All posts by Josh Gold-Smith

Draisaitl believes Oilers are too good to miss playoffs this season

Leon Draisaitl doesn't think the Edmonton Oilers are going to replicate last season's subpar result.

"I think we're too good of a team where we're not at least competing in the playoffs or not in the race," the Oilers forward told NHL.com's Mike Zeisberger on Thursday. "And even if we are, that's probably not good enough. We want to make the playoffs and I think we have the team to do it. Now it's up to the players to show it."

The Oilers finished with the NHL's ninth-worst record in 2017-18 after qualifying for the postseason for the first time in 11 years and advancing to the second round in the prior campaign.

Edmonton won only 36 games last season, but Draisaitl appears motivated to ensure the club gets back in the playoff hunt.

"We, as players, need to take ownership and be the best team we can be," he said. "I think that last year we weren't the team that we are, or that we want to be. Seasons like that happen, but we have to make sure it doesn't happen again."

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Report: Berard sues NHL over brain injuries

Yet another player is taking legal action against the NHL over head injuries.

Former defenseman Bryan Berard is suing the league, claiming that it failed to protect him from repetitive brain injuries throughout his career, and that he now has serious medical problems as a result, according to TMZ.

The first overall pick in 1995 said the NHL has a responsibility to "cease (its) patent glorification of, and profiting from, fist-fighting and violence in the league."

Berard, who claims to have suffered at least five concussions, added that the NHL needs to not only care about the former players "on whose backs and brains (it) reaped billions of dollars," but also that it must prioritize long-term safety over profit.

Several other former players, including Garth Butcher, Ian Turnbull, Mark Hardy, and John Cullen, have filed similar suits against the league, according to TMZ.

More than 100 former players are part of an ongoing concussion lawsuit against the NHL for which a federal judge recently denied class-action status. Had that been permitted, more than 5,000 former players would've been allowed to join the case.

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Ellis says he took less to allow Predators to keep core together

Ryan Ellis had more than just his own interests in mind when he agreed to an eight-year, $50-million contract extension earlier this week.

"I'm getting paid more than enough to play hockey," the Nashville Predators defenseman told reporters Thursday. "It was just about coming across a fair deal that would work for both sides. We have other guys that need to be re-upped and need to be signed in the future, and I had to do my part to keep this thing going in the right direction."

Ellis is entering the final season of the five-year, $12.5-million pact he inked with the club in 2014, which carries a cap hit of $2.5 million. His new cap hit will be $6.25 million beginning in 2019-20.

He likely could've commanded more money had he chosen to enter free agency next summer, but he felt giving the Predators a little cap flexibility would help them remain Stanley Cup contenders for years to come.

"If we can keep everyone here and keep the core together, I think we can compete for a Stanley Cup for the next 10 years, at least," Ellis said. "That's bold to say, but I think we believe a lot in the people that we have in our room … and I just really wanted to be a part of it."

Nashville has about $7.6 million in cap space with no remaining free agents. However, franchise goaltender Pekka Rinne has one year left before hitting unrestricted free agency, talented defenseman Roman Josi has two years remaining on his deal, and gifted young forward Kevin Fiala is one year away from restricted free agency.

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Nylander feeling no extra pressure to sign with Leafs after Larkin’s deal

William Nylander says he doesn't feel there's any heightened need to get a contract done with the Toronto Maple Leafs following Dylan Larkin's new long-term pact with the Detroit Red Wings.

"Now that contract negotiations have started you're more aware of what's going on with things like that," Nylander told NHL.com's Mike Zeisberger on Thursday. "Right now, once something like that happens, you're more updated on what's going on around the league, more educated. But once you sign, I don't think you pay attention to that.

"There is no extra pressure or urgency to get something done just because guys like (Larkin) sign."

Nylander is a restricted free agent without a contract entering the upcoming season.

It's not unreasonable to compare the 22-year-old Maple Leafs forward's situation to that of Larkin, who was an RFA himself before inking a five-year, $30.5-million deal with the Red Wings last Friday. Larkin is also 22, and he produced 63 points while Nylander posted 61 last season.

However, Nylander doesn't appear concerned with Toronto general manager Kyle Dubas' approach to his negotiations.

"I've said all along that Kyle wanted to take things slow and I'm fine with that," Nylander said. "They're going back and forth with my agent from what I hear. We'll see what happens. They said it would take a while and I'm still not worried. When it gets done, it gets done."

Related: Projecting William Nylander's next contract

Earlier this month, Nylander told theScore's John Matisz that he'd prefer to sign a long-term contract rather than a bridge deal.

Dubas insisted back in July that "we can and we will" retain the dynamic young trio of Nylander, Auston Matthews, and Mitch Marner, the latter two of whom became eligible to sign new deals July 1.

Leafs training camp will open with medicals Sept. 13, followed by the first on-ice session the next day.

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Ducks sign Kase to 3-year contract

The Anaheim Ducks have inked forward Ondrej Kase to a three-year deal, the club announced Wednesday.

His new pact carries a $2.6-million average annual value, a league source told the Orange County Register's Elliott Teaford.

Kase was a restricted free agent who finished second on the team with 20 goals in 66 games last season.

The 22-year-old was selected 205th overall by the Ducks in 2014.

Anaheim's lone remaining free agent is fellow 22-year-old forward Nick Ritchie, who is an RFA.

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Matthews, Gaudreau headline star-studded Jim Johannson charity game

A who's who of NHL players with American ties will play in a benefit game to raise money for the late Jim Johannson's family and USA Hockey later this month.

Here's the full list of participants in the Stars and Stripes Showdown, which will take place on Aug. 26 in Plymouth, Michigan:

Players

NHL Team Player
Anaheim Ducks Patrick Eaves
Anaheim Ducks Cam Fowler
Boston Bruins Anders Bjork
Boston Bruins Charlie McAvoy
Buffalo Sabres Matt Hunwick
Buffalo Sabres Jake McCabe
Calgary Flames Johnny Gaudreau
Calgary Flames Noah Hanifin
Calgary Flames Matthew Tkachuk
Chicago Blackhawks Alex DeBrincat
Chicago Blackhawks Patrick Kane
Chicago Blackhawks Connor Murphy
Colorado Avalanche J.T. Compher
Columbus Blue Jackets Cam Atkinson
Columbus Blue Jackets Seth Jones
Columbus Blue Jackets Zach Werenski
Detroit Red Wings Danny DeKeyser
Detroit Red Wings Luke Glendening
Detroit Red Wings Jimmy Howard
Detroit Red Wings Dylan Larkin
Minnesota Wild Zach Parise
Minnesota Wild Ryan Suter
New York Islanders Anders Lee
New York Rangers Brady Skjei
Ottawa Senators Craig Anderson
Ottawa Senators Colin White
Ottawa Senators Patrick Sieloff
Philadelphia Flyers James van Riemsdyk
Toronto Maple Leafs Connor Carrick
Toronto Maple Leafs Auston Matthews
Vegas Golden Knights Alex Tuch
Winnipeg Jets Kyle Connor
Winnipeg Jets Andrew Copp
Winnipeg Jets Connor Hellebuyck
Winnipeg Jets Jacob Trouba

Coaches

Team Coach
Detroit Red Wings Jeff Blashill
New Jersey Devils John Hynes
New York Rangers David Quinn
Wisconsin Badgers (NCAA) Tony Granato

All proceeds from the game will go to the USA Hockey Foundation's Jim Johannson Legacy Fund - which was established to benefit grassroots community hockey programs across the United States - and the Ellie Johannson College Fund.

Jim Johannson died in his sleep at the age of 53 in January. He was the assistant executive director of USA Hockey and had been serving as the general manager of the 2018 U.S. Olympic men's hockey team.

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Brady Tkachuk hoping to crack Sens’ roster out of camp, remain for the season

Brady Tkachuk has his sights set on playing in the NHL right away, and he believes he's ready to stick around for the entire campaign.

The Ottawa Senators prospect made that clear when asked what he believes is the best spot for him during the upcoming season.

"I think it's with Ottawa and in the NHL," Tkachuk told TSN 1200 on Monday. "For me it's a dream of mine to play there. I think I'm physically ready and mentally ready for the grind that comes with the NHL. ... At the end of the day, it's where the management thinks is best for me, but I'm going to try my best to be on Ottawa for the whole year."

The fourth overall pick in June's draft signed his entry-level contract with the Senators on Monday, opting to leave Boston University after a solid freshman season in which he posted 31 points in 40 games.

"BU was such a great spot to me, so it was hard to leave, but it had to happen eventually," Tkachuk said. "It's a dream of mine to be in the NHL, and I thought this was the right time."

The Senators have a few options with Tkachuk, who will turn 19 on Sept. 16.

They can give him a spot with the NHL club out of camp and keep him on the big club's roster all season, as he's aiming for. But they could also either loan him to the OHL's London Knights, who own his junior rights, or assign him to their AHL affiliate, the Belleville Senators, perhaps after giving him a nine-game trial with Ottawa.

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Brady Tkachuk to sign with Senators, dad Keith confirms

The Ottawa Senators' top pick from the 2018 draft is leaving the college ranks.

Brady Tkachuk has decided to turn pro and will sign a contract with the club, as his father, Keith, told NHL.com's Mike Morreale on Saturday night.

The 18-year-old informed Boston University head coach Albie O'Connell of his plans, as reported earlier Saturday by ESPN's John Buccigross.

Tkachuk was mulling whether to return for a sophomore season at BU or to sign an NHL contract.

The Senators selected the winger fourth overall after he posted 31 points in 40 games with the Terriers.

He'll join Keith and his older brother, Matthew, as members of the Tkachuk family to sign NHL deals.

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Report: Kulak wants $1.15M from Flames, who are offering 2-way deal

Brett Kulak and the Calgary Flames reportedly have very different assessments of what the defenseman is worth.

Kulak is asking for a contract worth $1.15 million per season, while the club's offer is a two-way deal worth $650,000 at the NHL level, according to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman.

The arbitration hearing for the 24-year-old restricted free agent is scheduled for Monday.

Kulak went unclaimed after being placed on waivers Thursday.

He played exclusively at the NHL level this past season, chipping in eight points in 71 games.

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Monika Caryk applies to disclose info in Karlsson harassment scandal

Mike Hoffman's fiancee wants to clear her name after being accused of cyberbullying Erik and Melinda Karlsson.

Monika Caryk filed an application called a Norwich Order with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on Thursday, according to court documents obtained by ESPN's Emily Kaplan.

Caryk's application says she is seeking to "expose the real perpetrators responsible for harassment and cyberbullying Ms. Karlsson, and demonstrate to Ms. Karlsson and the public that I have been wrongly accused."

Melinda Karlsson applied for a peace bond against Caryk on May 4, the Ottawa Citizen's Shaamini Yogaretnam reported about five weeks later. Melinda Karlsson said Caryk waged an online harassment campaign against her and her husband, which included remarks about the death of their son, who was stillborn in March.

Caryk said in her application Thursday that she has never been served with the peace bond and hasn't been summoned for a hearing on whether one should be issued.

That peace bond is currently under seal with the court, according to ESPN.

Hoffman and Caryk have denied the allegations. The Senators said in a statement last month that they are investigating the matter along with the NHL, but Caryk claimed in her application Thursday that, to her knowledge, no such investigation has taken place.

The former Ottawa Senators forward was traded to the Florida Panthers by way of the San Jose Sharks on June 19.

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