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Joel Ward signs three-year contract with Sharks

Friday, 07.03.2015 / 7:45 PM / NHL Free Agency 2015

David Satriano - NHL.com Staff Writer

Free agent forward Joel Ward signed a three-year contract with the San Jose Sharks on Friday.

"Originally when the season ended, my first thought was to maybe head back [to the Washington Capitals]," Ward said, "and just kind of more and more into the summer and free agency period, it just seemed unlikely.

"So I knew that was a possibility, and when I got a chance to talk to [Sharks coach Peter [DeBoer], that really helped me sway of being in a good situation."

The Capitals signed forward Justin Williams on Wednesday and traded for forward T.J. Oshie on Thursday, making Ward expendable.

His contract is worth $9.75 million, an average annual value of $3.25 million, according to Sportsnet.

"It was a group that wanted me and it's always good to feel loved," Ward said. "I embraced it, I loved it, and I thought it was a great opportunity."

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Saad signs six-year contract with Blue Jackets

Friday, 07.03.2015 / 6:14 PM / NHL Free Agency 2015

Craig Merz - NHL.com Correspondent

COLUMBUS -- It wasn't all sand, sun and fun for Brandon Saad on his vacation this week while he got over the shock of being traded by the Chicago Blackhawks and awaited word on a contract from the Columbus Blue Jackets.

But Saad started the holiday weekend by signing a six-year contract with Columbus reportedly worth $36 million.

"It's nice to be on the beach and in the sun," Saad said from Myrtle Beach, S.C. "At the same time, it's always in your mind you want to get things done and be on the team and excited to go, so that's been a little stressful."

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Lidstrom's sons attend Red Wings development camp

Friday, 07.03.2015 / 6:05 PM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

Longtime Detroit Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame earlier this week. Two of his sons, Adam and Kevin, would like to follow in his footsteps.

Each is taking part in the Red Wings' developmental camp this weekend.

Adam Lidstrom, 19, is a forward who played junior hockey for Vasteras last season, finishing with seven goals and 14 points in 40 games. Kevin Lidstrom, 21, is a defenseman who had one assist in 22 games for Enkopings of the third-tier Hockeyettan.

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Devils' Palmieri embracing chance to face Rangers

Friday, 07.03.2015 / 3:51 PM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

Kyle Palmieri played for the New Jersey Devils' youth team and attended Devils practices and games when he was a boy.

Now, the 24-year old will get to play for the Devils; he was traded from the Anaheim Ducks for two draft picks on June 26.

Palmieri was born Smithtown, N.Y., but grew up in Montvale, N.J., rooting for the New York Rangers.

"I probably went to more Devils games than I did Rangers games just because it was easier to get tickets and for me it was way easier to get to (the Meadowlands) than it was for me to get into the city," Palmieri told Northjersey.com on Thursday. "I definitely grew up going to more Devils games than I did Rangers games."

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Top remaining free agents heading into weekend

Friday, 07.03.2015 / 2:58 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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Senators prospect Paul gaining his 'man strength'

Friday, 07.03.2015 / 10:11 AM / NHL Insider

Chris Stevenson - NHL.com Correspondent

OTTAWA – The potential of a prospect like big wing Nicholas Paul is one of the reasons Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray chose not to re-sign unrestricted free agent Erik Condra.

Condra signed a three-year contract worth $1.25 million per season with the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday. Murray said he liked Condra and what he contributed on the Senators third line last season, but balked at the length of the contract, fearing it would get in the way of the development of a prospect like Paul.

"This is my point with some of these players: if you sign beyond a year or two it shuts the door on these kids for a long period," Murray said. "(Paul) might be ready to play – and I shouldn't say this – within the first couple of months of the year. He looks like the kind of player you send him to the minors and let him play some pro games down there and by the second half you're saying why isn't he on our team? There's a few guys like that I see over there (at the Senators' development camp)."

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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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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