Even if Zach Parise doesn't re-sign on the dotted line to return to the New Jersey Devils prior to the start of free agency, there's no reason to believe the team for which he has spent the last seven seasons is completely out of the picture.
Parise told Rich Chere of The Star-Ledger on Tuesday that New Jersey would still be a strong candidate for his services -- even if no deal were struck by the noon deadline on Sunday.
"I'm sure a lot of people would think that, but that's very far from the case," Parise told the paper. "If it does happen to get to Sunday, that's by no means saying I don't want to go back to New Jersey.
"I know the perception would be, 'Oh, he wants out.' But that's not the case. I haven't been lying. I've said all along how much I like playing in New Jersey. So that wouldn't be me saying, 'I don't want to play there anymore.'"
The San Jose Sharks announced Tuesday they had signed defenseman Brad Stuart to a three-year contract. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but CSNBayArea reported last week that the deal would be worth $3.6 million per season.
The Sharks had acquired Stuart's rights June 10 from Detroit, in return for forward Andrew Murray a 2014 seventh-round draft pick.
Stuart, 32, would have been an unrestricted free agent had he not signed prior to July 1.
Originally drafted by the Sharks with the third pick of the 1998 draft, Stuart played his first six NHL seasons with San Jose. He's also played with Boston, Calgary, Los Angeles and Detroit.
He had six goals, 21 points and a plus-16 rating in 81 games with the Red Wings last season.
The Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday signed defenseman Shane O'Brien to a new three-year contract. Terms were not released, but the Denver Post reported the deal is worth a total of $6 million.
Had he not signed, O'Brien would have been an unrestricted free agent July 1.
"Having Shane under contract further solidifies our blue line," Avalanche general manager/executive vice president Greg Sherman said. "He brings energy to our lineup and we're pleased to have signed him to a multiyear deal."
O'Brien had 20 points and 105 penalty minutes in 76 games this past season. He also ranked in the top four on the team with 138 hits and 86 blocked shots.
When Peter Mueller has been healthy, he's shown himself to be a highly-skilled NHL forward.
Staying healthy, however, has been a major issue the last three seasons, and likely was part of the reason the Colorado Avalanche on Monday declined to give the restricted free agent a qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent July 1.
He slumped to just 13 goals the following season, and after a slow start to the 2009-10 season, the Coyotes traded him to the Colorado Avalanche on March 3, 2010.
The change of scenery lit a fire under Mueller, who had nine goals and 11 assists in 20 games. That hot run ended April 4, 2010, when he suffered a concussion on a hit by the San Jose Sharks' Rob Blake.
He was close to returning when the 2010-11 season started, but he suffered another concussion in his first preseason game -- Mueller said he was hit by a stick in the left temple, the same place he was injured on the Blake hit -- and that led to him sitting out the entire 2010-11 season.
PITTSBURGH -- One draft down, one more to go for Swedish goalie Oscar Dansk.
Dansk, drafted with the first pick of the second round by the Columbus Blue Jackets (No. 31) on Saturday at Consol Energy Center, spent this past season with Brynas Jr of Sweden's second division. He sported a 2.82 goals-against average and .910 save percentage in 28 games.
NHL Central Scouting's No. 2-ranked European goalie admitted he would certainly take the major-junior route if he is selected by a team on Wednesday during the Canadian Hockey League's annual Import Draft.
"My dream will be to come to camp and try my best, but I know it's a process and however long the process going to take, we'll see," Dansk said. "I feel like I had good conversations with the Blue Jackets, but you never know what will happen."
"We kind of crossed paths on the floor and gave each other a hug," Sutter told NHL.com. "He's my best friend and to share this experience with him is so surreal. I'm extremely proud of him and I'm sure he'd say the same about me."
In 148 games spanning three seasons with the WHL's Blades, Sutter has totaled 352 PIMs, including 165 in 70 contests this season. According to hockeyfights.com, he also dropped the gloves 10 times in 2011-12 -- seven short of the 17 players he fought last season.
But after being selected by the Philadelphia Flyers in the second round of the 2012 NHL Draft, the 6-foot-5, 200-pounder said, "It looks like I'm a Flyers fan now."
Stolarz does have a connection to the Flyers, as growing up in central New Jersey, he played with and against Philadelphia forward James van Riemsdyk.
"I played against Trevor in high school when I was a freshman [at St. John Vianney], he was a senior at Christian Brothers [Academy]. There were a few times playing open hockey I'd play with James, Trevor and the youngest brother, Brandon."
Stolarz has taken a circuitous route to his NHL draft day. He played in the Atlantic Youth Hockey League and was recommended for an open camp Corpus Christi was having in Albany, N.Y. From there he was invited to the IceRays' main camp and posted a 2.84 goals-against average and .920 save percentage in 50 games.
He admits he had no idea what hockey in Texas would be like.
"It was right on the beach," he said. "I figured it'll be a good spot."
However, playing in Texas made it a bit hard for NHL scouts to find him, which made his selection in the second round a bit of a surprise.
"To start the year I really wasn't focused on the NHL," he said. "I was focused more on getting a college scholarship. Anything after that was an added bonus."
He'll play at the University of Nebraska-Omaha next season, but said he's already looking forward to meeting Flyers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov.
"He looks like an interesting character," Stolarz said. "He's a good goalie. Watching him in Phoenix and now Philly, hopefully I'll be able to pick up a few things from him."
Contact Adam Kimelman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
PITTSBURGH -- As recently as a week ago, Mark Jankowski was struggling to figure out what he should do.
But when he was taken the Calgary Flames with the 21st pick at the NHL Draft on Friday night, the tall center from Stanstead College in Quebec knew he’d made the right call to skip his high school graduation ceremony and attend the first round of the draft
"I think I made the right decision," a beaming Jankowski said while wearing a Flames jersey. "I only made my decision about a week ago, and right up until that day I was flip flopping every day."