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NHL Summer Buzz: Flyers disappointed not to have met with Tavares

Bergeron talked up Bruins to pending free agent center from Islanders; Khudobin likely leaving Boston

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

Welcome to the NHL Summer Buzz. With the 2018 NHL Draft over and free agency beginning July 1, the 31 NHL teams are making moves to shape their rosters for the 2018-19 season.

Here's a look around the NHL at the latest doings for Friday:

 

Flyers disappointed not to be on Tavares' list: report

John Tavares' reported list of teams he met with prior to the start of free agency didn't include the Philadelphia Flyers, which was a disappointment to general manager Ron Hextall.

"We would have liked to have been in there," Hextall said at Flyers development camp Friday, according to NBCSN Philadelphia.

The 27-year-old center met with his current team, the New York Islanders, along with the Boston Bruins, Dallas Stars, San Jose Sharks, Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs during the NHL interview period that began Sunday, according to The Athletic.

Hextall said before the 2018 NHL Draft that he had no intention of offering long-term contracts in free agency in order to keep roster spots open for highly regarded prospects Philadelphia has in its system.

He clarified that message Friday, saying, "I misspoke that day or [the media] misunderstood me. I said we weren't going to go long-term with a good player. Maybe a great player, we'd look at it."

Hextall said Tavares' decision has slowed other business.

"I think it's holding up the hockey world a certain amount, for sure," he said.

Tweet from @NBCSPhilly: If you thought Ron Hextall never wanted to be in the John Tavares sweepstakes, think again ...(@JHallNBCS)https://t.co/SenTn1f4qZ

 

Bergeron helped Tavares learn about Bruins: report

Patrice Bergeron spoke to pending free agent center John Tavares about the possibility of playing for the Boston Bruins, Bergeron told TVA Sports on Friday.

"I talked to him over the phone, to answer his questions," Bergeron said. "I talked to him about my experiences here. I've lived in Boston since I was 18, this is my second home. I told him about the city, the organization, my teammates. Now the ball is in his court. I know his week was probably eventful with the number of teams who talked to him, so hopefully I had a bit of an impact."

Bergeron wasn't sure how much of an impact he had.

"I honestly have no idea," he said. "I don't know how he sees things, if he wants to stay put or if he just wanted to figure out his options."

Bergeron and Tavares won championships together with Canada at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey and the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

"Since we are both sponsored by CCM/Reebok, I've met him at a couple of events," Bergeron said. "He's a great person on and off the ice, I have nothing but good things to say about him."

Tavares, 27, met with his current team, the New York Islanders, along with the Bruins, Dallas Stars, San Jose Sharks, Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs in Los Angeles this week.

 

Khudobin likely won't return to Bruins

Anton Khudobin likely won't be re-signed by the Bruins. The 32-year-old goalie can become an unrestricted free agent July 1.

"I've stayed in contact," general manager Don Sweeney said of the team's UFAs. "I think the goaltending one probably is going in a different direction at this point, but I've stayed in contact with all of them."

Khudobin, who backed up Tuukka Rask this season, was 16-6-7 with a 2.56 goals-against average and .913 save percentage in 31 games (29 starts).

Sweeney said finding a backup goaltender with experience is important.

"Ranks right at the top of the list," he said. "I think Anton did a fabulous job. We need to make sure we're satisfied in that area, so it's a priority for us."

The Bruins missed out on free agent forward Ilya Kovalchuk, who agreed to a three-year contract with the Los Angeles Kings on June 23, and UFA forward Rick Nash is unsure if he will play next season.

"I think I indicated that Rick needs to take all the time necessary to make whatever decision he wants to make for he and his family," Sweeney said. "I was as honest as I could be. We've been in touch with that group from Day One and I respect the hell out of the decision he's made."

The Bruins could opt to target a free agent for a top-six right wing spot, or use one of their prospects, including Anders Bjork or Ryan Donato.

"I think we feel pretty comfortable that some of our players have emerged to be able to handle some of those things," Sweeney said. "Anders started up there last year, so I think we feel from where our depth and where our youth is at that it'll be a good exercise to go through and that guys should be able to push through, but until you get there you always have your eye towards what is known, an element that is known. That's why we were in on the other players."

-- NHL.com staff writer Amalie Benjamin

 

Fletcher hired by Devils

Chuck Fletcher was hired by the New Jersey Devils on Friday as senior adviser to the general manager/hockey operations.

Fletcher spent the previous nine seasons as GM of the Minnesota Wild. He was fired April 23.

"Chuck brings a vast array of experience working for teams at different stages of their growth," Devils GM Ray Shero said. "He has seen teams start from the beginning, teams that were building toward the Stanley Cup Playoffs and teams striving to be consistent contenders. Those experiences will serve valuable to us, as we look to take the next steps here in New Jersey. I personally know that Chuck's knowledge, work ethic and demeanor will be benefits to our organization. We are excited for him to work directly with our management, scouting and coaching staffs moving forward."

Prior to taking the Wild job, Fletcher was the assistant GM to Shero with the Pittsburgh Penguins from 2006-09.

Tweet from @NJDevils: The #NJDevils have named Chuck Fletcher to the position of Senior Advisor to the General Manager/Hockey Operations. https://t.co/0ueUZnNQih

 

Vatrano agrees to terms with Panthers

Frank Vatrano agreed to terms on a one-year contract with the Florida Panthers.

"Frank brings scoring ability and depth to our forward group," Panthers general manager Dale Tallon said Friday. "He was a solid addition to our forward group during our playoff push and we're excited for his continued development with the Panthers."

The 24-year-old forward had 10 points (seven goals, three assists) in 41 games with the Panthers and Boston Bruins this season.

Video: BOS@FLA: Vatrano steals puck, nets backhander

 

Zykov agrees to terms with Hurricanes

Valentin Zykov agreed to terms on a two-year, $1.35 million contract with the Carolina Hurricanes.

The contract has an average annual value of $675,000.

The 23-year-old forward, who had seven points (three goals, four assists) in 10 games with the Hurricanes this season, led the American Hockey League with 33 goals.

"Valentin is a big body who proved he had the ability to finish around the net on the AHL and NHL levels last season," Hurricanes general manager Don Waddel said.

Selected by the Los Angeles Kings in the second round (No. 37) of the 2013 NHL Draft, Zykov was acquired by the Hurricanes for forward Kris Versteeg on Feb. 28, 2016.

 

Lucic not expected to leave Oilers: report

Milan Lucic is not on the trade market and will play for the Edmonton Oilers next season, his agent told the Edmonton Journal on Thursday.

"Milan didn't ask for a trade and [general manager Peter Chiarelli] 100 percent has not come to us about moving Milan," Gerry Johannson told the newspaper. "If he wants to get out from under the contract, he has to talk to us. ... What's going on with Milan? Absolutely nothing. Milan had a bad year, the team had a bad year.

"He's coming back to play for the Edmonton Oilers. That's not exactly a fancy storyline but that's what it is. I have no idea how this story got out there."

Reports said the Oilers may have been looking to trade the 30-year-old forward with five seasons remaining on a seven-year contract he signed July 1, 2016. Lucic had 34 points (10 goals, 24 assists) in 82 games this season; he scored one goal after Dec. 23. It was his fewest points playing at least 72 games since he had 27 (eight goals, 19 assists) in 77 games as a rookie with the Boston Bruins in 2007-08.

Edmonton went 36-40-6 and finished 17 points behind the Colorado Avalanche for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference.

"Milan's still pretty young," Johannson said. "He had a good year two years ago (50 points in 2016-17). There's always the tendency that when you have a good year you're better than you are. When you have a bad year, everybody's terrible."

 

Darling will be Hurricanes goaltender: report

Scott Darling will be one of the goaltenders for the Carolina Hurricanes next season, general manager Don Waddell told the Raleigh News & Observer on Thursday.

Waddell said the Hurricanes were 100 percent committed to Darling, who was 13-21-7 with a 3.18 goals-against average and .888 save percentage in 43 games in his first season with Carolina after signing a four-year, $16.6 million contract with an average annual value of $4.15 million on May 5, 2017. He was acquired by the Hurricanes in a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks on April 28, 2017.

His save percentage was worst among the 56 goalies who played at least 20 NHL games last season.

"He's lost weight and feels good," Waddell said of Darling. "I told him he might be the best free agent we have, and we already own him, if we can get him back on track. Add another guy into the mix and we hope we can be solid in goal."

The Hurricanes have spoken with five or six free agent goaltenders, Waddell told the newspaper.

Cam Ward, Carolina's other goaltender last season, will not be re-signed and reportedly is going to sign with the Blackhawks as an unrestricted free agent.

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