Friday, February 12, 2016

Columbus Blue Jackets: Murray Extension, Defense Contract Situation

The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed defenseman Ryan Murray to a two-year contract extension as reported by ESPN.   The deal is reportedly worth $5.65 million in total.  The 22 year-old blueliner has 17 points (4 goals, 13 assists) in 56 games for the Blue Jackets this season.  Murray ranks first among all Blue Jacket defenseman in points so far this season.

Columbus is in a fairly good position with their defenseman for next season.  The have two restricted free agents (RFAs) in newly acquired Seth Jones, as well as Dalton Prout, and one unrestricted free agents (UFA) in Justin Falk, coming up this summer.

The 21 year-old Jones, acquired in a trade with the Nashville Predators earlier this season in exchange for Ryan Johansen, is coming off his entry level contract after this season.  With the Blue Jackets this season, Jones has played in 15 games and has 8 points.  His salary and cap hit are very low compared to his value, as he's still on his entry level contract.  Expect a big bump in the numbers for Jones this summer.

Prout, a sixth round draft pick of the Blue Jackets in 2010 has four points (1 goal, 3 assists) in 39 games with Columbus this season.  He'll be coming off of a two-year, $2.15 million contract this summer.  Expect that his numbers will go up slightly as he is a restricted free agent.

Justin Falk has split time this season between Columbus and the Lake Erie Monsters of the AHL.  Falk signed a one-year two-way deal with Columbus last year, and was waived in October.  After clearing waivers he spent time with Lake Erie.  This season he has four points, all assists, in 20 NHL games. Falk will most likely test the open market this summer when his contract with the Blue Jackets expires.  

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Blues Update: Schwartz, Pietrangelo, Shattenkirk

Jaden Schwartz will be returning to the St. Louis Blues this Friday, according to a post by Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy.  The 23 year-old pivot had been out of the Blues lineup since October when he suffered a fractured ankle.  The young centerman's game had been trending upward over the past two seasons, with point totals of 56 and 63 respectively.  Schwartz's return to the ice comes at a key time for the Blues, as they currently sit in third place in the Central Division, looking to maintain their playoff spot.  In additional Blues notes:

  • Kevin Shattenkirk has stepped up to wear the Blues' assistant captain's "A" that the injured Alex Pietrangelo wears, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  With Pietrangelo on injured reserve, Shattenkirk has joined the top line defensive pairing with Jay Bouwmeester.  Shattenkirk has put up 27 points (9 goals, 18 assists) in 46 games for St. Louis this season.  He is a top-line defenseman that due to the Blues' normal depth at the position plays on the second line usually.  

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Toronto Maple Leafs Trade Dion Phaneuf to Ottawa Senators

The Toronto Maple Leafs have traded defenseman Dion Phaneuf to the Ottawa Senators, according to a tweet by the Senators.  In addition to defenseman Phaneuf, the Senators will acquire forwards Matt Fratin, Casey Bailey and Ryan Rupert, as well as defense prospect Cody Donaghey, in the trade for forwards Colin Greening, Milian Michalek, Tobias Lindberg, defenseman Jared Cowen and Ottawa's second pick in the 2017 NHL draft, as reported on the Senators website.

GM Bryan Murray was on TSN 1200, where he stated that this trade was about acquiring a "hard working, competitive leader" and shoring up their back-end with Dion Phaneuf.  Murray also stated that Phaneuf is expected to be in the Senators' lineup tomorrow night.

There will be no salary retained by either team in the trade.  Phaneuf is currently under contract through the 2020-21 NHL season.  His contract is front-loaded in salary, carrying a cap hit of $7 million annualy.  In seven seasons with Toronto, Phaneuf had 196 points in 423 games.

Milan Michalek is a big piece in the players coming to Toronto.  The 31 year-old winger hailing from the Czech Republic has ten points in 32 games this season (6 goals, 4 assists).  The goal scorer is under contract through the 2016-17 season, after which he becomes an unrestricted free agent (UFA).

Tobias Lindberg is also a player of intrigue for Toronto.  The 20 year-old forward has 22 points (5 goals, 17 assists) in 34 games this season in Binghamton.  Lindberg is under contract through 2017-18, after which he would become a restricted free agent (RFA).

Colin Greening is a goal scoring forward who has been playing with Binghamton.  In 41 games at the AHL level this season, he has 13 points (7 goals, 6 assists).

Defenseman Jared Cowen has 4 assists in 37 games with the Senators this season.  The 25 year-old blueliner is under contract through 2016-17, after which he becomes a RFA.

28 year-old scoring forward Matt Fratin, heading to Ottawa, has 22 points (9 goals, 13 assists) in 47 games for the Toronto Marlies this season.

Forward Casey Bailey has played a bit with the Toronto Maple Leafs, but has been primarily with the Marlies.  This season in the AHL, the 24 year-old winger has notched 18 points (4 goals, 14 assists).

Ryan Rupert is a 21 year-old pivot who has put up 12 points (6 goals, 6 assists) in 29 games with the Toronto Marlies this season.

Cody Donaghey is a 19 year-old defenseman currently playing in the QMJHL for the Moncton Wildcats where he has 11 points (1 goal, 10 assists) in 15 games.  

Minnesota Wild Call Up Reilly, Central Division News

The Minnesota Wild have called up defenseman Mike Reilly reports Kent Youngblood of the Star Tribune.  Reilly was needed for defensive depth, with Jared Spurgeon injured.  Reilly has 21 points (5 goals, 16 assists) in 40 games at the AHL level this season.  He's previously been with Minnesota for just a few games previously this season.  The good news for Spurgeon is that the injury doens't appear to be major, with no injured reserve in the near future.  That said, in order to make room on the roster for Reilly, forward Tyler Graovac was assigned to the Iowa Wild.  In additional Central Division news and notes:

  • This story has already become wildly popular as it should have, but in case you haven't heard it, read in the Chicago Daily Herald how Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Scott Darling made a huge positive gesture and helped one man get back on his feet.  
  • The Winnipeg Jets have signed defenseman Dustin Byfuglien to a five-year deal worth $38 million, making him the third highest paid defenseman in the league (when his new contract kicks in, based on the current salary situation).  The top defenseman available in the UFA market is now off the shelf.  
  • The St. Louis Blues are marking fifty years as an NHL organization writes Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  Former Boston Bruins GM Lynn Patrick was hired to start the talent search for the "expansion" franchise.  Two of his first hires were future Hall of Famers Scotty Bowman and Cliff Fletcher.  
  • The Colorado Avalanche will be playing at home and are determined to avoid a winless homestand writes Mike Chambers of the Denver Post.  The Avs are still in the hunt for a wildcard playoff spot with 58 points, tied with the Nashville Predators.  

Injured Reserve: Blues, Maple Leafs

The St. Louis Blues have placed defenseman Alex Pietrangelo on injured reserve, and he will be out of the lineup for at least three weeks, reports ESPN.  The 26 year-old blueliner suffered a knee injury when colliding with Charlie Coyle of the Minnesota Wild on Monday.  Pietrangelo has 23 points (3 goals, 20 assists) in 55 games for the Blues this season.  In additional NHL injury news:

  • The Toronto Maple Leafs have placed Joffrey Lupul on IR.  He did not travel with the Leafs on their current road trip to the Western Conference, according to the Toronto Sun.  He will be out at least four games, with his earliest eligible return date being February 15.  It's unclear what the injury is, but it is being referred to as a "mid-body" injury.  With Tyler Bozak and Shawn Matthias also injured, the Leafs have called up Josh Leivo, Mark Arcobello and Rich Clune from the Toronto Marlies.  Leivo and Arcobello are having very strong seasons with the Marlies, with Leivo earning a point per game, and Arcobello coming in above that mark.  Clune's stats at the AHL level are nothing to sneeze at either, as he has recorded 17 points (6 goals, 11 assists) in 30 games this season. 

Monday, February 8, 2016

Byfuglien Signs Extension With Winnipeg Jets

Dustin Byfuglien has signed a five-year, $38 million extension with the Winnipeg Jets according to a report by TSN.  Byfuglien was arguably the top defenseman set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.  Instead, he'll be locked up with the Jets through 2021-22 at a cap hit of $7.6 million.  His previous contract, also for five years, carried a cap hit of $5.2 million.  The right shooting defenseman has 32 points (15 goals, 17 assists) in 52 games this season.  The 30 year-old native of Minnesota will be extending his time with his second NHL team (Atlanta Thrashers became the Winnipeg Jets; Byfuglien started his career with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2005-06). Some Twitter reaction to the contract extension:


Sunday, February 7, 2016

Subban Injury Update

Following up on an earlier story regarding an injury suffered by Boston Bruins goaltending prospect Malcolm Subban during warmups for a game against the Portland Pirates in the AHL, ESPN reports that Subban has suffered a fractured larynx and will be out indefinitely. Subban had been called up from the Providence Bruins to Boston as recently as February 1, when backup netminder Jonas Gustavsson was placed on injured reserve with an elevated heart rate.

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