Panthers fill need for backup goaltender, send Grimaldi to Avalanche for Berra

Jared Clinton
Reto Berra (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

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

Rumor Roundup: Tyson Barrie staying put in Colorado, GM Joe Sakic says

Tyson Barrie. (Getty Images)

In recent weeks, Colorado Avalanche restricted free agent defenseman Tyson Barrie was a hot topic in the trade rumor mill. But according to Avalanche GM Joe Sakic, the 24-year-old blueliner isn’t going anywhere.

The Denver Post’s Mike Chambers reports Sakic said he’ll be meeting with Barrie’s agents during the upcoming NHL draft in hopes of working out a new long-term contract.

Sakic tells Chambers that if they cannot work out a new agreement, it’s expected Barrie will head to arbitration. “Either way, he’ll be here,” said the Avs GM.

It’s possible Sakic called his rival GMs to gauge their level of interest in Barrie and the type of return he might fetch. That could account for the recent speculation involving Barrie. Taking Sakic at his word, it’s evident the Avs wish to keep Barrie in the fold for at least the immediate future.

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Avalanche GM Sakic isn’t ‘going to be looking’ to add when free agency opens

Jared Clinton
Joe Sakic (RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

The Colorado Avalanche finished five points out of the post-season in 2015-16, but even considering their narrow playoff miss, there are obvious issues on the blueline and a lack of depth at forward.

Even with the problems facing the Avalanche, though, GM Joe Sakic says there’s not going to be a big fix coming to Colorado when free agency opens. Sakic told The Denver Post’s Mike Chambers that the Avalanche don’t have designs on being active in the free agent market when it opens July 1, choosing instead to be patient and look for additions later in the off-season.

“We’re not going to be looking that day,” Sakic told Chambers. “As the summer goes on, we’ll see what good fits are. But on the July 1, don’t expect us to go after any big long-term deals. Within our own, we’re going to discuss what we have within, but outside on July 1 we’re not going to go after a big splash.” Read more

Former Bruin Savard dealt again in salary cap move

Marc Savard (Steve Babineau/Getty Images)

Marc Savard has now been traded twice without having played in a single game.

The injured 38-year-old center was dealt Friday – the second time in less than a year – in a move made strictly because of salary cap implications. Savard is now a member of the New Jersey Devils, leaving the Florida Panthers for minor-leaguer Paul Thompson and center Graham Black, a 23-year-old prospect.

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Rumor Roundup: Troy Brouwer eyes playing for hometown Canucks

Troy Brouwer celebrates his goal (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Earlier this season, some speculation suggested the Vancouver Canucks might pursue Los Angeles Kings left winger (and Vancouver native) Milan Lucic via free agency. The Kings and Lucic, however, are reportedly working toward a new deal that will keep him in L.A.

The Canucks could find another local boy potentially available on July 1 to help them on the wing. St. Louis Blue right winger Troy Brouwer recently told Vancouver’s News 1130 radio he’s thought about joining the Canucks. “Family and friends, playing for my hometown, it would be an experience for sure,” Brouwer said.

Lacking skilled depth on right wing, the Canucks could use the services of the 30-year-old Brouwer. The 6-foot-3, 213-pounder is experienced, durable, physical and has three 20-plus goal seasons on his resume. He’s also coming off a strong playoff performance, with eight goals and 13 points in 20 games.

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Mikko Rantanen bound and determined to take on the big boys in the NHL next season

Ryan Kennedy
Mikko Rantanen. (Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

Before Mikko Rantanen even got drafted, before he knew which players he would be competing against for a job, he maintained that his goal for 2015-16 was to play in the NHL. And after the powerful right winger was taken 10th overall by the Colorado Avalanche, he did just that – for a handful of games, at least.

Rantanen, the brightest prospect in Colorado’s system and Future Watch’s No. 5 prospect overall, made the Avalanche out of camp and played the first six games of the season. The strapping young Finn didn’t register a point and never eclipsed 11 minutes of ice time in any given game, but it’s tough to consider his assignment to the AHL as a disappointment, especially given how Rantanen has performed ever since. “It was an experience for him to dip his toe in the water,” said David Oliver, Colorado’s director of player development. “With ice time comes confidence, and for his development curve we wanted to get him to the AHL to play those big minutes.”

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Rumor Roundup: If Avalanche make Tyson Barrie available, Rangers could be a good trade partner

Tyson Barrie. (Getty Images)

During a recent appearance on Edmonton’s 630 CHED radio, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman created some buzz by suggesting Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie could be in play this summer.

Barrie, 24, is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. Coming off two seasons with 53 and 49 points respectively, he’ll want a substantial raise over his current annual average salary of $2.6 million. He could fetch a deal comparable to that of teammate Erik Johnson (seven-years, $42 million), which might not fly with Avs management.

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Swiss goaltender Berra allows what could be worst goal of the year at World Championship

Reto Berra (via YouTube)

Colorado Avalanche goaltender Reto Berra had a tough time at the World Championship in 2015, but his start to the 2016 tournament may be even worse.

At last year’s competition, Berra started five games for the Swiss, but his play was largely forgettable. He finished with a .876 save percentage, the worst of any netminder to suit up for at least five games, had an unsightly 3.48 goals-against average and he lost every single one of his games. Again, it wasn’t the best tournament of his life. Yet, there was hope his 2016 World Championship could be better.

Well, if that’s going to be the case, he’s going to have to turn things around in a hurry, because in Switzerland’s tournament-opening game against Kazakhstan, Berra allowed what could be the worst goal of the year on a long-distance shot that came from the far blueline. Check it out: Read more