Latest contract signings, update on John Tavares & more in this morning’s collection of NHL headlines.
THE DETROIT NEWS: The Red Wings avoided arbitration with defenseman Danny DeKeyser, signing him to a six-year, $30 million contract worth an annual average value of $5 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I was a little surprised DeKeyser got $5 million annually for as long as he did. However, he is among the Wings ice-time leaders and plays a solid all-around game. For a Wings blueline that needs to get younger and faster, keeping the 26-year-old mobile defenseman on a long-term deal was a wise investment.
The signing puts the Wings just over the $73 million cap ceiling and they still have to re-sign goalie Petr Mrazek, meaning they’ll be shedding salary at some point this offseason to become cap compliant.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning avoided arbitration with center Vladislav Namestnikov, re-signing him to a two-year deal worth an annual cap hit of $1.9375 million. The Bolts still have winger Nikita Kucherov and defenseman Nikita Nestorov to re-sign.
PHILLY.COM: The Philadelphia Flyers avoided arbitration with defenseman Brandon Manning, re-upping him to a two-year deal with an average cap hit of $975K.
THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators re-signed defenseman Petter Granberg to a two-year, two-way deal.
NBC SPORTS: Defenseman Kurtis Foster, who played 10 seasons in the NHL, is ending his playing career to become an assistant coach with the OHL’s Peterborough Petes. He last played in the NHL in 2012-13 with the Philadelphia Flyers and spent the last three seasons in Russia and Germany. In 405 NHL games spent with the Flyers, Minnesota Wild, New Jersey Devils, Anaheim Ducks, Edmonton Oilers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Atlanta Thrasher, Foster collected 160 points.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks and defenseman David Rundblad mutually agreed to terminate his contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The move frees up $1.05 million for the Blackhawks.
SPORTSNET: New York Islanders captain John Tavares said Toronto Maple Leafs fans shouldn’t count on him joining the Leafs in two years time as an unrestricted free agent.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sure, a lot can happen in two years time, but you know the Isles will open the vault if needed to keep their franchise player.
USA TODAY: “NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman reiterated that there is no “link” between chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and concussions, in his response to inquiries from Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) about the long-term risks of head trauma.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: We shouldn’t be surprised. The league is currently being sued by former players claiming the league didn’t do enough to protect them from head trauma injuries. Bettman’s not going to concede a link.