Kruger wants long-term deal with Blackhawks, but short-term might be the only fit

Jared Clinton
Hawks winger Marcus Kruger celebrates his game winning goal against Anaheim in triple overtime of Game 2 of the Western Conference Final. (Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

The Chicago Blackhawks have less than $500,000 in salary cap space, but that doesn’t mean Marcus Kruger will be going anywhere.

Kruger, 25, may have only scored 17 points with the Blackhawks this past season, and he may have only registered two goals and four points in 23 playoff games, but you’d be hard-pressed to find many who wouldn’t call Kruger one of the most important pieces of the Blackhawks. As such, there’s no surprise Chicago GM Stan Bowman wants the pivot under contract.

However, with August drawing nearer and Kruger on the verge of one month as a restricted free agent, the Blackhawks have yet to ink the Swedish center. Yet there doesn’t appear to be any panic from either Kruger or the Blackhawks. If anything, both sides seem to be feeling pretty good about where they are.

According to the Chicago Tribune’s Chris Kuc, the lack of cap space is making it difficult for the Blackhawks to finalize a deal with Kruger. Read more

Colin Wilson signs four-year, $15.75 million deal with Predators

Jared Clinton
Colin Wilson. (Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Cross out another arbitration case as the Nashville Predators and restricted free agent Colin Wilson have come to terms on a four-year, $15.75 million contract.

The Predators announced the signing of Wilson on Monday morning and unveiled the terms of the contract via a release on the team’s website. Wilson’s new deal, which carries a $3.9375 million cap hit, will pay him $3.75 million in the first season of the contract, with each of the following three years paying out $4 million per campaign. Overall, it’s a brilliant deal for Nashville.

The raise for Wilson is a significant one, as he nearly doubles his salary from the past three seasons, but it doesn’t come even close to breaking the bank for the Predators. Following his entry-level deal, Wilson inked a three-year, $6 million deal that expired at the end of this past season.

Wilson, 25, was a first-round selection, seventh overall, of the Predators in the 2008 draft. Over his six seasons in the NHL, Wilson had shown steady growth, but it wasn’t until this past season that he really broke out. Read more

Nik Antropov considering NHL return for upcoming season

Jared Clinton
Nik Antropov (Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Nik Antropov could be heading back to North America to suit up in the NHL for the first time in two seasons.

According to a Sports-Express.ru interview with Antropov’s agent, Schumi Babayev, the 35-year-old right winger is considering a return to the NHL for 2014-15, which would see him forego a contract offer from the KHL’s Barys Astana, the club with which the Kazakhstan native has spent his past two seasons.

“(Antropov will) make a decision: to pursue a career in the NHL or return to Barys,” Babayev said, according to a rough translation. “Proposal from Barys it has, they are constantly in contact. The decision depends on family circumstances. At last year Antropov has one son living in Canada, and now he will play in the AAA league, and whether to leave him alone – there is something to think about.” Read more

Senators’ Chiasson awarded one-year, $1.2 million deal through arbitration

Jared Clinton
Alex Chiasson (Graig Abel/Getty Images)

Alex Chiasson and the Ottawa Senators failed to come to terms on a new contract before or after his arbitration hearing, so a league-appointed arbitrator decided the fate of Chiasson’s next deal.

Following a July 23 arbitration, Chiasson was handed a one-year deal worth $1.2 million, only a slight raise from the $900,000 he earned last season, which was his first in an Ottawa uniform. Chiasson came to Ottawa as part of the trade of Jason Spezza to Dallas, which also brought Alexander Guptill, Nick Paul and a 2015 second-round pick to the Senators.

This past season, Chiasson, 24, scored 11 goals and 26 points in 76 games for the Senators while averaging less than 13:30 of ice time per outing. He became a healthy scratch in the post-season, sitting out Games 3 and 4 of Ottawa’s first-round series against the Montreal Canadiens. Chiasson didn’t find the score sheet in the playoffs. Read more

Larsson, Devils avoid arbitration, agree to six-year, $25 million contract

Jared Clinton
Adam Larsson featured

Adam Larsson had a trying start to the 2014-15 campaign, but he showed enough steady improvement over the latter stages of the season for the New Jersey Devils to award the restricted free agent defenseman with a six-year, $25 million deal.

Larsson, 22, was a healthy scratch for eight of New Jersey’s first nine games this past season, and even in the one game he did suit up, he saw only 12:30 of ice time. But by the end of the season, Larsson was relied upon as one of the top three blueliners on the Devils and his continued improvement should give the Devils hope Larsson could be on the verge of his big breakout.

Had the two sides not come to a deal, Larsson’s camp and the Devils would have met at an arbitration hearing next week. According to reports, Devils GM Ray Shero was hoping he could lock up the defenseman to a long-term deal and Saturday’s signing does just that. Read more

Braden Holtby ready for the challenge of being a $6 million man

Jared Clinton
Braden Holtby (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)

Braden Holtby is a $6 million dollar man, but even with a shiny, new contract, he knows the real work has just begun.

In speaking about his new five-year, $30.5 million contract that he signed on Friday, Holtby said the pressure now is now on him to prove that he’s worth every penny of his new contract.

“With last year, it was about trying to prove yourself for a contract,” Holtby said. “This year it’s about trying to prove the contract you’ve got. Every situation is different. It’s in my DNA, I like to work, I like to try and get better, and I’m not worried about that.” Read more

Why Holtby signing could be the final piece of the Capitals Cup puzzle

Jared Clinton
Alex Ovechkin and Braden Holtby. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Washington Capitals made a statement Friday afternoon with their signing of Braden Holtby to a five-year, $30.5 million deal: making the post-season and competing for the Stanley Cup is nice, but the Capitals are ready to fill their trophy case.

This off-season has already been a big one in Washington with the signing of 2014 Conn Smythe Trophy winner Justin Williams and the trade for American Olympic hero T.J. Oshie. However, the signing of Holtby, their star netminder and one of the top candidates for the Vezina Trophy in 2014-15, signifies something more. It signifies a commitment to nothing but the best at every position.

News had come earlier this week that Holtby, 25, was seeking somewhere in the range of $8 million on a one-year deal should he and the Capitals get to salary arbitration. It had even been reported that Washington was ready to proceed with the option of Holtby becoming a restricted free agent again next season. But with a $6.1 million annual cap hit for the next five seasons, GM Brian MacLellan locked up his starter long term, giving the Capitals the security in goal the team has been seeking since Olaf Kolzig left in 2008. Read more

Logan Couture’s off-season ‘really sucked,’ until…

Matt Larkin
Logan Couture. (Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)

The 2015 off-season hit Logan Couture like a punch in the face, because it began in April. It’s a horrible feeling to realize your season is over the day the regular season ends, and Couture, 26, never experienced it in his first five NHL seasons. His San Jose Sharks missed the post-season for the first time in his career this past spring, and he makes no effort to sugarcoat how much he hates that.

“It sucks. It really sucks.”

Couture resents the fact he hasn’t played competitive hockey since April 11 – a date he quotes, like he circled it on his calendar. He and the teammate he calls ‘Jumbo,’ fellow center Joe Thornton, felt a wave of frustration hit them earlier this summer when they realized they were used to playing hockey in May.

“We were golfing, and we both talked about how much this sucks, how we don’t want this to happen again,” Couture said. “It makes you hungrier and hungrier, and we’re ready to get an extra serving right now.”

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