NHL Quick Shifts is a daily series where we gather up the latest NHL news and links from the FanSided NHL blogosphere, as well as other NHL / hockey blogs. So with that, here is today’s edition of Quick Shifts!
- NHL regular season schedule: It’s time for a change – The NHL regular season schedule always has teams taking the ice in October. The problem is that once the NHL gets going, they are contending with the MLB playoffs and the NFL is in full swing with its season. If the NHL wants to improve its ratings, a change in the schedule is needed. Simply moving the Regular Season opener to the beginning of September could make a big difference and allow the NHL to put more space between games. [TMMOTS]
- Brandon Sutter: Strengthening the Penguins bottom six – This was a strange offseason for the Pittsburgh Penguins. The franchise is usually one of the more stable teams going into the offseason, but this season saw the overhaul of the front office, as well as the coaching positions. Considering the Penguins were also tight on cap space, general manager Jim Rutherford was limited as to what he could do to improve a team that vastly underperformed in the 2014 post season. Smaller additions like Brandon Sutter are the type of moves that will improve the Penguins lineup and build their depth. Crosby and Malkin are still the core of the team, but if the Penguins want to go deeper into the post season, they will need depth on the third and fourth lines to survive the playoff grind. [FanSided]
- Florida Panthers: What will Willie Mitchell bring? – Willie Mitchell was a key player on the blue line for both of the Los Angeles Kings Stanley Cup championships. However, with the Kings salary cap situation and Mitchell’s increasing age (37), they felt it was time to move on to some of their more youthful options for defense. Mitchell was a sought after free agent, with the Florida Panthers winning out with their 2 year, $8.5 million bid. Mitchell brings his experience as a defenseman and a Stanley Cup champion to a young Panthers franchise. With Florida selecting defenseman Aaron Ekblad first overall in the 2014 draft, the hope is Mitchell will mentor him and teach him how to succeed as a defenseman at the NHL level. [FanSided]