL broadcasts for TNT this season.

Former Boston Bruins center Fred Stanfield died at the age of 77. A couple of facts about Stanfield. Former Bruins GM Milt Schmidt once told me that Stanfield was the guy Boston was really after in the Phil Esposito trade with Chicago. Esposito was added in later as the deal expanded. Don’t think those old guys could shoot the puck? In the 1970 Stanley Cup final, Stanfield’s slapshot shattered the mask of St. Louis Blues goalie Jacques Plante.

One of our favorite comics also died. In tribute, we close with Norm MacDonald talking hockey.