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NHL Insider

Flyers plan to keep Gagner, may move him to wing

Thursday, 07.02.2015 / 12:28 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Philadelphia Flyers general manager Ron Hextall wasn't very active the first day of NHL free agency Wednesday, because of salary-cap constraints and by choice.

Although help on the wings and more mobility on defense are offseason needs, the Flyers' only significant signing was backup goaltender Michal Neuvirth. Terms weren't released, but Sportsnet reported the two-year contract will pay Neuvirth $1.5 million in 2015-16 and $1.75 million in 2016-17.

The Flyers have about $5 million left under the $71.4 million NHL salary cap, according to war-on-ice.com, and that doesn't include a contract for restricted free agent defenseman Michael Del Zotto.

The only new forward is Sam Gagner, acquired from the Arizona Coyotes on June 27 in a trade for defenseman Nicklas Grossmann and the contract of defenseman Chris Pronger.

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Green, Richards give Red Wings coach more flexibility

Thursday, 07.02.2015 / 12:04 PM / NHL Insider

Paul Harris - NHL.com Correspondent

DETROIT -- Coach Jeff Blashill says the signings of defenseman Mike Green and center Brad Richards provide the Detroit Red Wings with more flexibility.

"I think, in a lot of ways, they give us more options," Blashill said Thursday. "We think they fit in with our team and bring some unique skills."

The Red Wings signed Green to a three-year contract and Richards to a one-year contract Wednesday, the first day of NHL free agency. Green's contract is worth $18 million, and Richards is guaranteed $3 million for the 2015-16 season but could make $4 million with bonuses, according to TSN.

Blashill is going into his first season as Red Wings coach after replacing Mike Babcock, who left Detroit after 10 seasons to coach the Toronto Maple Leafs.

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Kassian aims for fresh start with Canadiens

Wednesday, 07.01.2015 / 8:06 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

The Vancouver Canucks ran out of patience with Zack Kassian. The Montreal Canadiens hope to benefit from that lack of patience.

The Canucks traded Kassian, the 13th player taken in the 2009 NHL Draft, and a fifth-round pick in 2016 to the Canadiens on Wednesday for forward Brandon Prust, ending a tumultuous four seasons in Vancouver for the hulking right wing.

Canucks general manager Jim Benning explained that he wanted to add toughness and consistency to his lineup by replacing Kassian with Prust, who is seven years older and carries a salary-cap charge that is $750,000 more than Kassian's.

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Hamilton, Frolik acquisitions raise bar for Flames

Wednesday, 07.01.2015 / 7:25 PM / NHL Insider

Aaron Vickers - NHL.com Correspondent

CALGARY -- General manager Brad Treliving knows the Calgary Flames' on-ice success last season, when they qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2009 and advanced beyond the first round for the first time since 2004, will increase expectations on them next season.

So, too, he predicts, will his recent acquisitions.

The Flames signed free agent forward Michael Frolik on Wednesday, five days after adding defenseman Dougie Hamilton in a trade with the Boston Bruins then signing him. Calgary also retained goalie Karri Ramo, re-signing him before he hit the free agent market.

"We told our team this, at the locker clean-out I said, 'We all have to be better, and it starts with me,'" Treliving said. "What we accomplished last year was nice, but ultimately it's just a step. The fact we had the season we had is going to raise expectations. That's just human nature, and we can't shy away from those. If we all want to be good, this is what happens. There's more expected. There's more pressure. We've got to start living like a team that wants to be good.

"I think those expectations are a good thing. That means you've added good people. The people you do have have had some success, so there should be expectations."

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Penguins excited to add Kessel's skill on the wing

Wednesday, 07.01.2015 / 6:35 PM / NHL Insider

Wes Crosby - NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford did what he said he would.

Rutherford declared after Pittsburgh was eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs in five games that he would bring in at least one top-six wing. He did just that Wednesday, when the Penguins acquired forward Phil Kessel from the Toronto Maple Leafs.

"I'm very excited about what happened today," Rutherford said. "We've worked on this deal with Toronto for a month, or over a month. It got a little bit of legs on draft day, but it really heated up last night, and we were able to complete the deal today.

"We set out this offseason to bring in more skill on the wing and some more speed. I certainly think we covered that by adding Phil Kessel. We also liked to get some consistency of wingers for [Evgeni Malkin] and [Sidney Crosby]."

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Kapanen, Harrington add to Maple Leafs' young cadre

Wednesday, 07.01.2015 / 6:30 PM / NHL Insider

Mike Brophy - NHL.com Correspondent

TORONTO -- The Toronto Maple Leafs continue to add youth and skill to their roster with the additions Wednesday of forwards Kasperi Kapanen and Nick Spaling and defenseman Scott Harrington from the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Phil Kessel trade.

Kapanen, whose father Sami Kapanen played 831 NHL games scoring 189 goals and 458 points, is another young player the Maple Leafs hope will develop into a top-six forward.

"He's one of the youngest players that was drafted two years ago," Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan said. "He came over this year and played a little bit in the [American Hockey League]. He's a talented guy; a top-six forward, we are hoping. I think he adds to another group of players that we have in our stable, that with a lot of work and a lot of patience and some development, we hope he can become a very productive Leaf at some point."

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Shanahan continues shakeup of Maple Leafs' core

Wednesday, 07.01.2015 / 6:20 PM / NHL Insider

Mike Brophy - NHL.com Correspondent

TORONTO -- The Toronto Maple Leafs' new direction continued Wednesday with the trade of veteran right wing Phil Kessel to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Kessel has led the Maple Leafs in scoring the past six seasons, but was traded along with minor-league center Tyler Biggs, defenseman Tim Erixon and a second-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft for forwards Kasperi Kapanen and Nick Spaling, defenseman Scott Harrington and a first- and third-round draft pick in 2016.

Having not yet hired a general manager, Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan orchestrated the trade, which he said started at the draft last week in Florida.

"I had said at the end of the season there were going to be changes," Shanahan said. "For whatever reason we had a lot of talented individuals on this team, but as a group, the core group, it hadn't worked. This is about winning. Phil is certainly a very talented player and we knew changes had to come."

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Analysis: Kessel trade begins Maple Leafs' rebuild

Wednesday, 07.01.2015 / 4:07 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Brendan Shanahan made his first major mark on the Toronto Maple Leafs roster on Wednesday, opening the door to the long-term, sometimes painful rebuild he knows the franchise needs to go through in order to once again become relevant in the chase for the Stanley Cup.

After spending months wielding his power mostly to build Toronto's front office and coaching staff, Shanahan, the Maple Leafs president, went to work on his roster rebuild by trading forward Phil Kessel to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

In trading Kessel, Shanahan opened $6.8 million in salary-cap space for the next seven seasons. The Maple Leafs retained 15 percent ($1.2 million) of Kessel's $8 million cap charge.

Kessel was the best trade chip Shanahan could play to start his rebuild if Toronto does not want to be in a win-now frame of mind, even after bringing in Mike Babcock as coach.

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Anisimov set to help Blackhawks battle for more titles

Wednesday, 07.01.2015 / 3:15 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Artem Anisimov wanted to be part of the Chicago Blackhawks just as much as they wanted him to be their second-line center.

That's the main reason the two sides came together Wednesday on a five-year contract extension announced by the Blackhawks a day after they acquired Anisimov in a seven-player trade that sent forward Brandon Saad to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

"I want to be part of the team," Anisimov said Wednesday. "Every year, they've battled for the Stanley Cup. To sign for five years in Chicago is big for me, and I'm really excited to sign with the Blackhawks."

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Saad 'a little shocked' by trade to Blue Jackets

Wednesday, 07.01.2015 / 12:49 PM / NHL Insider

Craig Merz - NHL.com Correspondent

COLUMBUS -- Brandon Saad, the newest Columbus Blue Jackets left wing, is still getting used to no longer being a member of the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks.

"I was a little shocked," Saad said Wednesday after being traded Tuesday. "It was my first time going through the process. At the same time it's a business and you have to expect it. After that, I'm definitely excited to come to a good, young team in Columbus.

"Things are going to happen, and most guys don't play their entire career in the same place."

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Quote of the Day

It's very special, obviously; there is draft day and then there's the day that you sign your first deal. It's been a crazy couple of weeks and I'm very honored to be able to do that."

— Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid on signing his first professional contract