This is Michael Russo's 18th year covering the National Hockey League. He's covered the Minnesota Wild for the Star Tribune since 2005 following 10 years of covering the Florida Panthers for the Sun-Sentinel. Michael uses “Russo’s Rants” to feed a wide-ranging hockey-centric discussion with readers, and can be heard weekly on KFAN (100.3 FM) radio and seen weekly on Fox Sports North.
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The Wild has re-signed its first restricted free agent. It is defenseman Marco Scandella, who got a two-year deal worth $2.05 million ($1.025 cap hit, 900K salary in 2013-14, $1.15 million in 2014-15).
Scandella requires waivers next year, so he's got the inside track to making next year's squad after spending most of this past season in the minors.
The Wild currently has about $6.6 million worth of salary-cap space for next season if one assumes Charlie Coyle and Jason Zucker make the team. Remember, this doesn't include securing a No. 1 goalie (re-signing Niklas Backstrom or another, or making a trade) or No. 2 center (re-signing Matt Cullen or maybe turning the job over to Coyle, who has played center much of his life).
Scandella averaged 18:01 in five playoff games against Chicago and scored his first career playoff goal. The 2010 second-round pick has played 89 NHL games.
The other key restricted free agents from last year's NHL lineup are Cal Clutterbuck, Jared Spurgeon and Justin Falk. Restricted free agents must be tendered qualifying offers in order to retain their rights. If not, they can become unrestricted free agents July 5.
The other potential restricted free agents if qualified are Tyler Cuma, Justin Fontaine, Carson McMillan, Steve Kampfer, Kyle Medvec and Joel Broda.
2012-2013 James Norris Memorial Trophy Voting
1. P.K. Subban, MTL 1266 (66-56-35-12-3)
2. Ryan Suter, MIN 1230 (65-54-34-8-8)
3. Kris Letang, PIT 914 (31-37-42-39-18)
4. Francois Beauchemin, ANA 290
5. Zdeno Chara, BOS 289 (10-9-16-8-22)
6. Duncan Keith, CHI 281 (1-8-16-36-27)
7. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, PHX 79
8. Shea Weber, NSH 49 (0-1-4-5-7)
9. Drew Doughty, L.A. 43 (0-1-2-7-5)
10. Niklas Kronwall, DET 33 (0-2-1-3-5)
11. Dion Phaneuf, TOR 28 (0-1-1-4-4)
12. Keith Yandle, PHX 27 (0-0-0-6-9)
13. Andrei Markov, MTL 23 (1-0-1-1-5)
14. Alex Pietrangelo, STL 23 (0-2-0-2-3)
15. Dustin Byfuglien, WPG 13 (0-0-1-2-2)
16. Dan Hamhuis, VAN 9 (0-0-1-1-1)
17. Mike Green, WSH 6 (0-0-0-1-3)
18. Erik Karlsson, OTT 5 (0-0-1-0-0)
Brooks Orpik, PIT 5 (0-0-1-0-0)
20. Kimmo Timonen, PHI 5 (0-0-0-1-2)
21. Dennis Seidenberg, BOS 4 (0-0-0-1-1)
22. Dan Girardi, NYR 2 (0-0-0-0-2)
23. Paul Martin, PIT 1 (0-0-0-0-1)
Sheldon Souray, ANA 1 (0-0-0-0-1)
Lubomir Visnovsky, NYI 1 (0-0-0-0-1)
2012-2013 Calder Memorial Trophy Voting
1. Jonathan Huberdeau, FLA 1141
2. Brendan Gallagher, MTL 1048
3. Brandon Saad, CHI 730
4. Jonas Brodin, MIN 621
5. Nail Yakupov, EDM 521
6. Cory Conacher, OTT 232 (4-6-16-15-25)
7. Justin Schultz, EDM 115 (2-2-7-9-19)
8. Jake Muzzin, L.A. 88 (0-2-8-6-16)
9. Alex Galchenyuk, MTL 69 (0-4-4-5-6)
10. Brenden Dillon, DAL 22 (0-1-1-2-4)
11. Dougie Hamilton, BOS 20 (0-1-2-0-3)
12. Vladimir Tarasenko, STL 12
13. Robin Lehner, OTT 8 (0-0-1-1-0)
14. Jacob Markstrom, FLA 7 (0-0-1-0-2)
15. Jakob Silfverberg, OTT 6 (0-0-1-0-1)
Patrick Wiercioch, OTT 6 (0-0-1-0-1)
17. Jake Allen, STL 2 (0-0-0-0-2)
Charlie Coyle, MIN 2 (0-0-0-0-2)
19. Matt Irwin, S.J. 1 (0-0-0-0-1)
Alex Killorn, T.B. 1 (0-0-0-0-1)
Drew Shore, FLA 1 (0-0-0-0-1)
With the NHL Awards show in Las Vegas a casualty of the lockout, the NHL will begin to reveal NHL Awards today at 4 p.m. CT. The show will air on NHL Network and NHL.com.
Today, the NHL will announce the winners of the Masterton, Selke, Jack Adams, Lady Byng and King Clancy trophies and the Mark Messier NHL Leadership, NHL Foundation Player and General Manager of the Year awards.
Saturday at 6 p.m. CT on NBC Sports Network, the Hart, Calder, Norris and Vezina trophies will be presented.
Josh Harding is a finalist for the Masterton and undoubtedly the frontrunner to win it. It'll be announced roughly at 4:45 p.m. If he wins, he'll actually be available to us from Target Field, where he has tickets to tonight's Twins-Tigers game.
The Masterton Trophy goes to a player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication. It is named for former North Stars player Bill Masterton, who died in 1968 after being injured during a game.
Ryan Suter is a finalist for the Norris, although it has been reported that PK Subban has won the award.
Here is the original story I wrote when Josh Harding revealed he had multiple sclerosis last November.
Here is the supplementary blog I wrote that same day.
Here is the Ryan Suter Norris finalist story.
For a look at the finalists for each award, here is Dan Rosen's story from NHL.com.
In addition, while NHL player participation in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi isn't official yet (it's close), Sweden has released its Olympic camp roster. The camp will be Aug. 12-14 in Stockholm and Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin is one of 13 blue-liners to be invited.
Others likely to be invited for their respective countries include Zach Parise and Ryan Suter (United States) and Mikko Koivu and perhaps Mikael Granlund (Finland).
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