- Jan 2:
- Chambers: Great call by Joe Sakic to let Mikko Rantanen play in World Junior Championship
- Dec 26:
- Chambers: World Junior Championship
- should be must-see TV
- Nov 21:
- Chambers: "Swift Current" is must-see film
- Nov 14:
- Chambers: Patrick Roy respectfully declines comment in wake of Paris
- Nov 7:
- Chambers: Nikita Zadorov-Ryan O'Reilly trade will take years to evaluate
- Oct 31:
- Chambers: Matt Duchene needs to shake it off for Avalanche
- Jun 14:
- Chambers: Fab four may yield Avalanche's top pick
- Jun 6:
- Chambers: Nobody is feeling sorry for Chicago's Coach Quenneville now
- May 30:
- Chambers: George Gwozdecky, Tampa Bay four wins from Stanley Cup
- May 10:
- Chambers: Auston Matthews' destination may be Denver hockey
- May 3:
- Chambers: Nathan MacKinnon on ice for team Canada
- Apr 26:
- Chambers: Avs fans must be patient if No. 10 pick is defenseman
- Apr 19:
- Chambers: Jarome Iginla an asset for Colorado Avalanche, not an issue
The five-year contract extension for Dallas Stars general manager Jim Nill highlighted an extremely newsy NHL week that included a blockbuster, straight-up trade between Columbus and Nashville and a former Halifix Moosehead requesting a trade at age 20.
Besides Nill deserving his new five-year deal — he has turned the Stars into the Western Conference's best team — the drama was heavy. To wit:
• Former Portland Winterhawks Ryan Johansen and Seth Jones were traded for each other Wednesday — center Johansen going to the Predators and defenseman Jones to the Blue Jackets — and they ran into each other at Port Columbus International Airport and talked about Johansen living at Jones' apartment in Nashville. Johansen couldn't return the favor because he had a roommate in Columbus. Johansen, 23, and Jones, 21, were No. 4 selections in the 2010 and 2013 drafts, respectively, and are considered franchise players at their positions.
My take: The Avalanche traded Ryan O'Reilly too soon. Unhappy here but still under contract this season, O'Reilly would have been an excellent trade partner with Nashville, given that the Preds would only accept a first-line franchise center for the Front Range-groomed Jones, a generational-type D-man.
• Jonathan Drouin, the No. 3 pick in the 2013 draft behind the Avalanche's Nathan MacKinnon and Florida's Aleksander Barkov, isn't happy with Tampa Bay or being reassigned to the minors and is requesting a trade, his agent said. In Colorado, local fans would love to see Drouin, 20, reunited with former Halifax linemate MacKinnon, who is intrigued by the thought.
My take: Forget about it. The Lightning is in a position of power, Drouin will cost too much and Colorado must focus on rebuilding its blue line and not ever losing out again on a guy like Jones.
• Another former first overall pick, Vincent Lecavalier (1998), has found new life in Los Angeles, which traded a prospect and a draft pick to Philadelphia for Lecavalier, 35, and 26-year-old defenseman Luke Schenn. This was a purge for the Flyers, who regularly scratched Lecavalier and didn't want to re-sign Schenn, the No. 5 pick in 2008 by Toronto, and agreed to pay 50 percent of the players' current salaries. The deal got fishy when Lacavalier's agent said the former Tampa Bay superstar and 2004 Stanley Cup winner would retire at the end of the season, eliminating the final two years of his $4.5 million annual cap hit but introducing complicated recapture penalties.
My take: It appears Lecavalier was jailed in Philly and sold his future NHL earnings to live his "Baywatch" dream and hope to party with the Stanley Cup on the beach for a second time.
• Tuesday, a day before Columbus added Jones to its blue line, the Avs picked up journeyman defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk, 27, on waivers from Columbus — perhaps because it was expecting the addition of Jones. And in Denver on Wednesday, Bodnarchuk was Francois Beauchemin's partner on Colorado's first pairing. Granted, Beauchemin's regular partner, Erik Johnson, is out with a minor knee injury.
My take: In addition to losing out on possibly adding Jones, the player they considered drafting No. 1 overall in 2013, the Avs added a defenseman the Blue Jackets couldn't use.
Mike Chambers: mchambers @denverpost.com or @mikechambers
Spotlight on ...
Steven Stamkos, F, Tampa Bay Lightning
When: Captain Stamkos and the Lightning visit the Avalanche on Tuesday in a nationally televised game at the Pepsi Center.
What's up: Stamkos is a scoring machine and a pending unrestricted free agent who probably will become the NHL's highest-paid player by July 2, a day after free agency begins. He has been unable to agree on a contract extension with the cap-strapped Lightning and is rumored to have a desire to return to his native Ontario and sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Background: Stamkos was the No. 1 pick in the 2008 draft after scoring 58 goals in 61 games for major junior's Sarnia Sting in the 2007-08 season. In five full NHL seasons he has scored 40 goals three times and had 29 in the 48-game, lockout-shortened season of 2012-13. When he suffered a broken leg in the 2013-14 season, he had 25 goals in just 37 games.
Chambers' take: Stamkos, 25, has a $5.5 million salary this season with a $7.5 million cap hit, which is the annual average of his five-year, $37.5 million contract. He is the NHL's lowest-paid mega-star but soon will join Chicago Blackhawks stars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane in the league's $10 million cap-hit club.