News: Brandon DeFazio signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Bruins on Monday. Analysis: Brandon DeFazio, who played two games for the Canucks last season, gives the B's organization some added depth up front and the 26-year-old could compete for a fourth-line role with the big club in training camp.
News: Harry Zolnierczyk signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Ducks on Friday, TSN's Ryan Rishaug reports. Analysis: The 27-year-old has been an insurance forward the last few seasons, occasionally seeing time for NHL clubs when injuries open up opportunities. At this point of his career, Harry Zolnierczyk appears best suited for a full-time role at the AHL level, where he recorded 18 goals and 44 points in 60 games for Bridgeport last season. The Ducks are expected to assign Zolnierczyk to their affiliate in San Diego to begin the upcoming campaign.
News: Marc-Andre Gragnani signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Devils on Friday, Tom Gulitti of The Record reports. Analysis: Marc-Andre Gragnani returns to North America after spending the last two seasons in Europe, most recently with Bern of the Swiss Elite League. He led all defensemen in the league with 37 points in 49 games, which was good enough to earn him another look from an NHL club. The 28-year-old previously appeared in 74 NHL contests with the Sabres, Canucks, and Hurricanes, but will likely have to bide his time at AHL Albany before a role with the Devils comes to fruition.
News: Brett Connolly signed a one-year, $1.025 million contract with the Bruins on Monday. Analysis: In the wake of the departures of fellow forwards Carl Soderberg and Milan Lucic this offseason, Brett Connolly -- who the Bruins obtained from Tampa Bay this past March -- has a real shot at sliding into the team's top-six forward mix in 2015-16. The 6-2, 181-pound winger tallied 12 goals and 17 points in 55 NHL games overall last season, and at age 23, the 2010 first-rounder could be poised for a break-out in his first full campaign with the B's.
News: Jimmy Hayes signed a three-year, $6.9 million contract with the Bruins on Monday. Analysis: The Boston native could potentially slot into the top-six role that was previously handled by the under-performing Reilly Smith, who was traded to the Panthers in exchange for Jimmy Hayes last week. Hayes proved that he can be a valuable offensive contributor last season with Florida, registering 19 goals and 35 points in 72 games. He's a big-bodied forward (6-foot-6, 221 pounds) who could become a valuable net-front presence for the B'son one of their power play units next season.
News: Andre Benoit signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Blues on Monday. Analysis: Andre Benoit experienced a large dip in offensive production in 2014-15, tallying a mere nine points after registering 28 points in 2013-14. However, that dip in production can largely be attributed to the fact that the 31-year-old defender played 20 fewer games in 2014-15, and was a member of the league's worst team in the Sabres. A fresh start with a new team may be just what the doctor ordered for Benoit, but don't expect him to surpass the numbers he posted in the 2013-14 campaign.
News: Shawn Matthias signed a one-year, $2.3 million contract with the Leafs on Monday, the Province reports. Analysis: Shawn Matthias notched 18 goals and nine assists in 78 games with the Canucks this past season, playing mostly on the team's third line. His fantasy upside with the Leafs thus hinges on where he'll slot in with his new team, in addition to whether or not sees more power-play action than he did with Vancouver.
News: Evgeny Kuznetsov's agent said that his client and the Capitals are exploring a two to three year contract extension, Alex Prewitt of The Washington Post reports. Analysis: Evgeny Kuznetsov remains a restricted free agent and his re-signing is a top priority for general manager Brian MacLellan and the Capitals. After a slow start to his sophomore campaign, Kuznetsov was a mainstay as the team's second-line center by season's end, finishing with 37 points in 80 regular season games, as well as five goals and seven points in 14 playoff games. With outstanding offensive skills, Kuznetsov figures to be a fixture on the Capitals for many years to come, but appears willing to accept a bridge deal rather than sign a long-term extension at this time. Keep an eye on the situation as it unfolds, but all signs point to Kuznetsov staying in DC for now.
News: Marcus Johansson filed for salary arbitration on Sunday, and will have his hearing heard during the arbitration period from July 20th to August 4th, Alex Prewitt of The Washington Post reports. Analysis: If the case goes before the arbiter, Marcus Johansson will take a contract extension with a maximum of two years. While the filing is indicative of disagreement between Johansson's camp and the Capitals about a new contract, there is still a very good chance the two sides will get a deal done before the case is heard. A fixture in the Capitals top-six last season, Johansson has a career-high of 20 goals and 47 points in 82 games. The arrival of T.J. Oshie and Justin Williams may complicate Johansson's deployment in next season's lineup, but general manager Brian MacLellan has made it clear he wants to keep Johansson with the team beyond next season. Keep an eye on the situation as it unfolds.
News: Braden Holtby filed for salary arbitration on Sunday, and will have his hearing heard during the arbitration period from July 20th to August 4th, Alex Prewitt of The Washington Post reports. Analysis: If he goes through arbitration, Braden Holtby will receive a contract with a maximum term of two years, the Capitals choice given that Holtby's camp chose to file for arbitration. An arbitration period certainly imposes a specific timeframe for the Capitals to work out a long-term extension for Holtby, who is coming off a career year in which he posted a 2.22 GAA and .923 save percentage en route to a 41-20-10 record over 73 games during the regular season. Rounding out a season worthy of Vezina consideration (although he was not a finalist for the award), Holtby turned in an outstanding post-season effort cut short by the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference semi-finals, but not before winning six games with a 1.71 GAA and .944 save percentage. All signs point to a big pay day for Holtby who has emerged as one of the league's top goaltenders, and while the Capitals are unlikely to let him slip away, there does appear to be some roadblocks in getting a deal done at the moment.