Around the League - Recapping This Week’s NHL Headlines - Week 12
NHL Week 12 Signings
The 21-year-old talent Clayton Keller has signed an eight-year extension with the Arizona Coyotes. The deal is reported to be worth $7.15-million per year. Keller is about to enter the final year of his entry-level deal and the new contract signs also includes a no-trade clause for the latter four years.
In his first year in the NHL, Keller was a Calder trophy finalist as he tallied 65 points in his rookie season. He led the team last year with 47 points. He expected to get ice-time with the recently acquired sniper Phil Kessel next season.
Los Angeles Kings
Another player coming to the end of his entry-level deal has signed an extension. Forward Adrian Kempe has signed a new three-year deal with the Los Angeles Kings worth $2-million per season. Kempe had 37 points in his rookie year after being drafted in the first-round in 2014. Last season he registered 12 goals and 16 assists.
St. Louis Blues
Forward Ivan Barbashev has inked a new deal with the defending Stanley Cup champs, the St. Louis Blues. The restricted free agent had 14 goals and 26 points with the Blues last season and added six more points in the playoffs. All three of his NHL seasons have been spent in St. Louis and his new deal is reported to be worth $1.475-million per year over the next two seasons.
New York Islanders
The New York Islanders have come to terms with forward Anthony Beauvillier. The 22-year-old signed a new deal that will see him earn $2.1-million per season over the next two years. Beauvillier had 28 points across all 82 games with New York last season and added two more points in the playoffs. He was drafted in 2015.
Seattle expansion team
The as-of-yet unnamed expansion club out of Seattle has added to the front office. The team announced this week that general manager Ron Francis has named Ricky Olczyk his assistant GM. Olyczyk is no stranger to Ron Francis as he spent time as Francis’ assistant GM during their time with the Carolina Hurricanes from 2014 to 2018. He is also a former assistant GM for the Edmonton Oilers.
It is expected that Olyczyk will be responsible for tasks such as managing the salary cap and new contracts as well as being an advisor to Francis when it comes to drafting future talent.
NHL Week 12 Retirements
Cam Ward calls it a career after 14 years
Goaltender Cam Ward has officially announced his retirement after playing 14 seasons in the NHL. It was announced that Ward signed a one-day contract with the Carolina Hurricanes, the team he won the Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe award with, and will have an official retirement ceremony with the team come the start of the season.
Ward, now 35-years-old, may, ironically, be remembered most for his first NHL season when in his rookie year he took over as the starting goaltender for the Carolina Hurricanes during the 2005-06 season and led the team to their first and only Stanley Cup championship. Ward was named the most valuable player of the playoffs for his efforts at only 22 years of age. He played 13 of his 14 seasons with the Hurricanes before signing a one-year deal last season with the Chicago Blackhawks.
Ward, unsurprisingly, holds several goaltending records in Carolina including 318 wins, 668 games played, and 27 shutouts. Through 701 total games played, Ward retires with a career goals against average of 2.74, a save percentage of .908 and a record of 334-356-88.
Kronwall officially announces his retirement
38-year-old veteran defenseman Niklas Kronwall has announced his retirement after playing 15 NHL seasons – all with the Detroit Red Wings. At the end of his tenure with the team, Kronwall ranks third all-time amongst Red Wings defenseman in assists with 349, fourth all-time in points with 432, fifth all-time in goals with 83, and is ninth among all players all-time in games played with 953. Kronwall also played internationally for his home country of Sweden. Kronwall won gold with the Swedish team at both the 2006 World Championships and Winter Olympics.
Kronwall was selected by Detroit 29th overall in the 2000 draft and made his NHL debut during the 2003-04 season. He is expected to join former teammate and new general manager Steve Yzerman in the team’s front office in an advisory role.
Undrafted defenseman turned vet hangs up his skates
After 11 NHL seasons, the undrafted defenseman Ben Lovejoy has called it quits. Lovejoy made his way into the big leagues via the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2008. He was part of the 2016 Pittsburgh team that captured the Stanley Cup. He also spent time with the Anaheim Ducks, New Jersey Devils, and Dallas Stars. Lovejoy retires having played 544 career games and registering 20 goals and 101 points.
Not quite a retirement?
37-year-old forward Justin Williams will not be playing with the Carolina Hurricanes next season, instead opting to take a break from the NHL. Williams announced that he is unsure of his future to a dip in his passion and certainty of his future goals and therefore could not commit to next season. He has made it clear that should he return to the game of hockey, he will be signing with the Carolina Hurricanes.
The former captain of the Canes and 18-year veteran has played in 1,244 NHL games and has tallied 312 goals and 786 points in his career. He is a Conn Smythe winner and a three-time Stanley Cup champion.