Marian Hossa was married in Slovakia on Saturday. Story and pics here. (thanks to reader Dave for link)
— While the Blackhawks have made no official announcement yet, Adam Jahns of the Sun-Times reported Thursday that Jack Skille has agreed to a one-year contract that will pay him $600,000. This is roughly a 29% pay decrease from his entry-level contract. We talked about this on Thursday’s TTMI~Radio.
Skille received a qualifying offer (standard 1-year offer at 110% rate of prior year’s salary) in late June but chose to negotiate down to give himself a more cap-friendly contract. Because of it, Skille is now an odds-on favorite to make the NHL club. His speed and shooting ability still make the 23 year old an enticing prospect, but he’s never shown an ability to apply those tools in the NHL, the way he has in the minors. Before Viktor Stalberg‘s arrival, Skille was the natural replacement for Versteeg. Skille can throw his weight around, but its not his strength and he’s been overwhelmed going that route when with the Hawks. He figures in as a third-line guy, which means he has to score. Trouble is, as a shooter, he’s predictable and one-dimensional. To be successful, he must go into the danger areas and score dirty goals. He did a better job of that last year than ever before, when he was mostly a perimeter player. Depending on how close Stan Bowman cuts his roster under the cap, training camp may still wind down to a battle between Kyle Beach and Skille for that third-line spot. Skille isn’t a fourth line player and Beach will start in Rockford if he cant win a spot with the top three lines.
— According to published reports, and also still unannounced, Russian winger Igor Makarov, 22, signed a two-year, two-way contract with the Hawks last week. His cap hit (unconfirmed) is said to be $552,000. Makarov needs a little work and will start in the AHL with Rockford. He was an exciting prospect, but his progression has been stunted in limited playing time in the KHL the past two seasons. Makarov will turn 23 in September. In the times I’ve seen him, he’s shown to have a great shot and reasonably quick release. There are a lot of politics involved in who does and who doesn’t get ice time in Russia, but you’d think if Makarov’s talents were at the level of an NHL-er or at least a top prospect, he’d have been given much more playing time.