News: Alexander Wennberg will get a chance to earn an NHL roster spot in training camp, the Columbus Dispatch reports. Analysis: The new regime under GM Jarmo Kekalainen isn't afraid to give young players opportunities, as Boone Jenner and Ryan Murray proved, and Alexander Wennberg seems ready for North America after an impressive showing at the world juniors and a 16-goal campaign in the Swedish Hockey League. He's most likely ticketed for the AHL, but if last year's 14th overall pick wows in camp, don't be surprised if he starts the year in Columbus.
News: Vladimir Sobotka agreed to a three-year, $12 million contract with the KHL's Avangard Omsk on Thursday, Roman Jedlicka of the TV Nova Sport reports. Analysis: The Blues' re-signing of Steve Ott to a fairly sizable contract earlier in the day signaled that the team likely wouldn't have room to keep all of its forwards in tow, and it looks like Vladimir Sobotka will be the first domino to fall. Money was likely the motivating factor in Sobotka opting to leave the NHL, while heading to Russia also allows him to be closer to his home country, the Czech Republic. Sobotka, who netted nine goals and 24 assists in 61 games last season, will be allowed to opt out of his contract with Omsk at the end of any of the three years, with the Blues retaining his rights if he decides to head back to the NHL.
News: Jesse Blacker re-signed with the Ducks on a one-year, two-way contract Thursday, Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports reports. Analysis: Acquired from the Maple Leafs in November, Jesse Blacker went on to spend 50 games with AHL Norfolk last season, totaling 24 points and a minus-16 rating. Even if Blacker somehow earns a promotion to Anaheim during the upcoming season, the Ducks don't figure to keep him around for very long.
News: Mat Clark re-signed with the Ducks on a one-year, two-way contract Thursday, Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports reports. Analysis: Mat Clark appeared in 23 games for AHL Norfolk last season, finishing with no goals and two assists. He's unlikely to find his way to Anaheim this season barring a rash of injuries.
News: Derek Grant re-signed with the Senators on a one-year, two-way contract Thursday, Wayne Scanlan of the Ottawa Citizen reports. Analysis: Derek Grant saw 20 games with the Senators last season, contributing two points and finishing with a minus-3 rating. He'll get the opportunity to compete for a fourth-line role in training camp, but more than likely will spent most of the upcoming season with AHL Binghamton.
News: Erik Gudbranson re-signed with the Panthers on a two-year contract Thursday, George Richards of the Miami Herald reports. Analysis: Erik Gudbranson, the third overall choice in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, hasn't shown much offensive ability during his career, with just 21 points over 169 career games. However, he has shown the ability to provide some fantasy utility in the form of PIM (114 in 2013-14), hits (158), and blocks (91). He could see his minutes count rise during the upcoming campaign following the offseason departure of Tom Gilbert.
News: Nick Johnson signed with the Vaxjo Lakers of the Swedish Hockey League on Thursday. Analysis: Nick Johnson spent most of the past season at AHL Providence, where he compiled 18 goals and 24 assists over 51 games. The 28-year-old has struggled to find a permanent place in the NHL despite 113 career games at the level, so he opted for the stability of Sweden rather than another year slumming it in the minors.
News: Pierre-Marc Bouchard signed with EV Zug of the Swiss National League A on Wednesday. Analysis: The 30-year-old Pierre-Marc Bouchard saw action in 28 games with the Islanders last season, logging nine points and 12 penalty minutes. In heading back overseas to resume his career, it won't be surprising if Bouchard never logs another NHL minute.
News: Steve Ott (abdomen) re-signed with the Blues on a two-year, $5.2 million extension on Thursday, Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Analysis: Steve Ott was a disappointment for the Blues after coming over in a deadline deal last season with the Sabres, totaling only three points in 23 games. However, the Blues apparently view him as a key cog on the second or third line, after Vladimir Sobotka decided to take his career to the KHL. Ott underwent surgery to repair his abdominal area after the season ended, but should be fully healthy by the time training camp commences.
News: Jerome Samson signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Lightning on Thursday, Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun reports. Analysis: Jerome Samson spent all of the 2013-14 campaign at AHL St. John's last season, totaling 56 points and 49 penalty minutes in 68 games. He'll give the Lightning some depth on the wing at AHL Syracuse.