- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy17 mins 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.
- Josh Cooper at Puck Daddy21 mins ago
David Perron has decided to return to the place where he started his NHL career.
The 28-year-old winger signed a two-year contract worth $7.5 million with the St. Louis Blues. The team picked Perron in the first-round of the of the 2007 NHL Draft. He spent his first six NHL seasons with the club before he was traded to the Edmonton Oilersin the 2013 offseason.
Perron spent his first 43 games last season with the Pittsburgh Penguins, where he had 16 points. After a January trade to the Anaheim Ducks for Carl Hagelin, Perron notched 20 points in 28 games.
In his first 20 games he notched 17 points and helped captain Ryan Getzlaf get his game back. But after suffering a shoulder injury in late March, Perron struggled to find his groove when he returned for the playoffs.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy39 mins 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.
- Josh Cooper at Puck Daddy44 mins ago
The Florida Panthers have signed goaltender James Reimer to a five-year contract worth $3.4 million per-year.
The decision to bring in Reimer should help the 37-year-old Roberto Luongo get added rest during the regular season and could enable the Panthers to shift to Reimer once Luongo decides to retire.
The 28-year-old Reimer played 40 games last season between the Toronto Maple Leafs and San Jose Sharks. In 32 games with the Leafs he had a 2.49 goal-against average and .918 save percentage. In eight games with San Jose, Reimer held a 1.62 goal-against average and .938 save percentage.
Reimer led goaltenders who had played at least 1,500 5-on-5 minutes with a .9404 save percentage.
In 207 career NHL games, Reimer is 85-76-23 with a 2.83 goal-against average and .914 save percentage.
Luongo is under contract on a long-term deal that runs through 2021-22. Last season, Luongo finished fourth in Vezina Trophy voting and held a 2.35 goal-against average and .922 save percentage.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy1 hr 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.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy1 hr 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.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy4 hrs ago
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!
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy13 hrs 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.
- Josh Cooper at Puck Daddy17 hrs ago
It’s hard to gauge emotion from Shea Weber’s face.
No matter the situation – good, bad indifferent – he stays stoic and almost statuesque in how his surveys what has occurred in front of him.
“I really regard him as a John Wayne type,” longtime Nashville Predators play-by-play voice Peter Weber said. “I think Shea is overly loud with that shot of his, but I really do think he is the mostly silent, very strong type that guys respect for that.”
This ability to stay level and even has helped Shea Weber become one of the top defensemen in the NHL since 2005-06, his first year in the league. In his eight full seasons since then he has scored in between 15-23 goals and notched in between 40-56 points.
In his career, he’s averaged 24:02 of ice-time in 763 NHL games. The 30-year-old Weber has been named to two Canadian Olympic, won two gold medals and was one of the first 16 players added to Team Canada’s World Cup team. Three times, Weber has been named a finalist for the Norris Trophy.
- Josh Cooper at Puck Daddy18 hrs ago
Los Angeles Kings forward Dustin Brown said he “doesn’t see eye-to-eye” with a team management decision to strip him of his captain’s ‘C’.
He also indicated his relationship with the organization has been strained moving forward following leaks in the Kings’ decision to give Anze Kopitar the captaincy.
Brown was named team captain in 2008 and has led the group to two Stanley Cup championships. He is the only American captain to win multiple Stanley Cups and one of two US born players to captain a team to a championship
Earlier in June, the Kings announced Kopitar would become the team’s new captain.
“I’m not going to say it’s rosy but at the end of the day my responsibility and my job and what I ultimately care about is performing and playing well for my teammates. That wasn’t ever not the case,” Brown said. “I don’t want to let my teammates down first and foremost because those are the guys you go to battle with and those are the guys it affects the most. That’s kind of my focus and my perspective.”