NHL News: Dubas as Pens GM, Ellis’ career-ending injury, Söderberg retires

Today’s NHL news follows up on the latest regarding Kyle Dubas, Isac Lunderström, Carl Söderberg, Sean Couturier, Cam Atkinson, Ryan Ellis, and many unsigned restricted free agents. 

Whether you are into the latest trade buzz, signing news, and more, stick with The Daily Goal Horn.

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Kyle Dubas assumes double duty as Penguins’ president and general manager

Considering Kyle Dubas just came from one of hockey’s most demanding markets, Toronto, he’s no stranger to seeing his name in the headlines. On Thursday, the Pittsburgh Penguins ownership group announced that instead of finding a new general manager, they opted to hand the job responsibilities to Dubas, recently hired as the president of hockey operations. 

Ultimately, the team needed a new general manager after firing Ron Hextall after they missed the playoffs for the first time in 16 seasons. However, unlike his previous job in Toronto, where he served under president Brendan Shanahan, Dubas will have complete control of decisions regarding what happens in Pittsburgh. 

Interestingly, Dubas becomes the latest executive to hold down two positions as president and general manager, joining Chris Drury (New York Rangers), Don Waddell (Carolina Hurricanes), and Lou Lamoriello (New York Islanders), all rivals in the Metropolitan Division. 

Anaheim Ducks will be without Isac Lunderström for six months

On Thursday, the Anaheim Ducks posted on social media that Isac Lunderström, 23, injured his Achilles, requiring surgery, which means he’ll miss at least six months. As a former first-round draft pick (23rd overall) in 2018, he’s skated in 212 games over five seasons with the Ducks, finally having a breakout year (29 points) in 2021-22.

Unfortunately, it appears the Swedish forward will miss significant time and won’t rejoin the team until 2024 at the earliest. Upon return, he’ll have just a few months left on his current deal, which expires next summer when he becomes a restricted free agent.  

Philadelphia Flyers injury updates

ryan ellis injury
Oct 15, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Flyers left wing Joel Farabee (86) celebrates his goal with defenseman Ryan Ellis (94) and left wing Scott Laughton (21) against the Vancouver Canucks at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

According to the president of hockey operations, Keith Jones, the Philadelphia Flyers expect Sean Couturier and Cam Atkinson to attend training camp after both players missed time due to significant injuries. Interestingly, both skaters required back surgeries, with Couturier last dressing in Oct. 2022 and Atkinson in Dec. 2022. 

Both players are on long-term injured reserve (LTIR), saving the Flyers $13.625 million towards the cap. However, the accountants must find ways to balance the books since the team only has a projected $2.967 million of cap space available. 

Unfortunately, the team will soon save $6.25 million when they place Ryan Ellis on LTIR with a torn psoas muscle in his back. Ultimately, due to the injury’s significance, his professional hockey career is over. After 566 games with the Nashville Predators and Flyers, Ellis recorded 275 points with 76 goals and 199 assists. 

Carl Söderberg retires from the NHL after nine seasons

On Thursday afternoon, former NHL player Carl Söderberg announced his retirement after playing nine seasons with the Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche, Arizona Coyotes, and Chicago Blackhawks. Furthermore, the veteran of 597 games departs with 297 points thanks to 110 goals and 187 points. 

Although Söderberg hasn’t played in the NHL since 2021, he’s been skating in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) with the Malmö Redhawks. After serving as their captain in 2021-22, he didn’t have a leadership role with the club last year and hasn’t commented on whether’s he returning for the upcoming 2023-24 season. 

Big-name restricted free agents are still looking for new contracts

According to CapFriendly.com, there are still 14 elite restricted free agents still waiting for deals, including former first-overall pick Alexis Lafrenière (New York Rangers), Trevor Zegras (Anaheim), and Evan Bouchard (Edmonton Oilers). Even though each case is unique, some of these players currently without deals this late in the offseason is amazing. 

Considering these skaters are at the end of their entry-level contracts, the team and the player may be weighing out the situation, thinking of long-term deals (Zegras) or bridge deals (Lafrenière). Either way, the arbitration period has passed, and none of these players had hearings, so the process is playing out in the offices and broad rooms of each team’s respective facilities. 

Ultimately, these talented players don’t have deals at this point of the summer means teams are still finding ways to stay under the cap while paying their young players. As the weeks become days heading into training camp, look for almost all of these names to be off the board and in gear for September workouts.