Oilers Ship Gordon To Arizona
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News: Boyd Gordon
(back) was traded to the Coyotes on Tuesday in exchange for forward Lauri Korpikoski.
Analysis: Boyd Gordon
annually ranks as one of the best performers in the faceoff circle, as illustrated by his 55.9 percent winning rate in 2014-15. However, that's about where his fantasy value begins and ends, as he's never been a big scorer or hitter, even by the standards of a fourth-line player. Additionally, his plus/minus rating remained a regular risk during his tenure with a bad Oilers team, and that figures to remain the case in 2015-16 with the Coyotes projected to be one of the league's worst units.
Report: Border Stop Why Kings Terminated Richards
, C, LA
News: Mike Richards
had his contract terminated by the Kings on Monday after he was allegedly stopped by police June 17 and questioned about illegal presciption drugs near a Canadian border crossing, according to a report from TMZ Sports.
Analysis: Mike Richards
reportedly wasn't charged with a crime during the police stop, but was asked about the prescription painkiller Oxycodone. It's not clear from the report if Richards was even carrying the drug in question at the time, though the Kings evidently determined from the evidence that the incident represented a "material breach" of the forward's contract with the team. The Kings were thought to be pursuing a buyout of the remainder of Richards' 12-year, $69 million contract, so the timing of the report will likely lead the NHLPA to investigate the situation closely. Regardless of the outcome, Richards is officially an unrestricted free agent and will be free to sign with any team.
GM Brian MacLellan said last week that he is hopeful Nicklas Backstrom
(hip) will be ready to play by the start of the coming season, Alex Prewitt of the Washington Post reports. "He should be [ready] more than likely...he'll start the year, I'm counting on [it]," McLellan said. "I think his hip surgery went well. He'll be close to starting the year, it looks like...I know [from] talking to the trainer and the doctor that everything's gone well, they expect the rehab to go well. Optimistically, I'd say I'm hoping he's coming back for training camp."
It's good to see that the Capitals are publicly expressing a positive outlook on Nicklas Backstrom
, but the center's availability for the start of the season appears questionable nonetheless. Historically, arthroscopic hip surgeries have produced wide-ranging timetables for hockey players, with most recovery periods lasting 3-to-4 months. Moreover, it typically takes further time beyond that for players to regain their pre-surgery strength, making Backstrom something of a risky investment heading into 2015-16. The Capitals should have more concrete updates regarding Backstrom's health as training camp approaches, but the Swedish center might be best avoided for those in leagues with early draft dates.
News: Ryan White
re-signed with the Flyers on Tuesday on a one-year, $800,000 contract, Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports reports.
After inking a two-way deal with the Flyers last summer, Ryan White
was upgraded to a one-way contract following his respectable showing with the squad. In 34 games, White tallied six goals and six assists, while piling up the hits in a bottom-six role. He's unlikely to raise his offensive outputs in the seasons to come, but White's blend of physical play and complementary scoring should make him a lineup fixture most nights.
Anisimov, Blackhawks Working On Extension
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News: Artem Anisimov
and the Blackhawks are close to agreeing to a contract extension, Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune reports.
After the Blackhawks weren't able to come to terms on a new deal with restricted free agent Brandon Saad, the team shipped him to Columbus earlier Tuesday, with Artem Anisimov
representing one of the five pieces the team received in return. While Anisimov won't be expected to fill the offensive void created by Saad's departure, he should provide a decent impersonation of Antoine Vermette, an unrestricted free agent who the Stanley Cup champs weren't expected to retain. Look for Anisimov to center the Blackhawks' third line this season and offer solid contributions in most phases of the game, though nothing that will likely result in him becoming a high-end fantasy commodity.
The Red Wings bought out the remaining three years on Stephen Weiss
' contract Tuesday, MLive.com's Ansar Khan reports.
The Red Wings will owe $16 million to Stephen Weiss
, who was appeared in just 78 games during his two seasons with the team as a result of injury. He showed that he still had some offensive ability in his repertoire in the instances he was healthy last season (nine goals, 25 points in 52 games), but at 32 years old, it's doubtful that he'll reemerge as a 50-point scorer in the remaining years of his career. Weiss will become an unrestricted free agent and isn't likely to command a hefty salary figure on the open market.
Blackhawks Acquire Dano In Saad Deal
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News: Marko Dano
(knee) was acquired by the Blackhawks on Tuesday along with forwards Artem Anisimov, Jeremy Morin, Corey Tropp, and a 2016 fourth-round draft choice. The Blue Jackets received forwards Brandon Saad and Alex Broadhurst and defenseman Michael Paliotta in return.
After the Blackhawks were unable to reach an agreement on a contract extension with Saad, the team elected to trade the restricted free agent and pick something up for him in return rather than facing the prospect of another team offering him a pricey offer sheet. Of the pieces Chicago received in return, Marko Dano
rates as the most intriguing. The 20-year-old flashed plenty of talent during his 35 games with the Blue Jackets last season, totaling eight goals and 21 points. He'll likely have a chance at claiming a third-line role with the Blackhawks out of camp, and could make for a worthy late-round upside target in deeper formats.
Blue Jackets Pick Up Broadhurst In Saad Trade
, C, CHI
News: Alex Broadhurst
was acquired Tuesday by the Blue Jackets in the deal that also sent forward Brandon Saad and defenseman Michael Paliotta to Columbus. In return, the Blackhawks will receive forwards Artem Anisimov, Marko Dano, Jeremy Morin, and Corey Tropp, along with a 2016 fourth-round draft choice.
Saad is the headliner of the deal, but the additions of Alex Broadhurst
and Paliotta should help bolster the depth of the Blue Jackets' prospect pool. The 22-year-old Broadhurst tallied six goals and 14 points in 29 games for AHL Rockford last season, and will presumably open the 2015-16 campaign at the Jackets' minor-league affiliate in Columbus. The 5-foot-10 winger is probably still a year or two away from potentially making an impact with the parent club.
Isles Ink Lee To Four-Year Pact
, C, NYI
News: Anders Lee
signed a four-year, $15 million contract extension with the Islanders on Tuesday, Arthur Staple of Newsday reports.
Analysis: Anders Lee
shined in his first full NHL season in 2014-15, scoring 25 goals and chipping in 16 points in 76 games. For a time, he even saw top-line minutes alongside John Tavares, something that could occur with more regularity if the Islanders elect to part ways with Kyle Okposo during the summer. Regardless, the 24-year-old should be locked into a role on one of the Isles' two scoring lines until his deal expires at the end of the 2018-19 campaign.
Sabres' O'Reilly Expects To Play Center
, C, BUF
News: Ryan O'Reilly
says he is more comfortable playing center and expects to play at that position for the Sabres, reports the Olean Times Herald.
On a team that lacks true centers, Ryan O'Reilly
is a good candidate to be the team's new No. 1, and head coach Dan Bylsma certainly said as much after the trade. The Sabres will have a bit of a logjam at camp, with Zemgus Girgensons, David Legwand, Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart all preferring to play center. While general manager Tim Murray noted that O'Reilly has played on the wing in the past, O'Reilly is arguably the team's best faceoff specialist. With an increased role, O'Reilly has the potential to set new career-highs. It's likely he'll begin camp playing alongside Tyler Ennis, the team's reigning top scorer and teammate at the most recent World Championships.