Jared Clinton has been a regular contributor to The Hockey News since 2014, the same year he graduated from Humber College's journalism program. Born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, he's heard every joke there has ever been about the city, but wouldn't have it any other way.
The Columbus Blue Jackets don’t have much cap space, but that won’t matter if they lock up their restricted free agents to sweetheart deals like the one William Karlsson has inked with the club.
It was announced Thursday evening that Karlsson, 23, has signed a two-year contract to remain with the Blue Jackets, and that’s a great contract for Columbus. CapFriendly reported the contract is worth $1 million annually.
Though Karlsson didn’t exactly have the type of season that would lead any to believe he’s an offensive dynamo, he excelled as a depth center. In his first full campaign, he knocked home nine goals, tied for 15th in rookie goal scoring, and 20 points, which tied him for 20th in points for rookies.
“William Karlsson made great strides in his first NHL season and we believe that he is just beginning to come into his own as a player,” Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen said in a release. “He is an important part of our young, core group of players and we are pleased that he will continue to grow, develop and contribute to our team as we move forward.” Read more
In 154 games with the Minnesota Wild, Thomas Vanek has scored 39 goals, 93 points and has logged second- and third-line minutes, but at a $6.5 million price tag, it simply hasn’t been enough.
And with the Wild entering the off-season with little more than $9 million in cap space and only eight forwards under contract, something is going to have to budge. With free agency approaching, it appears more and more likely the pieces that’s going to move is Vanek, and it doesn’t appear the 32-year-old is going to be moving on via trade.
According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo, it has been indicated that Wild GM Chuck Fletcher has talked with Vanek’s agent about buying out the final season of Vanek’s three-year, $19.5-million deal. TSN’s Bob McKenzie more than backed up Russo’s report, too, saying the “probability…appears quite high” that Vanek will be bought out by Minnesota before next Thursday’s buyout deadline. Read more
Philadelphia fans have been known to enjoy when the Flyers have an edge or a feistiness to them, so there’s good reason why Radko Gudas became somewhat of a fan favorite for his take-no-prisoners style of play. And Flyers fans will be glad to know that Gudas isn’t going anywhere.
It was announced Thursday evening that Gudas, 26, has signed a four-year deal to remain in Philadelphia, and Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reported the contract is worth $13.4 million. The deal came with Gudas set to become a restricted free agent, having just completed a three-year, $2.975-million deal.
Gudas’ raise, which is a significant one that will see him earn $3.35 million per season, could come in handy, especially when it comes to paying off potential fines. This past season, Gudas was fined and suspended once by the NHL, but he was involved in at least a handful of questionable, borderline incidents that could have seen him slapped with further suspensions or fines. Read more
One of the Florida Panthers’ needs heading into the off-season was a backup goaltender to relieve Roberto Luongo here and there.
Al Montoya had performed admirably over the past two seasons in just that role, but with some options for him to go elsewhere — and maybe even earn a larger share of the net duty — the 31-year-old appeared ready to head elsewhere as an unrestricted free agent. That left the Panthers in the market for some backup help, but they took care of that Thursday by shipping Rocco Grimaldi to the Colorado Avalanche for netminder Retto Berra.
Berra, 29, is locked up at $1.45 million for the upcoming campaign, per CapFriendly, and he’s coming off of a somewhat decent run in the Colorado goal this past season. Read more
Bill Foley’s goal of getting a team to come to Las Vegas has been realized, but the hard work doesn’t end there.
Foley’s Las Vegas franchise still has to be named, have its logo designed and jerseys created. Oh, and there’s the little part about assembling a competitive roster through an expansion draft to make sure the first year of hockey in Nevada isn’t an absolute disaster.
With the preparation that will have to go into the expansion draft, it’s likely that Foley and Co. will want to start getting their management team in place sooner rather than later, and one of the most important pieces in the front office is going to be the GM. Finding a GM that can help the new Las Vegas franchise wade through the expansion waters is going to be of utmost importance.
Luckily, there will be no shortage of candidates to take on the role. Here are five potential GMs who could take on the role: Read more
Vladimir Tarasenko has had himself quite a year.
In the past 365 days, the 24-year-old St. Louis Blues sniper has scored 40 goals for the first time in his NHL career, led the Blues in points with a career-high 74, added nine goals and 15 points in 20 post-season games and helped St. Louis get to the Western Conference final. Oh, and he also signed an eight-year, $60-million contract in there, too.
As if that wasn’t enough, Tarasenko has earned himself another honor: being the cover athlete of the newest instalment of EA Sports’ NHL franchise. Tarasenko is the second Blue to grace the cover, following Chris Pronger, who was on the cover of NHL 2000.
“It’s an incredible honor to represent my teammates and all the Blues fans around the world on the cover this year,” Tarasenko said. “As a player, it’s a big deal to be fan selected for something like the Cover Vote, and I’m excited to be involved in the game this year.” Read more
There were rumors leading up to Wednesday’s expansion announcement that, with Quebec City having its expansion bid deferred, there was a possibility the Carolina Hurricanes could potentially relocate north of the border. However, commissioner Gary Bettman said there’s no truth to that.
Speaking following the announcement of expansion to Las Vegas, Bettman was asked about the status of the Hurricanes, who have struggled to fill their arena and have been the subject of rumors for several months.
“The Carolina Hurricanes aren’t going anywhere,” Bettman said, via Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston. “They’re not going anywhere.” Read more
The Florida Panthers’ signing of Keith Yandle to a big-money deal makes it a near certainty that veteran defenseman Brian Campbell will be looking to patrol the blueline elsewhere in 2016-17, and it appears on option could be a return to a former city where Campbell had a lot of success.
According to the Chicago Tribune’s Chris Kuc, Campbell, 37, is considering a return to the Chicago Blackhawks in the off-season, though it would mean that he has to take a significant pay cut from the $7.14 million he was earning this past season. Campbell had six goals and 31 points during the past off-season and could no doubt command at least $4 million on the open market, but a cap hit of that much almost assuredly wouldn’t work for the Blackhawks, who are already under a cap crunch with not much room to maneuver.
A return to Chicago would be an intriguing move for Campbell, though, and a huge get for the Blackhawks, whose blueline was very clearly missing a key piece during the past season. Read more