Around the League - Recapping this week’s NHL headlines
The Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers have traded defenseman. Washington sent Matt Niskanen, who has two years left on his contract, to the Flyers for Radko Gudas. Gudas has one year left on his contract with a cap hit of $3.35-million that Philadelphia will retain 30 percent of. Niskanen posted wis lowest point totals last season since 2013. He has an annual cap hit of $5.75-million over the final two years of his contract.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have parted ways with young defensive star Olli Maatta in order to free up salary cap space and acquire much needed picks in this year’s NHL draft. The Penguins sent Maatta to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for forward Dominik Kahun and fifth-round 2019 pick. Maatta, still only 24, had some injury issues last season but was a key factor in the Pens back-to-back Stanley Cup wins in 2016 and 17. Kahun is still riding out his entry-level contract.
The New York Rangers have landed a huge star as they managed to pull off a deal with the Winnipeg Jets that saw them acquire defenseman Jacob Trouba. In return, the Jets regain the first-round 2019 pick they had traded to the Rangers earlier in the season in the deal for Kevin Hayes. The Jets also gain defenseman Neal Pionk. Trouba had 50 points in 82 games with Winnipeg last season.
The Philadelphia Flyers also acquired defenseman Justin Braun from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for San Jose’s second-round pick for this year’s draft and their third-round pick in 2020. This move further improves the Flyers’ blue line while clearing much needed cap space for the San Jose Sharks.
It is safe to say there will be no bigger signing this off-season than the one San Jose pulled off with defenseman Erik Karlsson. Karlsson was a pending free-agent who would have had several suitors and the Sharks made sure that never happened. On Monday the team announced that they had locked down Karlsson to an eight-year, $92-million contract. Karlsson finished his first season with the Sharks with 45 points in 53 games and added 16 playoff points. With this deal, Karlsson becomes the third-highest paid player in the NHL. Because he re-signed, the Ottawa Senators will receive a second-round pick in 2021.
The Vancouver Canucks have reached a contract extension agreement with defenseman Alex Edler. The team announced Thursday that the two-year deal is worth $12-million – split equally at $6-million per season. Edler had 34 points in 56 games last season. Edler has spent all of his 13 NHL seasons with the Vancouver Canucks.
After playing out the final year of his contract, the New York Islanders have reached a brand new deal with forward Jordan Eberle. Eberle had 37 points in 78 games last season. The new five-year deal is said to be worth $27.5-million with an average annual salary of $5.5-million.
The Philadelphia Flyers, who traded for the negotiating rights to Kevin Hayes back on June 3, have inked Hayes to a seven-year, $50-million dollar contract – the average annual coming in at $7.14-million. Hayes, who was a pending unrestricted free agent, had 55 points in 71 games last season.
The Washington Capitals have managed to keep forward Carl Hagelin from hitting free agency. The two sides came to terms this week on a four-year, $11-million deal. After being brought in from the LA Kings at the trade deadline, Hagelin posted 11 points in 20 games for the Caps.
The Tampa Bay Lightning and defenseman Brayden Coburn have come to terms on a new two-year contract worth $1.7-million annually. Coburn had 23 points and 62 blocked shots in 74 games last season with the Lightning and has spent his last five NHL season in Tampa Bay.
After being dealt at the deadline last season as part of the Ryan Dzingel trade, Anthony Duclair is going to try out what a full season with the Ottawa Senators will be like. Ottawa announced that they have signed Duclair to a one-year contract extension worth $1.65-million. He finished last season with 19 goals and 33 points. To say the Sens are in a rebuild phase would be an understatement and that should give Duclair plenty of opportunities for ice time.
Waivers and Buyouts
The Anaheim Ducks have bought out the final two years of Corey Perry’s contract. Perry has been with the Ducks for all 14 of his NHL seasons where he leads the franchise in games played, is second in goals scored, and third for most points. He is a four-time all-star who has also won the Hart and Maurice Richard trophies. He was part of the 2007 Ducks team that won the Stanley Cup. Because of a no-movement clause, Perry will not be placed on waivers, heading straight into the free agent market. The buyout saves the Ducks $6-million in cap space.
Defenseman Dion Phaneuf also saw the last two seasons of his contract bought out as his time with the Los Angeles Kings has come to an end. These are the final two seasons of a contract that dates all the way back to 2013, where he first signed the seven-year deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs. This opens up roughly $3-million in cap space for the Kings.
The Philadelphia Flyers have placed defenseman Andrew MacDonald on waivers. MacDonald registered only nine points last season with the team. This will alleviate the team of his $5-million cap hit.
After four years of coaching Anaheim Ducks AHL affiliate team the San Diego Gulls, Dallas Eakins finds himself back behind the bench as an NHL head coach. The Ducks announced that Eakins will become the tenth head coach in franchise history starting next season. Eakins was last seen in the NHL behind the bench of the Edmonton Oilers in 2014. His NHL record is 36-63-14 however his recent record with the Gulls is 154-95-23 with three playoff appearances in those four years.
San Jose Sharks mainstay “Jumbo” Joe Thornton has announced that he will be returning for the 2019-20 season. In fact, he hinted to media that he may still have multiple seasons left in the tank. Thornton made it clear back in May, after being eliminated from the playoffs, that if he were to return, it would be with the San Jose Sharks.
The face of the Toronto Maple Leafs will also be the face of EA Sports NHL 20 as Auston Matthews was named the cover athlete for the latest edition of the popular sports videogame franchise Wednesday night at the NHL awards.
NHL Award Winners:
Hart Trophy: Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning
Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award: Wayne Simmonds, Nashville Predators
Vezina Trophy: Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning
Jack Adams Award: Barry Trotz, New York Islanders
Frank J. Selke Trophy: Ryan O’Reilly, St. Louis Blues
Bill Masterton Trophy: Robin Lehner, New York Islanders
James Norris Trophy: Mark Giordano, Calgary Flames
Ted Lindsay Award: Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning
King Clancy Trophy: Jason Zucker, Minnesota Wild
GM of the Year: Don Sweeney, Boston Bruins
Lady Byng Trophy: Aleksander Barkov, Florida Panthers
Calder Trophy: Elias Pettersson, Vancouver Canucks