All posts by Cory Wilkins

Rangers re-sign McLeod to 1-year deal

The New York Rangers have re-signed rugged winger Cody McLeod to a one-year deal, the team announced Thursday.

Claimed on waivers last season, McLeod skated in 25 games with the Rangers, notching two assists and 39 penalty minutes. He began the season with the Nashville Predators, where he chipped in two points across 23 games.

McLeod spent part of two seasons with the Predators after a 10-year run with the Colorado Avalanche that began in 2007.

The 34-year-old has appeared in 738 games, registering 71 goals, 55 assists, and 1,563 penalty minutes.

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Danault, Trouba lead off summer arbitration hearings

Restricted free agents eligible for arbitration will make their case beginning July 20.

Leading off the offseason proceedings includes Montreal Canadiens center Phillip Danault, San Jose Sharks forward Chris Tierney, Dallas Stars winger Devin Shore, and Winnipeg Jets blue-liner Jacob Trouba.

The four are among the 37 players whose arbitration dates were announced by the NHLPA on Thursday. Initially, 44 players filed, but seven have already settled, counting Trevor van Riemsdyk, Matt Nieto, Dmitrij Jaskin, Oskar Sundqvist, Colin Miller, Alex Lyon, and Connor Hellebuyck.

Teams and players can continue to negotiate up until their scheduled hearing. Last year, only one arbitration case - involving Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt - went through with a hearing, where he was awarded a two-year, $4.5-million agreement.

Here's the full schedule of hearings this summer:

Date Player (Team)
July 20 Phillip Danault (Canadiens)
July 20 Chris Tierney (Sharks)
July 20 Devin Shore (Stars)
July 20 Jacob Trouba (Jets)
July 22 Adam Lowry (Jets)
July 22 Blake Coleman (Devils)
July 23 Brett Kulak (Flames)
July 23 Liam O'Brien (Capitals)
July 23 Matt Dumba (Wild)
July 24 Brandon Montour (Ducks)
July 25 Joel Armia (Canadiens)
July 25 Joel Edmundson (Blues)
July 25 Brandon Tanev (Jets)
July 27 Mark Jankowski (Flames)
July 28 David Rittich (Flames)
July 28 Jamie Oleksiak (Penguins)
July 28 Jason Zucker (Wild)
July 29 Troy Stecher (Canucks)
July 30 Jimmy Vesey (Rangers)
July 30 Tomas Nosek (Golden Knights)
July 30 Garnet Hathaway (Flames)
July 30 Mackenzie Weegar (Panthers)
July 30 Marko Dano (Jets)
July 31 Brady Skjei (Rangers)
Aug. 1 Cody Ceci (Senators)
Aug. 1 Elias Lindholm (Flames)
Aug. 1 Stefan Noesen (Devils)
Aug. 1 Gemel Smith (Stars)
Aug. 2 Miikka Salomaki (Predators)
Aug. 2 Kevin Hayes (Rangers)
Aug. 3 Mattias Janmark (Stars)
Aug. 3 Mark Stone (Senators)
Aug. 3 Taylor Leier (Flyers)
Aug. 3 Brock Nelson (Islanders)
Aug. 4 Ryan Spooner (Rangers)
Aug. 4 Patrik Nemeth (Avalanche)
Aug. 4 William Karlsson (Golden Knights)

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Devils’ Schneider continues injury rehab, may miss start of season

Cory Schneider continues to recover from offseason hip surgery, and there are no assurances he'll be ready to go when the season kicks off in October.

The New Jersey Devils netminder underwent hip surgery in early May and was given a five-month recovery period, meaning his return to the ice will cut it close with the start of the regular-season schedule.

The Devils' first game comes Oct. 6 against the Edmonton Oilers, but it will be hosted in Sweden as part of the NHL Global Series.

"Whether it's September or October, we are not going to rush Cory," Devils general manager Ray Shero told Mike Morreale of "We have Keith Kinkaid, and that's why we re-signed Eddie Lack.

"(Schneider) played through (the injury), but at the end of the year it was something he had to have done. Unfortunately, it's a common injury with goalies nowadays. It was affecting other parts of his game. Hopefully everything is taken care of and put in the rearview mirror when he does return."

A nagging groin injury - coupled with impressive play from backup Kinkaid - limited Schneider to just 40 appearances last season, in which he posted a 17-16-6 showing and a .907 save percentage.

Kinkaid then got the start in the postseason against the Tampa Bay Lightning before Schneider stepped in for Game 2. In the playoffs, Schneider's play was much more formidable, as he finished with a 1.78 goals-against average and an incredible .950 save rate across four games.

Schneider, 32, is signed through the next four seasons at a $6-million cap hit.

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Canadiens invite Despres to training camp on pro tryout offer

The Montreal Canadiens have invited veteran defenseman Simon Despres to training camp on a professional tryout, the team announced Thursday.

The 26-year-old spent last season with the KHL's Bratislava Slovan, netting four goals and seven assists in 44 games. He last appeared in the NHL in 2016-17 with the Anaheim Ducks but was limited to just one game due to concussion symptoms.

The Ducks bought out the final three years of Despres' contract in June 2017.

A native of Laval, Quebec, Despres was selected in the first round of the 2009 draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins.

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Free-agent interview period irks Lamoriello

While it's hard to say whether the NHL free-agent interview period tipped the scales in the John Tavares sweepstakes, the process certainly didn't sit well with New York Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello.

"I was extremely disappointed with the window of interviews; that was not the intention of how the league and union intended it," Lamoriello told Andrew Gross of Newsday. "I was very disappointed with the way the process was. I've never seen it like this one."

In 2013, the NHL introduced an interview period allowing teams to speak with pending unrestricted free agents prior to July 1. It was intended as an opportunity to gauge the interest of soon-to-be available players, but the interview period has gone one step further, with both sides talking parameters and agreeing to terms ahead of free agency.

Lamoriello's remarks come after Tavares used the interview period to sit down with five clubs, plus the Islanders, prior to signing with his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Boston Bruins, Dallas Stars, San Jose Sharks, and Tampa Bay Lightning also presented to the 27-year-old. Each club had the option of signing the center to a maximum seven-year pact, save for the Islanders, who could offer an additional eighth year up until June 30.

While the Islanders ultimately lost out on Tavares, the club's newfound cap space didn't last long, as New York added veteran forwards Leo Komarov and Valtteri Filppula in free agency, then re-acquired tough customer Matt Martin in a deal with the Maple Leafs.

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Report: Rangers eyeing Callahan reunion should Lightning need to dump salary

If the New York Rangers are indeed the third party involved in a potential Erik Karlsson trade, former captain Ryan Callahan could be headed back to the Broadway Blueshirts, reports Larry Brooks of the New York Post.

The Tampa Bay Lightning remain a favorite to land Karlsson from the Ottawa Senators, but with less than $4 million in cap space, and with the superstar blue-liner due for an extension, Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman will need to shed some salary in order to make a deal work.

Karlsson is due $6.5 million next season, per CapFriendly, but he could be seeking a new contract in line with Drew Doughty's recently signed eight-year, $88-million extension.

Enter the Rangers, who are reportedly interested in a reunion with Callahan. The 33-year-old has a $5.8-million cap hit for the next two seasons, and while he holds a modified no-trade clause, accepting a trade back to New York seems like a safe bet.

Brooks notes that should the Rangers take on Callahan's contract, the Lightning would likely need to sweeten the deal, possibly with a draft pick. New York already owns Tampa Bay's second-round pick in next year's draft as part of last season's Ryan McDonagh trade. As per the conditions of that deal, the draft pick will become the Lightning's first-rounder if they win the Stanley Cup in 2019.

New York dealt Callahan to Tampa Bay at the 2014 trade deadline in the deal that brought Martin St. Louis to the Rangers.

Callahan tallied five goals and 13 assists in 67 games with the Lightning last season. He underwent shoulder surgery in late May and was given a five-month recovery period.

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Report: Devils, Coyotes in mix for free-agent Patrick Maroon

There are teams doing some last-minute shopping for Patrick Maroon.

The St. Louis Blues are reportedly closing in on an agreement with the free-agent forward. However, a deal hasn't been signed yet, and the New Jersey Devils and Arizona Coyotes are showing interest in the hulking winger, reports Jeremy Rutherford of The Athletic.

Maroon's agent, Ben Hankinson, confirmed to The Athletic's Michael Russo that the Minnesota Wild have shown interest, too. But cap space is an issue for the Wild, making a Maroon signing unlikely.

Cap concerns aren't a problem in New Jersey ($23 million) or Arizona ($14.8 million), meaning a deal with either club could come together easily.

Maroon, a St. Louis native, might take a hometown discount. That would help the Blues, as with just $5 million in cap space and restricted free-agent defenseman Joel Edmundson needing a new contract, dollars are tight in St. Louis.

Maroon, 30, recorded 43 points in 74 games last season, split between the Edmonton Oilers and Devils. He potted a career-high 27 goals with the Oilers in 2016-17.

(Cap numbers courtesy of

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Canadiens name Richardson assistant coach

Luke Richardson joined the coaching staff of the Montreal Canadiens, the team announced Monday.

Richardson comes to the Canadiens after one year as an assistant coach with the New York Islanders. He previously spent three seasons as an assistant with the Ottawa Senators, followed by a four-year run as the bench boss of the Senators' minor-league club.

The Ottawa native is the Canadiens' second coaching hire this offseason, after the team appointed Dominique Ducharme as assistant coach in April. The two will work under associate coach Kirk Muller and head coach Claude Julien.

"I'm delighted with the addition of Luke Richardson to our coaching staff. Luke is a very credible hockey person and a very knowledgeable coach," Julien said in a statement. "We undertook a process to select a coach with specific criteria in mind, and after taking the time to meet with several candidates, we're very happy that Luke accepted to join our group. He has already been told that his role on our staff will be to work with our defensemen."

A veteran of more than 1,400 NHL games, Richardson's pro career included stints with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers, Philadelphia Flyers, Columbus Blue Jackets, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Senators.

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Dahlin signs entry-level deal with Sabres

Rasmus Dahlin has signed his entry-level contract with the Buffalo Sabres, the team announced Monday.

The top pick in the 2018 draft, Dahlin is expected to immediately step into the Sabres' lineup and stabilize the Buffalo blue line alongside defensive stalwart Rasmus Ristolainen.

In 41 games with the Swedish Hockey League's Frolunda HC last season, Dahlin notched seven goals and 13 assists. The Swedish import has been compared to fellow countrymen Nicklas Lidstrom and Victor Hedman.

Dahlin is the third player in the Sabres' franchise history to be selected with the first-overall pick, following Gilbert Perreault (1970) and Pierre Turgeon (1987).

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