Flames lock up Lindholm with 6-year, $29.1M contract

The Calgary Flames re-signed forward Elias Lindholm to a six-year contract worth $4.85 million annually, the team announced Monday.

Lindholm and Noah Hanifin were acquired from the Carolina Hurricanes following last month's NHL draft in a blockbuster trade that sent Dougie Hamilton, Micheal Ferland, and Adam Fox the other way.

The 23-year-old Lindholm was chosen fifth overall by the Hurricanes in 2013, but his development has taken slightly longer than expected. He's played in five NHL seasons, and compiled 16 goals and 44 points during 2017-18, both one shy of his career highs.

The Swede is capable of playing both center and on the wing, so head coach Bill Peters (who coached Lindholm in Carolina) can use him in a variety of ways. However, a spot alongside Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau on Calgary's top line could be the quickest formula for Lindholm to find his untapped potential.

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Predators, Hartman sign 1-year, $875K contract

The Nashville Predators signed restricted free-agent forward Ryan Hartman to a one-year, $875,000 contract on Monday, the team announced.

The 23-year-old was acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks ahead of last season's trade deadline along with a fifth-round pick. In exchange, the Predators shipped out a first- and fourth-round selection, as well as prospect Victor Ejdsell.

In 79 games split between the Blackhawks and Predators, Hartman tallied 11 goals and matched his career high with 31 points.

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‘No contract progress’ in talks between Panarin, Blue Jackets, says agent

Despite a meeting in Nice, France, on Monday between Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen and forward Artemi Panarin, it appears the sides are no closer to a contract extension.

While Kekalainen declined to comment following the meeting, Panarin's agent, Dan Milstein, said it was a "good conversation," but that there was "no contract progress at this time," according to The Athletic's Aaron Portzline.

It was reported back in June that Panarin wasn't ready to consider signing a contract extension with the Blue Jackets, and that Kekalainen was therefore testing the market for him.

The 26-year-old Panarin has one year left on his current two-year, $12-million contract, after which he'll become an unrestricted free agent.

He's coming off his first season with Columbus following a trade that sent Brandon Saad to the Chicago Blackhawks in return. Panarin finished 2017-18 with 27 goals and a career-high 82 points in 81 games.

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4 fantasy hockey breakout candidates

Players available in the middle of a fantasy hockey draft who will greatly exceed expectations are just as important as the valuable sleepers in the later rounds.

Targeting players who are on the radar of most managers in your league by picking them a round or two ahead of where their career production dictates is a major key to fantasy success.

Here's a look at four players who could have breakout campaigns in 2018-19 and should be available at reasonable draft slots.

C/LW Alex Galchenyuk, Coyotes

The No. 3 pick from the 2012 NHL Draft was finally granted his freedom from the Montreal Canadiens after a trade, and he should instantly play a massive role for the Arizona Coyotes.

The 24-year-old Galchenyuk enjoyed a solid season in 2015-16 with 30 goals and 56 points. But he hasn't even hit the 20-goal mark in either of the two seasons since, and his shooting percentage dipped to a career-low 8.9 in 2017-18. Galchenyuk has never averaged more than 16:30 of ice time per game over a full campaign, and he's constantly been switched between the wing and center.

He'll battle with Derek Stepan during the preseason for the first-line center role in Arizona. The recent addition of winger Vinnie Hinostroza through a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks provides the Coyotes with sorely needed depth on the outside.

Galchenyuk ranked second among Canadiens' forwards with 240:01 of power-play time last season, totalling a team-best 24 points. Both of those figures exceed those of Stepan, and should provide the new addition with further fantasy opportunities.

LW/RW Pavel Buchnevich, Rangers

Buchnevich took a tremendous step forward in his sophomore season, playing in nearly twice as many games and more than doubling his rookie-year point total. His shooting percentage dipped to a more reasonable 10.3, but seeing just shy of an extra two minutes of ice time allowed him to register an additional shot on goal every two games.

The Rangers' thin forward depth should give Buchnevich an inside track to play on the top line beside Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider. He'll either be the focus of the second power-play unit or work the point on the top squad.

Losing J.T. Miller, Rick Nash, and David Desharnais since the trade deadline leaves 342 shots on goal from last season to replace. There will be plenty of chances for Buchnevich entering the third and final season of his rookie deal.

D Darnell Nurse, Oilers

Nurse has steadily progressed since being the seventh overall pick in the 2013 draft.

The 6-foot-4, 221-pound defender showed some signs of offensive upside during the 2017-18 season, registering 194 shots on goal. He ranked second among Oilers skaters while averaging 22:15 of ice time per game, and only Connor McDavid and Oscar Klefbom fired more shots on target.

Had he been able to match his 5.9 percent shooting rate from the previous season, Nurse would've tallied 11 goals last year. He did, however, record 20 assists, largely as a result of playing with McDavid at even strength. Increased time with the man advantage, and some team success after the Oilers ranked just 20th in goals last season, should allow Nurse to approach the 40-point threshold.

C/LW Pierre-Luc Dubois, Blue Jackets

Dubois' ceiling is strongly tied to the whereabouts of Artemi Panarin in 2018-19. Panarin has been included in trade rumors following a report that he's not ready to sign an extension with the Blue Jackets.

Dubois finished third in team scoring as a rookie last season, behind Panarin and defenseman Seth Jones, despite trailing the two by averages of 3.5 and eight minutes of ice time per game. He's projected to serve as the top center this year with Panarin and Cam Atkinson filing in beside him.

If Panarin is traded for nothing more than draft picks and prospects, Dubois should be able to greatly improve on his rookie success. He'd likely be asked to take on a large share of replacing the 228 shots on goal left behind by Panarin, and push for a 30-goal season while riding his reasonably sustainable 12.1 shooting percentage in 2017-18.

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)

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Shark’s Pavelski finishes 3rd at Lake Tahoe behind winner Tony Romo

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Nev. (AP) Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo rallied from four points back to win his first American Century Championship at Lake Tahoe on Sunday.

Romo, who retired after the 2016 NFL season and is now an NFL analyst, had 27 points on the day to beat three-time defending champion Mark Mulder and San Jose Sharks captain Joe Pavelski, the the leader after the first two rounds.

''It's a special win,'' said Romo, who had finished second three times in seven previous trips to the annual celebrity golf tournament at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course. ''It feels like you're playing a tournament back home here. The day felt good for a lot of reasons.''

Romo tapped in for par, worth one point, on the 18th hole to finish with 71 points, three ahead of Mulder, the former major league pitcher. He then caught a flight to Berlin, Wis., where he was to compete in a 36-hole U.S. Amateur qualifying tournament on Monday.

The American Century Championship uses a modified Stableford scoring system which rewards points for eagles (six), birdies (three) and pars (one) and deducts points (two) for double bogeys or worse. Bogeys are worth zero points.

Pavelski had a 7-foot eagle putt on the par-5 18th that could have tied Romo, but it slid by. He finished with 66 points, tied for third with Ray Allen, who will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Sept. 7.

''It feels like nothing went in for me today,'' Pavelski said. ''But I couldn't ask for more than to have that putt to tie on the last hole.''

Romo plays as an amateur, so his $125,000 first-place check from the $600,000 purse will go to local charities and the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, the primary charitable arm of title sponsor American Century Investments.

Rounding out the top five were Trent Dilfer, a Super Bowl-winning quarterback with the Baltimore Ravens in 2001, and former tennis player Mardy Fish. Each had 62 points.

Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry, who fell out of contention with a mediocre round Saturday, jumped into Lake Tahoe amidst much fanfare after losing a bet to his father, Dell. The elder Curry jumped into the lake last year, so he negotiated a 20-point handicap and won by two points.

Other notable players in the 92-player field included John Smoltz, the MLB hall of Fame pitcher who two weeks ago competed in the U.S. Senior Open and finished 10th here with 53 points; Steph Curry, who finished tied for 11th with retired Marine and wounded war hero Andrew Bachelder (50); actor Jack Wagner (16th, 47 points); Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (tied for 18th, 44 points); actor Ray Romano (tied for 71st, minus-26 points); comedian Larry the Cable Guy (tied for 77th, minus-33 points); and former NBA great Charles Barkley, who finished alone in last with minus-93 points.

The tournament drew 57,097 fans for the week, setting an attendance record for the fourth straight year.

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Hockey world mourns loss of Ray Emery

Warning: Post contains coarse language

The hockey world lost one of the most memorable netminders in recent history on Sunday.

Former Ottawa Senators goaltender Ray Emery died after drowning early in the morning while swimming in the Hamilton Harbour in Hamilton, Ontario.

Emery dressed in 287 NHL games for five teams across 11 seasons, and judging by the overwhelming compassion expressed by former teammates and friends, he will surely be missed.

"On behalf of the Ottawa Senators, I wish to express my sincere condolences on the passing of Ray Emery. Ray was instrumental in our run to the 2007 Stanley Cup Final, and at his best he brought a competitive edge and combative mentality to the game. On behalf of our entire organization, I wish to extend my deepest sympathies to Ray's family, friends and loved ones." - Senators owner Eugene Melnyk said in a release.

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Former NHL goalie Ray Emery dies after drowning

Former NHL goaltender Ray Emery died early Sunday morning in Hamilton, Ontario after drowning while swimming with friends, Hamilton police confirmed.

Emery was 35 years old.

He played 287 career NHL games across an 11-year career that included stops with the Ottawa Senators, Philadelphia Flyers, Anaheim Ducks, and Chicago Blackhawks.

Emery last suited up during the 2015-16 season where he split his time between the Ontario Reign and Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League and the Manheim Eagles of the DEL in Germany.

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Canadiens agree to terms with Phillip Danault on 3-year contract

The Montreal Canadiens agreed to terms with center Phillip Danault on a three-year contract Sunday, the team announced. The new deal carries an annual average value of $3.083 million per season.

Danault is coming off a campaign in which he was hampered by injury. The 25-year-old's 2017-18 was derailed after he took a Zdeno Chara slap shot off the side of his head in January. Danault still suited up in 52 games, but he only managed to register eight goals and 17 assists in 16:35 of ice time per night.

Despite his lack of career productivity so far, the Victoriaville, Quebec native will still play an important role up the middle next season for a Canadiens squad that seriously lacks forward depth.

Danault was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks with their 26th overall pick in 2011. He was set for a salary arbitration hearing on July 20, but that won't happen now that the two sides have agreed to terms on a new deal.

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