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Top remaining free agents heading into weekend

Thursday, 07.02.2015 / 11:36 PM / NHL Free Agency 2015

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

The first few head-spinning hours after the free agent market opened at noon ET on Wednesday featured a plethora of players joining new teams and a trade that has the potential to shift the balance of power in the Metropolitan Division in favor of the Pittsburgh Penguins, who acquired forward Phil Kessel.

The market still has several unrestricted free agents who could make a difference with a new team.

Here is a list of some of the best available (by position and in alphabetical order):

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Blues alter core group by trading Oshie for Brouwer

Thursday, 07.02.2015 / 8:45 PM / NHL Insider

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- After a third straight elimination in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the St. Louis Blues understood that despite multiple winning regular seasons, change was on the horizon.

One came Thursday when they traded forward T.J. Oshie to the Washington Capitals for forward Troy Brouwer, goalie prospect Pheonix Copley, and a third-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft.

"Hockey trades are hard to make in this League. You don't see many of them," general manager Doug Armstrong said Thursday. "This is a team that we have some younger players (Vladimir Tarasenko, Jaden Schwartz, Dmitrij Jaskin, Ty Rattie and Robby Fabbri) that I would like to see take a bigger role moving forward. I think that opens up a little bit of space for that. It brings in a different style of player.

"Obviously we haven't had the success that we've wanted to have, and this isn't a reflection of one player, but you have to make adjustments."

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Canadiens confident Kassian can help offense

Thursday, 07.02.2015 / 8:20 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

BROSSARD, Quebec -- The Montreal Canadiens are willing to give Zack Kassian another chance, and the forward is fully aware it might be is last one.

Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin acquired the hulking right wing from the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday, Montreal's only move on the opening day of free agency in an attempt to address its dire need of scoring up front.

Kassian has always had the potential to provide that kind of offensive punch, which is what led the Buffalo Sabres to take him with the 13th pick in the 2009 NHL Draft. But he has yet to prove he can do it in the NHL.

After having been traded for the second time in his career at the age of 24, Kassian said he is grateful for the opportunity the Canadiens are giving him.

"Vancouver was great to me, great organization, great people," Kassian said Thursday. "It's just one of those things, when you're young and you come into the League, you have to find your role and find what you can do. There's a lot of bumps in the road, but I think over the years I've gained a lot of maturity. I'm more than excited to be part of the Canadiens and to have a fresh start and be the player I can be."

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St. Louis' career filled with milestones, awards

Thursday, 07.02.2015 / 6:59 PM / NHL Insider

Kristen Nelson - NHL.com Staff Writer

Martin St. Louis announced his retirement from the NHL on Thursday after 16 seasons.

The undrafted forward struggled at the beginning of his career with the Calgary Flames before establishing himself with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

St. Louis had 391 goals and 642 assists (1,033 points) in 1,134 regular season games in the NHL, and won the Stanley Cup, two Art Ross trophies and three Lady Byng trophies.

Here are some highlights from St. Louis' NHL career:

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Undersized St. Louis always made big impression

Thursday, 07.02.2015 / 6:55 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Nearly two decades later, Craig Ramsay still remembers the smallest player on the ice at the start of Ottawa Senators training camp in 1997.

Ramsay was an assistant coach, and there among Alexei Yashin, Daniel Alfredsson, Vinny Prospal and Alexandre Daigle, was this pint-sized, undrafted training-camp invitee speeding all over the ice. Before Ramsay could figure out who he was, however, he wasn't there anymore.

"I never had a chance to work with him other than to notice him because he was pretty noticeable," Ramsay told NHL.com. "He was a nifty, small guy. And then he was gone."

Martin St. Louis was gone from that Ottawa camp, but after a 16-season career that is likely to include induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame, he won't soon be forgotten.

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Kessel excited by 'fresh start' with Penguins

Thursday, 07.02.2015 / 5:27 PM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

Phil Kessel hasn't missed a game five seasons, but he always felt like they ended too early. He expects that is about to change.

The nine-year veteran spent the past six seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs before he was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday.

"Being in Toronto, I got to play in one playoffs in all my years there," Kessel told reporter Dejan Kovacevic on Thursday. "But that's the best time of the year, right? Playoff hockey. Hopefully, I'll get to play in many in Pittsburgh."

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Capitals GM turns attention to re-signing their RFAs

Thursday, 07.02.2015 / 4:55 PM / NHL Free Agency 2015

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Washington Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan felt he improved his team Wednesday by signing right wing Justin Williams to a two-year, $6.5 million contract.

On Thursday, MacLellan's focus turned back to getting Washington's three restricted free agents -- goalie Braden Holtby and forwards Evgeny Kuznetsov and Marcus Johansson -- under contract to ensure that the Capitals have a chance to be a Stanley Cup contender next season.

They have approximately $14.4 million in NHL salary-cap space to re-sign the three restricted free agents.

"Holtby, Kuznetsov and Johansson are priorities," MacLellan said.

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Oilers' offseason moves caught Sekera's attention

Thursday, 07.02.2015 / 3:34 PM / NHL Free Agency 2015

Derek Van Diest - NHL.com Correspondent

EDMONTON -- A few months ago, Andrej Sekera may not have considered the Edmonton Oilers as a possible free-agent destination. But the bounce of a lottery ball, a change in management and a new coach suddenly made Edmonton appealing to the veteran defenseman.

Sekera, 29, signed a six-year, $33 million contract with the Oilers on the first day of NHL free agency Wednesday.

"I looked at the roster and I saw the team they had, the coach and the management," Sekera said. "When I saw what kind of players they had there, it made my choice very easy. They have a lot of skill, a lot of speed and a lot of smart players. They have a good coach, a good GM and a good goalie. It was a good place for me to play with my style of hockey, so that's why I chose Edmonton."

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Blues agree to terms with defenseman Bortuzzo

Thursday, 07.02.2015 / 3:24 PM / NHL Free Agency 2015

StLouisBlues.com

ST. LOUIS - The Blues have agreed to terms on a new contract with defenseman Robert Bortuzzo.

Contract terms were not yet available.

Bortuzzo was traded to the Blues in a deadline day trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins on March 2. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound defenseman played in 13 games with the Blues last season, scoring one goal and one assist.

To read more from the Blues website, CLICK HERE.

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Williams wants to help Capitals get over playoff hump

Thursday, 07.02.2015 / 2:38 PM / NHL Free Agency 2015

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

It was a month ago when Justin Williams' 6-year-old son Jaxon told him if he wasn't going to play for the Los Angeles Kings anymore he should go play with Alex Ovechkin.

Daddy listened, and granted Jaxon's wish Thursday by signing a two-year, $6.5 million contract with the Washington Capitals.

"I know my son's happy," Williams said Friday. "He woke up this morning and said, 'Daddy, where are we playing?' I told him Washington and he was all smiles. That passed the test. I'm happy about that."

Williams passed the test for the Capitals too.

Washington general manager Brian MacLellan said he thinks Williams, a three-time Stanley Cup champion and Conn Smythe Trophy winner in 2014, should be a perfect fit for the Capitals on the ice and in the dressing room.

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Quote of the Day

I have been blessed to play for 16 years in the NHL; it has been an amazing ride. I would like to thank the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Rangers organizations and owners for providing me the opportunity to play the sport I love for so many years. I could have never played for so long or accomplished all that I have without the unwavering love and support from my wife, Heather, our three sons, Ryan, Lucas, and Mason, and my parents.

— Martin St. Louis after announcing his retirement from the NHL on Thursday