The Colorado Avalanche have locked up defenseman Samuel Girard with a seven-year extension that runs through the 2026-27 season. The 21-year-old Girard played in all 82 games last season. He finished with four goals and 23 assists.
Kunitz, 39, will work with the coaching staffs for the Blackhawks and their American Hockey League affiliate in Rockford.
Wild owner Craig Leipold said he told Fenton of his dismissal, a “difficult decision” made because Fenton was “not the right fit” for the organization.
Jeremy Colliton is looking forward to his first training camp since he took over the Chicago Blackhawks after coach Joel Quenneville was fired in November. Colliton had little time to put in his system when he got his first NHL head coaching job last season, and Chicago missed the playoffs for the second straight year.
The Nashville Predators have avoided arbitration with Colton Sissons by signing the forward to a seven-year contract worth $20 million. The 25-year-old Sissons had 15 goals and 15 assists in 75 games in 2018-19. He set career highs in goals and points. Predators general manager David Poile calls Sissons “an up-and-coming leader in our organization.”
Seattle’s NHL expansion team has announced its general manager – Ron Francis, a Hall of Famer and a two-time Stanley Cup winner. He will have complete control of operations. The yet-to-be-named team will debut in 2021. This is Francis’ first post-playing career job outside the Carolina Hurricanes. He has big hopes for the team: “We get to establish our culture and how we want to do it. I think it’s a unique opportunity.”
Seattle’s NHL expansion team is close to an agreement with Hockey Hall of Famer Ron Francis to become its first general manager, a person with direct knowledge tells The Associated Press. After longtime Detroit GM Ken Holland went to Edmonton, adviser Dave Tippett left Seattle Hockey Partners LLC to become Oilers coach and Vegas’ Kelly McCrimmon and Columbus’ Bill Zito got promotions, there was a limited pool of experienced NHL executives to choose from for this job. Francis fits that bill.
The Washington Capitals have taken care of their biggest remaining offseason priority by re-signing winger Jakub Vrana to a $6.7 million, two-year contract. He had been a restricted free agent and will count $3.35 million against the salary cap in each of the next two seasons. Locking him in at that price on a bridge deal could allow Washington to re-sign center Nicklas Backstrom and goaltender Braden Holtby before either core player becomes a free agent next summer.
The Chicago Blackhawks have traded Artem Anisimov to Ottawa in exchange for Zack Smith. It is a swap of 31-year-old forwards. Anisimov played four seasons for the Blackhawks, scoring 77 goals and adding 78 assists in 291 games, including 15 goals and 22 assists last season. Smith was placed on waivers last September only to go unclaimed. He had nine goals and 19 assists for the rebuilding Senators last season.
Hearing the names of seven U.S.-born players called within the opening 15 picks of last month’s NHL draft was a striking confirmation of how far junior hockey in this country has come.
The Chicago Blackhawks have traded defenseman Henri Jokiharju to the Buffalo Sabres for underachieving forward Alex Nylander. Chicago is hoping a chance of scenery will help Nylander, who was selected by Buffalo with the eighth overall pick in the 2016 draft. The 21-year-old Nylander had three goals and three assists in just 19 games with the Sabres over three seasons.
Mike Sullivan is sticking around to see if he can add to his Stanley Cup collection with the Pittsburgh Penguins. The club has signed Sullivan to a four-year contract extension that runs through the 2023-24 season. The terms of the new deal will kick in when Sullivan’s current contract expires at the end of the upcoming season. Sullivan became the first coach in nearly two decades to win consecutive Stanley Cups when he guided Pittsburgh to championships in 2016 and 2017.
The Columbus Blue Jackets have re-signed restricted free agent defenseman Scott Harrington to a three-year contract. A person with knowledge of the signing tells The Associated Press the contract is worth $4.9 million with an annual salary cap hit of $1.63 million. The 26-year-old blue-liner set career highs in games played, assists and points in 2018-19 when he tallied two goals and 15 assists in 73 games with the Blue Jackets.
Mitch Marner, Brayden Point and Jacob Trouba are some of the NHL’s top restricted free agents. It will be a big surprise if any team tries to sign them away their current team. Montreal became the first team in six years to extend an offer sheet to a restricted free agent earlier this week. The Canadiens gave forward Sebastian Aho a $42 million, five-year offer and Carolina matched it the next day.
Sergei Bobrovsky already has two Vezina Trophies, the award handed out at the end of each season to the NHL’s top goaltender. He’s not looking for a third. For the Florida Panthers’ new goalie, only one trophy matters now. He believes the Stanley Cup can come his new team’s way.
After the St. Louis Blues muscled their way to the Stanley Cup, Central Division rivals are responding. The division is now stacked with the Blues, Stars, Avalanche, Wild, Predators, Blackhawks and Winnipeg Jets. Nashville added scoring with Matt Duchene, Dallas added bulk and experience at forward, Minnesota added speed and Chicago looked at its goaltending.
Buffalo general manager Jason Botterill is focused more on adding talent through the NHL trade market. He knows how difficult it is to lure players to Buffalo in free agency. He is not alone. Some of the NHL’s smaller-market teams have taken the same approach with higher-profile players preferring to play in the New York and other larger markets.
The Carolina Hurricanes are keeping star forward Sebastian Aho and say they will match the $42 million offer sheet the Montreal Canadiens tendered him. General manager Don Waddell announced the move less than 24 hours after the Canadiens extended their offer to the 21-year-old restricted free agent. He says it was an “easy decision.” Aho will receive a five-year, front-loaded, bonus-heavy contract worth $42.27 million.
From the start of New York Islanders training camp last September, Anders Lee insisted his impending free agency situation was different from the one John Tavares went through. Ultimately, he proved to be right, signing a seven-year, $49-million deal to remain with the Islanders. New York also signed veteran goalie Semyon Varlamov to replace Vezina Trophy finalist and fan-favorite Robin Lehner, who ultimately joined the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Columbus Blue Jackets lost three of their best players to free agency and now have to figure out how to fill the holes. Forward Artemi Panarin left for the New York Rangers, goalie Sergei Bobrovsky signed with Florida and center Matt Duchene went to Nashville. Those departures left huge questions about whether the team will be able to reassemble enough quality parts to make a fourth straight playoff run.