The Sharks promised a culture change this off-season and they could have a new leadership group in place starting with the 2014-15 season.
"We're going to reestablish the hierarchy and the culture in the organization," coach Todd McLellan said. "If it's real evident that [Joe Thornton] is the guy, he'll be the captain. If there's somebody else that assumes that role and is prepared to take it on and is doing a very good job, then they will be. To say we stripped him, no. We've cleaned the slate, and we're going to go forward." San Jose will enter training camp with no captain or assistants and an open competition will take place. Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture and Marc-Edouard Vlasic are viewed as possible replacements.
Kevin Hayes will earn a base salary of $900,000 if he plays in the NHL during the 2014-15 campaign, according to Capgeek.com.
Hayes' two-year contract has the potential to rise to an annual average value of $3.75 million if his bonuses are met. He'll be given a look at training camp, but if he goes to the minors then he'll make $67,500.
Raffi Torres is projected to miss the first few months of the 2014-15 season after he suffered a setback in his surgically repaired right knee.
He developed an infection after he underwent a cleanup procedure once the Sharks were knocked out of the playoffs. Torres missed most of the previous season while recovering from a torn ACL and it looks like he'll miss most of the coming campaign as well.
Joe Thornton is no longer the captain of the San Jose Sharks, but coach Todd McLellan isn't calling the decision a "stripping."
The Sharks won't have a captain or assistants going into training camp and the players will compete for the leadership roles. McLellan said that Thornton is a candidate just like everyone else. Regardless of their reasoning, this seems like a very odd move.
It's a bit surprising that the Nashville Predators saved money by acquiring James Neal.
Nick Spaling will make $2.2 million next season in Pittsburgh and Patric Hornqvist will earn $4.25 million, while Neal will receive $5 million. The Predators acquired the best player in the deal and they freed up some salary cap space, which looks pretty good on paper. He does lose fantasy value in Nashville, but there's still a chance that he could outscore Hornqvist this season.
Mark Arcobello might end up as a second-line center option for the Oilers this season.
He's expected to compete with Leon Draisaitl and Anton Lander for the spot. Jordan Eberle thinks Arcobello could be a good fit there. "I've played with Arco when he was in the AHL and when he was up here last year," said Eberle. "I think he's showed that he can play here when he was up here. He performed very well. With contract issues and guys stepping in, he kind of got pushed out of the way. Now that there is a spot open, I know for him he’s probably training hard and looking to take over that. It should be interesting." Arcobello got off to a good start last season with 10 assists in his first 10 outings, but he finished the year with 18 points in 41 contests.
Erik Cole is a candidate to play on the second line this season.
That could put him on the same unit as Jason Spezza and Valeri Nichushkin. However, his lack of playing time during the postseason suggests that he could be relegated to a lesser role this year. Cole was also viewed as a potential top-line winger going into 2013-14, but that didn't work out. Brett Ritchie, Colton Sceviour Antoine Roussel, or Ryan Garbutt are possibilities for the second line this coming season as well. It will be an interesting competition to watch at training camp.
Valeri Nichushkin may start the 2014-15 campaign with Jason Spezza.
The Stars were apparently interested in Ales Hemsky before they acquired Spezza for the purpose of playing him with Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn. That combination will probably start training camp together. Nichushkin had some success with Benn and Seguin during his rookie season, but playing with Spezza is a great consolation prize.