In today’s News & Notes, Roberto Luongo has officially retired from the NHL, Brian Elliott has signed a contract extension with the Philadelphia Flyers, the Montreal Canadiens have re-signed Mike Reilly to a new contract, Nikita Sherbak, the Canadiens’ first-round pick from 2014 has signed in the KHL and some quick hits around the NHL.
Luongo Announces Retirement
The Luongo era in the NHL is officially complete.
The 40-year-old announced his retirement from the NHL on Wednesday after playing in 1,044 games across 19 seasons. Originally the fourth overall pick in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft, Luongo would play in just 24 games with the New York Islanders in 1999-00 before really kick-starting his career in Florida.
He’d spend perhaps the most notable year of his career in Vancouver with the Canucks before eventually rejoining the Panthers via trade during the 2013-14 season.
In a very lengthy letter to the fans, Luongo would express his love for the game, his teammates, coaches, fans and everybody in between.
I love the game so much, but the commitment I required to prepare, to keep my body ready, has become overwhelming. Since I had my hip surgery a couple of years ago, I’ve been showing up two hours before every practice and three hours before every game to work out my hip.
Even at night, whether it was the night before a game or even a night off, there I was rolling out, doing strengthening exercises. My entire life revolved around recovery, strengthening and making sure I was ready to go the next day.
Luongo would finish his career with a record of 489-392-124 to go along with his 2.52 goals-against average and .919 save percentage.
While the Canucks were eventually able to trade Luongo all those years ago after his contract looked immovable, they’ll still be on the hook for $3.033 million for each of the next three seasons due to recapture penalties. The Panthers will also have to pay Luongo $1.094 million over that same time frame.
Prior to this announcement, Luongo was set to count for $4.533 million against the Panthers salary cap and $800,000 in retained salary against the Canucks salary cap.
Flyers Re-Sign Elliott
The Flyers and Elliott agreed to terms on a one-year contract extension worth $2 million. This is a good deal for the Flyers who get to keep Elliott, a player with significant starting experience in the NHL, as a backup and mentor for Carter Hart for the 2019-20 season.
“Brian has played well for us the last two seasons,” said general manager Chuck Fletcher. “He is a proven, quality goaltender who competes and battles hard every time he has the net. We are excited to have him rejoin our team.”
While Hart is expected to be the starter in Philadelphia, Elliott is a good insurance policy in the event that the young netminder should struggle at some point during the season.
The 34-year-old Elliott went 11-11-1 last season with a 2.96 goals-against average and .907 save percentage. His season was hampered with injuries that limited him to just 23 stars in 26 games, but his peripherals were certainly more indicative of him being a backup netminder than a starting goalie at this point in his career.
Canadiens Re-Sign Reilly, Scherbak to KHL
The Canadiens and Reilly agreed to terms on a two-year contract worth $3 million on Wednesday. The deal will carry a $1.5 million cap hit per season and was well deserved after what the 25-year-old proved he could do with the Canadiens following his trade from the Minnesota Wild.
While Reilly hasn’t blown anybody away with his point production, scoring just three goals and 11 points in 57 games last season and seven goals and 37 points in 160 total NHL games, he’s proven to be a capable puck-moving defender who can play with accountability in his own zone.
On top of Reilly signing his extension with the Canadiens, the team’s first-round draft pick from 2014 has officially taken his talents to the KHL.
The 23-year-old Scherbak would spend the first few seasons of his career in the Canadiens’ organization, spending time in Montreal as well as in the AHL with the St. John’s IceCaps and Laval Rocket. He’d eventually be claimed off of waivers by the Los Angeles Kings and ultimately sent to the AHL during the 2018-19 season.
He’ll get a chance to turn his career around with Avangard Omsk on a three-year deal.
NHL Quick Hits
Onto some quick hits from around the NHL:
- The Pittsburgh Penguins have re-signed Zach Trotman and Kevin Czuczman to two-year, two-way contracts worth $700,000 at the NHL level.
- The Arizona Coyotes have hired Phil Housley to a multi-year contract to serve under Rick Rocchet
- The Carolina Hurricanes have partnered with the Greenville Swamp Rabbits of the ECHL on a one-year deal.