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The big news is that the schedule for this year’s Prospect Challenge has been announced. The New Jersey Devils will be heading up to the Harborcenter in Buffalo, New York for a series of prospect-specific exhibition games against other teams. This year’s edition will include Buffalo, Boston, Montreal, Ottawa, and Pittsburgh. It will take place right as training camp traditionally begins; the Challenge will run from September 15 to September 19. As it is a series of exhibitions, it is an imbalanced schedule. But the point of it all is for the prospects to get some extra game action ahead of preseason. Tickets will go on sale next month and will be $10 each. The schedule is as follows: [Devils official website]
Thursday, September 15 - Buffalo vs. Montreal, 7 PM ET
Friday, September 16 - Boston vs. Ottawa, 3:30 PM ET; Montreal vs. Devils, 7 PM ET
Saturday, September 17 - Pittsburgh vs. Boston, 3:30 PM ET; Buffalo vs. Devils, 7 PM ET
Sunday, September 18 - Ottawa vs. Montreal, 12 PM ET
Monday, September 19 - Devils vs. Boston, 10 AM ET; Buffalo vs. Ottawa, 1:30 PM ET
Finally, no, there has been no broadcast information announced yet. Past Prospect Challenges were streamed online so we shall see if they do that again.
Zach Aston-Reese was seen skating at the RWJBarnabas Hockey House on Thursday. Aston-Reese is originally from Staten Island and did play youth hockey in New Jersey with the Colonials and Rockets, so he has local ties. Plus, it is not unheard of for players to skate at rinks owned by other teams; Connor McDavid does skate in Toronto. That said, Aston-Reese is an available free agent. It may ultimately be nothing, but we are at the point of the offseason where there are Zach Aston-Reese rumors. [Kevin Weekes]
Amanda Stein wrote up this article about Luke Hughes at the team’s official website. Here is a notable quote from the youngest Hughes brother:
“The path was for me to go two years, make sure my body is ready and my head was ready to play in the NHL,” the told reporters this week at USA Hockey’s World Junior Development Camp. “I’ll be ready. So yeah, I think that was kind of a path, everyone agreed to that journey.”
In other words, start penciling L. Hughes into your 2023-24 Devils rosters. [Amanda Stein at the Devils official website]
It was confirmed yesterday morning from HC Fribourg-Gottéron of the Swiss league that they have signed Janne Kuokkanen. The bought-out winger will look to revitalize his career in Switzerland. Best of luck to him. [HC Fribourg-Gottéron official account on Twitter]
The 2022 World Junior Championships will begin in a few weeks. The Czechs have announced their U-20 roster for the tournament. Devils drafdt pick Petr Hauser made the team! Congratulations to him. [Czech national ice hockey team official Twitter account]
Greg Wyshynski dropped a big uniform bomb on Thursday. Adidas will not renew their uniform and apparel contract with the NHL after the 2023-24 season. Per Wyshynski, Adidas was paying at least $70 million in the seven-year contract. They feel it is not worth continuing. Commence the speculation for a replacement! Nike? CCM? Fanatics? Reebok? [Greg Wyshynski at ESPN]
The San Jose Sharks announced that they will retire Patrick Marleau’s #12 on February 25, 2023. [Sharks official website]
Former Devil Mikhail Maltsev will stay in Colorado for another season. [Colorado Avalanche official account on Twitter]
Ethan Bear re-signed with Carolina on a one-season contract worth $2.2 million. This means he will not have his arbitration hearing, which was scheduled for August 8. [PuckPedia]
Kappo Kakko has been taken to a bridge deal by Our Hated Rivals. Kakko has re-signed a two-season contract worth $4.2 million. [Mollie Walker at the New York Post]
The biggest signing yesterday was made by Ottawa. They have agreed to terms with Mathieu Joseph with a four-season contract extension worth $11.8 million. Joseph was scheduled for arbitration on August 1; this signing means that will not happen. [Senators official website]
By the way, this means the next arbitration hearing date for a RFA yet to be signed is August 2. That’s the date for Nashville forward Yakov Trenin. Jesper Bratt’s hearing date is scheduled for the day after that on August 3. Do not be shocked if something happens with either real soon.
Assistant coach hiring #1: Montreal has hired Stephane Robidas to join Martin St. Louis’ staff. The former defenseman is expected to be in charge of the defense. [Canadiens official website]
Assistant coach hiring #2: San Jose has hired Ryan Warsofsky as an assistant coach for David Quinn’s staff. Per Sheng Peng, Warsofsky is expected to run the defense. [San Jose Hockey Now]
Assistant coach hiring #3: The New York Islanders hired John MacLean to be a part of Lane Lambert’s staff. Buried at the end of the announcement is that Brian Wiseman will not be joining the coaching staff, which was announced back on July 5. Huh. I did not know that could be done. [Islanders official website]
Here’s a hot Pavel Zacha rumor. Apparently, a new multi-season deal is in the cards. If so, it will mean his arbitration hearing on August 11 will not happen. [Dominic Tiano]
Minnesota general manager Bill Guerin had this to say about the status of star forward Kirill Kaprizov, who is still in Russia.
He should be OK and we should be OK. But it’s delicate and I’d rather not comment on it.
For all involved, I hope Guerin is right. [Michael Russo]
If you want to get hyped for 2023 (and beyond) NHL Draft Prospects, then gear up for the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup. It begins on July 31 and ends on August 6. If you have the NHL Network, you can at least watch the United States. [USA Hockey]
Feel free to discuss these and any other hockey-related stories in the comments below.