Sabres sign Beaulieu to two-year contract

The Buffalo Sabres signed defenseman Nathan Beaulieu to a two-year contract, the team announced Monday. The deal is worth an average annual value of $2.4 million.

Beaulieu was acquired from the Montreal Canadiens as a restricted free agent in June in exchange for a third-round draft pick. He was originally drafted by the Canadiens 17th overall in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

He's coming off a career season of four goals and 24 assists for 28 points, while averaging 19:29 of ice time. He's totaled 60 points in 225 games.

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Contract talks between Bruins, Pastrnak ‘in holding pattern’

Almost two months since general manager Don Sweeney said the Boston Bruins and David Pastrnak were moving in the right direction toward a long-term deal, the two sides aren't any closer to agreeing on a new contract.

"We're in a holding pattern," Sweeney said according to Ty Anderson of WEEI.

"I have not made as much progress as I'd like since the last (update)," Sweeney further disclosed. "But we have plenty of time and the opportunities to continue to talk, and we'll find a way to keep talking."

Anderson added the following in terms of the possible gap that exists in negotiations:

It's believed that the Bruins would prefer to get Pastrnak, who is currently with the Bruins on a trip to China as part of a partnership with O.R.G. Packaging, under contract for somewhere close to $6 million per season on a long-term deal, while Pastrnak's camp could be looking for something closer to $7 million per season.

Pastrnak remains one of the most prominent restricted free agents yet to be signed, along with Edmonton's Leon Draisaitl.

Drafted 25th overall in 2014, Pastrnak set career highs in goals (34), assists (36), and points (70) in 75 games for the Bruins last season.

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Watch: Vasilevskiy’s color-changing mask will blow your mind

Whenever Andrei Vasilevskiy takes a swig from the water bottle on top of his net this season, don't be surprised to see him intentionally spraying some on his mask. If a mask has the ability to change color with a splash of water, it would be shame not to show it off.

The light bulb, the internet, and now color-changing ice hockey goalie masks. What will they think of next?

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Agent: Schmidt, Golden Knights in ‘same range’ on potential deal

Nate Schmidt's agent says his client and the Vegas Golden Knights aren't too far apart in contract negotiations.

"We're in the same range," Matt Keator told Steve Carp of the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Monday. "It's just a matter of talking and getting a deal done that's fair to both sides."

Schmidt is a restricted free agent who has an arbitration hearing scheduled for Thursday.

Keator didn't appear to be in a hurry to hammer out a deal with Golden Knights general manager George McPhee.

"I'm sure we'll talk sometime this week," the agent said. "I talked to George last week and there's no rush. There's still time."

Vegas selected Schmidt from the Washington Capitals in the expansion draft last month.

He posted only 17 points in 60 games this past season, but he was playing behind a stacked defense corps in D.C., and managed nearly a point per 60 minutes, according to, while playing just 15:28 per game.

Schmidt is coming off the two-year, $1.625-million contract he signed with the Capitals in 2015.

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Babcock: Leafs expect Matthews to take another step in 2017-18

The Toronto Maple Leafs are for real.

Qualifying for the postseason only one year removed from finishing dead last in the NHL standings cements you as such. One of the main reasons for the resurgence, was No. 1 overall pick Auston Matthews.

And, if you ask Leafs head coach Mike Babcock, Matthews is just beginning to scratch the surface of his potential.

"He's a competitive guy and he expects to take a step this year and we do as well," Babcock said Sunday, according to's Adam Kimelman.

"I don't measure guys by points, I measure guys by how they play and how they compete every day and how much better they get in their determination. We're excited to see what he can do. He feels he's a real good player and wants to be one of the best players in the game."

Thanks in large part to Matthews, the Leafs are no longer a club that teams steamroll through, a trend that has a lot to do with the No. 1 pick's sound two-way game.

"He really improved his 200-foot game last year, more and more pace," said Babcock. "He's gotten way better without the puck so he has the puck more. He can play against everybody. He's got a lot of growth options."

While Matthews' 40-goal, 69-point season is impressive, it's the rest of Toronto's young roster that has its head coach fired up.

"Obviously we have good young players," said Babcock. "We have a lot of them. It's kind of a group that's growing up together. But it's one year and one year doesn't make a career.

"You have to do it again and again and again. We're excited about our opportunities."

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Luongo jealous of Bartman for getting World Series ring from Cubs

Florida Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo could go down as one of the best netminders in NHL history to never receive a Stanley Cup ring.

Fittingly, Luongo, who is a sensation on social media, was extremely envious when finding out that Steve Bartman would receive a 2016 World Series ring from the Chicago Cubs.

To recap, Bartman, a die-hard Cubs fan, interfered with Cubs left fielder Moises Alou's attempt to catch a foul ball in the 2003 National League Championship series against the Florida Marlins. If Alou had caught the ball, the Cubs would have been four outs away from their first World Series appearance since 1945.

Instead, the Marlins scored eight runs in the inning and went on to win the World Series, prolonging the Cubs' championship curse.

Bartman had to be taken into witness protection and was harassed by many fellow fans for costing the Cubs a chance at a World Series ring.

To apologize for all the horror Bartman has gone through over the years, he will be awarded a World Series ring by the Cubs, which obviously gave the hilarious Luongo a chance to poke fun at himself.

Luongo is 38 years old, but given the young talent on Florida's roster, it's not totally out of the question that he could hoist the Stanley Cup before his career is all said and done.

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Niederreiter ‘ready’ for more ice time, but knows that’s up to Boudreau

Nino Niederreiter has made a strong case to get more playing time, but he's stopping short of demanding a heavier workload.

The Minnesota Wild forward gave a thoughtful, professional answer Monday when asked whether he deserves an increase in ice time after producing a career season that netted him a new five-year contract.

"I feel like I was ready last year," Niederreiter told Michael Russo of the Star Tribune. "As a player, you feel like you're always ready to play more and get more ice time. But that's the coach's job and I can only control what I can control. I think that's something which I learned early on in my career that too much thinking is not going to do anything good. I've got to do the best I can with the ice time I get. I'm going to prepare myself to get more minutes this year, and if that's the case, then great. And if not, I'll just do whatever I can to be great in the minutes I get."

Niederreiter finished third on the Wild with 25 goals and ranked fourth with 57 points despite playing only 15:04 per game last season, a figure that placed him seventh among Minnesota forwards with at least 21 games played.

The 24-year-old parlayed his career-best single-season production into a $26.25-million deal that will keep him under contract until 2021-2022, while the new pact does not include a no-trade clause.

Niederreiter has improved from a point-production standpoint in each of his four seasons with the Wild after being acquired from the Islanders in a trade for grinder Cal Clutterbuck in the summer of 2013.

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Tocchet warns young Coyotes: ‘Winning hurts’

Rick Tocchet was hired by the Arizona Coyotes earlier this month to turn around a club that's missed the playoffs in five consecutive seasons - a process that's obviously easier said than done.

Related: Tocchet hiring cements Coyotes as early offseason winners

It's a fact that Tocchet is already trying to relay to his young group of players. "I just tell them to slow down," he said, according to Sarah McLellan of

"It’s a process, inch by inch by day. This isn’t an overnight thing, so I think you gotta enjoy the process. It’s gonna hurt. Most of my text messages to most guys are, ‘Winning hurts. It’s gonna hurt. It’s gonna be tough. It’s gonna hurt. But at the end of the day, there’s no better feeling.’ So that’s kind of my motto I try to preach to these kids."

Tocchet's 18 NHL seasons spent as a player could certainly serve him well in his new role as a head coach, especially behind a Coyotes bench that features one of the least experienced lineups in the league.

"There's a partnership in today's game with the player," Tocchet said.

"Obviously, I’m not going to be out partying with the players - don’t get me wrong. But there’s gotta be a relationship with the player, and you’ll get respect back if you give them respect."

He may not be out crushing pints with his new team, but one thing's for sure - Tocchet wants his club to be one of the fastest, most hard-working teams in the league.

"I told them it’s imperative that they come into camp in great shape because the style we’re going to play, you’re going to have to be able to skate and gotta be relentless and you’re going to have to be on top of the puck," he said.

"So that’s going to take work."

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Report: Islanders, de Haan more than $3M apart in contract talks

Calvin de Haan and the New York Islanders reportedly have quite the gap to bridge.

The defenseman is asking for $5 million and the club is offering $1.95 million, Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reports.

De Haan has an arbitration hearing scheduled for Wednesday.

He was a key part of the Islanders' top four on the blue line this past season, ranking fourth in average ice time on the club among players with at least 50 games played and chipping in 25 points while appearing in all 82 games.

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Blue Jackets sign Tortorella to 1-year extension

The Columbus Blue Jackets signed head coach John Tortorella to a one-year contract extension through the 2018-19 season, the team announced Monday.

"John Tortorella and his coaching staff have done a terrific job since his arrival nearly two years ago," said Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen. "He is one of the top coaches in our game and we are excited about what lies ahead for our club with John as our head coach."

Tortorella's new deal keeps him under contract for the next two seasons, and comes on the heels of his second Jack Adams Trophy win. Torts took home the honors for top coach in the league at the 2017 NHL Awards in June.

Under his guidance, the Blue Jackets will look to qualify for the postseason for the second straight year.

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