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Sunday hockey notes

For fans wanting an inside look at NHL salaries, CapFriendly and PuckPedia are great resources

David Pastrnak is putting up big numbers for the Bruins in the final year of his contract.Barry Chin/Globe Staff

Neither Jamie Davis nor Hart Levine knows what David Pastrnak’s next contract will look like.

They can’t say whether NHL commissioner Gary Bettman’s projections about the salary cap ($10 million rise over the next three years) are spot on, or too optimistic.

They can’t say if rebuilding teams with eight-figure stars, such as San Jose (Erik Karlsson) and Chicago (Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews), will trade those contracts.

They don’t hold all the secrets, but as many who follow the NHL have learned, they do offer pretty much everything else you’d want to know.

Davis runs CapFriendly, one of two major online NHL salary-cap resources. Along with Levine’s PuckPedia, a younger competitor, they can show you what players of Pastrnak’s ilk are making and how much the Bruins can afford to pay No. 88, who entered the weekend tied for fourth in the league in scoring (9-17—26).

If you’re reading a story about how much cap space the Bruins have to clear to bring Derek Forbort back into the lineup, the data is surely from CapFriendly or PuckPedia. Any discourse about players being overpaid or underpaid starts there.


What free agents are available this year? Next year? How much does a team have to pay a restricted free agent to retain their rights? What would it cost to buy out a certain player? Can that player be waived? What exactly is in the collective bargaining agreement?

All of this information was exceedingly difficult to find in the early years of the salary-cap era. It is now available on your phone.

“I think it’s great for fans,” Bruins veteran Nick Foligno said. “They get to understand a little bit more about the game and why things happen.”

Those websites, started by fans as a labor of love, have over the last five years or so become essential resources for team and league employees — those who already have access to the NHL’s Central Registry, its internal clearinghouse.


“I don’t like to pat myself on the back, but I do get that sense,” Davis said. “We’ve put a lot of effort into making the site as accurate as possible.”

CapFriendly built on what CapGeek, the original NHL Salary Cap 101 site, started in 2009. The latter closed shop in 2015 while its founder, the late Matthew Wuest, was battling colon cancer.

Davis, a 32-year-old Ottawa native, is his site’s only full-time employee. His brothers, Chris and Ryan, assist in data entry and site operations. They are missing one key team member: Co-founder Dominik Zrim resigned last year. Sharks general manager Mike Grier named Zrim his director of salary cap management/CBA compliance.

Levine, an Edmonton-raised Californian in his late-30s, started PuckPedia with a similar mission: to be a one-stop shop for salary-cap info.

“Most people think they’re smarter than their team’s GM, right? They want to daydream and think about what kinds of moves they’d make,” Levine said. “You can’t do that without the salary-cap implications. It’s just not about what player’s better.”

While both have CBA explainers, “build your team” modes, and deep glossaries of terms to go with exhaustive contract information, CapFriendly is more streamlined in its presentation. PuckPedia is a bit more colorful, and includes an agent leaderboard that shows who has the richest client list (Pat Brisson is No. 1).


Levine’s background is accounting and Davis comes from the engineering world, but both engage in journalism. Their sources are those of a good NHL reporter: team and league employees, agents, and players. Given the significant number of eyeballs on the site — neither would divulge specifics — incorrect information gets weeded out.

“I’ve never received pushback from the actual league saying, ‘Stop this,’ ” Levine said. “People that I talk to in the game, especially people that work for teams, they’ve told me in the past, ‘Oh, the league doesn’t want me to share this,’ or, ‘The league doesn’t want these exact numbers out there.’ I find that kind of silly. It helps fans’ enjoyment and understanding.”

One thing Levine said the league keeps tight is how long-term injured reserve works. He doesn’t understand why. Teams typically don’t disclose contract details, like structure and bonuses, but it doesn’t matter these days. People talk.

“[Reporters] are going to find out the salaries no matter what,” said Bruins winger Taylor Hall, who said he has browsed CapFriendly. “It’s interesting to look around the league and see who’s got cap space and who doesn’t. It is funny how players get maligned for how much they make, but the teams are the ones giving it out. It’s good to have transparency.”

The NHL began salary disclosure in January 1990, dropping a surprise midseason release of everyone’s numbers. That ended the dark ages, where players largely grumbled and accepted what was given them, lacking the info to make a case for better pay.


Mike Foligno (right), who was ready to fight the Bruins' Mats Thelin in 1987, made enough salary playing in the '80s that he didn't need a summer job like his wife's uncle, Eddie Giacomin, who played from 1965-78.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

“I think I come from a place, too, where my dad played, and understanding the pay he got, I won’t ever take it for granted,” said Foligno, who has earned upward of $50 million in salary (which is not his take-home pay, as Hall noted).

Foligno’s mother’s uncle is Hall of Fame goalie Eddie Giacomin, who delivered milk in the summers during his playing career (1965-78). The year after Giacomin retired, Mike Foligno was a 20-year-old Red Wings draft pick. His salary — likely in the mid-five-figures, as the third overall pick — made it so he didn’t have to get a summer job.

“He was a laborer for his godfather, who was a stone mason,” Nick Foligno said of his father. “When Detroit signed him, they filled up his lunchbox with cement: ‘You’ll never have to work a day in your life. You’re done here.’ ”


Early coaching paid dividends

Long before he arrived in Boston, Linus Ullmark credits his goalie coaches with MODO, an elite juniors program, with molding him during a difficult season.Winslow Townson/Associated Press

Before arriving in Boston, Linus Ullmark played on some subpar teams in Buffalo. But the most trying season of his hockey career may have been in 2009-10, when he was 17 and trying to rise in the Swedish ranks.

MODO, the elite program that cut him from training camp, offered Ullmark a reserve spot. Kramfors-Alliansen, his old program, was 15 minutes away from home. Now he had to drive almost an hour north to Örnsköldsvik, change schools, and make new friends.

“We had guys coming from Stockholm, Malmö, guys from all over the place that I had never met before,” Ullmark recalled. “They had a head start, coming in early. The school part was tough. We had a different type of plan. I was studying the same things, but we were doing different things. What I learned at my old school I couldn’t apply to my new one. I was two, three months behind.”


Physics and chemistry were difficult. But not as arduous as the on-ice lessons. MODO’s juniors practiced harder and more intensely, with better players. Between Kramfors (.820 save percentage), MODO’s J18 Elit (.893), and Allsvenskan clubs (.894), his numbers were the worst of his career.

“I wasn’t in good shape at that point, never was in my younger days,” Ullmark said. “I had to work on everything, and at the same time work on me as a person.”

He credited MODO goalie coaches Magnus Helin and Maciej Szwoch — who Ullmark said are like his “fathers-in-law” — for having faith and bringing him along in his three seasons with the program. They also had help from a visiting North American goaltending guru.

Canucks goaltending coach Ian Clark (left), here working with Vancouver's Jacob Markstrom, made a big imprint on Bruins goalie Linus Ullmark. DARRYL DYCK/Associated Press

Ian Clark, who had spent 2002-10 with the Canucks, arrived to help MODO’s goalies in 2010-11, when ex-Canucks star Markus Näslund became MODO’s GM.

Clark, who has tutored two-time Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky in Columbus and Hall of Famer Roberto Luongo in Vancouver, taught Ullmark that there was “a completely different depth to goaltending than just stopping pucks, which I found fascinating,” Ullmark said. “It sparked a curiosity in me to find who I am as a goaltender and how good I can be.”

Clark, who rejoined Vancouver in 2019, was not made available for an interview, but former Bruin Andrew Raycroft said Clark made an impression on all his charges.

“He’s very good at recognizing a goalie’s weakness and making it better,” said Raycroft, who had Clark as a coach in Vancouver (2009-10). “For a 17-year-old to have a guy like that pick your game apart, you’re going to get better if you’re willing to take the criticism. I’m sure it was immense.”


Hall of Famers speak from the heart

Daniel Sedin (from left), Roberto Luongo, Henrik Sedin, and Daniel Alfredsson shared plenty of laughs during the Hockey Hall of Fame festivities. Bruce Bennett/Getty

The 2022 NHL player inductees into the Hockey Hall of Fame — Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Daniel Alfredsson, and Roberto Luongo — was one of the more comedic groups in years, and not just because the broadcast replayed skits Luongo used to perform on TSN.

While Luongo’s from-the-heart speech wasn’t filled with jokes, the Sedin twins stole the show. Daniel noted that his selection to speak before his brother was “just like draft day,” in Boston in 1999.

“In my mind,” Daniel said, “you’re a better hockey player than me, a better person than me, and I’m saying this sincerely, but also knowing that you will stand up here in about 10 minutes.”

Henrik went second, so there was no chance for a rebuttal. He opened by mentioning he made it to the ceremony despite a recent battle with COVID.

“As our coaches always said,” he began, “Henrik at 70 percent is a lot better than Daniel at 100.”

He closed with a mike-drop argument:

“To end the debate [on] who the better player was,” he said, “I missed 30 games in my career and Danny’s production was not the same. In 2010, Danny missed 20 games because of a concussion and I had 11 goals and nine assists. So with Daniel, I was barely a 20-goal scorer, without him I would’ve been a career 45-goal scorer.”

Alfredsson took a moment to discuss an important issue.

“The pressures of hockey for some can become unbearable,” Alfredsson said. “Mental health issues are a reality of our game. We’re long overdue to finally erase the stigma around mental health. I hope that every player, coach, or manager who spots the signs of someone struggling, will reach out and help.”

Lindholm a two-way force for Bruins

Hampus Lindholm credits racquet sports with honing his hand-eye coordination at the blue line.Maddie Meyer/Getty

Hampus Lindholm’s Norris Trophy-caliber start, which had him tied for fourth in scoring by defensemen (4-14—18) entering the weekend, has an East Coast audience marveling at his talents.

Lindholm’s time on ice (24:21, 15th in the league) has included dozens of keep-ins at the blue line. Coupled with his reach and skating range, the 6-foot-4-inch Lindholm’s ability to stop airborne passes and clearing attempts is elite.

“Nothing more frustrating as a forward when you make the right play and he bats it down,” Nick Foligno said. “When you know a guy can bat a puck out of the air as you’re trying to pass through him, you sometimes think twice. Then that play breaks down. Just that deterrent alone is what makes him so good. They try it, and the puck’s going the other way.”

Lindholm said his hand-eye coordination did not come solely from stick-on-puck training. His advice: play racquet sports.

“I have a hockey camp in Sweden and I tell kids all the time: it’s just good to do different sports,” he said. “You develop so much. I love playing Ping-Pong. You work on it that way and it comes natural.”

Worcester making a mark in ECHL

While the Bruins (15-2-0) were leading the NHL and their farm club in Providence was best in the AHL (10-1-1 entering the weekend), another local team also was dominating.

The Worcester Railers, affiliate of the Islanders, set an ECHL record by opening 9-0-0.

“We give them a few tools here and there, but mostly we just let them enjoy playing the game,” said Worcester coach Jordan Lavallee-Smotherman, of Westborough. “Getting sent here, or starting out in the ECHL, can be difficult mentally for a lot of guys. If our guys are coming to the rink every day, just focusing on their job, they’re going to be successful.”

Lavallee-Smotherman, 36, whose 16-year pro career included four games with the Atlanta Thrashers and a season with Providence (2010-11), was captain of the Railers last year (30-22—52 in 61 games). His final season was chaotic, as the league dealt with COVID.

“We pulled five guys off of their Wall Street jobs to play a game in Reading, because we didn’t have enough guys to start the game’” he said. “We pulled Bobby Butler [of Marlborough] out of retirement, and he enjoyed it so much he’s back with us this year. We had upwards of 75 to 80 different guys who wore a Railers jersey last year.”

In a normal ECHL season, some 50 players might wear a team’s jersey. Systems must be taught with elevator-pitch speed. All those extra bodies made it tougher.

“You’re on the defensive the entire time,” Lavallee-Smotherman said. “You’re just waiting for the next call-up to take somebody from you, the next guy to test positive. It was insane, the revolving room. I’d walk into the locker room every day and look next to me and say, ‘Who is this guy?’ "

The first-year coach said he won’t go (”Slap Shot” character) Reggie Dunlop on his club. He has ambitions to make it in coaching, even though his ex-teammates set the over-under on Nov. 15 for him to come out of retirement.

“I took the under, myself,” Lavallee-Smotherman said. “I’m really enjoying being behind the bench. My body is very much enjoying getting up in the morning and not being filled with bruises and aches and pains.”

Loose pucks

Loui Eriksson, Boston's primary return in the Tyler Seguin trade, is now playing in the Swedish Hockey League.JOHN WOODS

Highly disappointing decision from the NHL and NHLPA to push back the proposed 2024 World Cup of Hockey. It’s tough to imagine it happening in 2025, unless the Russia situation magically resolves itself. The next time we see true best-on-best competition might be the 2026 Olympics in Milan. We’re in a golden age of skill, with the first post-lockout generation (Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Patrice Bergeron) still able to compete with the new generation of superstars (Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews, David Pastrnak). The last time we had all the world’s best players donning their country’s crests was Sochi 2014. Or, as Foligno put it: “The fact that Connor McDavid has never played in the Olympics is insane.” . . . Henrik Sedin assisted on 280 of Daniel Sedin’s 393 goals (71.3 percent). Daniel assisted on 148 of Henrik’s 240 goals (61.7 percent). Truly a unique pair . . . Actor Ryan Reynolds continues to show his interest in being part of a new Senators ownership group. Reynolds, treasured by his fellow Canadians, could become the most beloved owner in hockey . . . Loui Eriksson signed with Frölunda HC of the Swedish Hockey League. Eriksson, best remembered here as the primary return in the Tyler Seguin trade with Dallas, played 1,050 games in the NHL. He spent last season with Arizona . . . Not saying you, dear reader, would do this, but it’s shortsighted to dock any player Hall of Fame voting points because they lack a Stanley Cup. The NHL expanded to 30 teams in 2000. The odds of a great player never winning a ring have never been greater, without even considering that four teams (the Penguins, Blackhawks, Kings, and Lightning) have combined to win 10 of the last 14 titles.

Matt Porter can be reached at matthew.porter@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter: @mattyports.