Greg Wyshynski

  • Alex Radulov swears he’s a changed man for Montreal Canadiens

    Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 9 hrs ago

    Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin hasn’t exactly earned the benefit of the doubt from his fan base this week, what with the controversial P.K. Subban trade and the heavy flirtation with franchise nemesis Milan Lucic as a free agent.

    Then it was announced on Friday that the Canadiens had signed Alex Radulov, former member of the Nashville Predators and CSKA of the KHL, to a 1-year deal worth $5.75 million.

    And eyes rolled.

    Radulov has a reputation. It’s not a good one. There was the time he broke his contract with the Predators to leave for the KHL. There was the timehe hit a coach with a hockey stick. There was the time he came back to the NHL in a cameo appearance with the Predators in 2012, and then infamously broke curfew in the playoffs.

    You know who agrees with that assessment?

    Alex Radulov.

  • David Backes with emotional, frustrating farewell to St. Louis Blues

    Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 11 hrs ago

     

    Once in a while, you see a free agent leave a team and realize that the player and the team have become synonymous.

    Such is the case with David Backes and the St. Louis Blues.

    Backes was a career player for the Blues, through 727 games and 49 more in the postseason. But as his contract expired after last season, so did his time in St. Louis. Backes signed with the Boston Bruins for five years and $30 million on Friday.

    It was an emotional goodbye.

    A great mixture of emotions and thankful for an amazing decade of my life! Farewell @StLouisBlues #BleedBlue pic.twitter.com/AyYSSOqj06

    — David Backes (@dbackes42) July 1, 2016

    But couldn’t the sides come together? The Blues are taking one more run at it with coach Ken Hitchcock and most of the same cast that made the Western Conference Final last season.

    Why not bring the captain back?

    Because it wasn’t a question of next season, according to GM Doug Armstrong. It was a question of the fourth or fifth ones.

  • Dan Hamhuis is a genius signing by Dallas Stars

    Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 12 hrs ago

    The last time Dan Hamhuis hit free agency, it was a giant mess.

    Please recall how the Philadelphia Flyers acquired his negotiating rights. Then the Pittsburgh Penguins made a trade with the Flyers – which is Haley’s Comet rare – to get those rights after Hamhuis passed on the Flyers. And then he ended up signing a $27-million, six-year contract with the Vancouver Canucks after all of that was done.

    This time, it was a little bit easier: Hamhuis signed a two-year, $7.5-million deal with the Dallas Stars. That’s a $3.75 million cap hit.

    That’s a great, great deal for the Stars.

    Dallas already had a need for more veteran efficiency on the blueline, a need that was only intensified when Alex Goligoski was traded to the Arizona Coyotes. Hamhuis is the goods, and his analytics are strong as well:

    Dan "Community Man" Hamhuis (stars) has tremendous shot and goal impacts, eats minutes, plays vs best. pic.twitter.com/3aT7MeVDXp

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  • Eric Staal says ‘significant minutes’ drew him to Minnesota Wild

    Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 14 hrs ago

     

    Eric Staal did not have a good year.

    The Carolina Hurricanes captain had his lowest points per game average since his rookie year at 0.47, which was a byproduct of his disastrous stint with the New York Rangers in which he had six points in 20 games. He followed that with zero points in five games in the playoffs, skating to a minus-7.

    After the season, Staal faced unrestricted free agency. His primary consideration for the next step of his career: To play a large, important role. Preferably at center, his natural position, where the Rangers didn’t play him.

    “I think I can have a good bunch of years left. I can be effective offensively, more than I have been. I can be better. But I have to stay confident and know that I have the ability to be a difference-maker on an important team, in a larger role,” he said in April.

    He found such a role in Minnesota.

    The reason? “Significant minutes,” he said, via TSN.

    It’s a chance for Eric Staal to find newfound respect after seeing his star diminish with the Carolina Hurricanes.

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  • David Backes signs with Bruins in NHL free-agent surprise

    Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 14 hrs ago

    David Backes has carved out a reputation in the NHL over the last 10 seasons with the St. Louis Blues as a rugged, blue-collar player.

    So naturally, as he leaves the Blues as a free agent, he joins the NHL’s epitome of the blue-collar aesthetic, the Boston Bruins.

    “Just the ideology those players have. They’re all-in. That mentality,” said Backes on TSN on Friday, after signing a five-year, $30-million deal. “It was a fit on all accords.”

    Backes played 79 games with the Blues last season, scoring 21 goals and 24 assists. He had 460 points in 727 games with the Blues, who drafted him No. 62 overall in 2003. Backes has been a Selke Trophy finalist and finished fourth in the voting twice.

    The Bruins were flush with cash heading into the summer. Backes, 32, gives Boston one of the deepest groups at center in the NHL: David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron and Backes. (In the case of the latter two, they have a pair of the best defensive centers in hockey.) And when you have to get past a team with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Nick Bonino to win the Cup, well, there you do.

    “There have a lot of sleepless nights, short sleep nights, hoping something would get done in St. Louis,” said Backes.

  • Milan Lucic signs with Oilers; right move for Edmonton?

    Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 15 hrs ago

    The Edmonton Oilers signed Milan Lucic, one of the biggest fish in the free-agency pool in name and bulk, as the NHL frenzy started on July 1.

    And it’s the first palpable example of the Connor McDavid Effect.

    “I think it’s self explanatory. They have a pretty special young player there. That’s what the decision comes down to. Getting a chance to play with one of the best young players that I’ve seen since I’ve come into the NHL,” Lucic said on TSN. “Whether I play with him or not, there’s light at the end of the tunnel with him [on the team].”

    Lucic, 28, spent last season with the Los Angeles Kings, scoring 20 goals and 35 assists in 81 games, with 79 penalty minutes. That was after eight years with the Boston Bruins in which he tallied 342 points in 566 games. Many of those eight years were spent with Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli, with whom Lucic won the Stanley Cup in 2011.

    Lucic said staying with the Kings was his top choice, but it couldn’t work out with the salary cap. He said he had deep conversations with the Montreal Canadiens, which would be hilarious.

    So is this a good move for the Oilers?

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  • Brian Campbell returning to Blackhawks: Report

    Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 16 hrs ago

    The Chicago Blackhawks were done after one round last season partially because their defense was exposed.

    Trevor van Riemsdyk, Erik Gustafsson and David Rundblad all weren’t ready for prime time. The loss of Johnny Oduya in the previous offseason – and the team’s inability to replace him with either Trevor Daley or Rob Scuderi, whom they acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins for Daley – left the team’s blue line thin.

    So the Blackhawks have decided to dip into the past for some help: Brian Campbell, who won a Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 2010. According to Pierre LeBrun of TSN, the deal is done for July 1.

    Campbell’s massive 8-year, $57-million contract that he signed with the Blackhaws in 2008 was moved by the team to the Florida Panthers and former GM Dale Tallon in 2011. He’s spent the last five years there, scoring 175 points in 376 games and being a steady hand on the blue line – especially in helping along phenom Aaron Ekblad. Campbell was a plus-31 last season.

    He doesn’t have the wheels he once did with the Blackhawks, but he brings a palpable durability: Campbell hasn’t missed a game since the 2010-11 season, even as he’s 37 years old now.

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  • Darren Helm handed 5-year deal from Red Wings

    Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 16 hrs ago

     

    Darren Helm is fast. This has been his greatest virtue in his nine NHL seasons with the Detroit Red Wings, and as the Pittsburgh Penguins reminded us in their Stanley Cup run, it’s also a precious commodity in today’s NHL.

    Let’s keep that in mind as the news hits on July 1 that Helm has been re-signed to a five-year extension by the Red Wings. According to Aaron Ward, the deal has an annual average value of $3.85 million.

    Helm played 77 games last season with 13 goals and 13 assists, skating 15:04 for new coach Jeff Blashill. He was one of their top guys as far as ice time on the penalty kill. Helm was also a positive possession player at 52 percent Corsi at 5-on-5, although playing the majority of his minutes with Pavel Datsyuk might be a factor there.

    So the Red Wings sign a role player for five years. One that, perhaps, could be expansion draft bait.

    They now have $14.2 million to sign Danny Dekeyser, Petr Mrazek and a replacement for Pavel Datsyuk that will probably be Frans Nielsen.

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  • Puck Daddy's NHL 2016 Free Agent Frenzy Chatterbox!

    Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 19 hrs ago

    NHL

    It’s the 2016 NHL Free Agent Frenzy Chatterbox!

    The Chatterbox offers breaking news and insider insight in one place; to have, at the end of the day, a chronological review of the NHL Free Agent Frenzy’s rumors and trades; and as a place for your friends at Puck Daddy to pop in and out during the day for quick chats.

    For NHL Free Agent Frenzy, we’ve compiled Twitter feeds from some of the best hockey journalists, news-breakers and entertaining analysts for your viewing enjoyment.

    The free-agent signing period begins at noon ET!

    Among the pundits: Pierre LeBrun of ESPN; Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet; Michael Russo of the Star Tribune; Bob McKenzie of TSN; Darren Dreger of TSN; Renaud Lavoie of TVA; Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet; Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News; John Shannon of Sportsnet; Craig Custance of ESPN; Andy Strickland of KRTS; Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun; Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch; Chris Johnston of Sportsnet; your Puck Daddy buddies Wyshynski, Leahy, Cooper, Lambert and many more!

  • Aaron Ekblad, Panthers agree on massive 8-year extension

    Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 1 day ago

    Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad is entering the last year of his rookie deal, with a Calder Trophy to his credit and having established himself as a franchise player.

    Starting in 2017-18, he’ll be paid like one.

    According to Jimmy Murphy of Dirty Water Media and confirmed by George Richards of the Miami Herald, Ekblad will sign an 8-year deal with a $7.5 million average annual value this summer. Richards said he doesn’t anticipate Ekblad signs the deal on July 1, but will do so “soon.” The deal was initially reported by Elliotte Friedman last week.

    Ekblad had 36 points in 78 games last season, playing 21:40 per game as a 20 year old. There was some concern that he could be an offer sheet target next summer, but Panthers management has ended that drama before it began.

    Is he worth it? Of course.

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