Wild re-sign Devan Dubnyk, reaction to Bruins and Sabres draft weekend moves, plus updates on Eric Staal, Antti Niemi, Scott Gomez & more.
STARTRIBUNE.COM: The Minnesota Wild have re-signed goaltender Devan Dubnyk to a six-year, $26 million contract. Dubnyk was eligible for UFA status on July 1. That’s a $4.33 million annual cap hit. “He makes $5 million each of the first four years, $3.5 million and $2.5 million the last two. There is a limited no-trade clause for part of the deal.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This deal is longer by two years than I expected, but the cap hit is reasonable. No surprise the Wild re-signed Dubnyk after he saved their season and became a Vezina finalist. Yes, there’s a risk this past season was a one-off, but it’s also possible Dubnyk has finally achieved his full potential as a starter. If so, the Wild are finally set between the pipes.
THE BOSTON GLOBE/BOSTON HERALD/CSNNE.COM: The reaction from the Boston media to the Bruins’ moves at the 2015 NHL Draft, highlighted by trading away defenseman Dougie Hamilton and popular power forward Milan Lucic largely for draft picks and prospects, is overwhelmingly negative. The pundits consider these moves the sign of inexperienced by GM Don Sweeney and team president Cam Neely.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Supporters of Sweeney and Neely defend the moves, blaming former GM Peter Chiarelli for overspending on too many players and leaving the club in cap hell. That’s true to a point, but Sweeney (as assistant GM)and Neely were there when Chiarelli made those signings. You have to believe they were ok with those signings (plus the Tyler Seguin trade) when they were made. The returns for Hamilton and Lucic were underwhelming. The only saving grace will be if those first-round picks they received in this year’s draft blossom into stars down the road. In the short term, however, those moves do nothing to bolster the Bruins lineup.
ESPN.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes are working on a contract extension for captain Eric Staal, who is eligible next summer for UFA status.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: The Sabres are in good spirits after selecting Jack Eichel with the second overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, along with acquiring center Ryan O’Reilly from Colorado and goaltender Robin Lehner from Ottawa via trades.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: After the past two years, the Sabres have nowhere to go but up. Given their moves this year (including the acquisition of Evander Kane in February), they can only get better.
THE DENVER POST: Ryan O’Reilly supposedly sought an eight-year, $64 million contract from the Colorado Avalanche. If so, that explains why the Avalanche traded him to Buffalo.
SPORTSNET’s John Shannon reports via Twitter: “Expect Antti Niemi to get a 3 year deal with the Stars. Jim Nill believes the 2 goalie system…splitting games… Is the way to go.” The Stars acquired Niemi’s rights yesterday from the San Jose Sharks.
CSN BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks re-signed forward Melker Karlsson and goalie Troy Grosenick to two-year contracts.
NHL.COM: The Chicago Blackhawks traded third-string goalie Antti Raanta to the New York Rangers for minor-league forward Ryan Haggerty.
NJ.COM: The New Jersey Devils are parting ways with pending UFAs Scott Gomez and Steve Bernier.
NEWSDAY: The New York Islanders made history by selecting AnDong Song with the 172nd pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, making him the first Chinese player selected at the NHL Draft.