• Kevin Bieksa does the electric slide down the West Coast in trade to Anaheim

    Brian Costello
    Kevin Bieksa. (Getty Images)

    For the second summer in a row, the Vancouver Canucks are sending a proven playoff performer down the Pacific Coast to Anaheim. The Ducks acquired 34-year-old defenseman Kevin Bieksa from the Canucks for a second round draft choice in 2016.

    Last summer, the Canucks sent Ryan Kesler to the Ducks for a package the included Nick Bonino.

    Vancouver GM Jim Benning has been trying to deal Bieksa since the end of the season and was thought to be close to a deal that would send him to San Jose. Winding up in another part of California was just fine for him.

    Read more

  • Saad return underwhelming, but what did you expect?

    Brandon Saad (Photo by Megan Bearder /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images)

    At first glance, it’s pretty tempting to look at the return Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman got for Brandon Saad and deem it to be underwhelming. Like, really underwhelming. But Bowman also realizes, perhaps better than any other GM in the business, that when you’re not dealing from a position of strength, your pals in the GM fraternity are more likely to throw you an anchor than a life preserver.

    Either that, or Marko Dano is going to be a lot better than everyone thought. Or perhaps Bowman, who seems to know a little bit about evaluating talent, saw in Saad a player whose value was perhaps a little inflated by playing with Jonathan Toews so much and being part of such a strong team. No doubt, he saw an offer sheet coming. But if that offer sheet had contained a six at the front of the salary number, the Blackhawks would have received a first-, second- and third-round choice. Instead, they dealt Saad and two prospects to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for Artem Anisimov, Dano, Jeremy Morin, Corey Tropp and a fourth-round pick in 2016.

    Read more

  • Blackhawks shock everyone, trade Saad to Blue Jackets for package including Anisimov, Dano

    Brandon Saad (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

    It was clear changes would be coming for the Chicago Blackhawks following their 2015 Stanley Cup championship, but no one would have expected those changes to include trading away burgeoning star Brandon Saad. But with their hand forced, the Blackhawks did exactly that.

    Chicago confirmed Tuesday afternoon that they have dealt restricted free agent Saad, along with prospects Alex Broadhurst and Michael Paliotta, to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for a four-player package that includes Artem Anisimov, Marko Dano, Jeremy Morin, Corey Tropp and a fourth-round selection in the 2016 draft.

    News of the deal took the hockey world by storm. Less than half an hour after the first reports of the deal between Chicago and Columbus first surfaced from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the deal had gone through and Saad was sent packing to the Blue Jackets. Read more

  • THN’s top 25 unrestricted free agents

    Dominik Luszczyszyn
    Matt Beleskey (Photo by Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images)

    It’s July 1st and your phone beeps. It’s a Twitter notification. ___________ (insert your favorite team here) has just signed Player X. At first there’s excitement, because Player X is awesome (and also mysterious), but then comes the dread: ‘how much did this cost?’ Once you find out the cost, then comes the inevitable, ‘is he worth it?’

    And that’s the most important question to ask during the free agent frenzy. Luckily for you, we here at THN have the answer. We compared every UFA contract signed over the past two seasons under the new CBA (as well as new extensions that kicked in during that time frame) to a player’s value, measured in wins above replacement (an all-in-one stat developed by war-on-ice.com), to get a sense of how much that value is worth. Read more

  • Winnipeg Jets re-sign Drew Stafford for $8.7 million over two years

    Matt Larkin
    Blake Wheeler and Drew Stafford (Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)

    It made too much sense. Drew Stafford, 29, suffered for too many seasons as a lowly Buffalo Sabre. A mid-season trade to the Winnipeg Jets reinvigorated his career. He spoke openly about how much happier he was after changing teams, and it showed in his play. Stafford exploded for nine goals and 19 points in his 26 games as Jet. It was easily his most productive stretch since he scored 31 goals in 2010-11.

    So why on Earth would Stafford and the Jets want to part ways? Good question. So they didn’t. On Tuesday, a.k.a. Free Agency Eve, the Jets locked up pending unrestricted free agent Stafford for two years and $8.7 million, amounting to a $4.35-million cap hit.

    Read more

  • Report: Blackhawks, Saad ‘further apart’ than expected on new contract

    Jared Clinton
    Brandon Saad is part of the new core that has emerged for the Chicago Blackhawks to build around. (Bill Smith/Getty Images)

    While there’s no cause for panic in the Windy City quite yet, a report out of Chicago says the Blackhawks and restricted free agent Brandon Saad are “further apart on a new deal than initially expected.”

    According to CBS Chicago’s Jay Zawaski, Saad’s camp and the Blackhawks have differing opinions on not only what the 22-year-old free agent should be getting in terms of salary, but also what the length of the contract should be. From Zawaski’s report, the Blackhawks would prefer to ink the winger to a short-term deal that would allow them some salary cap flexibility now while Saad is seeking a long-term contract that would carry him into unrestricted free agency.

    On the short-term deal, the Blackhawks are seeking to land Saad at roughly $2.8 million per year, Zawaski reported. But Saad’s camp sees the long-term deal carrying an annual price tag closer to $4 million, possibly more. Read more

  • CHL Import Draft: who is coming over?

    Oliver Kylington (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    The CHL’s Import Draft was held today, giving every major junior team on the continent a chance to pick up some prime European talent. Franchises are allowed to play two Euros on their roster, but no goaltenders. Teams that have a European player taken in the first round of the NHL can select a third player’s rights as well, in case the first-rounder ends up leaving.

    With that out of the way, let’s look at how things went down. Consider this a non-comprehensive list, as I am cobbling together commitments or denials as I receive them from various sources in the industry.

    Read more

  • Dougie Hamilton signs six-year deal with Calgary Flames

    Jared Clinton
    Dougie Hamilton (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)

    Four days after acquiring Dougie Hamilton from the Boston Bruins for three draft picks, the Calgary Flames have signed the 22-year-old defenseman to a six-year contract extension that will pay him less than $6 million per season.

    According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, the deal will pay Hamilton $34.5 million, meaning his contract will carry an annual cap hit of $5.75 million. Interestingly, the deal comes in at a price tag just barely higher than the deal that Hamilton reportedly shot down from the Bruins, which would have seen him paid $33 million over six seasons, a difference of $250,000 per year.

    The contract itself sees Hamiton receive two separate pay increases, Dreger reported, as the blueliner will go from making $5.5 million in the first two years of the deal to $5.75 million in years three and four with a $6 million salary coming his way in the final two seasons of the contract. The agreement also carries a limited no trade clause in years five and six. Read more