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  • Capitals re-sign D Carlson for 8 years, $64M
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, June 24, 2018

    The Washington Capitals have agreed with defenseman John Carlson on an eight-year, $64 million contract, the team announced Sunday.

    • The agreement will keep Carlson from hitting the free agent market when it opens July 1. He was scheduled to begin meeting with teams during the league's "interview period" this week before players can officially sign with teams next Sunday.

      "John has been an exceptional and consistent player for our franchise and has blossomed into being one of the top defensemen in the NHL," general manager Brian MacLellan said in a statement. "Defenseman like John are a rare commodity in our League and, at 28 years of age, we feel he is just entering his prime.

      "As a right-handed defenseman, John plays in all key situations and has contributed greatly to our team's success on the special teams. We are pleased for both parties to have come to an agreement and for him to continue his great career as a Washington Capital."

      Washington cleared $5.5 million in salary on Friday by including 37-year-old Brooks Orpik in a trade that sent goalie Philipp Grubauer to the Colorado Avalanche, who then began the process of buying out Orpik.

      MacLellan said the team would be open to re-signing Orpik after he is bought out, depending on how much it would cost.

      Carlson led all NHL defensemen in points during the regular season with 68 (15 goals, 53 assists), setting career highs in all three marks while averaging a team-high 24:47 of ice time. He played in every regular-season game for the sixth time in nine NHL seasons since being drafted 27th overall by the Capitals in 2008.

      Carlson added 20 points (five goals, 15 assists) during the team's run to the Stanley Cup title, averaging 25:38 of ice time.

      --Field Level Media

  • Blackhawks send Kero to Canucks for Chaput
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, June 24, 2018

    The Chicago Blackhawks traded center Tanner Kero to the Vancouver Canucks for center Michael Chaput, both teams announced on Sunday.

    • Chaput, 26, appeared in 77 games for the Canucks over the last two seasons, tallying four goals, five assists and 34 penalty minutes. He also played in 65 games for the AHL's Utica Comets in that span, collecting 55 points (19 goals, 36 assists).

      He saw time in 58 NHL games with the Columbus Blue Jackets from 2013-16, collecting two goals and six assists. He was originally a third-round pick of the Philadelphia Flyers in 2010.

      Kero, who turns 26 next month, has 22 career points (eight goals, 14 assists) in 72 NHL games across three seasons with the Blackhawks. He's played in 124 games for the AHL's Rockford Ice Hogs over the last three seasons, totaling 79 points (35 goals, 44 assists).

      --Field Level Media

  • Islanders GM Lamoriello fine with Tavares looking around
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, June 23, 2018

    Don't get Lou Lamoriello wrong: The New York Islanders general manager wants very badly for star center John Tavares to stay with the team, but Lamoriello says he's just fine with Tavares deciding to look around.

    • On July 1, Tavares will become a free agent.

      Tavares' agent, Pat Brisson, said on Saturday that the nine-year veteran, who has spent his entire career with the Islanders, would be interested in hearing from at least five teams as July 1 approaches.

      Tavares has said previously that he wants to stay with the Islanders.

      "I have no disappointment. No discouragement," Lamoriello told ESPN after Day 2 of the NHL draft in Dallas. "He's earned every right to make whatever choice he has. The most important thing is that we hope in the end that he's an Islander."

      Expected suitors include the San Jose Sharks, the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Vegas Golden Knights and the Dallas Stars.

      The Sharks have more than $20 million in cap space after parting ways with forward Mikkel Boedker and defenseman Paul Martin. The Maple Leafs are Tavares' hometown team. The Lightning are home to Steven Stamkos, a good friend of Tavares, and the Golden Knights have more than $30 million in cap space.

      The Stars might appear to be a surprise player.

      GMs for all five of those teams said they couldn't comment on Tavares specifically until the interview period opens, but a few said they obviously would be looking to upgrade their teams where possible.

      In 669 games, Tavares, 27, has 621 points, including 272 goals, including 37 last season. He is a two-time Hart Trophy finalist for league MVP.

      --Field Level Media

  • NHL notebook: Panthers, Flames swing five-player deal
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, June 23, 2018

    The Carolina Panthers acquired Dougie Hamilton, Micheal Ferland and Harvard defenseman Adam Fox from the Calgary Flames in exchange for Noah Hanifin and Elias Lindholm on Saturday.

    • Hamilton, 25, produced 17 goals and 27 assists in 82 games for the Flames last season. The defenseman has 220 points in 423 career games with Calgary and Boston after being taken No. 9 overall in 2011 by the Bruins.

      Hanifin, a 21-year-old defenseman, established career highs with 10 goals and 32 points in his third NHL season and was selected for his first All-Star Game. He will be a restricted free agent this offseason.

      Lindholm, a 23-year-old center, also becomes a restricted free agent July 1. His 16 goals and 44 points last season were each one short of his career highs. Ferland, 26, played in 77 games last season and tallied 21 goals and 20 assists. He has 89 points in 250 career games.

      --The Colorado Avalanche signed Philipp Grubauer to a three-year contract one day after acquiring the goaltender from the Washington Capitals.

      Grubauer appeared in 35 games (28 starts) in his sixth NHL season and went 15-10-3 with a 2.35 goals-against average. He is expected to challenge Semyon Varlamov for the starting job.

      Varlamov went 24-16-6 with a 2.68 GAA in 51 games (47 starts) last season before suffering a season-ending knee injury.

      --Ilya Kovalchuk is returning to the NHL after agreeing to a three-year deal with the Los Angeles Kings.

      Kovalchuk retired in June 2013 with 12 years and $77 million remaining on a 15-year deal he signed with the New Jersey Devils in 2010. Because he was designated to the voluntary retirement list, Kovalchuk's rights belonged to the Devils until he turned 35 on April 15.

      After leaving the NHL, Kovalchuk went on to star in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League for the last five seasons. Kovalchuk had 31 goals and 32 assists in 53 games with St. Petersburg this season, leading the KHL in scoring.

      --Field Level Media

  • Avalanche give three-year contract to new acquisition Grubauer
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, June 23, 2018

    The Colorado Avalanche signed Philipp Grubauer to a three-year contract on Saturday, one day after acquiring the goaltender from the Washington Capitals.

    • Grubauer appeared in 35 games (28 starts) for the Capitals last season and went 15-10-3 with a 2.35 goals-against average. He was a backup during the postseason behind Braden Holtby as Washington won the Stanley Cup.

      "He just won a Stanley Cup. He's a winner, and that's always important. He knows what it takes," Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic said in a statement. "He was just in a dressing room that went through a grind. You don't win a Stanley Cup if you're not part of a close team that believes and knows how to win in the playoffs. And he had a huge part in getting them into the playoffs.

      "He's had two really good years in a backup role, and we all feel he's ready to take the next step and become a No. 1. We're excited to have two No. 1 goalies."

      Grubauer is expected to challenge Semyon Varlamov for the starting job. Varlamov went 24-16-6 with a 2.68 GAA in 51 games (47 starts) last season before suffering a season-ending knee injury.

      Overall, the German-born Grubauer is 43-31-11 with a 2.29 GAA and six shutouts in 101 games (79 starts) over six NHL seasons.

      The Avalanche sent a second-round pick to the Capitals in Friday's draft-night trade for Grubauer and defenseman Brooks Orpik.

      --Field Level Media

  • Flames ship Hamilton to Carolina in five-player deal
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, June 23, 2018

    The Carolina Panthers on Saturday acquired Dougie Hamilton, Micheal Ferland and Adam Fox from the Calgary Flames in exchange for Noah Hanifin and Elias Lindholm.

    • Hamilton, 25, is the biggest and most-veteran name in the bunch. The defenseman had 17 goals and 27 assists in 82 games for the Flames last season. He has 220 points in 423 career games with Calgary and Boston after being taken No. 9 overall in 2011 by the Bruins.

      New Flames coach Bill Peters spent the previous four seasons in Carolina, so he is quite familiar with Hanifin and Lindholm.

      Hanifin, a 21-year-old defenseman, established career highs with 10 goals and 32 points in 2017-18, his third NHL season. He also made his first All-Star Game last season. He will be a restricted free agent this offseason.

      Lindholm, a 23-year-old center, also becomes a restricted free agent July 1. His 16 goals and 44 points last season were each one short of his career highs.

      Ferland, 26, played in 77 games last season and tallied 21 goals and 20 assists. He has 89 points in 250 career games.

      The 20-year-old Fox had six goals and 22 assists in 29 games as a defenseman with Harvard last season. The Flames selected him in the third round in 2016.

      --Field Level Media

  • Kings, Kovalchuk agree to three-year deal
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, June 23, 2018

    Ilya Kovalchuk is returning to the NHL after agreeing to a three-year deal with the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.

    • Rob Blake, the Kings GM, announced the deal.

      "We are excited to add Ilya to the LA Kings organization. He gives us an added element of skill and scoring along with a desire to win," said Blake, adding that the team would address the signing further on July 1.

      According to TSN insider Bob McKenzie, the deal is for ab average of $6.25 million per season.

      Kovalchuk retired in June 2013 with 12 years and $77 million remaining on a 15-year deal he signed with the New Jersey Devils in 2010. Because he was designated to the voluntary retirement list, Kovalchuk's rights belonged to the Devils until he turned 35 on April 15.

      After leaving the NHL, Kovalchuk went on to star in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League for the last five seasons.

      With St. Petersburg in the KHL this season, Kovalchuk had 31 goals and 32 assists in 53 games, leading the league in scoring.

      The first overall pick in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft notched 417 goals and 399 assists in 816 career games in the NHL.

      --Field Level Media

  • NHL notebook: Sabres draft Swedish D Dahlin with top pick
    By Field Level Media / Friday, June 22, 2018

    The Buffalo Sabres selected Swedish defenseman Rasmus Dahlin with the No. 1 overall pick of the NHL draft on Friday night at American Airlines Center in Dallas.

    • Dahlin, 18, is the reigning Swedish Junior Hockey Player of the Year after playing last season for Frolunda of the Swedish Hockey League. He helped his country earn a silver medal at this year's World Junior Championship, where he was named Best Defenseman in the tournament.

      The 6-foot-2, 181-pound blue-liner became the second Swedish-born player to be selected with the first overall pick. The first was Mats Sundin, who was taken by the Quebec Nordiques with the first pick in 1989 and went on to enjoy a Hall of Fame career.

      Dahlin has drawn comparisons to Erik Karlsson, a five-time All-Star and two-time Norris Trophy winner with the Ottawa Senators. Like Dahlin, Karlsson played for Frolunda in Sweden before reaching the NHL as a 19-year-old.

      --After three seasons with the Sabres, Robin Lehner will not be brought back for a fourth as general manager Jason Botterill announced that the team will not extend Lehner a one-year qualifying offer, making the eight-year veteran a free agent July 1.

      "It's a scenario where you finish 31st you have to make some difficult choices," Botterill told reporters in Dallas, hours before the NHL draft began.

      Lehner, who turns 27 next month, was 14-26-9 last season, capping a three-season run in which he went 42-61-22 with just six shutout wins. He posted a 2.77 goals-against average and .916 save percentage in that time. The GAA and save percentage are better than the figures he posted in his first five seasons in the league, spent with Ottawa.

      --In a move to create salary-cap room to retain key free agents, the Washington Capitals traded defenseman Brooks Orpik and backup goaltender Philipp Grubauer to the Colorado Avalanche for a second-round pick (No. 47 overall) in the draft.

      The loss of Orpik, who turns 38 before the start of next season, opens up $5.5 million in cap space for next season based on the final annual salary in his current contract. Dealing away Grubauer, 26, potentially frees up as much $20 million overall in possible earnings before he hits restricted free agency.

      Room in the budget is needed to help avoid losing defensemen John Carlson and Michal Kempny to unrestricted free agency, which begins on July 1. Restricted free agents Devante Smith-Pelly and Tom Wilson are up for big raises after big contributions to a title-winning season.

      --The NHL is being sued by two former players, Daniel Carcillo and Nick Boynton, who allege the league withheld information about the long-term health dangers from concussion-related injuries.

      The lawsuit was filed by attorneys Thomas A. Demetrio and William T. Gibbs in U.S. District Court in Minnesota and claims the NHL did not adequately warn and inform players about brain damage risks caused by contact to the head. Carcillo and Boynton charge the league with allowing and encouraging players to rush back to action while recovering from concussions.

      Both Carcillo, nicknamed "Car Bomb" for his violent style of play for five teams over nine seasons, and Boynton, who played for six teams in 11 seasons, suffer from long-term, degenerative brain damage.

      --The San Jose Sharks have placed defenseman Paul Martin on unconditional waivers with the intention of buying out his contract.

      Martin, 37, joined the Sharks as a free agent in 2015 and has one year remaining on his contract at $4.25 million. He was limited to 14 games last regular season because of both injury and his play.

      Originally drafted in the second round by the New Jersey Devils in 2000, Martin has 50 goals and 270 assists in 870 career games.

      --Field Level Media

  • Champion Caps trade 2 players to Avs for 2nd-rounder
    By Field Level Media / Friday, June 22, 2018

    The Stanley Cup-winning Washington Capitals are quickly remaking their roster just over two weeks after winning their first championship.

    • In a move to create salary-cap room to retain key free agents, the Capitals traded defenseman Brooks Orpik and backup goaltender Philipp Grubauer to the Colorado Avalanche for a second-round pick on Friday.

      In return, the Capitals received Colorado's second-round pick (No. 47 overall) in Friday's NHL draft.

      "We would like to thank Brooks and Philipp for all of their contributions to our organization," Washington general manager Brian MacLellan said. "Philipp has been a consummate professional and a great teammate and we wish him all the best. Brooks was a great leader and a tremendous role model for our young players in his four years with our organization. This was a difficult move, but the one we felt we needed to make in order to give some flexibility moving forward."

      The loss of Orpik, who turns 38 before the start of next season, opens up $5.5 million in cap space for next season based on the final annual salary in his current contract. Dealing away Grubauer, 26, potentially frees up as much $20 million overall in possible earnings before he hits restricted free agency.

      Room in the budget is needed to help avoid losing defensemen John Carlson and Michal Kempny to unrestricted free agency, which begins on July 1. Restricted free agents Devante Smith-Pelly and Tom Wilson are up for big raises after big contributions to a title-winning season.

      The 6-foot-3 Orpik notched 10 points (all assists) in 81 games with Washington last season. After playing his first 11 seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins (winning a Cup in 2009), Orpik played the past four seasons with the Capitals. In 982 career games over 15 years, he has 16 goals and 169 assists.

      Grubauer went 15-10-3 with a 2.35 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage in 35 games last season. Over his six NHL seasons, all with Washington, he is 43-31-11 with a 2.29 GAA, a .923 save percentage and six shutouts.

      --Field Level Media

  • Sabres select Swedish defenseman with draft's top pick
    By Field Level Media / Friday, June 22, 2018

    The Buffalo Sabres selected Swedish defenseman Rasmus Dahlin with the No. 1 overall pick of the NHL draft on Friday night at American Airlines Center in Dallas.

    • Dahlin, 18, is the reigning Swedish Junior Hockey Player of the Year after playing last season for Frolunda of the Swedish Hockey League. He helped his country earn a silver medal at this year's World Junior Championship, where he was named Best Defenseman in the tournament.

      The 6-foot-2, 181-pound blue-liner became the second Swedish-born player to be selected with the first overall pick. The first was Mats Sundin, who was taken by the Quebec Nordiques with the first pick in 1989 and went on to enjoy a Hall of Fame career.

      "It's amazing," Dahlin said to NBC Sports Network shortly after his name was called. "It's my dream come true, actually. Especially the Buffalo Sabres. I heard such great things about the fans. I just want everything to start. I'm so excited."

      Dahlin has drawn comparisons to Erik Karlsson, a five-time All-Star and two-time Norris Trophy winner with the Ottawa Senators. Karlsson also played for Frolunda in Sweden before reaching the NHL as a 19-year-old.

      The Carolina Hurricanes used the No. 2 overall pick to select forward Andrei Svechnikov, 18, who led all rookies in the Ontario Hockey League with 72 points (40 goals, 32 assists) in 44 games with the Barrie Colts last season. He was born in Russia but moved to the United States before the 2016-17 campaign to play for the Muskegon (Mich.) Lumberjacks, where he notched 58 points (29 goals, 29 assists) in 48 games and earned USHL Rookie of the Year honors.

      The Montreal Canadiens picked next, selecting Finnish center Jesperi Kotkaniemi at No. 3. Scouts have compared the two-way playmaker with Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings.

      A familiar name followed at No. 4 as the Ottawa Senators selected forward Brady Tkachuk, the son of 500-goal scorer Keith Tkachuk and the younger brother of Calgary Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk. The family's latest draft pick played last season for Boston University, tallying 31 points (eight goals, 23 assists) in 40 games as a freshman.

      "I'm just happy for Brady," Keith Tkachuk said with a grin to NBC Sports Network. "Brady wants to play hockey, he wants to win. Finally getting to see him get some recognition -- it's always been his brother growing up -- he's a hard-working kid, and Ottawa is going to get a high-skilled, gritty, character guy."

      The Arizona Coyotes used the fifth pick to select center Barrett Hayton from Sault Ste. Marie of the OHL. The 18-year-old Canadian had 60 points (21 goals, 39 assists) in 63 games last season.

      At No. 6, the Detroit Red Wings added forward Filip Zadina of the Halifax Mooseheads in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The 6-foot, 195-pound Czech Republic native could challenge for an NHL roster spot this fall after posting 82 points (44 goals, 38 assists) in 57 games last season.

      The Vancouver Canucks used the seventh pick to select University of Michigan defenseman Quinn Hughes.

      The rest of the top 10 included the Chicago Blackhawks taking Swedish defenseman Adam Boqvist at No. 8; the New York Rangers selecting Russian forward Vitali Kravtsov at No. 9; and the Edmonton Oilers choosing Canadian defenseman Evan Bouchard with the 10th pick.

      Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville happily welcomed Boqvist to his group of blue-liners.

      "You can never have enough 'D,'" Quenneville said to NBC Sports Network. "He moves the puck, he's very active in the play, very dynamic in a lot of ways. I think he can help our power play down the road. I'm looking forward to seeing how he does over the summer and going into camp."

      Most of the players selected Friday could be several years from making their NHL debuts. But several of the top picks, including Dahlin at No. 1, could have a chance to play right away.

      Dahlin has an opportunity to join Sabres blue-liners such as Rasmus Ristolainen, Marco Scandella and Zach Bogosian. His new coach, Phil Housley, is a Hall of Fame defenseman who earned seven All-Star selections and scored 1,232 points in 1,495 career games.

      "Obviously, he's a special player," Housley said to NBC Sports Network. "We don't want to put too much pressure on him. He's a young man. We're going to put him in areas to succeed. But obviously, with his talent and skill level, he's going to really have an impact on our team and our organization.

      "I went and watched some more film of him, and I said, 'Boy, this guy is very mobile, can skate, gets up in the rush, defends well, does everything.' He checks all the boxes in today's evolution of the game. I'm really excited to have him on our team."

      One day after the New York Islanders signed Barry Trotz as head coach, the franchise did not hesitate to select high-scoring forward Oliver Wahlstrom at No. 11. He had 83 points (40 goals, 43 assists) in 54 games with the USA Under-18 squad last season.

      Wahlstrom has drawn comparisons to Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals.

      "I love shooting, I love scoring goals," Wahlstrom said. "Ovechkin is my childhood hero. Hopefully someday I can play against him."

      The Philadelphia Flyers added a pair of first-round picks, selecting forward Joel Farabee of Cicero, N.Y., at No. 14 and center Jay O'Brien of Boston at No. 19. Farabee is committed to play for Boston University next fall, while O'Brien is set to play for Providence College in Rhode Island.

      The Rangers used their second selection of the first round on Minnesota native K'Andre Miller at No. 22. Six picks later, New York added its third first-rounder of the night when it selected Swedish defenseman Nils Lundkvist.

      Chicago added a second blue-liner at No. 27 when it picked Nicolas Beaudin out of the QJMHL. Beaudin, 18, had 69 points (12 goals, 57 assists) in 68 games last season with Drummondville.

      The Stanley Cup champion Capitals wrapped up the first round by adding Russian defenseman Alexander Alexeyev with the 31st pick.

      The draft will conclude with Rounds 2-7 on Saturday.

      --Field Level Media

  • Pair of ex-NHL players sue league for lack of concussion warnings
    By Field Level Media / Friday, June 22, 2018

    The National Hockey League is being sued by two former players, Daniel Carcillo and Nick Boynton, who allege the league withheld information about the long-term health dangers from concussion-related injuries.

    • The lawsuit was filed by attorneys Thomas A. Demetrio and William T. Gibbs in U.S. District Court in Minnesota and claims the NHL did not adequately warn and inform players about brain damage risks caused by contact to the head. Carcillo and Boynton charge the league with allowing and encouraging players to rush back to action while recovering from concussions.

      Both Carcillo, who played for five teams over nine seasons, and Boynton, six teams in 11 seasons, suffer from long-term, degenerative brain damage.

      "The NHL is long overdue in acknowledging the significant risks inherent in their style of game," Gibbs said in a press release.

      "I'm doing this on behalf of all former NHL players that are struggling with the difficulties of transitioning from a life in the NHL with brains that have been damaged." Carcillo said in the release. "Players today are still being denied proper care for concussions. It's time for the NHL to finally acknowledge that serious, permanent damage can be done if head trauma is ignored or neglected."

      Carcillo, nicknamed "Car Bomb" for his violent style of play, was a forward and enforcer and notorious for his physical hits that sometimes crossed the line. As a result, he was fined or suspended on 12 different occasions during his career. He scored 48 goals with 52 assists and 1,233 penalty minutes for his career and twice led the NHL in PIM, with 324 with Phoenix in 2007-08 and 254 with the Coyotes and Philadelphia Flyers the following season.

      Carcillo won Stanley Cups with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2013 and again in his final season in 2015.

      The blueliner Boynton had 862 career penalty minutes in 605 career games, three times compiling more than 100 PIM.

      --Field Level Media

  • Sabres parting ways with G Lehner after three seasons
    By Field Level Media / Friday, June 22, 2018

    When you're the stating goalie on the team with the worst record in the league which allowed the third-most goals of any team, odds are you're not getting a contract extension.

    • Exhibit A: Robin Lehner.

      After three seasons with the Buffalo Sabres, Lehner will not be brought back for a fourth. General manager Jason Botterill announced Friday that the team will not extend Lehner a one-year qualifying offer, making the eight-year veteran a free agent July 1.

      "It's a scenario where you finish 31st you have to make some difficult choices," Botterill told reporters in Dallas, hours before the NHL draft begins. Buffalo holds the No. 1 overall pick after finishing just 25-45-12 for a league-worst 62 points last season.

      Only Ottawa and the New York Islanders surrendered more goals than the Sabres' 280. Buffalo's minus-81 goal differential was also worst in the NHL.

      "Part of it that was so disappointing and difficult about it is that I know Robin is passionate about the city of Buffalo, and passionate about helping this organization," Botterill continued. "We felt like we had to make some adjustments."

      Lehner, who turns 27 next month, was 14-26-9 last season, capping a three-season run in which he went 42-61-22 with just six shutout wins. He posted a 2.77 goals-against average and .916 save percentage in that time. The GAA and save percentage are better than the figures he posted in his first five seasons in the league, spent with Ottawa.

      Per the Buffalo News, Lehner -- coming off a year when he posted a career-high 23 wins with a 2.68 GAA -- tried playing through several injuries last season before being shut down in March.

      In addition to mining possible free agents, Buffalo may be ready to give 24-year-old prospect Linus Ullmark a shot at the starting job. He is 9-13-2 with a 2.52 goals against average and .917 save percentage in 26 games across three seasons in brief stints with the Sabres.

      --Field Level Media

  • Sharks set to buy out D Martin's contract
    By Field Level Media / Friday, June 22, 2018

    The San Jose Sharks have placed defenseman Paul Martin on unconditional waivers with the intention of buying out his contract.

    • Martin, 37, joined the Sharks as a free agent in 2015 and has one year remaining on his contract at $4.25 million. He was limited to 14 games last regular season because of both injury and his play.

      "Paul Martin has been the utmost professional on and off the ice during his three years in San Jose," general manager Doug Wilson said in a statement Friday. "His leadership, character and on-ice contributions have been essential to our success and in reaching the 2016 Stanley Cup Final. The impact he has had on our organization, his teammates and many of our younger players will be felt for many years to come."

      Originally drafted in the second round by the New Jersey Devils in 2000, Martin has 50 goals and 270 assists in 870 career games.

      --Field Level Media

  • Senators GM says locker room was 'broken' before trade
    By Field Level Media / Friday, June 22, 2018

    Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion did not mince words Thursday regarding his decision to rid the club of veteran Mike Hoffman.

    • The Senators shipped Hoffman to the San Jose Sharks, who promptly flipped him to the Florida Panthers, earlier this week. The moves came as Hoffman's fiancee, Monika Caryk, faces allegations that she harassed and cyberbullied the wife of Senators captain Erik Karlsson before and after the Karlssons' son was stillborn.

      Hoffman has denied the allegations. Melinda Karlsson has filed for an order of protection against Caryk.

      "Trading Mike Hoffman was something that we needed to do," Dorion said. "Our dressing room was broken. We have to have a dressing room that wants to win together. Key components for us moving forward are character, leadership, accountability, and we're very happy with the return we got on Mike Hoffman."

      Ottawa received forward Mikkel Boedker, defenseman Julius Bergman and a sixth-round draft pick in 2020 from San Jose.

      Boedker, 28, had 15 goals and 22 assists in 74 games last season. He has scored 109 goals in 618 career games.

      "We know with the culture that we're aiming to get, (Boedker is) going to fit in that dressing room," Dorion said.

      Bergman, 22, is a highly touted prospect who has yet to make his NHL debut. The native of Sweden was a second-round pick (No. 46 overall) by the Sharks in 2014.

      Hoffman, 28, was productive on the ice before drawing controversy off it. He posted four straight seasons with at least 20 goals for Ottawa, including a 22-goal campaign in 82 games last season. For his career, he has 107 goals and 123 assists in 342 games.

      --Field Level Media

  • NHL notebook: Cup-winning Trotz named Isles coach
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, June 21, 2018

    Barry Trotz became the head coach of the New York Islanders on Thursday, days after he resigned as head coach of the new Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals.

    • Reports put the price tag on the five-year deal at up to $4 million per season, which would more than double what Trotz, who turns 56 next month, would have made with the Capitals.

      The Cup victory over the Vegas Golden Knights triggered a contract extension for Trotz at well below market value -- $1.8 million per season -- and he and the Capitals failed to come up with an amicable solution in negotiations.

      Trotz is the first coach since 1994 -- Mike Keenan -- to not return to the NHL champions the following season because of a dispute. Stan Bowman retired after a 2002 Stanley Cup win.

      --Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford missed the final 47 games of last season but should be ready to start the 2018-19 regular season, general manager Stan Bowman told reporters.

      Crawford was placed on injured reserve on Dec. 1 with a lower-body injury and returned to action on Dec. 8. He played in seven games before landing on IR again on Dec. 27 with what the team termed an "upper-body" injury that sidelined him the rest of the season.

      While the Blackhawks never specified Crawford's injury, the Chicago Sun-Times reported in January that the 33-year-old was dealing with "vertigo-like symptoms." The Blackhawks went on a skid once Crawford went down, finishing the season 33-39-10 and missing the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in 10 years.

      --On the eve of the NHL draft, general managers for all 31 teams received clarity for possible trades as the league and NHLPA revealed that the 2018-19 salary cap will rise $4.5 million to $79 million.

      General managers looking to make big deals before and at the draft also found out that the cap floor will be $58.8 million salary for next season.

      The new salary-cap increase more than doubles the spike before last season's $75 million cap, which was up $2 million from 2016-17. Commissioner Gary Bettman had told reporters following the Board of Governors meeting Wednesday that the cap for next season was expected to wind up between $79.5 million and $80 million.

      --The NHL released its complete 1,271-game schedule for 2018-19, headlined by an Oct. 3 season-opening slate including the home opener for the Stanley Cup champion Capitals plus three games in Europe and two outdoor games.

      The Capitals will raise a Cup banner for the first time in franchise history before they host the Boston Bruins in one of four games to launch the NHL season. Washington currently holds a 12-game regular-season winning streak against Boston.

      The following day, the Stanley Cup runner-up Vegas Golden Knights will begin their second season at home against the Philadelphia Flyers. The first rematch of this year's Stanley Cup Final will happen on Oct. 10 when the Capitals host the Golden Knights.

      --Field Level Media

  • NHL releases 2018-19 schedule, including two outdoor games
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, June 21, 2018

    The National Hockey League released its complete 1,271-game schedule for 2018-19 on Thursday, headlined by an Oct. 3 season-opening slate including the home opener for the Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals.

    • The Capitals will raise a Cup banner for the first time in franchise history before they host the Boston Bruins in one of four games to launch the NHL season. Washington currently holds a 12-game regular-season winning streak against Boston.

      The other three games on the NHL's opening night tab the Montreal Canadiens traveling to face the Toronto Maple Leafs in an Original Six matchup, the Calgary Flames visiting the Vancouver Canucks and the San Jose Sharks hosting the Anaheim Ducks.

      The following day, the Stanley Cup runner-up Vegas Golden Knights will begin their second season at home against the Philadelphia Flyers.

      The first rematch of this year's Stanley Cup Final will happen on Oct. 10 when the Capitals host the Golden Knights at Capital One Arena.

      The regular-season schedule also includes three games in Europe as part of the league's Global Series. The Edmonton Oilers play the New Jersey Devils for their season opener in Gothenburg, Sweden, on Oct. 6. The Florida Panthers and Winnipeg Jets will match up in back-to-back games in Helsinki, Finland, on Nov. 1-2.

      The NHL also will play hold Winter Classic games next season.

      On Jan. 1, the Chicago Blackhawks and the Bruins will play outdoors at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Ind., maintaining the tradition started in 2008 of the league scheduling a regular-season outdoor game the first day of the new year.

      The Flyers will host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Feb. 23 at Lincoln Financial Field in an outdoor rematch of the teams' meeting at Heinz Field last season.

      The NHL on Wednesday announced the home-opening date and opponent for all 31 teams.

      Edmonton has the latest home opener, dropping the puck for the first time at Rogers Place on Oct. 18, against Boston. Much of that has to do with the Oilers opening their season in Sweden.

      The league's regular-season will end on April 6 with 30 of the 31 teams in action.

      --Field Level Media

  • NHL sets salary cap for 2018-19, tabs $4.5M increase
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, June 21, 2018

    On the eve of the NHL draft, general managers for all 31 teams received clarity before possible trades as the league and NHLPA revealed Thursday that the 2018-19 salary cap will rise $4.5 million to $79 million.

    • General managers looking to make big deals before and at the draft also found out that the cap floor will be $58.8 million salary for next season.

      Commissioner Gary Bettman had told reporters following the Board of Governors meeting Wednesday that the cap for next season expected to wind up between $79.5 million and $80 million.

      The new salary cap increase more than doubles the spike before last season's $75 million cap, which was up $2 million from 2016-17.

      "A large part of our thinking is we want a (salary cap) number that keeps the escrow down," Bettman said Wednesday before the cap figures were finalized. "We think by only having a more modest increase last season it was instrumental in keeping the escrow down to what we project will be about 8 percent, which will have been the lowest in years. The amount of the escrow is simply a function of how high the cap is. Higher the cap, higher the escrow. There is no magic to that."

      The escrow pertains to the amount of money the league and NHLPA withhold from player salaries during the season in order to make sure teams and players equally split hockey-related revenue.

      Bettman said the league expects revenue growth to increase up to 8.5 percent from last season.

      --Field Level Media

  • Blackhawks' Crawford expected back to start season
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, June 21, 2018

    Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford missed the final 47 games of last season but should be ready to start the 2018-19 regular season, general manager Stan Bowman told reporters Thursday.

    • Crawford was placed on injured reserve on Dec. 1 with a lower-body injury and returned to action on Dec. 8. He played in seven games before landing on IR again on Dec. 27 with what the team termed "an upper-body" injury that sidelined him the rest of the season.

      While the Blackhawks never specified Crawford's injury, the Chicago Sun-Times reported in January that the 33-year-old was suffering from "vertigo-like symptoms."

      "We expect Corey to be back. There's no reason to think that won't happen," Bowman said. "But as far as any other things at this point in the summer, all the players are preparing for next season. Corey's in that same preparation mode."

      The Blackhawks went on a skid once Crawford went down, finishing the season 33-39-10 and missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in 10 years.

      While on the ice last season, Crawford posted a .929 save percentage and a 2.27 goals-against average. In his absence, the Blackhawks used five different goaltenders to try to replace him.

      --Field Level Media

  • Islanders name Trotz as head coach
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, June 21, 2018

    Barry Trotz became the head coach of the New York Islanders on Thursday, days after he resigned as head coach of the new Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals.

    • Reports put the price tag on the five-year deal at up to $4 million per season, which would more than double what Trotz, 55, would have made with the Washington Capitals.

      Trotz was on the open market after resigning his post with the Stanley Cup champion Capitals. The Cup victory over the Vegas Golden Knights triggered a contract extension for Trotz at well below market value -- $1.8 million per season -- and he and the Capitals failed to come up with an amicable solution in negotiations.

      The presence of Lou Lamoriello, who became the Islanders' president of hockey operations last month, was a key factor in attracting Trotz to New York. Lamoriello previously was the general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs and the New Jersey Devils.

      "No. 1, if you know anything about Lou Lamoriello, his background and what he does, he'll do what it takes to win," Trotz said, according to Newsday. "That got me excited right away.

      "His vision and plan for the team and what he's already done in a short amount of time, he's changed a lot of cultural things. I love that. That's what they hired me to do in Washington, change the culture and try to win the Cup. That's what we'll try to do on the Island."

      Trotz is the first coach since Mike Keenan in 1994 to not return to the NHL champions the following season because of a dispute. Scotty Bowman retired after a 2002 Stanley Cup win.

      Asked if he thought the Capitals wanted him to stay, Trotz said, per Newsday, "I don't think that was an issue. I think it was more principle."

      The Islanders parted with longtime general manager Garth Snow and head coach Doug Weight while bracing for the potential departure of star free agent John Tavares.

      Lamoriello assumed the GM role, and he announced Trotz was hired on Thursday as the team converged on Dallas for the NHL draft.

      Trotz said of Tavares, according to Newsday, "Obviously, John is such a big part of the team. We talked. We talked about a lot of things, the vision that was relayed to me and also relayed to John from Lou. We talked about where he was. We talked about the team and areas we feel we can fix together and areas we can look to improve upon. It was a great conversation."

      Trotz, 55, guided the Capitals to the Presidents' Trophy two of the past three seasons and is fifth in the NHL in all-time victories with 762.

      --Field Level Media

  • Ovechkin, Backstrom disappointed to see Trotz leave Caps
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, June 21, 2018

    Capitals stars Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom were just as surprised as many when Washington head coach Barry Trotz resigned last week.

    • And while both are sad to see him go, they understand why the decision was made.

      "It's hard when it happened right away, you know?" Ovechkin told reporters at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas on Wednesday. "First of all, thanks to him for being with us, to give us a chance to win the (Stanley) Cup. All of what he did was only for the team, not for personal-wise. But I'm pretty sure he will be fine and he will find what he wants.

      "It's sad, but it's a business. We can't decide who's going to be in and who's going to be out."

      Trotz is said to have resigned over a contract stalemate, with the team's Stanley Cup win reportedly triggering a two-year extension with a $300,000 bump in salary that would have upped his earnings to $1.8 million annually, still low compared to many of his peers.

      "It's tough," said Backstrom, who was also in Las Vegas. "He's done a great job in our organization. I would say a little surprised, but at the same time, I understand him. But I think something you can't take away from Barry is what he's done to this team. Him and the coaching staff has been doing a tremendous job to just get us together. He's been schooling us good these four years, and we got a good finish out of it. ...

      "Hopefully there's no hard feelings. He's always going to be remembered in Washington as a champion, which is great, which he deserves."

      Trotz, 55, came to Washington in the summer of 2014 after serving as Nashville's head coach for each of the first 15 seasons of the franchise's existence. He is 762-568-60-134 in the regular season, giving him the fifth-most regular-season wins in NHL history.

      Ovechkin, winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player of the postseason, especially noted the impact Trotz had on him, pushing him to improve his game to the next level.

      "I think he's been very good for me," Ovechkin said. "We've been back and forth all the time, you know? He was hard on me. He gave me very good advice because he has experience, and that's the whole thing. When the coach knows who you are and knows how to use you, you just feel great."

      Associate coach Todd Reirden is presumed to be the favorite to fill the Capitals' coaching vacancy. Ovechkin and Backstrom both would support Reirden's appointment.

      "Well, it's not my thing, but if it's Todd, I'm sure lots of guys, everybody, is going to be really happy," Ovechkin said. "He's a guy who's a very good communicator, very good specialist, and has lots of respect from us."

      --Field Level Media

  • NHL awards: Hall claims Hart Trophy
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, June 20, 2018

    Taylor Hall claimed the Hart Trophy as the league's most valuable player at the NHL awards ceremony Wednesday night in Las Vegas, becoming the first player in New Jersey Devils history to earn the honor.

    • Hall, who narrowly beat out Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (1,264 voting points to 1,194), tallied a career-best 93 points (39 goals, 54 assists) in 76 games this season, including a 26-game point streak. He managed those numbers despite sustaining torn ligaments in his left hand in December, an injury that required surgery to repair in late April.

      Hall, 26, garnered 72 first-place votes to MacKinnon's 60 from the Pro Hockey Writers Association, which votes on the award. He earned the honor in his second year with the Devils after spending his first six seasons with the Oilers, including the 2015-16 campaign as a teammate of last season's MVP, Connor McDavid.

      While McDavid finished fifth in the Hart voting this year, he did claim his second consecutive Ted Lindsay Award, edging MacKinnon and Hall. At age 21, McDavid is the youngest two-time winner of the award, which is given to the most outstanding player as voted on by his peers.

      McDavid also won the Art Ross Trophy this year by leading the NHL in points (108 -- 41 goals, 67 assists) for the second consecutive season.

      Winning the Calder Trophy, awarded to the NHL's top rookie, was New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal, who finished 15th in the league with 85 points (22 goals, 63 assists).

      The team's first-round pick in 2015, Barzal appeared in two games during the 2016-17 campaign before his official rookie season this past year. The 21-year-old beat out finalists Brock Boeser of the Vancouver Canucks and Clayton Keller of the Arizona Coyotes.

      Victor Hedman claimed the Norris Trophy as the league's top defenseman, becoming the first winner of the honor in Tampa Bay Lightning history. The selection comes a year after Hedman was a Norris finalist and made his first career All-Star appearance.

      The 27-year-old finished the season with 63 points (17 goals, 46 assists), fifth among NHL defensemen, and a career-best plus-32 rating. Hedman beat out finalists Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings and PK Subban of the Nashville Predators for the honor.

      The Predators' Pekka Rinne earned his first Vezina Trophy as the league's top goaltender after finishing as a finalist on three previous occasions. He produced a league-high eight shutouts this season while going 42-13-4 with a 2.31 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage.

      The Winnipeg Jets' Connor Hellebuyck and the Lightning's Andrei Vasilevskiy were the other finalists.

      The Kings' Anze Kopitar, who finished third in the Hart voting, earned his second Selke Trophy in the last three seasons as the best defensive forward. Before receiving the honor in 2015-16, Kopitar had been a Selke finalist in each of the last two years. He finished this season with a plus-21 rating.

      In one of the least surprising results, the Vegas Golden Knights' Gerard Gallant took the Jack Adams Award as the NHL's coach of the year. He led the Knights to 109 points, fifth best in the league, in their first-ever regular season before a run to the Stanley Cup Final, where they lost to the Washington Capitals.

      Gallant, who was runner-up for the award in 2015-16 while with the Florida Panthers, claimed 102 of a possible 108 first-place votes, with the Avalanche's Jared Bednar and the Boston Bruins' Bruce Cassidy joining him as finalists.

      Also garnering recognition for his job with the expansion Golden Knights was George McPhee, who was named the general manager of the year after assembling Vegas' deep roster through the expansion draft and several trades.

      Among other award winners:

      --Late Humboldt Broncos junior hockey coach Darcy Haugan was honored with the inaugural Willie O'Ree Community Hero Award, presented to an individual who, through the game of hockey, has positively impacted his or her community, culture or society. Haugan was among 16 who died when the team's bus was struck by a semi truck near Armley, Saskatchewan, on April 6 while traveling to a game. Ten of the 13 players who survived the crash were honored on stage Wednesday night.

      --Golden Knights forward William "Wild Bill" Karlsson won the Lady Byng Trophy as the "player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability." He beat out finalists Aleksander Barkov of the Panthers and Ryan O'Reilly of the Sabres.

      --Knights defenseman Deryk Engelland won the Mark Messier Leadership Award over fellow finalists Wayne Simmonds of the Philadelphia Flyers and Blake Wheeler of the Jets.

      --Devils forward Brian Boyle won the Bill Masterton Trophy for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication. He overcame a training camp diagnosis of a rare bone marrow cancer and his son's painful treatments for a jaw malformation to play 69 games, scoring 23 points (10 goals, 13 assists). The Panthers' Roberto Luongo and the Coyotes' Jordan Staal were also finalists.

      --Canucks forwards Daniel and Henrik Sedin received the King Clancy Trophy for on- and off-ice leadership, along with humanitarian efforts. The identical twin brothers announced their retirement after 17 NHL seasons playing together in Vancouver earlier this year.

      --Subban was announced as the cover athlete for EA SPORTS' "NHL 19" video game. Wayne Gretzky will also appear on the cover of the special Legends and Ultimate editions of the game.

      --Field Level Media

  • NHL salary cap expected to increase by $5M
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, June 20, 2018

    The NHL salary cap for the 2018-19 season is expected to wind up between $79.5 million and $80 million, commissioner Gary Bettman told reporters following the Board of Governors meeting Wednesday.

    • The new figure could be up to a $5 million increase on last season's $75 million cap, which was up $2 million from 2016-17.

      The league and the NHL Players' Association are expected to reach a final agreement by the end of Thursday.

      "A large part of our thinking is we want a (salary cap) number that keeps the escrow down," Bettman said. "We think by only having a more modest increase last season it was instrumental in keeping the escrow down to what we project will be about 8 percent, which will have been the lowest in years. The amount of the escrow is simply a function of how high the cap is. Higher the cap, higher the escrow. There is no magic to that."

      The escrow pertains to the amount of money the league and NHLPA withhold from player salaries during the season in order to make sure teams and players equally split hockey-related revenue.

      Bettman said the league expects revenue growth to increase up to 8.5 percent from last season.

      Bettman also provided an update on the NHL's efforts to expand to Seattle, noting there have been no setbacks in the process despite a timetable not yet being determined.

      The league is hopeful Seattle will be playing by the 2020-21 season.

      "The timetable on finishing the application and doing what we need to do, we can do that as quickly or as slowly as appropriate," Bettman said. "That's a matter of weeks and months, not years. The bigger issue is going to be their timeline on the building."

      KeyArena, expected to be the home for the team, has already had a $600 million renovation plan approved by the Seattle City Council.

      --Field Level Media

  • NHL notebook: Caps to raise banner Oct. 3
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, June 20, 2018

    The Washington Capitals may not know who their head coach will be when they open next season, but they know the team they will play -- and when they will raise their first Stanley Cup banner.

    • The NHL on Wednesday announced the home-opening date and opponent for all 31 teams for the 2018-19 season, and the champs will play the season's first game on Oct. 3 against the Boston Bruins. Washington currently holds a 12-game regular-season winning streak against Boston.

      The game at Capital One Arena will be one of four scheduled for the first day of the NHL season. Toronto will host Montreal in an Original Six matchup while Calgary will play at Vancouver and San Jose will host Anaheim.

      The following day, Stanley Cup runner-up Vegas will begin its second season at home against Philadelphia. The full 1,271-game schedule for 2018-19 will be released Thursday.

      --Nashville Predators forward Austin Watson was arrested Saturday night and is facing a domestic assault charge, according to multiple media reports.

      The report cites the Franklin Police Department in Tennessee. Watson was released on a $4,500 bond and must return to court on June 28.

      The Predators said in a statement that they were gathering facts and would not immediately comment further. Watson, 26, finished last season with a career-best 19 points and had another eight points in the playoffs before Nashville was eliminated in the second round.

      --The Toronto Maple Leafs signed defenseman Connor Carrick and goaltender Calvin Pickard to one-year contracts.

      Carrick's deal is worth $1.3 million, according to the Maple Leafs. Pickard signed for $800,000.

      Carrick, 24, scored 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in 47 games last season. He has eight goals and 16 assists in parts of three seasons with Toronto. Pickard, 26, played in just one game for the Maple Leafs last season and allowed four goals. He went 21-9-1 with a 2.31 goals-against average for the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League.

      --Field Level Media

  • Maple Leafs sign Carrick, Pickard to one-year deals
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, June 20, 2018

    The Toronto Maple Leafs signed defenseman Connor Carrick and goaltender Calvin Pickard to one-year contracts on Wednesday.

    • Carrick's deal is worth $1.3 million, according to the Maple Leafs. Pickard signed for $800,000.

      Carrick, 24, scored 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in 47 games last season. He has eight goals and 16 assists in parts of three seasons with Toronto.

      Overall, Carrick has nine goals and 21 assists in 167 NHL games. He also played parts of two seasons with the Washington Capitals.

      Pickard, 26, played just in one game for the Maple Leafs last season and allowed four goals. He went 21-9-1 with a 2.31 goals-against average for the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League.

      Pickard has played in 87 career games -- 86 with the Colorado Avalanche from 2014-17 -- and is 28-44-7 with a 2.78 GAA and .913 save percentage.

      --Field Level Media

  • Caps will open NHL season, raise banner Oct. 3 vs. Bruins
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, June 20, 2018

    The Washington Capitals may not know whom their head coach will be when they open next season, but they know who they'll play -- and when they'll raise their first Stanley Cup banner.

    • The NHL on Wednesday announced the home-opening date and opponent for all 31 teams for the 2018-19 season, and the champs will play the season's first game on Oct. 3 against the Boston Bruins. Washington currently holds a 12-game regular-season winning streak against Boston.

      The game at Capital One Arena will be one of four scheduled for the first day of the NHL season. Toronto will host Montreal in an Original Six matchup, while on the West Coast Calgary will play at Vancouver and San Jose will host Anaheim.

      The following day, Stanley Cup runner-up Vegas will begin its second season at home against Philadelphia.

      Less than two weeks after winning the first Cup in franchise history earlier this month, the Caps on Monday learned they will be getting a new head coach next season as Barry Trotz announced his resignation from the club.

      Edmonton has the latest home opener next season, dropping the puck for the first time at Rogers Place on Oct. 18 -- also against Boston. Much of that has to do with the Oilers opening their season against New Jersey in Sweden on Oct. 6.

      The full 1,271-game schedule for 2018-19 will be released Thursday.

      --Field Level Media