It took until six days into training camp, but the Boston Bruins took care of their last bit of offseason business on Tuesday and can now focus on attempting to build off their run to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final last season.
Connor McMichael’s feel for the game made him the Washington Capitals’ first-round draft pick in June. Combine that with Evgeny Kunzetsov’s suspension and the door could be wide open for the youngest player in training camp to earn a spot on the opening night roster.
The 29-year-old Spurgeon set career highs last season of 14 goals, 29 assists, 152 shots on goal, 91 hits and 82 games played.
The NHL and NHL Players’ Association will meet again Friday in New York to continue collective bargaining negotiations. Players have until Sept. 15 to decide whether to terminate the current collective bargaining agreement effective a year from now. The two sides could negotiate an extension of the current CBA with some changes.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, former Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas, longtime NHL forward Brian Gionta, Washington youth hockey staple Neal Henderson and U.S women’s star Krissy Wendell will be inducted at a ceremony Dec. 12. Bettman was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto last year.
Jordan Binnington used to fly under the radar during his summer training. But after a head-turning, seemingly-out-of-nowhere rookie season capped by a Stanley Cup victory, those days are long gone for the St. Louis Blues goalie. He is now in Toronto at an annual pre-training camp showcase for NHL players and others. He no longer needs a name tag to be recognized. There’s new respect for the goalie. Says Binnington: “It happened quickly, but it’s been great.”
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.