NHL News: Quinn Hughes named Canucks captain, Mike Babcock drama, and more

Today’s NHL News discusses two teams announcing new captains, Tomas Tatar signing with Colorado, and Nick Holden retiring. 

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

Tomas Tatar signs a one-year pact with the Colorado Avalanche

On Tuesday, the Colorado Avalanche signed one of the final high-profile free agents available, Tomas Tatar. As a seven-time 20-goal scorer who recently hit the mark (again) last season with the New Jersey Devils, he remained unsigned just days before training camp. 

Ultimately, the Avalanche will be his fourth NHL team after stints with the Detroit Red Wings, Vegas Golden Knights, Montreal Canadiens, and Devils. Thus far, the 12-year veteran has 455 points in 783 games and should complement Colorado’s offense, which Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen lead. 

Torey Krug injuries himself training and will miss the Blues’ camp

The St. Louis Blues announced that defenseman Torey Krug injured his right foot while training in preparation for the upcoming season and will miss most of their preseason action. Although the injury doesn’t appear serious, the veteran defender will seek an evaluation on Oct. 1 and a decision about his future will be determined then. 

After playing the first nine years of his career with the Boston Bruins, losing to the Blues in the 2019 Stanley Cup Final, Krug is about to start his fourth season in the Midwest. Statistically, he’s tallied 107 points in 178 games while skating with St. Louis, bringing his career totals to 444 points in 701 games.

Quinn Hughes was named captain of the Vancouver Canucks

nhl north division
Feb 13, 2021; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes (43) scores against Calgary Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom (25) as Calgary defenseman Connor Mackey (3) looks on in the second period at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

The Vancouver Canucks announced a new captain on Tuesday, promoting 23-year-old Quinn Hughes to the position. Surprisingly, the team, led by Swedish-born executives Patrik Allvin and Henrik and Daniel Sedin, opted not to offer the role to pending unrestricted free agent Elias Pettersson. 

Considering that the offense runs through Pettersson, this move may indicate that the former Calder Trophy winner may leave town after the season. Despite Hughes’s success in five seasons, including 76 points last year, this move will stir up rumors regarding Pettersson and his future in Western Canada. 

Winnipeg Jets promote Adam Lowry to team captain

Since relocating from Atlanta in 2011, the Winnipeg Jets have had only two captains, Andrew Ladd and Blake Wheeler. Ultimately, the team decided to move on from Wheeler, buying out the final year of his contract and opening up a vacancy in the captaincy. 

On Tuesday, the team promoted nine-year veteran Adam Lowry to the role. Since coming to the Jets as a third-round pick (67th overall) in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, he’s played in 621 games and collected 204 points. As one of the longest-tenured players in the room, giving the role to someone with a few seasons left on his current contract made sense. 

Nick Holden retires and assumes a player development role with the Golden Knights.

The NHL Alumni group keeps growing, with Nick Holden announcing his retirement after 12 seasons in the league. As an undrafted defenseman, he joined the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2010-11 and played 654 games with six teams. 

Although he had longer stints with other clubs, Holden signed with the Golden Knights in July 2018, skating three seasons with the club. Upon retirement, he’ll rejoin the club in the player development program, working with defensemen.  

Drama for Mike Babcock in Columbus

On the Spittin’ Chicklets podcast, Paul Bissonnette announced that newly hired head coach Mike Babcock had been inappropriate with his players during preseason meetings. According to several sources, Bissonnette claims that Babcock was making players go through the photos on their phones in front of him. 

The situation quickly grew like wildfire, forcing team captain Boone Jenner to release a joint statement with Babcock about how the situation got blown out of proportion. Although Babcock has a storied past of shady behind-the-scenes incidents, his new players are publicly standing by their coach and refuting these ridiculous claims. 

“While meeting with Babs he asked me about my family and where I’m from, my upcoming wedding and hockey-related stuff. He then asked if I had pictures of my family and I was happy to share some with him. He showed me pictures of his family,” captain Boone Jenner said. “I thought it was a great first meeting and good way for us to start to build a relationship. To have this blown out of proportion is truly disappointing.”

However, the situation caught the eye of the league, who took the allegations seriously and launched an investigation. Late yesterday, Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly stated the following:

“What was being reported by Paul Bissonnette — or at least his characterizations of what transpired — isn’t consistent with what the players are reporting to the Players’ Association, including that none of them felt that the interactions were at all inappropriate or improper.”

Bissonnette continues to stand by his claims even after the news broke and most of what he said was refuted.