Rumor Roundup: Shattenkirk, Lecavalier and Bozak trade talk continues

Kevin Shattenkirk (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

The Kevin Shattenkirk trade speculation that surfaced during the recent NHL draft gained momentum during the opening day of free agency. Jeremy P. Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the defenseman’s agent denied claims his client was being shopped, but it did little to quell the rumors.

It remains to be seen how the speculation will be affected by the Blues recent trade of winger T.J. Oshie to the Washington Capitals. If they’re still fielding inquiries about Shattenkirk, Rutherford suggests the 26-year-old blueliner’s contract could be the issue. Shattenkirk has two years left on his deal at an average cap hit of $4.25 million. The Blues already have considerable long-term contracts invested in blueliners Alex Pietrangelo and Jay Bouwmeester. Rutherford notes they won’t part with Pietrangelo, while Bouwmeester’s struggles last season could hurt his trade value. Read more

Brandon Saad and Ryan O’Reilly sign huge deals with new teams

Brandon Saad

The contracts came in within minutes of each other and both came with big dollar amounts. Columbus signed new left winger Brandon Saad to a six-year, $36 million contract, while Buffalo extended recently acquired center Ryan O’Reilly for seven years at $7.5 million per season. Let’s walk through the sticker shock.

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Report: Ryan O’Reilly, Sabres agree to long-term deal

Jared Clinton
Ryan O'Reilly (Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Less than a week after snagging Ryan O’Reilly from the Colorado Avalanche hours before the draft, it appears the Buffalo Sabres are on the verge of locking the 24-year-old pivot up to a long-term deal.

According to a report by The Buffalo News’ John Vogl, a source has said O’Reilly and the Sabres have come to terms on a long-term contract and the deal will be announced soon. The terms of the deal, while not yet disclosed, will likely pay O’Reilly upwards of $7 million per season with the potential for the contract to be closer to the $8 million-mark per year.

O’Reilly is currently in the final year of a two-year, $12 million bridge deal which he signed in July 2014. Read more

Buffalo Sabres ink Jack Eichel to three-year, entry-level contract

Jared Clinton
Jack Eichel

Jack Eichel is ready to take on the NHL.

The Buffalo Sabres announced Wednesday that they have signed Eichel to a three-year, entry-level contract, which means Eichel will head to professional hockey instead of returning to Boston University next season.

Eichel, who was selected second overall at the 2015 draft by the Sabres, comes to Buffalo after just one season in the NCAA. While he had been quiet about where he would be headed next season, with some believed he could head back to school for the 2015-16 campaign, but his signing makes it official that he’s turning pro.

Last season with the Terriers, Eichel was the highest scoring player in the NCAA with 26 goals and 71 points in 40 games, and led the club to a conference championship and was the MVP of the Hockey East tournament. In addition, he took home Hobey Baker Award honors as the top player in the NCAA last season. Eichel was also the NCAA Rookie of the Year, first-team All American, Hockey East Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year and a first-team all-star.

With Eichel signed, the Sabres, who were goal starved last season, immediately become much better offensively. Add Eichel to the likes of Evander Kane, Ryan O’Reilly, Zemgus Girgensons and Matt Moulson, and the Buffalo offense looks vastly improved in a short span.

As for the contract, Eichel will get a pretty standard entry-level deal worth a reported $925,000 per season. That said, though, the contract will be heavily bonus laden and with Eichel likely to fight for the Calder Trophy next season, there’s a good chance his deal could earn Eichel much more than the base cap hit.

Here’s why it took so long for Housley to make HHOF grade

Brian Costello
NASHVILLE, TN - FEBRUARY 08:  Assistant head coach Phil Housley of the Nashville Predators coaches against the Anaheim Ducks at Bridgestone Arena on February 8, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Phil Housley

Phil Housley retired as the fourth-leading defenseman scorer in the history of the NHL. Only Ray Bourque, Paul Coffey and Al MacInnis had more points from the blueline than him. So why did it take him 10 attempts to get voted into the Hockey Hall of Fame?

There are a couple of theories. The first is Housley spent a good chunk of his early seasons with the Buffalo Sabres playing forward and racking up points. That’s a misconception. Housley made the massive jump from Minnesota high school to the NHL as an 18-year-old (after being selected sixth overall by Buffalo in 1982) and managed 19 goals and 66 points in 77 games as a rookie defenseman. Sure, it was the live puck era, but it was a celebrated feat nonetheless.

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Buyout looms as Buffalo Sabres waive Cody Hodgson

Jared Clinton
Cody Hodgson (Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Little more than two weeks ago, Buffalo Sabres GM Tim Murray went on local radio station WGR-550 and said the organization was considering a buyout for 25-year-old Cody Hodgson. As of Monday, the club has taken the first step in making a buyout a reality.

The Sabres placed Hodgson on unconditional waivers for the purpose of a buyout Monday and, by Tuesday, Hodgson will likely have cleared waivers and be bought out, becoming an unrestricted free agent just two seasons after inking a six-year, $25.5 million extension with Buffalo. Read more

Day 1 a great one for Buffalo, miserable one for Bruins

Dylan Strome, Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

SUNRISE, Fla. – Friday night will go down in history as the night Connor McDavid officially became a card-carrying member of the NHL fraternity and embarked on his career as the savior of the Edmonton Oilers. But that’s not all we’ll remember about the first night of the draft in 2015.

We may all look back at this night 10 years from now and identify it as the precise moment in time when two seismic events occurred. The first one is the ascension of the Buffalo Sabres into respectability. And the second is we may very well point to June 26, 2015 as the day the Boston Bruins began their downward spiral into mediocrity. Or worse.

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Eichel, O’Reilly and Legwand greasing skids for Hodgson buyout in Buffalo?

Ken Campbell
Ryan O'Reilly (Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

SUNRISE, Fla. – There probably hasn’t been an NHL player involved in more trade rumors than Ryan O’Reilly has been for the past couple of years. So the fact that it finally happened on draft day shouldn’t come as a huge surprise.

O’Reilly is a guy the Colorado Avalanche loved. On the ice. When it came to crossing swords with him over a contract, that’s an entirely different story. And like the Boston Bruins did with Dougie Hamilton, the Avalanche did not relish the idea of going through a difficult negotiation that might go sideways, so they dealt him.

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