NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 17, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 17, 2019

Game recaps, Ducks made three trades, Flames to retire Iginla’s number, no World Cup of Hockey in 2020, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: The Ottawa Senators defeated the Colorado Avalanche 5-2. Former Avalanche center Matt Duchene scored twice and set up another goal against his former team. 

Sean Couturier’s natural hat trick gave the Philadelphia Flyers a 4-3 win over the Boston Bruins (Photo via NHL Images)

Sean Couturier netted a natural hat trick and teammate Claude Giroux picked up his 500th career assists as the Philadelphia Flyers edged the Boston Bruins 4-3. Bruins call-up Peter Cehlarik scored his first two NHL goals. 

The Buffalo Sabres snapped the Calgary Flames’ five-game win streak as an overtime goal by Jack Eichel gave them a 4-3 victory. Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau picked up his 28th goal of the season. 

A shootout goal by Alex Chiasson gave the Edmonton Oilers a 3-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks. The Oilers are now tied with the Minnesota Wild (49 points), though the latter holds the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference as they hold a game in hand. The Canucks are right behind them with 48 points. 

The Arizona Coyotes beat the San Jose Sharks 6-3 to end the latter’s seven-game winning streak. Coyotes goalie Darcy Kuemper made 26 saves while Christian Fischer and Lawson Crouse each had a goal and an assist. Sharks forward Kevin Labanc had a goal and two assists.

NBC SPORTS: The Anaheim Ducks swung a trio of trades yesterday.  First, they shipped winger Pontus Aberg to the Minnesota Wild for center Justin Kloos. They followed that by sending defenseman Luke Schenn and a seventh-round pick in 2020 to the Vancouver Canucks for blueline Michael Del Zotto. Their final move saw them send minor-league center Joseph Blandisi to the Pittsburgh Penguins for center Derek Grant.  These moves come just two days after the Ducks traded veteran winger Andrew Cogliano to the Dallas Stars for center Devin Shore.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wouldn’t call this a fire sale by Ducks general manager Bob Murray as he’s bringing in players who could contribute to his roster this season. Nevertheless, it’s not a major roster shakeup, probably because his club is still close to a wild-card spot despite their 12-game losing skid. 

Murray’s giving up some offense in Aberg, who has 11 goals in 37 games, but Kloos led the AHL’s Iowa Wild with 30 points and could get a shot with the Ducks at some point. The Wild, meanwhile, receive a speedy, affordable winger who could provide them with a bit of a scoring boost as they jockey for playoff contention.

The Canucks moved Del Zotto, a frequent healthy scratch, to make room for rookie star Elias Pettersson, who’s returning from injury. Schenn spent this season with the Ducks’ AHL affiliate and will report directly to the Canucks’ farm club in Utica. Del Zotto, an unrestricted free agent this summer, could become a rental depth addition for the Ducks.

Grant played for the Ducks in 2017-18, enjoying his best season with 12 goals and 24 points in 66 games. He signed with the Penguins as a free agent but didn’t enjoy the same measure of success. Murray could be hoping Grant rediscovers his form. The Penguins remove Grant’s $650K cap hit and could be setting the stage for a larger move. 

TSN: Speaking of the Ducks, veteran center Ryan Kesler has no plans to waive his no-movement clause. 

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens forward Paul Byron received a three-game suspension by the NHL department of player safety for charging Florida Panthers defenseman MacKenzie Weegar during Tuesday’s game. 

SPORTSNET: The NHL and NHLPA released statements yesterday ruling out the possibility of staging a World Cup of Hockey tournament in 2020. While the tournament was linked to recent talks regarding a possible extension of the CBA, the two sides intend to meet again soon to continue discussions aimed at avoiding another work stoppage. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The league and the PA have the option of exercising their early-out clause in September, which would bring the current CBA to an end in September 2020. Recent reports indicate a seeming willingness on both sides to implement a new deal without going through another round of contentious collective bargaining. We’ll find out by this September if that apparent cooling in tensions between the two sides results in a new deal. 

CALGARY SUN: The Flames will honor former captain Jarome Iginla by retiring his No. 12 prior to their March 2 game against the Minnesota Wild. Iginla announced his retirement last July 

NBC SPORTS: Former NHL winger Brandon Bollig announced his retirement yesterday. He spent five seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks and Calgary Flames, winning a Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 2013. In 241 career games, Bollig had 10 goals, 23 points and 392 penalty minutes. He also had three goals, four points and 75 PIMs in 35 playoff contests. 

NHL Rumor Mill – January 10, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – January 10, 2019

Latest on Wayne Simmonds, Dougie Hamilton, Micheal Ferland, and more in today’s NHL rumor mill. 


NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: Appearing on NBCSN, TSN insider Bob McKenzie reported the Philadelphia Flyers are getting calls about pending UFA winger Wayne Simmonds but they haven’t reached a decision yet if they’ll re-sign or move him before the Feb. 25 trade deadline. McKenzie considers it more likely than not that Simmonds gets traded but it’s not a certainty. He believes there will be a high demand for the power forward. 

The Philadelphia Flyers must soon decide if they’ll re-sign or trade Wayne Simmonds before the trade deadline. (Photo via NHL Images)

Appearing on Ottawa’s TSN 1200, McKenzie’s colleague Pierre LeBrun also believes there will be no shortage of interest in Simmonds if the Flyers decide to trade him. LeBrun suggested adding Simmonds to a powerful club like the Tampa Bay Lightning to give them more muscle for the playoffs is a scary thought, though he adds he has no evidence to suggest the Lightning are interested in Simmonds and was merely using them as an example. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher could be listening to offers from other clubs while negotiating with Simmonds’ agent to determine if a workable new contract can be reached before the trade deadline. Perhaps he’ll try to re-sign Simmonds to a three- or four-year deal provided he’s not seeking much over $5 million annually. If the winger seeks a more lucrative long-term contract, Fletcher will shop him before the deadline for the best deal.

While there may be no indication of the Lightning having interest in Simmonds, they’ve proven their willingness in the recent past to swing significant deals near the trade deadline to bolster their lineup for the postseason. It wouldn’t be surprising if they become a serious suitor for Simmonds. 


SPORTSNET: In his latest “31 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman believes the Carolina Hurricanes could trade Dougie Hamilton because they’re heavy with right-shot defensemen. He also noted Hamilton has had more games playing under 16 minutes (four games) than those where he’s played over 20 minutes (three games). The Hurricanes need scoring and there are clubs in need of scoring blueliners so Hamilton has value.  

Friedman also reports the Hurricanes and pending unrestricted free agent winger Micheal Ferland remain far apart in contract negotiations. The Hurricanes are determined not to let their UFAs depart for nothing. Friedman suggests the Pittsburgh Penguins or Edmonton Oilers as possible destinations for Ferland. The Hurricanes have also told teams they prefer to wait a little longer before reaching decisions on goalies Curtis McElhinney and Petr Mrazek. They’re also trying to re-sign winger Jordan Martinook. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes apparently aren’t actively shopping Hamilton but, as Friedman indicated last Saturday, they could be willing to listen if someone offers them a scoring forward. We know Hurricanes GM Don Waddell had interest in Toronto Maple Leafs winger William Nylander prior to his re-signing a new contract with the Leafs and there’s been talk that he also likes Leafs winger Kaspari Kapanen. Maybe he would consider swapping Hamilton for Kapanen plus a draft pick or prospect.

Penguins GM Jim Rutherford isn’t shy about making significant in-season deals and perhaps Ferland could be a fit. However, the Penguins surge up the standings since early-December had Rutherford recently suggesting he might not be as busy near the deadline this time around. The Oilers need all the help they can get but their priority (as always) is their blueline and Ferland can’t improve that area of concern.

Friedman adds winger Pat Maroon to the list of available St. Louis Blues… He also reports the Tampa Bay Lightning are trying to find a new home for little-used defenseman Slater Koekkoek…There’s interest in Vancouver Canucks blueliner Michael Del Zotto but those clubs are waiting until closer to the trade deadline to save salary-cap space. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Just spitballing here, but if the Lightning were to pursue Wayne Simmonds, maybe they’ll offer up Koekkoek as part of the return. 

Teams could be watching to see how the Winnipeg Jets handle backup goalie Laurent Brossoit and winger Brandon Tanev. Brossoit is a year away from UFA eligibility while Tanev is eligible this summer. The Jets have received inquiries about Jack Roslovic but have no interest in moving him.


THE MERCURY NEWS: Paul Gackle reports San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson is open to the idea of pursuing rental talent at this year’s trade deadline. It’s possible he could pursuing a scoring forward such as Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds or Ottawa’s Matt Duchene or Matt Stone. Goaltending, however, is an issue this year as the Sharks’ tandem of Martin Jones and Aaron Dell are struggling this season. Still, Wilson expressed confidence in the duo, pointing to Jones’ playoff record. Gackle noted Wilson lacks a first- and second-round pick in this year’s and lacks a first the 2020 NHL Draft. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Throughout his long career as a general manager, Wilson has proven capable of pulling off significant in-season trades. I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of him landing a substantial rental asset this year. 

NHL Rumor Mill – November 26, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – November 26, 2018

A look at the likely trade candidates for the Rangers, Flames, and Canucks in your NHL rumor mill.


THE ATHLETIC: Rick Carpiniello recently listed Mats Zuccarello, Kevin Hayes, and Adam McQuaid as the players most likely to be traded by the New York Rangers this season. The trio is eligible to become unrestricted free agents in July and could be shopped by the February trade deadline. Zuccarello might fetch a first-round pick but more likely a second and a prospect.  Hayes could prove expensive for the Rangers to re-sign. His current play could potentially fetch a first-round pick.

Kevin Hayes could become a valuable trade chip for the New York Rangers. (Photo via NHL Images)

Carpiniello also thinks there could be a market for defenseman Marc Staal, provided the Rangers are willing to absorb part of his remaining contract ($5.7 million annually through 2020-21). However, Staal also carries a no-movement clause. The Rangers would also have to eat some salary if they want to move Kevin Shattenkirk or Brendan Smith.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes there are two legitimate reasons to trade Hayes which have nothing to do with rebuilding.

The first is if general manager Jeff Gorton doesn’t believe the center is worth the money it would take to keep him off the free-agent market. The second is if Gorton “could acquire either a goal-scoring winger or top-four defenseman under multiple years of contract control who would enhance the Rangers’ chance of contending over the next three or four years, max.”

Unless the Rangers believe they won’t be contenders over the next two or three years, Brooks considers it pointless trading Hayes “for the traditional rental return of a bottom-end first-rounder and a prospect or two.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of those potential trade candidates, Hayes has the most value. It could cost the Rangers over $6 million per season on a long-term contract to keep him in the fold. If they don’t believe he’s worth it, they could put him on the trade block before the deadline even if they’re still in playoff contention. The problem, however, is interested clubs could be only willing to part with that traditional rental return, rather than a quality player who can step in and have an immediate effect upon the Rangers’ roster.


THE ATHLETIC: Mike Halford recently listed defensemen Alex Edler and Michael Del Zotto as the Vancouver Canucks’ most likely trade candidates. Both are pending UFAs this season. Of the two, Edler would have the most value. He’d like to stay with the only NHL club he’s ever played for, but the Canucks haven’t opened contract extension talks. He has a full no-trade clause so it’ll be interesting to see how GM Jim Benning handles this. 

Center Brandon Sutter could be another trade candidate. While he has a full no-trade this season, it reverts to a modified NTC next summer. He carries a “digestible” $4.375-million cap hit. Other possible trade candidates could include Chris Tanev, Derrick Pouliot and Erik Gudbranson.

Halford also suggests shopping Jake Virtanen while his stock has increased could be a shrewd “sell high” move. Sven Baertschi, Nikolay Goldobin, Ben Hutton and Troy Stecher fall under Halford’s “conceivable, but be careful” category. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Following a promising October, and despite the best efforts of budding superstar Elias Pettersson, the Canucks have come crashing back to earth in November. If management has no intention of re-signing Edler he might bow to the inevitable and accept a trade. There won’t be as much interest in Del Zotto but a contender could see him as an affordable depth rental.

Once Sutter returns from a shoulder injury, the Canucks might test the market but that move like takes place in the offseason. The Canucks have resisted the temptation to trade Tanev but maybe they decide to move him this season while he still has value. As for shopping Virtanen, his improvement this season could make Benning leery of parting with the 22-year-old forward. 


THE ATHLETIC: Darren Haynes recently suggested defenseman Michael Stone as a possible Calgary Flames trade candidate. As they appear set on the right side with T.J. Brodie, Travis Hamonic, and Rasmus Andersson, Haynes feels the Flames could try to move the 28-year-old Stone to free up salary-cap space and give him more playing time. With Stone having been scratched several times from the roster and earning $3.5-million annually, there might not be much of a market for his services.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A few days after this was published, the Flames placed Stone (blood clot) on injured reserve with no timetable for his return. 

Haynes also noted Sam Bennett’s appeared in trade speculation but the Flames are staying patient in hopes he’ll reach his full potential. While Flames fans unhappy with goalie Mike Smith’s performance would love to see him traded, Haynes pointed out his struggles would make him difficult to move.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames will stay patient with Bennett and Smith for the remainder of this season. They’ll likely re-evaluate Bennett’s performance at season’s end while Smith will be allowed to depart via free agency in July. 


NHL Rumor Mill – September 13, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – September 13, 2018

Updates on Erik Karlsson and William Nylander plus the latest on the Canucks in your NHL rumor mill.


TSN 1050 (via NICHOLS ON HOCKEY): NHL insider Darren Dreger doesn’t want to use the word “imminent” regarding a possible trade of Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson. However, he believes everything points to a Karlsson deal going down “within a day or two”. Figuring out the destination, however, remains difficult.

Trade rumors linked Karlsson to the Tampa Bay Lightning earlier this summer. Dreger considers it “conceivable” that new Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois could revisit interest in the Senators’ captain. He also thinks the Vegas Golden Knights seem a likely destination. “I thought that was the case with the Dallas Stars earlier this morning, but a Stars’ source told me it’s quiet on that front,” said Dreger.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dreger reviewed the factors linking Karlsson to the Lightning (including the salary-cap difficulties facing them and a possible reluctance by the Senators in sending him there) and the Golden Knights’ available cap room and depth in prospects. No point in rehashing them again. For those of you who’ve forgotten, simply review my recent rumor posts involving Karlsson or check out my Rumor Roundup column with Sporting News.

As the Tampa Bay Times’ Tom Jones points out, it’ll take a mighty big package to land Karlsson. “The Lightning would love to get in on the Karlsson sweepstakes, but isn’t going to give away too much (such as Brayden Point) to get him.” I think the Golden Knights share a similar mindset. 



Contract stalemate could keep William Nylander out of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ training camp. (Photo via NHL Images)


TSN 1050 (via NICHOLS ON HOCKEY): Darren Dreger also weighed in on the contract negotiations between the Toronto Maple Leafs and restricted free agent forward William Nylander. He believes the Leafs are willing to pay him $6 million annually but there’s speculation the Nylander camp seeks $8 million per season, which Dreger doubts he’ll get.

TORONTO SUN: Lance Hornby noted Nylander wasn’t on the Leafs 73-man training camp roster. There are reports Nylander remains in Sweden while a sizable gap remains in negotiations between the two sides. His camp seeks a lucrative long-term deal. Without a new contract, Nylander cannot attend training camp.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dreger points out the Leafs’ offer would be comparable to the annual average value received by Calgary Flames center Sean Monahan ($6.375 million), Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak ($6.66 million) and Winnipeg Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers ($6 million). The argument can be made that Monahan and Pastrnak, who play first-line roles, are more valuable to their respective clubs than Nylander is to the Leafs.

Nylander doesn’t have much leverage here except to withhold his services and hope the Leafs cave. That tactic rarely works and often hurts the player’s performance for the remainder of the season. He’s definitely not getting much more than $6 million per season. Leafs GM Kyle Dubas could trade him if this situation grows contentious but I doubt they’ll go to that extreme. Dubas will instead outwait Nylander.


THE ATHLETIC: In his latest mailbag segment, JD Burke was asked how likely are the Vancouver Canucks to shop pending unrestricted free agent defensemen Alexander Edler and/or Michael Del Zotto by the trade deadline. With the Canucks rebuilding, Burke doubts Edler will re-sign a long-term extension. He feels they could get a better return for Edler than Del Zotto, provided he’s willing to waive his no-trade clause. So far, they haven’t approached him about doing so.

Burke’s colleague Jason Botchford reports injuries affected the trade value of Canucks defenseman Chris Tanev. He said the offers the Canucks received for Tanev were surprisingly weak and were based upon concerns over his ability to complete a full season. Over the past three seasons, he’s missed 82 games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Canucks are out of the playoff chase by February, I believe they’ll approach Edler for a list of trade destinations. They could also test the trade market on Del Zotto and Tanev. If the latter has a healthier season his trade value should improve, though I doubt they’ll get a quality roster player back. 


NHL Rumor Mill – July 23, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – July 23, 2018

An update on Max Pacioretty plus the latest on the Vancouver Canucks in your NHL rumor mill.


LE JOURNAL DE MONTREAL: Marc de Foy reports sources claim Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin ignored captain Max Pacioretty for months last season. Last month, a deal that would’ve sent Pacioretty to the Los Angeles Kings during the NHL Draft fell through. An unrestricted free agent next July, Pacioretty has been linked to the Florida Panthers, Chicago Blackhawks, Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Islanders. de Foy notes Bergevin apparently doesn’t want to negotiate a contract extension with Pacioretty. He said relations appear tense between the two sides and it seems like a matter of time until Pacioretty is traded.

A recent report claims the relationship between Max Pacioretty and Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin has deteriorated (Photo via NHL Images).

de Foy also claims former Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov contacted his ex-teammates last November telling them he was unhappy playing in the KHL and wanted to return to the Canadiens, but Bergevin turned a deaf ear. Noting the Habs GM also shipped out P.K. Subban to Nashville two years ago, de Foy wonders about Bergevin’s attitude toward the club’s popular players.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree Pacioretty seems destined to be dealt between now and next February’s NHL trade deadline. Bergevin’s failed attempt to ship the left winger to the Kings indicates the Habs GM no longer sees his captain as being part of his club’s long-term future.

Teams are undoubtedly interested in Pacioretty, who carries an affordable $4.5-million cap hit for 2018-19 and lacks no-trade protection. However, those clubs probably want to ink the winger to a contract extension. His apparent unwillingness to do that (which is considered the reason why the deal with the Kings fell through) could adversely affect his trade value. 

de Foy also said those sources claim Bergevin makes life difficult for players who struggle on the ice. However, we should probably take this with a grain of salt.

Carey Price had his difficulties and is very popular with Canadiens fans yet he and Bergevin had no problem agreeing last summer to a lucrative long-term contract. The Canadiens GM also doesn’t seem to have any issues with scrappy fan favorite Brendan Gallagher.

Subban’s trade was said to be based in part upon some friction between the flamboyant blueliner and some of his teammates. Markov’s departure and that of winger Alexander Radulov appears based upon on Bergevin’s misguided attempt at playing hardball in contract talks, forcing the two players to accept other offers.


THE ATHLETIC: JD Burke suggests New Jersey’s Damon Severson, Carolina’s Justin Faulk and Dallas’ Julius Honka as three players from the “secondary trade market” for the Vancouver Canucks to explore.

Burke admits it’s hard to imagine why the Devils would part with Severson but noted TSN’s Blake Price last month linked the Canucks to the New Jersey blueliner. The Hurricanes are loaded with right-side defensemen and Faulk’s frequently come up in the rumor mill. Burke feels somebody has to give Honka a break, as he struggled to establish himself as a full-time NHLer under former Stars coaches Lindy Ruff and Ken Hitchcock. 

 SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t doubt teams called about Severson. The fact he hasn’t been moved yet suggests Devils GM Ray Shero has no interest in trading him or no one is willing to meet his asking price.

The Hurricanes could seek a scoring forward for Faulk. Rumors linking him to the Chicago Blackhawks claimed the asking price was left wing Brandon Saad or center Nick Schmaltz. Based on that, the Canucks could be asked to part with Bo Horvat or Brock Boeser.

Honka could be more affordable and was mentioned as part of a suggested return for Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson. But with the Stars hiring Jim Montgomery as their new bench boss, maybe Honka gets another chance to stick with the Stars. 

THE PROVINCE: Jason Botchford recently noted the Vancouver Canucks expressed their desire to be active in this summer’s trade market but so far no deal has materialized. He wondered if they have a defenseman they can package for a beneficial return. He notes

Alex Edler reportedly won’t waive his no-trade clause. Chris Tanev’s injury-ravaged 2017-18 campaign hurt his trade value and interested parties want the Canucks to absorb part of his $4.45-million cap hit. Botchford considers Erik Gudbranson almost untradeable as many teams “see him as a third-pairing defenseman making $4 million.”

Ben Hutton’s poor season and $2.8-million cap hit makes him “as close to untradeable as anyone.”  Botchford also notes teams aren’t lining up for Michael Del Zotto and his $3-million cap hit. He also doesn’t see Derrick Pouliot or Troy Stecher getting moved. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, the Canucks lack the defensive depth to use as bait to land a quality return to help them elsewhere on the roster. 


Analysis of Notable NHL Free Agent Signings – July 1, 2017

Analysis of Notable NHL Free Agent Signings – July 1, 2017

Joe Thornton re-signed a one-year deal with the San Jose Sharks on July 1, 2017.

As the opening day of the 2017 NHL free-agent market winds down, here’s a brief look at the day’s notable signings.

San Jose Sharks re-sign defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic (eight years, $7 million annual average value) and goaltender Martin Jones (six years, $5.75 million AAV). Both contracts kick in on July 1, 2018. The Sharks also sign center Joe Thornton (reportedly one-year deal and around $6.5 million).

Vlasic’s an elite NHL defenseman and his new contract puts him among such notables as Drew Doughty of the LA Kings and Kris Letang of the Pittsburgh Penguins. I’d say he belongs there. He’s a crucial part of the Sharks defense corps.

Jones’ new salary places him around fifteenth among the highest-paid goalies. If the 27-year-old returns to his solid form of 2015-16, this could prove a bargain for the Sharks over the long run.

Despite all the speculation linking Thornton to other clubs leading up to July 1, it wasn’t surprising that he re-signed with the Sharks. He was seeking a three-year deal but apparently was willing to accept a one-year deal for a full $6.5 million salary.

It’s been reported Thornton’s future in San Jose was tied to long-time Sharks teammate Patrick Marleau. Thornton’s signing could signal Marleau’s return.

Anaheim Ducks re-sign defenseman Cam Fowler (eight years, $6.5 million AAV) and goaltender Ryan Miller (two years, $2 million AAV).

Like Vlasic’s and Jones’ new contract, Fowler’s kicks in next July. Though he was the subject of frequent trade speculation last summer, it’s apparent the Ducks consider him the key cog of their blueline. Th 25-year-old’s new contract is comparable to that of St. Louis’ Alex Pietrangelo.

As for Miller, his days as an elite netminder are in the past. He’ll take on a backup/mentor role for starter John Gibson.

New York Rangers sign defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk (four years, $6.65 million AAV). The biggest name in this summer’s UFA market lands where he was always expected to go. He finished among last season’s leading scorers among blueliners though he’s earned criticism for his defensive game.

The 28-year-old will be skating on the right side of the Blueshirts top pairing with Ryan McDonagh. He’s being overpaid for his services but the Rangers at least didn’t lock him up for too long.

Pittsburgh Penguins re-sign defenseman Justin Schultz (three years, $5.5 million AAV). Schultz rejuvenated his NHL career with the Penguins, playing a role in their consecutive championships in 2016 and 2017. Tallying a career-high 51 points last season, he was among the league’s highest-scoring blueliners. That ensured the Pens would keep the mobile rearguard in the fold and give him a healthy raise to boot.

Montreal Canadiens sign defenseman Karl Alzner (five years, $4.65 million AAV). The Canadiens land themselves a quality replacement for Alexei Emelin, who was plucked away by Vegas in the expansion draft. The 28-year-old Alzner is a durable, physical shutdown defender. The Habs got him for a reasonable deal.

Dallas Stars sign center Martin Hanzal (three years, $4.75 million AAV). The 6’6”, 226-pounder brings size and two-way skills at center for the Stars. However, he also has a long injury history and only two 40-point seasons on his resume. The salary’s a little pricey but the Stars didn’t saddle themselves with a lengthy term.

Carolina Hurricanes sign right wing Justin Williams (two years, $4.5 million AAV). Williams, 35, returns to the team where he won his first Stanley Cup in 2006. He gets a nice pay raise over the $3.25 million per season of his previous two-year deal. Despite his age, he remains a reliable second-line right wing. The rebuilding Canes should benefit from his skills and leadership.

Nashville Predators sign center Nick Bonino (four years, $4.1 million AAV) and left wing Scott Hartnell (one year, $1 million AAV). Bonino’s two championship seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins bolstered his free-agent value. The Pred needed two-way depth at center and willingly ponied up for him. This move likely means they’re out of the bidding for Avalanche center Matt Duchene.

The Predators also shipped Colin Wilson to the Colorado Avalanche to make room for Hartnell, who was recently bought out by Columbus. He’s returning to the club where his NHL career began. While the 35-year-old is in decline, he could be a worthwhile checking-line depth addition for the Preds.

Winnipeg Jets sign goaltender Steve Mason (two years, $4.1 million AAV) and defenseman Dmitry Kulikov (three years, $4.33 million AAV). Mason’s earning the same annual cap hit as he did on his previous three-year deal with the Philadelphia Flyers. The Jets needed an experienced goalie to carry the bulk of the workload until promising Connor Hellebuyck is ready for the full-time starter’s job. As with former Jets starter Ondrej Pavelec, however, consistency is an issue for Mason.

Kulikov, meanwhile, hopes to get his career back on track after a back injury hampered him during his brief tenure with the Buffalo Sabres. When healthy, he’s a mobile, big-minute defender. But if his back woes flare up again, this could become a costly error for the Jets.

Vancouver Canucks sign forward Sam Gagner (three years, $3.1 million AAV) and defenseman Michael Del Zotto (two years, $3 million AAV). Gagner’s 50-point bounce-back performance last season with the Blue Jackets earns him a big raise over his one-year, $650K deal in 2016-17. If he can maintain his usual 40-point production, he could provide a decent boost to the Canucks offense.

Del Zotto, meanwhile, takes a bit of a pay cut for two seasons in Vancouver. He’ll provide the retooling Canucks with experienced puck-moving depth, buying time to allow their younger rearguards to develop.

Tampa Bay Lightning sign defenseman Dan Girardi (two years, $3 million AAV) and winger Chris Kunitz (one year, $2 million). The Bolts get older, but perhaps not necessarily better. They sought an experienced top-four defenseman with a right-handed shot. However, the 33-year-old Girardi has a lot of miles on him and has lost a step or two. That’s one reason the Rangers bought him out.

Same goes for Kunitz, who’s also getting $1 million in bonus money. He helped the Penguins win three Stanley Cup titles since 2009 but saw his production decline over the past two years. Yzerman’s taking a couple of gambles here, but at least they’re affordable and only short term.

Toronto Maple Leafs sign defenseman Ron Hainsey (two years, $3 million AAV). Hainsey reached the playoffs last season for the first time in his career, helping the Pittsburgh Penguins win the Stanley Cup. The Leafs expect he’ll bring experienced depth to their defense corps, but it remains to be seen how much the 36-year-old has left in the tank.

Philadelphia Flyers sign goaltender Brian Elliott (two years, $2.75 million AAV). After washing out with the Calgary Flames last season, the 32-year-old Elliott will try to get his career as an NHL starter back on track with the Flyers. His deal is a reasonable one, but he’s unlikely to end the Flyers’ seemingly never-ending carousel of mediocre goaltending.

Florida Panther sign right wing Radim Vrbata (one year, bonus-laden contract, $2.5 million base salary). The 36-year-old Vrbata will replace now-departed winger Jaromir Jagr. He was the Coyotes’ leading scorer last season with 55 points and could be a decent short-term addition to the Panthers’ scoring lines.

Los Angeles Kings sign winger Mike Cammalleri (one year, $1 million AAV). After being bought out by the New Jersey Devils, Cammalleri returns to the city his NHL career began. The 35-year-old still has a decent scoring touch, but injuries in recent years have limited his effectiveness.

Chicago Blackhawks sign winger Patrick Sharp (one year, $800k AAV). The 35-year-old tallied 20 goals and 55 points in 2015-16 but injuries limited him to just 18 points last season. Having recovered from hip surgery, perhaps a return to Chicago, where he had his best seasons, can help him regain to form. It’s an affordable risk for the cap-strapped Blackhawks.