Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Spezza Trade to Dallas

The Ottawa Senators traded Jason Spezza and Ludwig Karlsson to the Dallas Stars in exhcnage for Alex Chiasson, Nicholas Paul and Alexander Guptill, according to It is expected that Spezza will play center on the second line, with Tyler Seguin (acquired from Boston last year) playing the pivot on the first line.

Spezza is entering the final year of a seven-year contract, for which he will be paid $4 million, but count $7 million against the cap. There are several Stars players who carry a higher salary for 2014-15.

The trade makes the Stars very strong up the middle, with Seguin, Spezza, as well as Cody Eakin and Shawn Horcoff playing the pivot. It's also thought that Valeri Nichushkin could eventually spend time at the center position.

In the trade, the Stars give up a winger in Alex Chiasson, who notched 39 points in 79 regular season games for 2013-14.

As for Ottawa, Chiasson's cap hit for next season is under $1 million, and the trade clears some significant room under the cap for the Senators. Their overall cap payroll sits at just above $50 million for next season, which gives them room to make a big acquisition if they feel it will help them advance through the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Iginla Signs with Avalanche

Long-time Calgary Flame forward Jarome Iginla has signed a contract with the Colorado Avalanche for three-years at $16 million total. According to NBC Sports, the cap hit is $5.3 million annually. This will be Iginla's fourth NHL team in the last few years (Calgary Flames, Pittsburgh Penguins, Boston Bruins and Colorado Avalanche).

The Edmonton native continues to excel offensively, putting up 61 points in 78 regular season games for 2013-14, despite getting on in years, as far as professional hockey players go, at 37.

Iginla has not scored less than 30 goals in a full (82-game) NHL season since 1999-2000 (when he scored 29). Colorado was fourth overall in 2013-14 for goals-per-game, and that kind of output should only improve with the addition of a goal-scorer like Iginla.

As far as salaries go, for 2014-15, Iginla will be tied for the second-highest paid player on the Avalanche with Matt Duchene, behind goaltender Seymon Varlamov.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

2014 NHL Draft Day Trades

List of 2014 NHL Draft Day Trades 

1.  Ryan Kesler and third-round draft pick in the 2015 NHL draft traded by the Vancouver Canucks to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for Nick Bonino, Luca Sbisa and Anaheim's first and third-round draft picks in the 2014 NHL draft.

2.  Jason Garrison, rights to Jeff Costello, and seventh-round pick in the 2015 NHL draft traded by the Vancouver Canucks to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for Vancouver's 2014 second-round draft pick.

3.  Derek Dorsett traded by the New York Rangers to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for Vancouver's third-round pick in the 2014 NHL draft.

4.  James Neal traded by the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Nashville Predators in exchange for Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling.

5.  The San Jose Sharks traded the 20th and 179th picks in the 2014 NHL draft to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for the 27th and 62nd draft picks in 2014.

6.  The New York Islanders traded the 35th and 57th picks in the 2014 NHL draft to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for the 28th overall pick in the 2014 draft.  

Monday, June 23, 2014

Hartnell Traded to Columbus for Umberger, Pick

The Philadelphia Flyers have traded forward Scott Hartnell to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for forward R.J. Umberger and a fourth-round draft pick in the 2015 NHL draft, according to  

Umberger had started his NHL career with the Flyers before he was traded to the Blue Jackets in 2008.  

Hartnell's most recent NHL season saw him pick up 52 points, with 20 of those being goals.  

In 2013-14, Umberger netted 18 pucks and had 34 points overall.  

Saturday, June 14, 2014

2015 NHL Unrestricted Free Agent (UFA) Defensemen

The 2015 NHL unrestricted free agent class of defensemen may not be considered deep, but there are some key blueliners who will be highly sought after following the 2014-15 NHL season.

Tops on the list of acquisition targets might be the Washington Capitals' Mike Green.  The native of Calgary, Alberta has spent his entire NHL career to-date with the team from the U.S. capital.  Green will be of most value to a team looking to a defenseman who can lead the power play and provide an offensive burst.  

Green will be coming off of a three-year deal worth a total of $18.25 million when he is eligible for free agency.

Paul Martin is another key NHL defenseman who will become available in July of 2015, if not re-signed earlier by the Pittsburgh Penguins.  The well-rounded d-man who began his NHL career in 2003 with the New Jersey Devils will be highly sought after by a team looking to bolster their blue line with a bit of offensive spark.  Martin's current deal is $25 million over five years.  His next contract will most likely be for a shorter duration, but at about the same AAV.

The New York Rangers will need to come to terms with defenseman Marc Staal prior to July of 2015, or risk losing the big blueliner to free agency.  Although he has had some struggles with injuries (notably concussion), he has battled to prove that he can play defense among the best in the league.  Staal will be 28 years old when his free agent eligibility arises, and he'll be coming off of a 5-year, $19.875 million contract.  It's been made clear by Staal that he would like to address his contract over the 2014 summer, as quoted by Larry Brooks in the New York Daily News:
“For me, the contract situation is definitely something I would like to take care of over the summer. That’s the goal, but that also has to be the way management looks at it, too, in order to get it done.”

Scoring a Stanley Cup clinching goal would seem to be a factor in the re-signing of young defenseman Alec Martinez after the 2014-15 campaign, for the Los Angeles Kings.  Martinez, who has proven the value of his shot from the point, will be 27 when he is eligible for free agency.  With his best NHL season, statistically, having happened in 2013-14, it's not hard to imagine a significant pay increase coming for Martinez starting in 2015-16.

One of the "not-so-young" d-men that will be staring down free agency is the Anaheim Ducks' Sheldon Souray.  The skilled veteran will be closing out a 3-year $11 million deal after the 2014-15 NHL season concludes, when he will be 38 years of age.  If Souray is healthy and still has the desire to play, there will be several teams courting him and his big shot from the point.

Of the defensemen coming off of more expensive contract terms, Lubomir Visnovsky is near the head of the list.  Visnovsky, who will like Souray, be 38 years old when he is eligible for free agency, will be concluding a 2-year, $9.5 million contract.  The quick power-play quarterback has averaged over 20 minutes of ice time per game for the Islanders the past two seasons.  Although Visnovsky appeared in limited games due to concussion issues, with his offensive skill on the point, it wouldn't be surprising to see Visnovsky back in the blue and orange for 2015-16.

To see the full list of UFA defensemen for 2015, head over to

Sunday, June 1, 2014

2015 NHL Unrestricted Free Agent (UFA) Forwards

2015 will be a pivotal year for the Chicago Blackhawks, and in particular their two key free-agents to-be.  When the 2014-15 NHL season concludes, Chicago's top two forwards, Patrick Kane and Jonathan
Toews will be addressing the free agent market (unless, of course, the Blackhawks wisely sign them to contract extensions).

Jonathan Toews will be 27 and concluding a five-year, $31.5 million contract with Chicago after the 2014-15 NHL season.  The skilled defensive forward, who also does his fair share of scoring, is the captain of the Blackhawks squad that could be called the best NHL team overall, in the past five seasons.  It's doubtful that Chicago would let Toews walk, and likewise doubtful that he would leave the team if they gave him a reasonable contract offer.

 Patrick Kane, the number one overall draft pick in 2007 by the Blackhawks, will be 26 when his current contract expires with Chicago.  The winger garnered a contract equal to that of his teammate, Jonathan Toews, at 5 years and $31.5 million.  The Buffalo native has merited the deal he signed, averaging a point or more in four of his seven regular seasons.  His success has spilled over into the postseason as well, with Kane raising the Conn Smythe trophy as the Stanley Cup Playoffs MVP in 2013.  Kane's offensive skillset will be in high demand across the league.  Chicago will need to offer a very competitive contract to retain their offensive leader.

While the two key Blackhawks will play a pivotal role in the 2014-15 NHL Free Agent market, the most coveted, and highly paid, unrestricted free agent, will most likely be the Ottawa Senators' Jason Spezza.  The scoring forward has been playing with the Senators since the 2002-03 season, racking up points along the way.  Spezza will be finishing up a seven-year deal, worth $49 million, after the 2014-15 NHL season.  What did he do to earn that kind of contract?  Well, the season before his current contract started, Spezza notched 92 points in 76 regular season games.  He's remained consistently productive when healthy, notching 66 points in 75 regular season games in 2013-14.  At 31 years of age when he is eligible for free agency, expect another big payday for this highly regarded forward.

One of Spezza's Ottawa teammates will also be looking at significant competition for his services.  Winger Bobby Ryan is more of a pure goal-scorer for which several NHL teams certainly have a need.  One of the teams in particular that could use his skill, is the New Jersey Devils.  It would not be surprising to see Ryan wearing the red and black in the Garden State for the 2015-16 season.   Ryan will be coming off a 5 year, $25.5 million deal that began when he was with the Anaheim Ducks.  His first season as a Senator was a success personally, as he notched 23 goals to go with 25 assists in 70 regular season games.

Another young goal scorer who will be facing free agency in 2015 is the tough Chris Stewart of the Buffalo Sabres.  The Toronto-born winger has amassed 115 goals and 113 assists in his 382 regular season games through the 2013-14 season.  He's also racked up a decent amount of penalty minutes in his NHL tenure.  Stewart will be 27 at the time of free agency and coming off a two-year, $8.3 millon contract.

You can see the full list of 2015 NHL unrestricted free agent forwards at

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wild Trade with Blackhawks: Swap Defenseman for Forward

The Minnesota Wild have traded for forward Brad Winchester from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for defenseman Brian Connelly, according to NBC Sports.  This is the first NHL trade since the Olympic roster freeze went into place in early February.

Winchester, a Wisconsin native who played four years in college for the Badgers, was most recently with the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL, where he had a strong 30 points (16 goals, 14 assists) in 55 games.  His last NHL ice time was with the San Jose Sharks, where he scored 6 goals to go with 4 assists in 67 regular season appearances.

He has also spent NHL-time with the Anaheim Ducks, St. Louis Blues, Dallas Stars, and Edmonton Oilers. All-told he has recorded 37 goals and 31 assists in regular season NHL ice-time.  He is a scrappy player as well, having racked up 552 penalty minutes in the NHL.  He carries a $550K cap hit on a one-year deal ending in 2014.

Connelly is a left-shooting defenseman who played for Colorado College.  The 27 year-old Minnesota native has spent the past few seasons playing the blueline in the AHL where he has been quite adept at connecting with his teammates to set up goals.  He is finishing up a two-year deal carrying an annual cap hit of $612,500 which ends in 2014, after which he will become an unrestricted free agent.  

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