The Jets re-sign Blake Wheeler, Updates on Bryan Bickell and Michal Handzus, the Ducks re-sign Kyle Palmieri, the Devils fill needs but not speed, the Hurricanes sign Nathan Gerbe, and more.
TSN.CA: The Winnipeg Jets avoided salary arbitration with Blake Wheeler, re-signing him to a six-year, $33.6 million contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Analysis of this signing later this morning in my “Canadian Corner”.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE/ESPN.COM: Chicago Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell and Michal Handzus are recovering from off-season surgeries to repair injuries suffered during the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs. Both expect to be ready for training camp in September.
ESPN.COM: Paul Grant wonders if Ray Emery, who signed with the Philadelphia Flyers this summer as a free agent, can carry over last season’s strong performance into this one.
NORTHJERSEY.COM: Tom Gulitti believes the New Jersey Devils filled their needs with their off-season moves, but not their team team speed.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Anaheim Ducks yesterday re-signed forward Kyle Palmieri to a three-year, $4.4 million contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The average annual cap hit is $1.466 million for Palmieri, who had 21 points in 42 regular season games and 5 points in seven playoff games. An affordable move for the Ducks, leaving them with over $4.3 million in cap space to sign Teemu Selanne if he decides to return next season.
NEWSOBSERVER.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes yesterday signed former Buffalo Sabres forward Nathan Gerbe to a one-year, two-way contract.
NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: Washington Capitals prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov reportedly told a Russian paper he could follow Ilya Kovalchuk’s example and return to the KHL when he’s thirty.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see if Kuznetsov or his agent subsequently claim he was “misquoted”. If he wasn’t, Kuznetsov isn’t doing himself any favors when he finally decides to grace the Capitals with his presence. He’s 21 now, and isn’t expected to join the Caps until after this KHL season is over. He’s giving himself only nine years in the NHL. Now, of course, his opinion could change over time, but if he sticks to the intent of returning to the KHL at age 30, the Capitals – or another NHL team – will have little incentive to invest big dollars in a long-term deal in this kid. Kuznetsov’s honesty is admirable, but he’s hurting his future NHL value. One also wonders what the reaction of Capitals management will be.