Avalanche

Lunch Special: Colorado Avalanche chat with Mike Chambers
The Denver Post’s Mike Chambers answers questions from readers about the Colorado Avalanche and DU Pioneers hockey team at noon on Tuesday. (function(d, s, id) {var js,ijs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(d.getElementById(id))return;js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="//embed.scribblelive.com/widgets/embed.js";ijs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, ijs);}(document, "script", "scrbbl-js"));Where do you see Nail Yakupov fitting in the lineup this season?65 points, can you believe we're doubting that? But I'm with you. The youth movement is somewhat exciting but the growing pains will be too much. This slow rebuild will be painful.Help me see a scenario where this team scores more than 65 points this season?Siemens situation is cloudy. Do you keep him in COL as a 5-6-7-8 guy or in top-pairing in San Antonio. I really don't know. We'll know more when we see his contract.What do you think the chances are that Siemens makes the roster this season given the new young d-liners like Mironov?Argusdubbs: Right now it's Johnson, Barrie, Barbario, Zadorov (if signed), Mironov, Bigras (or Lindholm, Meloche, Boikov)And, hey, if you want to watch really good, winning hockey, spend your money at Magness Arena. Could be the best DU team I've ever covered next season. Massive talent and depth.Speaking of D, who do you think will start out the year in the Avs top 6? ( assuming no further acquisitions and that the Zadorov deal goes through).Pios already named their captains, and they saved Gambrell an A. Tariq Hammond will have the C.Thanks Mike, absolutely agree. Dutchy is a class act, and a constant pro. It's a shame he had to go through this process.What are your thoughts on Gambrell as C for the Pios?Landeskog will be fine. He's 24 now and mature beyond his years. Perhaps he was over his head a couple years ago, but not now.What about Landy? Can he lead a team that is starting the season with so much discord?corallycup: Good question. My answer: I'm glad I'm not a ticket salesman for this team. What is there to pitch?Also on Zadorov: Sakic signed Barrie a couple years ago as an RFA just after his golf tourney in August. Things will happen in next month.without a change of leadership in the front office or a coaching change, what hope should avs fans have for a meaningful turn around? This roster looks like over valued players that never took that last step and the front office looks like the Bluejackets West/2.0Zadorov: He reportedly (second-hand, not confirmed) said he's agreed to terms with a KHL team but prefers to sign a two-year bridge deal with COL. In other words, he's using the KHL as a bargaining chip to get more cash from his bridge. I don't suspect Zadorov will play in the KHL next season. Sakic must sign this guy and he has the money. They'll come to terms; he's not arbitration eligible I'm told.On a side note to Butcher, I think the Blackhawks will try to sign him next month, if he goes UFA. He's the type of D Chicago covets.Zadorov update?What's the status of Zads?Also, what are you thinking about Zad playing in Denver next year?Any news on the Nikita Zadorov situation. Time is starting to get a little tight.I expect news on Will Butcher in the coming week(s). I suspect he's going to go UFA next month, instead of signing his ELC with the Avs. Butcher doesn't want to negotiate through the media and I respect that. But I do believe he'll take my calls soon and make his decision public.Prediction? They had 48 points last season. Maybe they can get 60 next season. They will be quicker.What's the latest on Butcher?What's the latest on Will Butcher and the Avs?It looks a lot younger and very inexperienced. The Avs generally replaced a handful of 30-somethings (plus Grigorenko) with kids in their entry-level contracts. The rebuild looks like a patient one. But a Duchene trade could change that ...With the current avs roster. Where do you honestly seem them finishing?How does the Avs roster look this year? Are we strong enough to climb out of the basement?James, please see my first comment. We still believe Duchene could be traded. If not, I think the team will take him back, no problem. Despite some public opinion, Duchene is a great teammate, great pro.In the three D signed, I mean the proven NHLers. Plus Mironov, Bigras, Lindholm etc.Since Joe has elected not to trade Dutchy, what kind of therapy is he going to have the team go through to seem like an actual team, particularly in light of the fact that Duchene is so integral to the team's success.Tough call. As I've often said since March 1, I believe the marriage is over between No. 9 and the Avs. But since he's still on the market, I'm starting to think he could begin the season in Colorado. Depends on if the Avs truly believe they can go with the youngsters on D. Only three D signed right now, with Zadorov negotiations ongoing. Duchene could still bring in a top-four D.Any word on what the future of Matt Duchene is going to be? Great talent, but I d [...]
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Experience not required: Rookie coaches a growing NHL trend
Rick Tocchet is the kind of coach who doesn’t mind if a player calls him at 9 p.m. to share a thought. He doesn’t expect that to change as he goes from a Pittsburgh Penguins assistant to head coach of the Arizona Coyotes. Tocchet has done it before, and his 148 games as an NHL head coach make the 53-year-old one of the more experienced hires this offseason as teams look for the next new idea rather than recycling from the past. Three vacancies were filled by first-timers: the Buffalo Sabres’ Phil Housley, Florida Panthers’ Bob Boughner and Vancouver Canucks’ Travis Green. Tocchet and the Los Angeles Kings’ John Stevens are longtime assistants with some time running a bench, while the Dallas Stars’ Ken Hitchcock and Vegas Golden Knights’ Gerard Gallant represent the only seasoned coaches. Almost every general manager cited communication skills as a major reason for prioritizing youth over experience. “It’s clear for me: (Tocchet is) one of the best communicators I’ve come across, not only in hockey but probably professionally as well,” Coyotes GM John Chayka said. “He can just relate to the players. He’s very firm. He can motivate. He can be aggressive in his approach, but he can also be that big brother kind of approach.” Tocchet, Housley, Boughner, Green, Stevens and Gallant all played in the NHL in the 1990s and represent the new-school concept of a players’ coach, mixing positive relationships with accountability. Likable Jon Cooper took the Tampa Bay Lightning to the 2015 Stanley Cup Final in his first go-’round, while other experiments like Dallas Eakins, Claude Noel, Ron Rolston and Mike Johnston didn’t go so well. More time is needed to determine the success of some, like the Philadelphia Flyers’ Dave Hakstol, New Jersey Devils’ John Hynes and Colorado Avalanche’s Jared Bednar, but teams are more willing than ever to take a risk on coaching rookies. Ten of the 31 coaches are in their first head jobs in the NHL as some prominent experienced coaches like Lindy Ruff, Jacques Martin, Jack Capuano and Marc Crawford have accepted roles as assistants. Florida GM Dale Tallon went through an “exhaustive, extensive search” before Boughner’s interview blew him away, and Chayka talked to more than 25 coaches before calling Tocchet the best candidate by a wide margin. Kings GM Rob Blake said “there was literally no search” as Stevens was the natural fit to succeed Darryl Sutter, and the Canucks didn’t interview anyone but Green, who coached their top minor league affiliate for the past four seasons. Buffalo GM Jason Botterill said Housley was “uniquely qualified” for the job based on his playing and coaching careers. Hockey experience on the ice and at other levels may be just as valuable to executives picking coaches. “I’ve been a player, I’ve been an owner, I’ve been an executive, I’ve been a head coach, an assistant coach,” Boughner said with a significant nod to his time in junior hockey. “I know this league and I know the game and I’m ready for this challenge.” One of the biggest challenges in the transition from assistant to head coach is the different dynamic with players. Panthers captain Derek MacKenzie had Boughner as an assistant in Columbus and considered him approachable but someone who knew when to “put his foot down.” MacKenzie acknowledged it won’t be exactly the same with Boughner in charge. After winning the Stanley Cup the past two seasons with the Penguins, Tocchet figures he won’t alter his approach in Arizona. “That’s the million-dollar question to me because I don’t want to change as a person,” Tocchet said. “I don’t think that because you carry a title ‘head coach’ that all of a sudden you’ve got to be distanced from your players.” Related ArticlesJuly 16, 2017 Bob Wolff, versatile and longtime sportscaster, dies at 96 July 13, 2017 Chuck Greenberg said to near $500 million deal for NHL’s Hurricanes July 12, 2017 Jaccob Slavin, Carolina Hurricanes agree on 7-year extension July 7, 2017 Colorado Avalanche announce 2 new coaching hires July 5, 2017 Connor McDavid signs 8-year, $100 million deal with Edmonton Oilers His old boss disagrees. Mike Sullivan, who spent several seasons as an assistant under John Tortorella between head-coaching gigs and was hired by the Penguins midway through the 2015-16 season, insists there’s a delineation in day-to-day duties. “Ultimately I have to make difficult decisions, whether it be playing time or lineup decisions or power-play combinations,” Sullivan said. “I think by nature of the head-coaching [...]
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Chuck Greenberg said to near $500 million deal for NHL’s Hurricanes
By Scott Soshnick, Bloomberg Chuck Greenberg, once part-owner and CEO of the Texas Rangers, is close to completing an agreement to buy the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes for about $500 million, according to people familiar with the deal. The team will stay in North Carolina. Greenberg will seek to add local investors to the ownership group and plans to split his time between Raleigh and Dallas, said the people, who asked for anonymity because the negotiations are private. Related ArticlesJuly 12, 2017 Jaccob Slavin, Carolina Hurricanes agree on 7-year extension July 7, 2017 Colorado Avalanche announce 2 new coaching hires July 5, 2017 Connor McDavid signs 8-year, $100 million deal with Edmonton Oilers July 5, 2017 NHL free agents following NBA path in picking destinations July 4, 2017 Avalanche sign forward Nail Yakupov to one-year deal The nearly $500 million price tag is roughly the same as what Bill Foley recently paid to bring an NHL expansion team to Las Vegas. It’s also more than double Forbes’ recent estimate of the team’s value — $230 million, least among U.S. hockey teams. The club has made the playoffs only once since it won the Stanley Cup in 2006. The Hurricanes averaged a league-worst 11,776 fans last season, with a record of 36-31-15. Allen & Co., which has been overseeing the sale process for the team, didn’t immediately return phone calls seeking comment. Team owner Peter Karmanos said in January that he was open to selling the franchise he’s owned since 1994, when it was playing in Hartford, Connecticut, as the Whalers. Greenberg sold his stake in the Rangers in 2011. He still owns a trio of minor-league baseball franchises. He also worked closely with billionaire Ron Burkle and hockey icon Mario Lemieux as they acquired the Pittsburgh Penguins and built a new arena. [...]
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Jaccob Slavin, Carolina Hurricanes agree on 7-year extension
RALEIGH, N.C. — The Carolina Hurricanes and defenseman Jaccob Slavin have agreed to a seven-year contract extension. General manager Ron Francis on Wednesday said the deal begins in 2018-19 and will carry an average annual value of $5.3 million through the 2024-25 season. Francis says the 23-year-old Slavin is “one of the cornerstones of our team” and “one of the top young defensemen in the NHL today.” Related ArticlesJuly 7, 2017 Colorado Avalanche announce 2 new coaching hires July 5, 2017 Connor McDavid signs 8-year, $100 million deal with Edmonton Oilers July 5, 2017 NHL free agents following NBA path in picking destinations July 4, 2017 Avalanche sign forward Nail Yakupov to one-year deal July 2, 2017 Capitals sign Evgeny Kuznetsov for 8 years, trade Marcus Johansson to Devils In his second season in the NHL in 2016-17, Slavin had 34 points, five goals, 29 assists. He also led the team with 161 blocked shots, 83 takeaways and an average time on ice of about 23½ minutes. Slavin, Brett Pesce and Noah Hanifin are the team’s key defensemen entering their third NHL season, and they along with All-Star Justin Faulk and trade acquisition Trevor van Riemsdyk will enter the season as the nucleus of the defense in front of new goalie Scott Darling. The Hurricanes have not had a captain since Eric Staal was traded in 2016, going with a group of alternate captains last season. Slavin understands that his lengthy new contract comes with an expectation that he will help lead a young dressing room, whether or not he earns an “A” or a “C” on his jersey. “Letter or no letter, it doesn’t matter — I’m going to be who I am,” Slavin said. “I don’t think that’s going to change the way I play or change the way I am in the locker room. … I want to contribute as a leader and be a leader on this team for a long time, letter or no letter.” His entry-level contract expires after this season, and he would have been eligible for restricted free agency in July 2018. [...]
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Rangers, Stars among the best movers in NHL free agency
Several big winners in the first hours of the NHL’s free-agent signing period didn’t even have to move. From Carey Price to Cam Fowler, a bunch of hockey veterans got paid by their current teams when the free-agent floodgates opened during the weekend. Several clubs moved quickly to lock up proven quantities a year before they even got the chance to hit the open market. The free-agent period has been even quieter because not many big names are available. Teams also did much of their roster shuffling earlier in the summer to prepare for the Vegas Golden Knights’ expansion draft. So while the first flurries of free-agent movement aren’t quite as exciting as in past years, a few teams and players distinguished themselves with their early offseason maneuverings — and a few left themselves with work to do. WINNER: New York Rangers. They landed the biggest prize on the market in Kevin Shattenkirk, who clearly wanted to come home to play on Broadway. The puck-moving defenseman should be a big boost to an already-strong roster, and New York didn’t have to break the bank to get him. The Rangers also re-signed Brendan Smith earlier, further bolstering their defense. LOSER: Montreal Canadiens. They locked up the extraordinary Price, one of the NHL’s elite goalies, but paid an extraordinary price to do so. That reported $84 million commitment won’t make it easier for the Habs to keep Andrei Markov and Alex Radulov, who combined to score 90 points for Montreal last season, but are now looking elsewhere. It’s tough to win every game 1-0, even against talent-depleted rosters in a post-expansion season in the low-scoring modern NHL. PUSH: Chicago Blackhawks. They got the band back together with the acquisitions of Patrick Sharp and Brandon Saad, but they lost quality NHL players in Niklas Hjalmarsson and Artemi Panarin, along with Marian Hossa’s unfortunate woes. Perhaps the Blackhawks needed a roster shakeup after their postseason pasting from Nashville, but Chicago could be playing it too safe by sticking with its old favorites. WINNER: Dallas Stars. GM Jim Nill has checked the most important boxes on his presumptive list of offseason priorities. After landing franchise goalie Ben Bishop and defenseman Marc Methot before free agency, he signed center Martin Hanzal to add depth down an already strong middle and another 20 goals to their offense. The pieces appear to be in place for a playoff contender. LOSER: Colorado Avalanche. It’s been a rough nine months in the Rockies. After a horrific 48-point regular season and a depressing fall in the NHL draft lottery, the Avs lost valuable goalie Calvin Pickard to Vegas in the expansion draft. During the free-agent weekend, Colorado acquired Colin Wilson from Nashville and signed Jonathan Bernier, the Ducks’ backup goalie last season. Meanwhile, Matt Duchene remains squarely on the trading block. It’s tough to see improvement. Related ArticlesJuly 7, 2017 Colorado Avalanche announce 2 new coaching hires July 5, 2017 Connor McDavid signs 8-year, $100 million deal with Edmonton Oilers July 5, 2017 NHL free agents following NBA path in picking destinations July 4, 2017 Avalanche sign forward Nail Yakupov to one-year deal July 2, 2017 Capitals sign Evgeny Kuznetsov for 8 years, trade Marcus Johansson to Devils PUSH: San Jose Sharks. Joe Thornton is staying in the South Bay on a one-year deal. But general manager Doug Wilson also paid top dollar in long-term extensions for defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic — he got more money than the Ducks’ Fowler, who’s five years younger — and goalie Martin Jones. The Sharks’ core is largely locked in, for better or worse. WINNER: Nashville Predators. Nick Bonino is a gritty veteran forward who should fit splendidly into a winning core, and Alexei Emelin could slot in well on an already formidable blue line. Even with their free-agent losses, the Western Conference champions probably got better. LOSER: Washington Capitals. The NHL’s best regular-season team has lost veteran forward Justin Williams and defensemen Karl Alzner, Nate Schmidt and Shattenkirk during the offseason. The Caps kept T.J. Oshie, but only with a head-scratching contract. Washington still has a strong talent base, but it took a hit. PUSH: Pittsburgh Penguins. The two-time Stanley Cup champions had to make several tough decisions this summer, and they ended up losing a chunk of their title-winning supporting cast, including Bonino, Chris Kunitz, Marc-Andre Fleury, Trevor Daley and Ron Hainsey. But backup goalie Antti Niemi is on board, and GM Jim Rutherford re-signed defenseman Justin Schultz. The departures will clear playing time for Pittsburgh’s next generation — and as long as Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are on the ice, the Pe [...]
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Patrick Marleau leaves Sharks to sign 3-year deal with Maple Leafs
Patrick Marleau left the San Jose Sharks on Sunday to sign an $18.75 million, three-year deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Marleau will count $6.25 million against the salary cap through the 2019-20 season and was given a full no-movement clause by general manager Lou Lamoriello. The 37-year-old was considered one of the top free agents available and had been considering his options. Marleau spent his first 19 seasons with the Sharks and San Jose has not played a game without him on the ice since April 7, 2009. Marleau, the second overall pick in 1997, has 508 goals and 574 assists for 1,082 points in 1,493 NHL games. He had 46 points in playing all 82 games last season as he rebounded from a disappointing 2015-16 season by scoring 27 goals, including the 500th of his career. The signing of Marleau puts the spotlight back on Joe Thornton’s status with the Sharks. Thornton is a free agent. Despite his advancing age, Marleau remains one of the game’s most durable players with a current consecutive games streak of 622 and also still one of the league’s fastest skaters. He is a versatile player capable of playing at center or on the wing and has experience playing on the top power-play unit and as a penalty killer. He will bring a veteran presence to a young Maple Leafs squad that lost to top-seeded Washington in a tight, six-game, first-round playoff series last season. Marleau has experience playing for Toronto coach Mike Babcock, winning a pair of Olympic gold medals together in 2010 and 2014. Marleau’s loss will be felt in San Jose, where he helped a young franchise develop into a consistent winner after he came to the Bay Area from a small town in Saskatchewan as a teenager in 1997. Related ArticlesJuly 7, 2017 Colorado Avalanche announce 2 new coaching hires July 5, 2017 Connor McDavid signs 8-year, $100 million deal with Edmonton Oilers July 5, 2017 NHL free agents following NBA path in picking destinations July 4, 2017 Avalanche sign forward Nail Yakupov to one-year deal July 2, 2017 Capitals sign Evgeny Kuznetsov for 8 years, trade Marcus Johansson to Devils He helped San Jose make it to the conference final in 2004 before losing to Calgary in six games and then teamed with Thornton on one of the league’s most successful teams for more than a decade. San Jose went back to the conference finals again in 2010 and ’11, and then lost the Stanley Cup Final to Pittsburgh in six games in 2016. The Sharks were knocked out in the first round by Edmonton this past season and now will have to try for the first championship in franchise history without Marleau. Despite the many accomplishments, Marleau also came under criticism in San Jose for failing to deliver a title. He was stripped of his captaincy after a first-round playoff loss in 2009 and was often blamed for early postseason exits. But he also was beloved by the majority of the fans, many of whom don’t remember what the team was like before Marleau arrived. [...]
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Colorado Avalanche announce 2 new coaching hires
The  Avalanche hired Ray Bennett as an assistant coach and Jussi Parkkila as a goaltending coach, the team announced Friday. Bennett, 55, was an assistant coach for the St. Louis Blues for the last 10 seasons. He has also been a high performance/video manager for the Canadian Hockey Association, helping Canada earn two silver medals — at the 1998 Winter Olympics and 1999 World Junior WIIHF World Championships, respectively — as well as a gold medal at the 1999 Women’s IIHF World Championships. Parkkila, 40, has been a goaltending coach in Europe for the past 12 years. The Finland native coached two years in his home country’s top league, Liiga, and five in Russia’s KHL. He spent last season coaching goalies for Austria’s Grazz 99ers. “Ray brings a tremendous amount of NHL experience and hockey knowledge to our team, and Jussi has a proven track record of working with goaltenders,” said Avalanche Executive Vice President/General Manager Joe Sakic in a statement released by the team. “They’re a great complement to our current coaching staff, and we’re excited to have them join our organization.” In May, the Avs announced assistants Tim Army, Dave Farrish and Francois Allaire wouldn’t return to head coach Jared Bednar’s staff. The trio of assistants were holdovers from previous Patrick Roy’s tenure. Related ArticlesJuly 4, 2017 Avalanche sign forward Nail Yakupov to one-year deal July 1, 2017 Rebuilding Avalanche counting on unproven youth July 1, 2017 Avalanche adds forward Colin Wilson, goalie Jonathan Bernier June 30, 2017 Cam Morrison building block for patient Avalanche as free agency begins June 28, 2017 Avalanche signs Swiss forward Sven Andrighetto [...]
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NHL free agents following NBA path in picking destinations
Kevin Shattenkirk could’ve gotten more money but took less to join the New York Rangers. Joe Thornton could’ve gotten a multiyear deal from someone but wanted to stay with the San Jose Sharks. Brian Campbell and Patrick Sharp could’ve gotten more money the past two summers but took the Chicago discount to return the Blackhawks. The NHL is becoming more like the NBA with top players forgoing longer, big-money contracts to pick their preferred destination, a trend that has added a new wrinkle to free agency. “It’s their opportunity to go to where they want to go and sometimes you might have to take a little bit less money to go there,” Dallas Stars general manager Jim Nill said. “Do you want to go to a good team? Is it a city you want to go to? Is it where your family wants to be? … It’s players finding the right fit for where they want to be and having the money that they can live with.” Shattenkirk is not exactly LeBron James, but the New Rochelle, New York, native filled that role on Saturday when he turned down offers of seven years and more than $30 million to sign with the Rangers for $26.6 million over four years. The 28-year-old defenseman felt like it may be his only opportunity to “fulfill a lifelong dream” and wants to help pull off what LeBron did in Cleveland. “No matter where you go you’re trying to win your team a Stanley Cup,” Shattenkirk said. “There’s no better place to try to do it for me than in New York.” Rangers GM Jeff Gorton praised Shattenkirk for leaving money and years on the table, and even New Jersey Devils GM Ray Shero — who made a strong push to sign the top free agent available — gave him credit for signing in New York because it was “where he wanted to be.” The NHL’s hard salary cap and players re-signing to so many long-term deals means superteams like in the NBA won’t happen. But where and who matters more and more to hockey players than simply how much and for how long. Thornton had more than half the 31-team league reach out to sign him at age 38 and signed for $8 million for one year because he simply wanted to stay in San Jose. “It was nice getting courted by all these teams, and I felt bad saying, ‘Hey I’m going back to San Jose,’ but that’s where my heart is and that’s where I’m happy,” Thornton said. Likewise, Sharp couldn’t pass up returning to Chicago where he was part of three Stanley Cup teams, even if his contract is worth just $850,000 with performance bonuses. Sharp said he was “coming back to make some more great memories and try to help this team win another Stanley Cup,” which Campbell tried last offseason, too. Justin Williams and his wife bought a house near Raleigh, North Carolina, before signing a $9 million, two-year deal to go back to the Hurricanes. Ryan Miller called it “pretty ideal” to sign a $4 million, two-year contract in Anaheim, close to Hollywood where actress wife Noureen DeWulf needs to be often for her work. Familiarity with Nashville and coach Peter Laviolette led Scott Hartnell to return to the Predators on a $1 million, one-year deal, after playing his first six NHL seasons with them. “Absolutely love coming back to Nashville,” Hartnell said. “I wish it was October already.” That kind of natural excitement doesn’t happen everywhere. Executives around the league don’t begrudge players for making personal choices. Related ArticlesJuly 5, 2017 Connor McDavid signs 8-year, $100 million deal with Edmonton Oilers July 4, 2017 Avalanche sign forward Nail Yakupov to one-year deal July 2, 2017 Capitals sign Evgeny Kuznetsov for 8 years, trade Marcus Johansson to Devils July 2, 2017 Sharks sign Joe Thornton to 1-year deal after losing Patrick Marleau July 2, 2017 Patrick Marleau leaves Sharks to sign 3-year deal with Maple Leafs “Players have priorities on where they want to play: family reasons, where teams are, whether they’re on the verge of winning a Stanley Cup or a rebuilding situation,” Buffalo Sabres GM Jason Botterill said. “I think that happens every year.” Some money factors could play a role, such as Alexander Radulov making more in Dallas than he would have earned on the same contract in Montreal or Vegas, with Tampa Bay and Florida having a leg up in states with no income tax. But the Stars wouldn’t have attracted Radulov if they weren’t contenders. “Trying to win is a huge component to players picking places,” said veteran winger Chris Kunitz, who won the Cup three times with the Penguins and signed with the Lightning. “I think we’re all pretty fortunate in what we do, but we also want to g [...]
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Connor McDavid signs 8-year, $100 million deal with Edmonton Oilers
EDMONTON, Alberta — The Oilers have signed star captain Connor McDavid to an eight-year, $100 million deal. McDavid led the NHL in scoring with 100 points last season, en route to winning the Hart Trophy as league MVP. Drafted first overall by the Oilers in 2015, the 20-year-old McDavid has been the catalyst of Edmonton’s transformation from league bottom dweller to contender. With McDavid leading the way, the Oilers reached the playoffs for the first time in a decade last season, eliminating San Jose before falling in seven games to Anaheim in the second round. The deal has an average annual value of $12.5 million. [...]
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Avalanche sign forward Nail Yakupov to one-year deal
The Colorado Avalanche has signed forward Nail Yakupov to a one-year, $875,000 deal. Yakupov, the first-overall pick by the Edmonton Oilers in the 2012 draft, has appeared in 292 career NHL games since while tallying 53 goals and 67 assists. He had nine points in 40 games with the St. Louis Blues last season. Related Articles Rebuilding Avalanche counting on unproven youth Avalanche adds forward Colin Wilson, goalie Jonathan Bernier Cam Morrison building block for patient Avalanche as free agency begins Avalanche signs Swiss forward Sven Andrighetto Russian center Denis Smirnov hopes to sign with Avalanche after NCAA career During the 2012-13 season that was shortened to 48 games because of the NHL lockout, he led rookies with 17 goals and tied for most points (31). “Nail is a young, skilled winger who will add depth to our lineup,” Avs general manager Joe Sakic said in a news release. “We look forward to seeing him at training camp.” Yakupov should boost an Avalanche attacking corps that struggled to find the back of the net in 2016-17 — finishing last in the NHL in goals scored (165) and touting a lone 20-goal scorer (Mikko Rantanen) — but features the likes of Nathan MacKinnon, Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog. The Avs also acquired veteran winger Colin Wilson from Nashville in exchange for a 2019 fourth-round draft pick. Along with MacKinnon and defenseman Erik Johnson, Yakupov is the third No. 1 overall pick on the Avs roster. [...]
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Sharks sign Joe Thornton to 1-year deal after losing Patrick Marleau
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Joe Thornton is staying in San Jose for at least one more season, while longtime running mate Patrick Marleau is leaving for Toronto. Thornton tested the free-agent market for the first time in his career before officially signing his $8 million contract to remain with the Sharks on Sunday, just hours after Marleau signed an $18.75 million, three-year deal with the Maple Leafs. Thornton heard from more than half the league before making his decision to stay. “There was a lot of interest to be honest with you,” he said. “I was kind of shocked that there was the interest there was. I feel I’m a Shark and I wanted to stay come back a Shark and that’s what it came down to.” Related ArticlesJuly 2, 2017 Capitals sign Evgeny Kuznetsov for 8 years, trade Marcus Johansson to Devils July 2, 2017 Patrick Marleau leaves Sharks to sign 3-year deal with Maple Leafs July 2, 2017 Rangers, Stars among the best movers in NHL free agency July 1, 2017 Avalanche adds forward Colin Wilson, goalie Jonathan Bernier June 30, 2017 Cam Morrison building block for patient Avalanche as free agency begins After being tied together as the faces of the Sharks ever since Thornton joined San Jose from Boston in November 2005, the two have now been separated. They teamed to help San Jose make it to the conference finals in 2010 and 2011 and the Stanley Cup Final in 2016 but couldn’t deliver a championship to San Jose. Thornton said he was in constant contact with Marleau the past few days to try to persuade him stay. General manager Doug Wilson said Thornton even waited to finalize the dollar amount on his contract until after Marleau made his decision in case the team needed more money under the salary cap. But Marleau ultimately decided to leave. “Obviously, I’m bummed that Patty’s not coming back,” Thornton said. “I think he’s going to do great in Toronto. I think it’s going be a good fit. Patty will be a Shark for life and he’ll go down as the best Shark of all-time.” Thornton, who turned 38 on Sunday, will now try to deliver that title to San Jose without Marleau. After originally seeking a three-year contract, Thornton opted for the shorter term deal even though he still plans to play for many more seasons. “I think one year works at this point in my career,” he said. “Really go year by year and just see how I feel. I feel like I have a lot left in the tank. Hopefully after this deal I’ll keep signing.” Thornton is one of the best playmakers of his generation but showed some signs of his age last season after an abbreviated offseason following a Stanley Cup run and a trip to the world championships. He scored just seven goals — his fewest in an 82-game season since his rookie year in 1997-98 — and was a key part of a power-play unit that uncharacteristically struggled last season. But he still managed 43 assists, teaming with captain Joe Pavelski on San Jose’s top line. Thornton missed the final week of the regular season and the first two playoff games with a left knee injury before returning for the final four games of a first-round loss to Edmonton. Thornton then underwent surgery to repair his MCL and ACL after the season but plans to be back on the ice in two weeks and completely healthy for the start of training camp. “I’m feeling really good,” he said. “I’m feeling strong, coming along really good. I’m not going to say I’m 100 percent right now, but I’m pretty darned close.” Thornton recorded his 1,000th assist last season and ranks in the top 25 on the career lists in assists (1,007, 13th place) and points (1,391, 22nd place) as one of the best passers in NHL history. He has had at least 50 points in the past 16 non-lockout seasons he has played. Marleau, the second overall pick in 1997, has 508 goals and 574 assists for 1,082 points. He had 46 points in playing all 82 games last season as he rebounded from a disappointing 2015-16 season by scoring 27 goals, including the 500th of his career. He ranks first in San Jose in goals, games and points. Only six players in NHL history have played more games with one team than Marleau’s 1,493 in San Jose. The Sharks haven’t played a game without him on the ice since April 7, 2009. “I think I’ve worn out a few carpets pacing around the house trying to make this decision over the last couple of days,” Marleau said. Marleau’s loss will be felt in San Jose, where he helped a young franchise develop into a consistent winner after he came to the Bay Area as a teenager in 1997. “We knew that Patty had options,” Wilson said. “That is the reality of free agency. We certainly respect that. We respec [...]
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Capitals sign Evgeny Kuznetsov for 8 years, trade Marcus Johansson to Devils
ARLINGTON, Va. — As the Washington Capitals closed in on a big-money, long-term deal with Evgeny Kuznetsov, they explored ways to make sure they could afford it under the salary cap. On Sunday, the Capitals signed Kuznetsov to a $62.4 million, eight-year deal and made room for the talented Russian center by trading forward Marcus Johansson to the New Jersey Devils for 2018 second- and third-round picks. The back-to-back Presidents’ Trophy winners committed $7.8 million per season to Kuznetsov, $5.75 million to right winger T.J. Oshie and $5.1 million to Dmitry Orlov and had to do something. “You can’t argue with signing Orlov and Oshie and Kuznetsov,” Devils general manager Ray Shero said. “Good teams like Washington, all teams have to do it at some point: You’re making decisions and rearranging the furniture. There’s a salary cap. And if there wasn’t, I’m pretty sure Marcus would still be in Washington.” Signed through 2024-25, Kuznetsov is now the second highest-paid player on the Capitals roster behind only captain Alex Ovechkin’s $9.54 million cap hit and ahead of center Nicklas Backstrom’s $6.7 million. The 25-year-old had 19 goals and 40 assists for 59 points last season. In 261 NHL games with the Capitals, he has 182 points on 53 goals and 129 assists, and he led the team in points in 2015-16. “Evgeny is a premier center in the NHL, and we are pleased that he will remain in Washington for at least the next eight years,” GM Brian MacLellan said. “It is difficult to find a player of his caliber, who is in his prime and makes his teammates better. Evgeny plays with a tremendous skill, speed and tenacity needed to win in the NHL.” There was no doubt the Capitals would agree to a long-term deal with Kuznetsov, even amid interest from Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League in him and Orlov, who signed for $30.6 million over six years. After giving Oshie $46 million over eight years and still needing to re-sign restricted free agent forward Andre Burakovsky and goaltender Philipp Grubauer, Washington cleared roughly $4.58 million in cap space by sending Johansson to New Jersey. The Capitals got Florida’s second-rounder and Toronto’s third-rounder next year after not having a pick in the first three rounds of this year’s draft. The Devils get a 26-year-old Swede coming off a career-high 58-point season. “It’s a trade that obviously helps both teams,” Shero said. “Washington with their cap and being able to trade a great player like Kuznetsov and certainly a team like ours taking advantage of that and adding a real good young player and an up-and-coming player in Marcus.” Related ArticlesJuly 2, 2017 Sharks sign Joe Thornton to 1-year deal after losing Patrick Marleau July 2, 2017 Patrick Marleau leaves Sharks to sign 3-year deal with Maple Leafs July 2, 2017 Rangers, Stars among the best movers in NHL free agency July 1, 2017 Avalanche adds forward Colin Wilson, goalie Jonathan Bernier June 30, 2017 Cam Morrison building block for patient Avalanche as free agency begins Shero said he’d been monitoring the Capitals’ salary-cap situation for some time. Washington lost in the second round for the second consecutive year, but changes were coming no matter the playoff result. The Capitals already couldn’t afford to bring back winger Justin Williams and defensemen Kevin Shattenkirk and Karl Alzner. Williams signed a $9 million, two-year deal with Carolina, Alzner a $23.125 million, five-year deal with Montreal and Shattenkirk a $26.6 million, four-year deal with the New York Rangers. The Devils were in on Shattenkirk, but when that didn’t happen, upgrading their forward depth by getting Johansson was the next step. New Jersey has missed the playoffs in each of the past five seasons, so taking advantage of a perennial contender’s jam is just part of the process to try to get back in the postseason mix. “I’ve been on the other end,” said Shero, who won the Stanley Cup in 2009 as the Pittsburgh Penguins‘ GM. “Washington’s got a real good team. I want to get there. But this is where we are.” [...]
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Avalanche adds forward Colin Wilson, goalie Jonathan Bernier
The Avalanche acquired forward Colin Wilson from the Nashville Predators for a 2019 fourth-round draft pick Saturday, shortly after free agency opened and Colorado signed unrestricted free-agent goalie Jonathan Bernier. Avs general manager Joe Sakic did not find the right trade partner to move high-profile forward Matt Duchene, who was rumored to be going to the Columbus Blue Jackets or Nashville Predators. “I don’t create the rumors, and I don’t comment on them,” Sakic said. Trading Duchene would undoubtedly bring a top-four defensemen to Colorado. “I’d love to upgrade the D, for sure, if we could,” Sakic said. “But every team wants to upgrade their D and it’s not easy as you think. Really, you have to draft guys and bring them through your system. We went through the draft (June 23-24), drafted some (defensemen). They’re not ready yet. It takes time building up your D-core.” Wilson, 27, is under contract for the next two seasons, with a $4 million annual salary. The 2008 first-round draft pick (seventh overall) has 95 goals in 502 career regular-season games. He had 12 goals and 35 points in 70 games last season, plus four points (two goals) in 14 playoff games for the Stanley Cup-runner-up. He will presumably play a third-line role with the Avs. “Colin brings experience and depth to our lineup,” Sakic said. “He’s a two-way player who plays a strong game and is a good pro.” Wilson played two seasons for Boston University and helped the Terriers win the 2009 national championship as a sophomore. Related ArticlesJuly 1, 2017 Rebuilding Avalanche counting on unproven youth June 30, 2017 Cam Morrison building block for patient Avalanche as free agency begins June 28, 2017 Avalanche signs Swiss forward Sven Andrighetto June 28, 2017 Russian center Denis Smirnov hopes to sign with Avalanche after NCAA career June 27, 2017 Tyson Jost showing leadership at Avalanche development camp Bernier, 28, is also a former first-round selection (No. 11 in 2006), and Colorado signed him to a one-year deal worth $2.75 million. He played last season with the Anaheim Ducks (2.51 goals-against average, .915 save percentage), after a three-year stint in Toronto with the Maple Leafs. Bernier entered the NHL with the Los Angeles Kings, and he has a career 2.66 GAA and .915 SP. Bernier replaces Calvin Pickard, who was picked up by the Vegas Golden Knights in last month’s expansion draft. Pickard has a $1 million cap hit for 2017-18, so the Avs will pay $1.75 million more for Semyon Varlamov’s backup. “We just wanted to make sure we have an experienced backup that can compete with Varly and be there for a good one-two punch,” Sakic said. “We don’t want Varly playing much more than 50 games. And Jonathan played almost 40 games last year for Anaheim, so we know he can do it.” After adding Wilson and Bernier, Colorado is approximately $13.5 million under the salary cap. Footnote. The Avalanche also agreed to term with minor-league free agents Andrew Agozzino, defenseman David Warsofsky and goaltender Joe Cannata. [...]
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