All posts by Brandon Maron

Nick Ritchie, Pius Suter among players who didn’t receive qualifying offers

A number of notable players did not receive qualifying offers prior to Monday's 5 p.m. ET deadline and are now unrestricted free agents.

The Boston Bruins announced they did not make a qualifying offer to forward Nick Ritchie, which would have been $2 million, per CapFriendly. Boston also did not extend a qualifying offer to forward Ondrej Kase.

Ritchie, 25, had an impressive year with the Bruins in his first full campaign with the club. He scored 15 goals and added 11 assists in 56 games. Kase, 25, only appeared in nine regular-season games with Boston over the past two seasons due to injury.

The Chicago Blackhawks announced they didn't extend qualifying offers to Pius Suter, Adam Gaudette, David Kampf, and Josh Dickinson. Shortly after the deadline, the team inked Gaudette to a one-year contract worth $997.5K, according to The Athletic's Mark Lazerus.

Suter, 25, finished his first year in the NHL after coming from Switzerland. He had 14 goals and 13 assists in 55 games.

Other notable names who did not receive qualifying offers include Edmonton Oilers forwards Dominik Kahun and Jujhar Khaira, San Jose Sharks forward Ryan Donato, New York Islanders forward Michael Dal Colle, and Anaheim Ducks forward Danton Heinen.

All players who did not receive qualifying offers will hit the open market on Wednesday, but a deal can still come to fruition with their respective clubs beforehand.

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Jets re-sign Stastny to 1-year, $3.75M deal

The Winnipeg Jets re-signed forward Paul Stastny to a one-year contract worth $3.75 million, the team announced Monday.

Stastny, 35, scored 13 goals and added 16 assists last season. It was his first campaign back with the club after spending two seasons with the Vegas Golden Knights. Stastny played with the Jets for 19 regular-season games in 2018 when he was acquired at the trade deadline.

At five-on-five last season, Stastny ranked third among Jets skaters with a 49.89 Corsi For rating and fourth with a 49.69 expected goals for percentage.

Stastny provides the Jets with considerable depth down the middle, with Mark Scheifele, Pierre-Luc Dubois, and Adam Lowry also in the mix. Stastny was moved to the wing at times last season.

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5 UFAs best served by re-signing with current teams

There are a number of big-name free agents set to hit the open market on July 28. Many of them held off signing extensions due to the looming Seattle Kraken expansion draft last week, but the attention has shifted with that out of the way now.

It's fair to say that Alex Ovechkin is certainly not leaving the Washington Capitals. However, it appears there's a good chance that most of the other free agents will at the very least entertain offers from teams around the league. Let's take a look at five players that would be best served by sticking with their current clubs rather than switching.

Phillip Danault, Montreal Canadiens

Florence Labelle / National Hockey League / Getty

Danault appears ready to cash in on the open market after a strong playoff showing that resulted in a surprise run to the Stanley Cup Final with the Canadiens. The 28-year-old has transformed into one of the league's top defensive centers after being traded to Montreal in 2016.

It appears the Quebec native earned head coach Dominique Ducharme's trust to get the toughest assignments. Finding a similar role with a new team might prove difficult. His offensive skills aren't the best - he has a combined 30 goals over the past three seasons - but that doesn't entirely matter in Montreal if his strong defensive game continues.

The Canadiens roll out four strong lines, with Danault being the team's top center. Most of Montreal's forwards are set to return next season, so it would be in Danault's best interest to stick around and try to run things back after a miraculous playoff run.

Tyson Barrie, Edmonton Oilers

Andy Devlin / National Hockey League / Getty

Barrie put together one of the best statistical seasons of his career with the Oilers this past campaign, putting up 48 points in 56 games. The 29-year-old took a one-year deal with Edmonton to prove himself after a tough season with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2019-20, and he did just that.

His defensive stats still weren't great, but Barrie wasn't brought in to be a shutdown defender. With Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl leading the way up front, the Oilers need an offensive defenseman to help set things up in the zone and quarterback their menacing power play.

Barrie has made it clear he hopes to get more of a long-term deal, and Edmonton can now make it work with Adam Larsson not returning. For Barrie, it's hard to pass up the opportunity to keep playing with McDavid and Draisaitl in the coming years and continue thriving on the offensive side of the game.

Gabriel Landeskog, Colorado Avalanche

Michael Martin / National Hockey League / Getty

The Avalanche captain couldn't be in a better spot in Colorado. Not only is Landeskog one of the fan favorites as the team's leader, but he's also firmly entrenched on one of the league's most dominant lines alongside Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen. The trio has great chemistry, and Landeskog likely won't find better linemates elsewhere.

Colorado is set up to be one of the league's top teams for the foreseeable future and has a legitimate shot at the Stanley Cup every season. The offer on the table from the Avalanche may not be as high as Landeskog hoped, but they had to pay Cale Makar and will need to do the same for MacKinnon in a couple of years. Sticking in Colorado for a slight discount would surely end up paying off for Landeskog.

David Krejci, Boston Bruins

Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty

Krejci has spent his entire NHL career with the Bruins, so it would make little sense for the 35-year-old to head to a new team now. He's built an extremely solid career essentially anchoring Boston's second line and helping in all situations.

The Bruins got Krejci a shiny new toy last season, bringing in Taylor Hall to play alongside him. The pair showed instant chemistry, with a big rejuvenation in Hall's game. Now that Boston locked up Hall for four more years, it would only be right for Krejci to stick around.

At five-on-five in 16 regular-season games together, the pair posted a stellar 65.69 Corsi For rating and 68.08 expected goals for percentage. They also scored an incredible 14 goals during that span and allowed just one against. With the Bruins' top line firmly entrenched, Krejci has the opportunity to play alongside Hall on what could be one of the best second lines in the NHL if he stays in Boston.

Kyle Palmieri, New York Islanders

Mike Stobe / National Hockey League / Getty

Palmieri had one of the worst seasons of his career last year, but there's no reason to panic just yet. He didn't click well with the Islanders when he arrived prior to the trade deadline but showed a spark during the team's lengthy playoff run by scoring seven goals and adding two assists in 19 games.

With Jordan Eberle out of the picture after being taken by Seattle, Palmieri has a big opportunity in front of him if he stays in New York. He'll likely have a chance to play on the team's No. 1 power-play unit and could even be slotted on the top line alongside Mathew Barzal.

Palmieri shot a career-low 8.7% last season. Despite the poor campaign, he's still only 30 years old and surely has several productive seasons ahead of him. He'll be looked at by numerous teams, but it would be wise for him to stick with the Islanders and seize the opportunity he has there.

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Report: Hjalmarsson retiring after 14 seasons

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson is calling it a career after 14 NHL seasons, reports NHL Network's Craig Morgan.

Hjalmarsson, 34, has been with the Coyotes for the last four campaigns. He previously spent the majority of his career with the Chicago Blackhawks, where he played a vital role on the club's Stanley Cup-winning teams last decade. Hjalmarsson was one of seven players to be part of all three victories in 2010, 2013, and 2015.

The Swedish defenseman was one of the league's top defensive defensemen for more than a decade.

Since the beginning of the 2008-09 campaign, Hjalmarsson ranks second among all defensemen with 75.23 blocked shots per 60 minutes and 13th with 15.12 takeaways per 60 minutes.

The Blackhawks drafted Hjalmarsson 108th overall in 2005. In 821 career games, he scored 25 goals and added 147 assists. He also won a silver medal with Sweden at the 2014 Winter Olympics.

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Kings sign Moore to 2-year, $3.75M extension

The Los Angeles Kings signed forward Trevor Moore to a two-year contract extension that carries an average annual value of $1.875 million, the team announced Saturday.

Moore, 26, had 10 goals and 13 assists in 56 games with the Kings last season. It was the first time in his career that he played a full NHL campaign.

The Kings acquired Moore in a 2020 trade that sent Kyle Clifford and Jack Campbell to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Moore has played 123 career games between the two clubs, totaling 18 goals and 23 assists.

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Avalanche draft Taylor Makar, brother of Cale, with 220th pick

The Colorado Avalanche drafted forward Taylor Makar with the 220th pick of the 2021 NHL Draft. He's the younger brother of Avalanche star defenseman Cale Makar.

Taylor, 20, played with the AJHL's Brooks Bandits last season, notching five goals and 14 assists in 16 games. Cale played for the same team before turning pro.

Cale - who inked a six-year, $54-million extension with the Avalanche earlier Saturday - previously expressed hope that his brother would be drafted this year.

"He's just a very hard-working kid," the older Makar said, according to The Athletic's Peter Baugh. "I compare him to a Josh Anderson but with the pestiness of one of the Tkachuk brothers."

Taylor and Cale are the third set of brothers to be reunited with the same team during the 2021 NHL Draft. Luke Hughes joined his brother Jack with the New Jersey Devils after being selected No. 4, while Colton Dach joined his brother Kirby with the Chicago Blackhawks after being selected 62nd.

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Canucks acquire Ekman-Larsson in blockbuster trade involving Eriksson

The Vancouver Canucks acquired defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson and forward Conor Garland from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for forwards Loui Eriksson, Jay Beagle, and Antoine Roussel, as well as the ninth overall pick in Friday's draft, a second-round pick in 2022, and a seventh-rounder in 2023, the teams announced Friday.

Arizona also retained 12% of Ekman-Larsson's contract, according to TSN's Pierre LeBrun.

Ekman-Larsson, 30, has six years remaining on his contract, which carries an average annual value of $8.25 million. The Coyotes captain managed three goals and 21 assists in 46 games last season. He has 388 points in 769 career contests.

Garland, 25, is an impending restricted free agent. He's coming off a career season, scoring 12 goals and adding 27 assists in 49 games.

The Canucks' trio of forwards have massively underwhelmed since signing lucrative deals. Eriksson is in the final season of a six-year, $36-million pact he signed in 2016. Roussel and Beagle each have one year remaining on their contracts with a $3-million cap hit.

Vancouver sheds some salary with the deal but still has to sign stars Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes to new contracts.

Arizona has been stockpiling assets by taking on contracts from other teams, also acquiring Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere and New York Islanders forward Andrew Ladd. The club now has three second-round picks in this year's draft and five second-rounders in 2022.

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Report: Kraken, Oleksiak agree to 5-year deal worth around $23M

The Seattle Kraken and defenseman Jamie Oleksiak agreed to a five-year contract that carries an approximate average annual value of $4.6 million, reports Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman.

The signing indicates Oleksiak will be Seattle's selection from the Dallas Stars in the expansion draft. The Kraken had an exclusive window from July 18-21 to negotiate with all pending free agents that teams left exposed.

Oleksiak scored six goals and added eight assists in 56 games with the Stars last season. He averaged 20:29 of ice time. The 28-year-old led Dallas with 148 hits and ranked second with 88 blocked shots.

The Stars drafted Oleksiak with the 14th overall pick in 2011. He's played 369 career games and has totaled 72 points.

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Stars sign Heiskanen to 8-year, $67.6M extension

The Dallas Stars signed defenseman Miro Heiskanen to an eight-year contract with an average annual value of $8.45 million, the team announced Saturday.

Heiskanen, 21, racked up eight goals and 19 assists in 55 games this past season. The Stars selected him with the third overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft.

"As an organization, we truly feel that Miro has just scratched the surface of his ability and will be in the Norris Trophy discussion for years to come," general manager Jim Nill said.

Heiskanen is now the sixth-highest paid defenseman in the NHL. He trails Alex Pietrangelo, P.K. Subban, Roman Josi, Drew Doughty, and Erik Karlsson in that regard.

During the Stars' run to the Stanley Cup Final last season, Heiskanen put together a historic campaign with 26 points in 27 games - the fourth-most by any blue-liner during a playoff year in league history. In 205 career regular-season games, he's managed 28 goals and 67 assists.

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