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NHL Insider

GM notes: Penguins on Letang; Coyotes on Tippett

Wednesday, 06.19.2013 / 8:38 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

BOSTON -- Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Ray Shero is working on a contract extension with defenseman Kris Letang and hopes to have an agreement in principle in place by the NHL Draft on June 30 in Newark, N.J.

Kris Letang
Defense - PIT
GOALS: 5 | ASST: 33 | PTS: 38
SOG: 95 | +/-: 16

Letang has one year remaining on his contract with a salary-cap value of $3.5 million. He was a finalist for the Norris Trophy this season after putting up 38 points in 35 games.

"I think there are certain pressure points in terms of getting a deal done and [the draft] is one of them," Shero said Wednesday after the NHL general managers met prior to Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final. "Ideally I'd like to have some sort of deal done by next week so I know what I'm doing and so I know things that might come our way, what we have. We'll see what happens with Kris in the next week. I think we'll have a much better idea of where we stand and what he's thinking."

Shero recently had a breakfast meeting with Letang's agent, Kent Hughes.

"I don't think I need five days of meetings to find out what the market value is for the player," Shero said. "I think I have a pretty decent understanding of what the market can be."

Shero said his focus is solely on negotiating a new contract for Letang.

GMs endorse Competition Committee proposals

Wednesday, 06.19.2013 / 6:23 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

BOSTON -- The National Hockey League general managers voted in favor of recommendations made by the NHL Competition Committee during a meeting Wednesday.

The Competition Committee initially met to come up with the recommendations in a meeting June 4 in Toronto.

Chief among the recommendations are the mandatory use of visors for all players entering the NHL beginning in the 2013-14 season, and the use of hybrid icing in the 2013 preseason.

The NHL Board of Governors will vote on these recommendations when it meets June 27.

If the Board of Governors approves the mandatory use of visors, all players who have fewer than 26 games of NHL experience will be required to wear a visor beginning in the 2013-14 season. Players who have played in 26 games or more will be able to make their own decision on if they want to wear a visor.

Murray still hoping Alfredsson will play another year

Tuesday, 06.18.2013 / 4:03 PM / NHL Insider

Connor Mellas - Staff Writer

Fresh off winning the 2012-13 Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award, Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson faces an uncertain hockey future.

Meanwhile, his general manager waits for the news of whether the long-time captain plans to return for another season.

"We have talked, I've talked to Alfie in the past couple of days," Senators GM Bryan Murray said at a press conference Tuesday announcing the renaming of the team's arena as the Canadian Tire Centre. "I told him to take whatever time he needs and come back to me when you can -- as early as you can, that would help me -- but do whatever you have to do to satisfy your family to make sure you're ready to play."

Alfredsson, 40, has played 1,178 games for the Senators, scoring 426 goals and recording 682 assists for 1,108 points. In the 2012-13 season, Alfredsson recorded 10 goals and 16 assists in 47 regular season games, and added another four goals and six assists in 10 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

Messier says he's interviewed to be Rangers coach

Friday, 06.14.2013 / 6:37 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

CHICAGO -- Mark Messier has had a formal interview to be the new coach of the New York Rangers, but he would not elaborate on any details or the timing of when the club could potentially name him or someone else as the full-time replacement for John Tortorella.

"Yes, of course," Messier told when asked Friday at United Center if he formally interviewed with Rangers president and general manager Glen Sather. "That was one thing I wanted to have happen, to go through the process like everybody else and to experience that, and to give Glen the opportunity to make a decision that he feels comfortable with."

It was the first time Messier publicly expressed interest in the position. Messier, who serves as the Rangers' special assistant to the general manager and president, confirmed earlier reports that he expressed interest in being Rangers coach before interviewing for the job.

Penguins' next task: negotiating deal with Letang

Thursday, 06.13.2013 / 3:20 PM / NHL Insider

Connor Mellas - Staff Writer

Kris Letang
Kris Letang- 2013 Playoffs
Defense - PIT
GOALS: 3 | ASST: 13 | PTS: 16
SOG: 49 | +/-: 2

Now that Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin has signed a long-term, big-money contract, joining company with forwards Sidney Crosby and James Neal, salary cap space is evaporating quickly for the talent-rich club, which will next turn their focus toward negotiating a deal with top defenseman Kris Letang.

Letang, 26, was one of the NHL's best on the blue line during the 2012-13 season, with five goals, 38 points, and a plus-16 rating in 35 games. He's set for unrestricted free agency at the end of the 2013-14 season.

At the moment, it's unclear how the eight-year, $76 million contract the Penguins signed Malkin to on Thursday will affect their willingness to spend on Letang, but it's safe to say crafting a deal won't be made any easier. Between Malkin, Crosby and Neal, Pittsburgh already has more than $23 million in salary tied up for 2014-15.

Josi, Predators look forward to productive future

Tuesday, 06.11.2013 / 4:55 PM / NHL Insider

Connor Mellas - Staff Writer

The ink dry on a seven-year, $28 million contract extension with the Nashville Predators, Roman Josi said he's happy his hockey future lies in Music City.

"I'm excited about my new contract," Josi, 23, said during a conference call Tuesday. "I'm having fun playing hockey and I'm more excited for next season."

Based on the magnitude of the contract, Nashville clearly is enthusiastic about its young defenseman too.

"I think last year we saw the growth in Roman almost like no other younger player we've had. Probably the best comparison I could come up with is Shea Weber and Ryan Suter," Predators general manager David Poile said.

Coach Sutter proud of Kings' accomplishments

Monday, 06.10.2013 / 8:44 PM / NHL Insider

Curtis Zupke - Correspondent

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Darryl Sutter is the first to acknowledge that most teams take on injuries like a boat taking on water, especially as the season gets longer. His Los Angeles Kings had their share with two-thirds of their top line and their top two defensemen playing with pain in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

But Sutter had some pointed words when he spoke Monday about how tough this season was to navigate and how difficult success is to sustain in the NHL. He doesn't see any missing pieces in the organization after the Kings were eliminated in the Western Conference Final by the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday.

"I don't think anything's missing," Sutter said. "We did win this year. You don't think we win? You don't think Anaheim won this year? We win. You go from 30 [teams] to 16 to eight to four to two to one and you can't win the Stanley Cup every year. I don't like going on [about] this, but there are some awful spoiled people in the media and awful spoiled people in this organization that think that … [the Kings have] played more playoff games in the last year -- year -- than any other team in hockey."

Oilers coach Eakins has developed young talent

Monday, 06.10.2013 / 5:57 PM / NHL Insider

Connor Mellas - Staff Writer

Before forward Nazem Kadri became a key member of the Toronto Maple Leafs, he played for Dallas Eakins with the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League. The relationship wasn't always a great one, but Kadri knows he's better for having had it.

"Dallas Eakins and me really beared down, and he stuck with me the whole way, and that's what you get -- results," Kadri told the Toronto Sun. "It may have taken a couple of years -- a long couple of years -- but it's worth it in the end."

It's those kinds of results that made Eakins so appealing to NHL teams, and why he was hired Monday as coach of the Edmonton Oilers.

Kings hope to keep majority of team intact

Sunday, 06.09.2013 / 9:46 PM / NHL Insider

Curtis Zupke - Correspondent

Dean Lombardi made his way to the locker room after Game 5 of the Western Conference Final and the emptiness sank it so deep, it practically echoed through the corridors of the United Center.

The Los Angeles Kings' general manager was understandably too emotional to talk immediately after his defending Stanley Cup champions were eliminated by the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night, but the unfiltered Lombardi described it to reporters fewer than 24 hours later.

"I walked in the room when it was over and, pretty much like the players -- dead silence and you're staring at nothing," Lombardi said in a conference call Sunday. "There's almost no emotion. You're almost frozen. I don't know what that means. There's so much going through your head there's nothing going through your head."

Lombardi, who said he spoke with coach Darryl Sutter until 4:30 a.m. and went to sleep an hour later, greeted the new day with his head filled with questions about his roster when the lower salary cap kicks in this summer.

Penguins' players: Don't blame Bylsma

Sunday, 06.09.2013 / 6:41 PM / NHL Insider

Chris Adamski - Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- If Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma's star has fallen somewhat on the heels of four consecutive Stanley Cup Playoff flameouts to lower-seeded opponents, he has no shortage of support within his own locker room.

After the No. 1 seed Penguins managed two goals in being swept out of the Eastern Conference Final by the Boston Bruins last week, speculation ramped up that Pittsburgh would consider a coaching change.

Bylsma said Sunday that he had yet to discuss his performance or future with general manager Ray Shero. But as the Penguins congregated as a group for the final time this season in their dressing room Sunday, many commended the job Bylsma and his staff have done and exonerated them from any of the blame of the shocking series sweep against the Bruins.

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