Capitals re-sign Kuznetsov, Bruins re-sign three, plus updates on Niklas Backstrom, Marcus Kruger, Johnny Oduya and more.

Latest notable re-signings.

Capitals re-sign Evgeny Kuznetsov.

Capitals re-sign Evgeny Kuznetsov.

CAPITALS TODAY: The Washington Capitals re-signed Evgeny Kuznetsov to a two-year, $6 million deal, with an average annual cap hit of $3 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nice little pay bump for Kuznetsov over his entry-level deal, but he certainly earned it. The 23-year-old made steady improvement over the course of last season, his first full one in the NHL, and elevated his game in the playoffs. The best is yet to come from Kuznetsov. 

BOSTON HERALD: The Boston Bruins re-signed recently acquired winger Jimmy Hayes to a three-year deal worth $2.3 million annually, re-upped Brett Connolly to a one-year, $1.025 million contract and inked depth forward Brandon DeFazio to a one-year, two-way deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins are hoping Hayes can blossom into a power forward and replace the recently dealt Milan Lucic. Connolly, a once-promising Lightning prospect,  was acquired at the trade deadline but was promptly injured and saw action in only five games for the Bruins last season. For the cap-strapped Bruins, these were affordable re-signings which have the potential to become worthwhile deals if Hayes and Connolly play up to expectations. 

Latest NHL expansion news.

TSN: The NHL began distribution of applications yesterday to parties interested in owning expansion teams, which are due by Aug. 10. The fee for application is over $1 million. “On top of that, interested parties must demonstrate the ability to pay an expansion fee north of $500 million, prove the viability of their proposed market and evidence the availability of an arena for the team to call home.” Two parties, one in Las Vegas and the other in Quebec City, have committed to the formal expansion review process. “Deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the league has heard from parties interested in NHL expansion in Portland, Milwaukee, Kansas City, and even placing a second franchise in Toronto.”

THE KANSAS CITY STAR: Kansas City may have an NHL-worthy arena, but there doesn’t appear to be any prospective owners willing to pay the projected $500 million expansion fee to bring a franchise to that city.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The only city that’s a lock for an expansion franchise is Las Vegas. The league probably considers Quebec City worthwhile, and I would love to see the NHL return there, but putting an expansion franchise in Quebec City maintains the imbalance of too many teams in the Eastern Conference. Unless one of the league’s troubled franchises (Arizona or Florida) faces relocation, I don’t like Quebec City’s chances of landing an expansion team. 

Other notable NHL headlines.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Marcus Kruger and Johnny Oduya continue to play the waiting game as Blackhawks management tries to free up sufficient cap space to re-sign the duo.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Minnesota Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom claims he suffered nerve damage in his injured right elbow.

THE TAMPA TRIBUNE: The Lightning signed forward Jeff Tambellini to a one-year contract.

CBS SPORTS: KHL winger Alexander Radulov is open to returning to the NHL when his current contract expires in 2016.