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NHL roundup: MacKinnon goes first in draft

The SportsXchange

For the second time in eight years, a native of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, was selected first overall in the NHL Entry Draft.

Folks in Denver can only hope that Nathan MacKinnon will be as successful as his predecessor.

The Halifax Mooseheads center -- who hails from the same hometown as Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby -- was the first player selected on Sunday in the draft hosted by the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.

The 6-foot, 182-pound MacKinnon scored 32 goals and had 43 assists in 44 games for the Mooseheads this past season, leading Halifax to the QMJHL championship and the Memorial Cup. That included a win over the Portland Winterhawks and defenseman Seth Jones, a Denver native who topped the NHL Central Scouting Bureau's prospect rankings and had previously been considered the favorite to go No. 1 overall.

Now, the Avalanche has added MacKinnon to a young core that includes Gabriel Landeskog (the No. 2 overall pick in 2011) and Matt Duchene (the No. 3 overall pick in 2009.

--- Goaltender Seigei Bobrovsky and the Columbus Blue Jackets reached an agreement on a two-year contract extension, according to reports on Sunday.

Financial terms of the contract were not yet known. But the 2013 Vezina Trophy winner was seeking $6 million per year, TSN earlier reported, and the Jackets were hesitant to pay him that much, even going so far as to gauge the interest of other NHL teams in Bobrovsky.

Complicating the negotiations were reports that the KHL had a $10 million offer on the table to the Russian native. Bobrovsky had the option to sign a contract with the KHL as early as Monday.

The 24-year-old Bobrovsky finished a stellar season with a 21-11-6 record with a .932 save percentage and a 2.00 goals-against average. He showed dramatic improvement from two years ago with the Philadelphia Flyers when he had a .899 save percentage and a 3.02 GAA.

---Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang is closing in on a new contract worth more than $50 million. According to Renaud Lavoie of RDS, the sides are working through "small details" before finalizing the agreement.

Letang has one year remaining on his current contract, but his name had surfaced in trade rumors. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported last week that he was nearing an agreement on an eight-year deal worth around $54 million, with ESPN reporting Letang turned it down. He was seeking $7.5-8 million annually, which he will come just shy of with Lavoie tweeting Sunday that the deal will be worth $58 million over eight years - a $7.25 million annual average - with a limited no-trade clause to 15 teams.

Letang, 26, currently has a four-year, $14 million contract that expires after the upcoming season.

---The Phoenix Coyotes signed goalie Mike Smith to a six-year contract extension, Fox Sports Arizona reported Sunday.

No financial terms were released, but earlier reports pegged the deal is in the $5.5 million to $5.7 million per year range. The Arizona Republic reported that the cap hit for the Coyotes will be $5.67 million.

Because the team is owned by the NHL, the deal needs approval from the league before it is finalized. Smith was set to become a unrestricted free agent on Friday.
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