• Flames have been looking at possible trade for goaltender ‘for a number of weeks’

    Jared Clinton
    Karri Ramo (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

    During the 2015-16 season, each of Karri Ramo, Jonas Hiller, Joni Ortio and Niklas Backstrom got a shot at stepping into the Calgary Flames’ crease. However, there’s a very real possibility none of the four will be back, meaning Calgary’s need for goaltending help is at an all-time high.

    Though some may have expected the Flames to have a solution in goal by now, GM Jim Treliving and staff have taken their time in trying to find the right fit at the right price. And asked by CalgaryFlames.com’s Aaron Vickers about the situation in goal, Treliving said he’s looking over all his options, from various trades to free agency, to try and find a netminder, or netminders, for the upcoming campaign.

    “We’ve been exploring (trades) for a number of weeks,” Treliving told Vickers. “We’ll see exactly who may be on the market, what those acquisition costs are, what may be a fit or what may not be a fit for us, and then keeping an eye on free agency…if players get to that point. Free agency is a little bit of an unknown at this point.” Read more

  • Red Wings GM Holland says Mrazek is his starter, but sees reason to keep Howard

    Jared Clinton
    Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek (Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

    Already dealing with the departure of Pavel Datsyuk, the Detroit Red Wings have another major contract issue to deal with — that of goaltender Jimmy Howard.

    The veteran netminder has been a major piece of the Red Wings for several seasons, but the emergence of youngster Petr Mrazek combined with Howard’s sizeable $5.29-million cap hit has become problematic for Detroit.

    When Mrazek was still on his entry-level deal or his second, team-friendly contract, the combined cap hit of the netminders wasn’t an issue. It’s about to become one with Mrazek due a big raise as a restricted free agent, though. Mrazek’s new deal could carry a cap hit between $4-5 million per season, which would put Detroit under a cap crunch, especially if GM Ken Holland is hoping to add pieces to his roster in the off-season.

    Overpaying for Howard is an issue, too, especially with Holland prepared to hand the starting job to Mrazek. Yet Holland seems somewhat uneasy about the goaltender’s ability to be a workhorse in the way other starting netminders are, which could extend Howard’s stay in Detroit. Read more

  • Wild willing to part with goaltender Darcy Kuemper for ‘fair return’

    Jared Clinton
    (Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

    There was a time when Darcy Kuemper, the Wild’s 26-year-old netminder, was the potential future in Minnesota’s crease. But a difficult season paired with a trade for Devan Dubnyk in 2014-15, who went on an incredible run post-acquisition, has seen Kuemper relegated to backup duty with no end in sight. He may have a chance at playing his way into a bigger role elsewhere, though.

    Speaking about the Wild’s plans for the upcoming draft, Minnesota GM Chuck Fletcher said that teams have been calling and inquiring about the availability of Kuemper, per the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Rand. With Kuemper currently a restricted free agent and with the chance to become unrestricted at the end of his next contract — which would likely be a one-year deal in Minnesota — Fletcher is listening.

    “The net right now is Devan (Dubnyk’s),” Fletcher said, via Rand. “If we have an opportunity to move (Kuemper) and get a fair return, we’ll look at it. But I don’t want to be too aggressive and leave us short in that position.” Read more

  • Panthers get Yandle’s rights from Rangers for sixth-round, conditional fourth-round pick

    Jared Clinton
    Keith Yandle (Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

    In what has already been a busy day on the trade market, the Florida Panthers are getting in on the fun.

    Looking to build their blueline, the Panthers have sent a sixth-round draft pick and conditional fourth-round selection to the New York Rangers for the negotiating rights to veteran blueliner Keith Yandle, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger. The conditional selection will only be included in the deal if Yandle, 29, signs with the Panthers, and Florida will have little less than two weeks to make that happen before free agency opens on July 1.

    Locking up Yandle would be a big get for the Panthers, who would end up the winners of the sweepstakes for arguably the top free agent rearguard. Yandle scored five goals and 47 points in his first and only full season as a member of the Rangers. Though he played a second-pairing role with the Blueshirts, Yandle would almost certainly become a top-pairing defenseman in Florida, especially if free agent-to-be Brian Campbell doesn’t end up returning to the Cats. Read more

  • Sabres acquire rights to NCAA standout Vesey from Predators for third-round pick

    Jared Clinton
    Jimmy Vesey (Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

    Jimmy Vesey is the most sought after free agent coming out of the NCAA, but he won’t hit the open market until Aug. 15. And with the Nashville Predators, the team which drafted Vesey, knowing full well the 23-year-old won’t be signing with them, they’ve flipped the NCAA standout’s exclusive negotiating rights for a third-round pick.

    In a deal that came out of left field, the Buffalo Sabres shipped a 2016 third-round pick, 76th overall, to the Predators in exchange the rights to talk contract with Vesey. While Buffalo could have waited until Vesey became an unrestricted free agent, getting his rights now gives Sabres GM Tim Murray time to try to convince Vesey that Buffalo is the right fit, and Murray sees reasons why Vesey would want to suit up for the Sabres.

    “Why not us? Why not give it a shot? We have a spot in our top six for him,” Murray told TSN’s Bob McKenzie. “We had four 3rd-round picks. If I could’ve traded Jamie McGinn for Vesey’s rights at deadline, I’d have done it. We’ll give (signing Vesey) our best shot.” Read more

  • Updated: Maple Leafs land Andersen from Ducks, sign him to five-year, $25-million deal

    Jared Clinton
    Frederik Andersen (Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images)

    Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jonathan Bernier entered training camp on a brand new two-year, $8.3-million contract in 2015-16. This year it appears he’ll be heading into camp with some serious competition for his starting job.

    The Maple Leafs announced Monday afternoon they have acquired restricted free agent goaltender Frederik Andersen from the Anaheim Ducks for two draft picks — the first-round, 30th-overall selection in 2016 and a second-round pick in 2017.

    Anaheim had long been trying to get Andersen under contract, with GM Bob Murray saying as recently as this past weekend that he was working on getting a deal done. Murray did, however, acknowledge that eventually one of Andersen or John Gibson would have to be moved. With Gibson being the presumptive goaltender of the future, though, it seemed Andersen would be the one sent packing. Monday’s deal makes that official.

    The acquisition addresses a definite need for the Maple Leafs, who were hoping to rely on, but were mostly let down by, the play of Bernier this past season. Read more

  • Penguins raise Stanley Cup banner against Capitals, teams announce home-openers

    Jared Clinton
    Sidney Crosby (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    Sidney Crosby’s Pittsburgh Penguins will celebrate their 2016 Stanley Cup victory with a banner-raising ceremony in front of one of the Penguins, and Crosby’s, greatest rivals: Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals.

    It will be the second Stanley Cup banner-raising ceremony for the Penguins during the Crosby era, but the first time one will be hoisted to the rafters of the CONSOL Energy Center ahead of the season. The Penguins three past championships came while the team was playing in Civic Arena, also known as the Mellon Arena. Two of the banners were raised during Mario Lemieux’s heyday, with the third coming in October 2010, early in Crosby’s career, in front of the New York Rangers.

    The Penguins weren’t the only team to announce their home-opener Monday, though they’ll be the only team raising a Stanley Cup banner. All 30 teams announced their first home date of the 2016-17 season, and there are several other matchups that should make for excellent season debuts for the home sides. Read more

  • Report: Stars free agent defenseman Demers seeking $5.5 million per season

    Jared Clinton
    Jason Demers (Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)

    The Stars have already had to part ways with one of their top defenseman, Alex Goligoski, because the free agent-to-be couldn’t come to terms on a contract with Dallas. Goligoski may be joined as a Stars cast off, though, as it appears Jason Demers could be on his way out of Texas, as well.

    The Globe and Mail’s James Mirtle reported that Demers’ free agency ask is somewhere in the $5.5 million per season range, which would be hard for the Stars to carry going forward. Coming off of a seven-goal, 23-point season in which he averaged nearly 21 minutes of ice time per night, that seems like a steep asking price for Demers, but it’s one that he could potentially have met on the open market. It could also be a simple negotiating strategy for Demers — start high, and hope you can find some middle-ground.

    This past season, Demers carried a $3.4-million cap hit, but his actual salary was $3.65 million. An increase of two million seems unlikely, but even more unlikely considering the Stars aren’t in a position to be handing that type of raise out. Read more