Around the League - Recapping this week's NHL headlines - Week 7

Signings

Colorado Avalanche

The Colorado Avalanche have locked up defenseman Samuel Girardi to a lucrative, long-term deal. The deal, worth $35-million, will have an annual cap hot of $5-million per season over the next seven years and the extension will kick in for the 2020-21 season. He was acquired by the Avs as part of the Matt Duchene trade and had 27 points in 82 games last season.

Tampa Bay Lightning

The Tampa Bay Lightning have locked up their Vezina award-winning goaltender Andrei Vasileskiy to an eight-year, $76-million dollar deal. The contract, which has an annual average of $9.5-million now makes Vasilevskiy the third-highest paid goaltender in the NHL behind Montreal’s Carey Price and Florida’s Sergei Bobrovsky.

Along with winning the Vezina trophy last year, Vasileskiy put up a 39-10-4 record with a 2.40 goals against average and a save percentage of .925. The new deal will kick in next year but some worry it could cause cpa space problems for the team somewhere down the line as the team has several entry-level contracts expire as Vasilevskiy’s new deal kicks in.

New Jersey Devils

The New Jersey Devils have avoided arbitration with RFA defenseman Will Butcher. The two sides came to terms on a new deal that will see Butcher earn $3.73-million per year over the next three seasons. Arguably the Devils’ best defenseman last season, the young defender tallied 30 points in 78 games last season and led New Jersey defensemen in scoring chances.

Washington Capitals

The Washington Capitals have also avoided an arbitration hearing of their own as they agreed to a new deal with forward Chandler Stephenson. Stephenson inked a one-year, $1.05-million contract with the team. Stephenson had 11 points in 64 games last season.

Trades

Tampa Bay Lightning and Ottawa Senators

Not so much a blockbuster, but the Tampa Bay Lightning and Ottawa Senators have pulled off an interesting trade that benefits both teams. The Lightning sent forward Ryan Callahan and a fifth-round 2020 pick to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for goaltender Mike Condon and a sixth-round pick in 2020.

Callahan was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease and has one year left on his current contract. He has said that he plans to retire at the end of that deal. Acquiring Callahan allows the Sens to place him on long-term injured reserve and also hit the salary cap minimum for the league. It is also expected, in turn, that the Lightning will place Condon on waivers having already signed Curtis McElhinney and extended Andrei Vasileskiy.

Vegas Golden Knights and New Jersey Devils

The New Jersey continue to add to their teams as they acquired prospect forward Nikita Guzev is exchange for a third-round 2020 pick and a second-round 2021 pick. On top of that, Guzev, who’d become a restricted free agent, agreed to a new deal with the Devils worth $4.5-million annually over the next two seasons. Guzev has yet to play and NHL game but led the KHL with 82 points in 62 games last season. It was the second-highest single-season total in KHL history. Gusev will join New Jersey’s latest acquisitions: Wayne Simmonds, P.K. Simmonds, and first-overall pick Jack Hughes.

Other Headlines

Seattle expansion

The new, and inaugural, general manager for the latest NHL expansion team based out of Seattle, Ron Francis, has said that the new franchise hopes to have its team name selected by early 2020. Francis also has high hopes to have team colors unveiled alongside with the name. The team is set to play their first season in 2021.

Minnesota Wild

After just one season in charge, the Minnesota Wild have fired general manager Paul Fenton. The Wild missed the playoffs for the first time since 2012 under Fenton and team owner Craig Leipold has stated to the media that Fenton was not the right fit for the organization and that many unhappy employees voiced their concerns to Leipold. Coupled with some unpopular moves being made at the trade deadline, it all lead up to the firing. Assistant GM Tom Kurvers is acting as GM until a replacement can be found.

With all of that said, it has been reported that the Minnesota Wild are hoping to speak with former Philadelphia Flyers GM Ron Hextall about the open position. The team has already reached out to the Flyers to seek permission to speak to Hextall. Hextall was the GM of the Flyers from mid-2014 to late-2018 and made the playoffs twice.

Calgary Flames

As mentioned last week, the Calgary Flames, along with other investors, put forward the terms of building a new arena with the costs hovering around $500-million. Calgary’s city council voted on Tuesday to officially move forward with the construction of the new stadium that would house three different Calgary sports teams. The vote was final at 11-4 and the cost of the building will be split between the city and the Flames at 50/50. Construction is set to begin in 2021.

Chris Kunitz retires

After 15 NHL season, NHL veteran Chris Kunitz has officially announced his retirement. Kunitz, now 39, is a four-time Stanley Cup champion, winning one with the Anaheim Ducks and three with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Kunitz also has an Olympic gold medal on his resume, winning gold with Team Canada in 2014. In 1,022 games played, Kunitz finishes his career with 268 goals and 619 points.

Kunitz has gone on to say that post-retirement he will be joining the head office of the Chicago Blackhawks as a player development adviser.

Arizona Coyotes have a new owner

After several years of speculation about the future and ownership of the Arizona Coyotes, the team now has a new majority owner in the form of billionaire businessman Alex Meruelo. Meruelo purchased a 95 percent stake in the team. Former owner Andrew Barroway will keep a five percent stake in the team. As of 2018, Meruelo’s net-worth sat around $2-billion.

Rangers to buyout Shattenkirk

The New York Rangers have made it clear to defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk that the remainder of his contract will be bought out by the team. Shattenkirk’s contract with the team was signed on July 1, 2017. The contract signed was worth $26.6-million over four seasons. He had two years remaining at $6.65-million per season. He had 28 points in 73 games last season.

Latest odds

Oddsmakers have laid out the numbers for each NHL team’s chances of winning the Stanley Cup within the next three years. Some numbers may surprise you. Check out the list below sorted by division.

If you reside in New Jersey you can bet on the next Stanley Cup winner at 888sport, Betstars and PlayMGM.

Pacific division:

  • Seattle: 0.1 percent
  • Los Angeles Kings: 0.8 percent
  • Anaheim Ducks: 0.9 percent
  • Arizona Coyotes: 2 percent
  • Edmonton Oilers: 3 percent
  • Vancouver Canucks: 5 percent
  • Calgary Flames: 12 percent
  • San Jose Sharks: 18 percent
  • Vegas Golden Knights: 20 percent

Central division

  • Minnesota Wild: 0.8 percent
  • Chicago Blackhawks: 4 percent
  • St. Louis Blues: 12 percent
  • Winnipeg Jets: 12 percent
  • Dallas Stars: 16 percent
  • Nashville Predators: 18 percent
  • Colorado Avalanche: 22 percent

Atlantic division

  • Ottawa Senators: 0.8 percent
  • Detroit Red Wings: 1 percent
  • Montreal Canadiens: 3 percent
  • Buffalo Sabres: 3 percent
  • Florida Panthers: 15 percent
  • Toronto Maple Leafs: 20 percent
  • Boston Bruins: 20 percent
  • Tampa Bay Lightning: 25 percent

Metropolitan division

  • Columbus Blue Jackets: 1.5 percent
  • New York Islanders: 2 percent
  • New York Rangers: 4 percent
  • New Jersey Devils: 6 percent
  • Philadelphia Flyers: 8 percent
  • Carolina Hurricanes: 10 percent
  • Pittsburgh Penguins: 16 percent
  • Washington Capitals: 16 percent