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The Buzz

NHL Summer Buzz: Penguins interested in Matt Duchene

Defending champions may be trying to acquire Avalanche center; Joe Thornton reportedly speaking with Kings

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 Tuesday:

 

8:11 p.m.
Penguins interested in Matt Duchene

The Pittsburgh Penguins are one of the teams that may be trying to acquire center Matt Duchene in a trade from the Colorado Avalanche, NHL Network's Elliotte Friedman reported Tuesday on "NHL Tonight."

"I wouldn't be surprised if in a stealth way Pittsburgh is kind of interested," Friedman said. "They're a team that kind of looked at Duchene, I think, last year. We heard their name mentioned with [the Avalanche] a couple of times. I don't know if they've really exited. It wouldn't be an easy thing for Pittsburgh to do for cap purposes. … I wouldn't be surprised if Pittsburgh is still lurking, along with the [New York] Islanders."

Duchene, 26, has two years remaining on his contract, which carries a $6 million charge against the NHL salary cap, according to CapFriendly.com.

The Penguins are nearly $19 million under the $75 million cap for 2017-18, but the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions have several players about to become unrestricted free agents July 1, including center Nick Bonino, forward Chris Kunitz and defensemen Trevor Daley and Ron Hainsey.

Selected by Colorado with the third pick of the 2009 NHL Draft, Duchene has 174 goals and 244 assists in 572 NHL games.

The Avalanche reportedly put Duchene and left wing Gabriel Landeskog on the market before the 2017 NHL Trade Deadline, but kept both. General manager Joe Sakic told Altitude Sports Radio on May 9 that "there's going to be a lot of turnover" in the offseason, but Friedman suggested they might hold Duchene into next season.

Colorado was 22-56-4 this season, last in the NHL.

Video: Elliotte Friedman on Duchene, Galchenyuk rumors

 

7:09 p.m.
Hobey Baker finalist Spencer Foo agrees to terms with Flames

Spencer Foo, a free agent forward from Union College who was a finalist for the 2016-17 Hobey Baker Award, agreed to terms on a contract with the Calgary Flames on Tuesday.

He will sign July 1.

Foo, 23, scored 26 goals and had 36 assists in 38 games as a junior this season. The Edmonton native is 6-foot, 185 pounds. He reportedly also visited with the Colorado Avalanche, Detroit Red Wings, Edmonton Oilers and Vegas Golden Knights.

 

4:52 p.m.
Eric Gryba signs two-year contract with Oilers

Defenseman Eric Gryba signed a two-year contract with the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday. Financial terms of the contract were not disclosed, but TSN reported Monday it is worth $1.8 million, an average annual value of $900,000.

Gryba, 29, could have become an unrestricted free agent July 1. 

He had six points (two goals, four assists) in 40 games this season. He also played in three Stanley Cup Playoff games for the Oilers, who were eliminated in the Western Conference Second Round by the Anaheim Ducks in seven games.

 

3:05 p.m.
Joe Thornton talking to Kings: report

San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton, who could become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, has been speaking with the Los Angeles Kings, according to LAKingsInsider.com.

Thornton has ties with the Kings' front office, cites reporter Jon Rosen. He played with general manager Rob Blake in San Jose from 2008-10 and Blake's senior adviser Mike O'Connell was GM when Thornton played for the Boston Bruins.

Video: SJS@DAL: Thornton slams home a loose puck in front

Thornton turns 38 on Sunday. He was acquired by the Sharks in a trade with the Bruins on Nov. 30, 2005. Thornton has 970 points since the 2005-06 season, third in the NHL behind Alex Ovechkin (1,035) and Sidney Crosby (1,027).

He had 50 points (seven goals, 43 assists) in 79 games this season, his lowest totals in a full season since his rookie season 1998-99, and is expected to be ready for the start of next season after having surgeries to repair a torn ACL and MCL in April.

Thornton is one of the top free agent centers,writes NHL.com deputy managing editor Brian Compton.

 

12:10 p.m.
Antti Niemi clears waivers, bought out by Stars

Goalie Antti Niemi had the final year of his contract bought out by the Dallas Stars after he cleared waivers Tuesday.

Niemi, 33, was placed on waivers Monday and can become an unrestricted free agent July 1. He had one year remaining on a three-year, $13.5 million contract with an average annual value of $4.5 million, according to CapFriendly.com. Niemi will cost the Stars $1.5 million towards the salary camp in each of the next two seasons.

He was 12-12-4 with a 3.30 goals-against average and .892 save percentage in 37 games this season. He went 37-25-11 with a 2.92 GAA, .900 save percentage and three shutouts in two season with the Stars.

Video: Stars part ways with Antti Niemi

The Stars acquired Niemi in a trade with the San Jose Sharks for a seventh-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft on June 27, 2015.

In 423 NHL games with the Stars, Sharks and Chicago Blackhawks, he is 227-125-51 with a 2.49 GAA, .913 save percentage and 35 shutouts. He helped the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup in 2010, going 16-6 with two shutouts in 22 playoff games.

The Stars acquired goalie Ben Bishop in a trade with the Los Angeles Kings on May 9 and signed him to a six-year, $29.5 million contract ($4.916 million average annual value) on May 12.

Dallas also has goalie Kari Lehtonen under contract for one more season at a $5.9 million salary-cap charge.

 

11:11 a.m.
Brett Connolly, Capitals agree to two-year contract: report

Forward Brett Connolly and the Washington Capitals agreed to terms on a two-year, $3 million contract, TSN reported Monday. The contract has an average annual value of $1.5 million.

Connolly, 25, was not extended a qualifying offer from the Capitals on Monday and could have become an unrestricted free agent July 1.

In 66 games for Washington this season, Connolly scored an NHL career-high 15 goals. He also had eight assists and was plus-20, averaging 10:41 of ice time per game. He had no points in seven Stanley Cup Playoff games.

 

Yanni Gourde signs two-year contract with Lightning

Forward Yanni Gourde signed a two-year, $2 million contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday.

Gourde, 25, could have become an unrestricted free agent July 1.

Gourde had eight points (two goals, six assists) in 20 games with Tampa Bay this season. The Lightning signed him as an undrafted free agent on March 10, 2014.

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