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NHL Summer Buzz: Niklas Hjalmarsson OK with trade to Coyotes

Three-time Stanley Cup winner likely to have fellow Swedish defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson as partner

NHL.com @NHL

Welcome to the NHL Summer Buzz. With the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft, the Trade/Waiver Freeze and the NHL Draft over, and the beginning of free agency on July 1, the 31 NHL teams are free to make moves to shape their rosters for the 2017-18 season.

Here's a look around the League at the latest doings for Sunday:

 

1:10 p.m.
Bob Woods joins Wild as assistant

Bob Woods rejoined Bruce Boudreau when he was hired as an assistant by the Minnesota Wild on Saturday. 

It's the fourth time the two will be working together. Woods was an assistant under Boudreau in the ECHL and American Hockey League, as well as with the Washington Capitals and Anaheim Ducks. He was an assistant with the Buffalo Sabres this season, where he was in charge of the NHL's No. 1 power play.

"We've been together for a lot of years, we've known each other for a lot of years and always had a great working relationship," Woods told the Wild website. "He's a guy that's helped mold my career and I owe a lot to. To be back with him, in the State of Hockey, I'm pretty excited about the opportunity."

Woods replaces Scott Stevens, who resigned after one season to spend more time with his family.

 

9:15 a.m.
Niklas Hjalmarsson OK with trade to Coyotes because of Oliver Ekman-Larsson

Niklas Hjalmarsson was surprised to find out he'd been traded from the Chicago Blackhawks to the Arizona Coyotes on Friday but said he's excited to get going with his second NHL team in part because of his projected new defense partner.

Hjalmarsson is likely to be paired with fellow Swedish defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, and he said that possibility was a factor when he decided to include the Coyotes when the Blackhawks asked him for 10 teams to which he would accept a trade.

"He's one of the better D-men in the League, so hopefully I can complement him with just playing my style of hockey," Hjalmarsson told the Arizona Republic on Saturday. "At the same time, maybe try to develop a little bit more of a puck-moving element to my game and be more involved offensively. But at the same time, playing defense first has always been my strength. That's what I'm expecting of myself."

Hjalmarsson and Ekman-Larsson, a leading candidate to replace Shane Doan as Coyotes captain, each played for Sweden at the World Cup of Hockey 2016 and at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Hjalmarsson will have to adjust to playing for a team other than the Blackhawks, who selected him in the fourth round (No. 108) of the 2005 NHL Draft and won the Stanley Cup three times (2010, 2013, 2015) in his 10 seasons with them.

"It was a lot of mixed emotions in the beginning there, the first 24 hours," Hjalmarsson said of being traded. "But at the same time, I'm excited for the new opportunity and being part of kind of a rebuild in Arizona with a lot of new faces and a lot of young and promising players. So I'm excited."

Hjalmarsson has two years remaining on his contract, which carries a $4.1 million charge against the NHL salary cap, according to CapFriendly.com. He has 143 points (23 goals, 120 assists) and a plus-109 rating in 623 NHL games.

Video: NSH@CHI: Hjalmarsson beats Rinne with long slap shot

 

8:50 a.m.
Lightning interested in Marco Scandella: report

The Tampa Bay Lightning are looking for a top-four defenseman after losing Jason Garrison to the Vegas Golden Knights in the NHL Expansion Draft, and Marco Scandella of the Minnesota Wild might be that player, the Tampa Bay Times reported Saturday.

However, Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman knows adding a quality defenseman will cost Tampa Bay some valuable assets.

"It's supply and demand," he said.

On Saturday, the Calgary Flames traded first- and second-round picks in the 2018 NHL Draft and a second-round selection in 2019 or 2020 to the New York Islanders for defenseman Travis Hamonic.

Scandella, 27, has three years left on his contract, which carries a $4 million charge against the NHL salary cap, according to CapFriendly.com. He has 89 points (27 goals, 62 assists) and a minus-10 rating in 373 games with the Wild, who drafted him in the second round (No. 55) in 2008.

Tampa Bay also wants to add a top-nine forward, possibly when the free agent signing period begins July 1. The Lightning are $23.1 million under the $75 million salary cap for 2017-18, according to CapFriendly.com, but forwards Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat can become restricted free agents.

"We've got some spots on our roster. We've got some cap space," Yzerman said. "We need to see if we can re-sign our own free agents, and we'll focus on that. We'll look into some of the players in free agency and see if we can address some of our needs that way. It's going to be a busy week, but what we actually accomplish, I'm not sure."

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