The Nashville Predators have signed head coach Peter Laviolette to a two-year contract extension, the team announced Saturday. Laviolette was signed as the head coach ahead of the 2014-15 season, and this extension will keep him under contract through the 2019-20 season.
— Nashville Preds PR (@PredsPR) October 1, 2016
Laviolette has been the coach of the Predators for the last two seasons and has coached the team to an 88-52-24 regular season record in that time. In both of his seasons at the helm in Nashville, the team has qualified for the playoffs. In the previous two seasons before Laviolette was hired, the team failed to qualify for the playoffs, finishing in 13th place in the conference in 2012-13 and 10th place in 2013-14.
Despite losing in the second round of the playoffs last year to the eventual Western Conference champion San Jose Sharks, Laviolette was able to lead the Predators to arguably the franchise’s most successful playoff run in franchise history. With a winning pedigree under his belt — having won the Stanley Cup with Carolina in 2006 and qualifying for the Stanley Cup finals with the Philadelphia Flyers in 2010 — Laviolette will look to bring the Predators even closer to their ultimate goal this season.
Dallas Stars Plan to Play Jamie Benn in Two Preseason Games
The Dallas Stars announced very encouraging news for their fans in reference to Jamie Benn. The 26-year-old underwent surgery to repair a core muscle earlier in the offseason in July, and the expected recovery time was six weeks. Lindy Ruff recently told Mark Stepneski of the Stars’ official website that the plan was to play Benn in two of the team’s three remaining preseason contests.
Ruff said the plan on Jamie Benn is to get him in two of the last three preseason games.
— Mark Stepneski (@StarsInsideEdge) October 1, 2016
The last three preseason games that the Stars will have will come on Oct. 4 against the Florida Panthers, Oct. 5 against the Colorado Avalanche, and Oct. 7 in Los Angeles against the Kings. The team had previously projected Benn to return ahead of the regular season, so it seems as though he’s right on schedule for that initial timetable. Benn scored career-highs in both goals — 41 — and points — 89 — last season, and likely intends on building upon that success this year.
Benn has been one of the league’s best forwards over the last few seasons, recording 110 goals and 225 points in his last 245 games. What’s also notable, is the fact that Benn has been so durable throughout his career, missing only one game over the last three seasons. His impressive point totals over that time have earned him some accolades as well, as he was the 2014-15 Art Ross trophy winner in 2014-15 and a Hart Trophy finalist last year.
In addition to winning some hardware, Benn also signed a large contract this offseason that will kick in as of the 2017-18 season.
Las Vegas Hires Bob Lowes From Senators
The new NHL expansion franchise in Las Vegas has made quite a stir this offseason, both through internal hiring and through fear of the expansion draft itself. Most recently, the Vegas franchise hired Bob Lowes to be their assistant director of player personnel.
— theScore NHL (@theScoreNHL) October 1, 2016
Lowes previously served as the chief amateur scout for the Ottawa Senators over the last two seasons and was a member of the team’s scouting department since 2006. Some notable Senators’ draft picks during Lowes tenure with the team include Erik Karlsson, Mark Stone, Curtis Lazar, and Logan Brown, among others.
Lowes already had some connections with the Vegas franchise as he had previously coached from the Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL from 1992-2001. While working with the Wheat Kings, Lowes met team owner Kelly McCrimmon, the recently-named assistant general manager of the Las Vegas team.
With a keen eye towards the future, Las Vegas has made some crafty moves to acquire well-respected, and intelligent hockey minds to help build this new franchise through the upcoming expansion draft ahead of the 2017-18 NHL season. Lowes is one of many to be employed by Las Vegas this offseason as the team prepares for its big moment following the conclusion of the 2016-17 season.
Odds and Ends
– Some new players were placed on waivers today for the purpose of being sent down to the minors today. This is par for the course at this time in the offseason as teams are working towards finalizing their rosters for the regular season.
– Top-ranked NHL Draft prospect Nolan Patrick has been named the captain of the Brandon Wheat Kings.