Tuesday marks the start of two-week contract buyout period

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cheechoo.jpgMost of the talk in the next month or so will be about teams adding players. Whether it is through the draft or free agent splurges, the majority of players leaving teams will be doing so by choice (some might say because of greed). There is, however, one big exception: buyouts.

The contract buy-out window starts tomorrow and – while I haven’t heard many rumblings from across the league – TSN reports that three Canadian teams might be looking to lose what they view as some dead roster weight.

First, there are the rumors swirling around the Edmonton Oilers.

According to Jim Matheson of The Edmonton Journal, the Oilers could be considering buying out a trio of forwards – captain Ethan Moreau and forwards Patrick O’Sullivan and Robert Nilsson.

O’Sullivan will make $2.95 million next season, while both Moreau and Nilsson are slated to make $2 million each.

Next, we follow the downward spiral of a former Maurice Richard winner who now plays for the Ottawa Senators.

Meanwhile, The Ottawa Citizen reported that the Senators are expected to buy out the final year of forward Jonathan Cheechoo’s $3.5 million contract.

“I think Jonathan knows that when you’re making $3.5 million, you have to be seen to be justifying that salary,” Cheechoo’s agent Thane Campbell told the newspaper last week.

Ouch, when your agent provides quotes like that, you know things aren’t looking very good.

Finally, TSN discusses the possibility of the Habs officially cutting ties with a big bruiser after more or less doing it earlier during the season.

The Montreal Canadiens will also head down that path with now-departed forward Georges Laraque. The team parted ways with him in January and will buy out the final year of his three-year, $4.5 million contract.

Players above the age of 26 can be bought out for two-thirds of their remaining contracts while younger ones can go for one-third. Either way, the cap hit is moved to double the amount remaining, so if a player has two-years left it will be broken up into four annual segments.

The advantage of a buyout is that it provides a team with some salary cap (and straight-up salary) relief while getting rid of a player who either was unproductive, a locker room issue or some combination of the two. The minus is that the team pays the player to not play for them while they waste salary cap space (the latter reason explains why Chicago would be foolish to buy out Cristobal Huet or Brian Campbell). One other possibility is that the bought-out player could come back to haunt them if they sign with a different team.

Will these buyouts actually happen? Could other teams take advantage of that two-week window? We’ll find out, beginning tomorrow.

Calm, then storm: Penguins, Senators trade Game 7’s goals in 20 seconds

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Here’s hoping that you didn’t take a poorly-timed break in the second period.

For much of Game 7, the Ottawa Senators have been able to slow down the Pittsburgh Penguins, resulting in a contest that went scoreless for what sometimes felt like ages.

Chris Kunitz changed that, long after missing on a golden opportunity shortly after Mike Sullivan decided to put him on Sidney Crosby‘s line. Kunitz finished a nice rush play to make it 1-0 9:55 into the second. Check out that goal below.

Guy Boucher didn’t have to deploy “attack mode” very long, as Mark Stone stunningly tied it up 1-1 just 20 seconds later. That surprising tally can be seen in the clip above this post’s headline.

Who’s playing for Penguins, Senators in Game 7

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We finally know the lineups for the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.

Pittsburgh’s tweaks are most interesting, which isn’t a huge surprising considering the consistent inconsistency bred by their injury issues.

The Penguins will get Conor Sheary and Justin Schultz back in the mix. Despite showing a lot of energy warming up, Patric Hornqvist isn’t good to go. Here are the full Penguins personnel notes; also realize that this is Matt Murray‘s birthday.

Ottawa places Chris Kelly back in, getting the nod over Tommy Wingels and Colin White. Kelly’s had some experience in these scenarios.

You can watch Game 7 live on NBCSN. The game can also be viewed online and via the NBC Sports App. Here is the livestream link.

Sabres confirm signing defenseman Antipin; Is his KHL teammate Lee next?

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The Buffalo Sabres announced the signing of defenseman Victor Antipin* on Thursday, confirming rumors that surfaced more than once this month.

Antipin, 24, enjoyed a solid season in the KHL with Magnitogorsk Metallurg. Even so, the signing might be interesting if it serves as an appetizer for the Sabres bringing in Antipin’s teammate from Metallurg, Chris Lee.

On one hand, Lee is 36 and couldn’t make the jump fromt he AHL to the NHL in previous opportunities (most reently with the Penguins’ farm system in 2009-10). On the other, he had an eye-popping 2016-17 season in the KHL: 65 points in 60 games as a defenseman.

Lee’s previous numbers aren’t as outrageous, but still quite good, at least form a scoring standpoint.

While Lee’s possible addition is a situation to watch, there’s some excitement about Antipin.

“Victor is a well-rounded defenseman who has played in all situations at the pro level,” Sabres GM Jason Botterill said. “His mobility and puck-moving skills make him a perfect match for what we’re hoping to build with our defense corps next season.”

Granted, there’s some debate about his ceiling.

Still, for a Sabres team that badly needs help on the blueline, this addition – or eventually these additions – could provide a nice boost.

* – The Sabres’ releases feature his name spelled “Victor.” Other outlets, including hockeydb, have it as “Viktor.”

WATCH LIVE: Ottawa Senators vs. Pittsburgh Penguins – Game 7

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Will it be the Ottawa Senators or Pittsburgh Penguins against the Nashville Predators in the Stanley Cup Final? We’ll find out after tonight.

Yes, it’s that time: a Game 7 to see who advances to the final round. The winner will also hold home-ice advantage in the Stanley Cup Final.

Could Erik Karlsson, Craig Anderson, and the rest of the Senators pull off an upset on the road, winning the franchise’s first Game 7? Can Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the Penguins give Matt Murray a birthday present with another Game 7 win?

Find out on NBCSN. You can also watch online and via the NBC Sports App.

Here’s what you need to know:

Ottawa Senators vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (series tied 3-3)

Time: 8:00 p.m. ET

Network: NBCSN (Stream live here)

Check out the highlights from Ottawa’s 2-1 win in Game 6

Related:

Pretty or not, Sens aim to play their game vs. Pens in Game 7

Penguins prepare for another Game 7, this time as favorites

Modern-day Senators have never won a Game 7

It’s “reasonable” to expect Schultz and Hornqvist will play Game 7