Chris Mason surprised by the Jaroslav Halak trade

Mason1.jpgYesterday’s trade that sent Jaroslav Halak to the St. Louis Blues
sent shockwaves throughout the hockey world. After all, Halak was the
promising young goaltender that the Canadiens have been looking for and
the one that carried the Habs on his back past the Capitals and the
Penguins. Yet Pierre Gauthier made it known that the Canadiens were
sticking with the frustrating Carey Price.

According to Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

But when Blues incoming general manager Doug Armstrong contacted the
Canadiens recently, he learned the unexpected. “The initial call was
just to say, ‘We may be in the market for a goaltender,'” Armstrong
said. “They had two young goaltenders. I asked (Pierre Gauthier) what
direction he was going to go in. He told me he was going to keep Carey
and make Jaro available. That spurred the conversation to the first
phase of the assets he would need back.”

The trade also ends contract negotiations with Chris Mason, who had
hoped to work out an extension with the Blues before becoming a free
agent in July. Both Mason and his agent were surprised by the trade as
they were under the impression that the Blues wanted Mason back.

“It was just a matter of getting confirmation and getting everything
in order. It was delayed a couple of times and now we know the reason
why. I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was disappointing. I loved being a
St. Louis Blue and I thought I was going to continue to be.”

Still, once you get a look at what has happening behind the scenes
the fact that he Habs traded Halak should come as no surprise. Doug
Armstrong hinted that the Habs had made the decision to stick with Price
early on in the offseason, and agent Alan Walsh has said that he had no
negotiations with the Canadiens on a contract for Halak — even after
he took his team to the brink of the Stanley Cup finals.

But what about the return? Halak is set to be a RFA, but you would
have expected the Canadiens to be able to get more than a few top
prospects for his rights. James
Mirtle of the Globe and Mail
says that the goaltender market had a
say in what the Habs could get for Halak:

There are
going to be a lot of servicable goalies available and it could even be
that the players are fighting each other to try to get the few No. 1
roles out there. Here’s a quick idea of the 10 top netminders set to
become free agents on July 1:

Nabokov, Turco, Niittymaki, Mason,
Ellis, Leighton, Theodore, Biron, Hedberg and Emery

There are also
a few backups beyond that as well, meaning that it’s quite likely we
see several goaltenders unable to find NHL teams this summer.

The
number of goaltenders that will be on the move this summer is
astounding, so it’s no wonder the return wasn’t exactly what the Habs
fans would hope for if Halak was traded.

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    Report: Ekblad cleared by Panthers doctors

    NASHVILLE, TN - JANUARY 30:  Aaron Ekblad #5 of the Florida Panthers poses for a 2016 NHL All-Star portrait at Bridgestone Arena on January 30, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Sanford Myers/Getty Images)
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    Aaron Ekblad has been medically cleared by Florida Panthers doctors, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger.

    That’s a big relief for everyone involved after Ekblad was injured while representing Team North America in the World Cup. The injury was originally reported as a “mild” concussion, though it was later called a neck injury.

    The 20-year-old has since been back on the ice working out.

    “Ekblad is going to be fine,” Panthers coach Gerard Galant said. “You see him out there skating already. I think it was a little scary, but he feels real good. He’s going to skate and see how he feels, but everything looks good.”

    The first overall pick in the 2014 draft, Eklbad had already dealt with at least one concussion during his playing career. He suffered one in an international exhibition game during the summer of 2014, just prior to his outstanding rookie season with the Panthers.

    Ottawa sends Brown, 11th overall draft pick, back to junior

    BUFFALO, NY - JUNE 24:  Logan Brown celebrates with the Ottawa Senators after being selected 11th overall during round one of the 2016 NHL Draft on June 24, 2016 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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    It didn’t take long for one of the top picks at this year’s draft to be sent packing from training camp.

    On Wednesday, Ottawa announced that Logan Brown — the 11th overall selection in June — has been sent back to his junior team in OHL Windsor.

    Brown, the son of ex-NHL defenseman Jeff Brown, played in Monday’s exhibition win over Toronto and scored once. He didn’t play in Tuesday’s OT loss to Buffalo.

    Though he wasn’t expected to make the team this season, Brown, 18, is considered to be a high-end prospect, which makes his early dismissal a bit curious.

    At 6-foot-6 and 210 pounds, he has terrific size and the Sens wasted little time locking him in after the draft, signing him to a three-year, entry-level deal in August.

    Related: Get to know a draft pick — Logan Brown

    Seidenberg expected to sign with Islanders

    BOSTON, MA - JUNE 08:  Dennis Seidenberg #44 of the Boston Bruins skates against Mason Raymond #21 of the Vancouver Canucks during Game Four of the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden on June 8, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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    Dennis Seidenberg is expected to sign with the New York Islanders after the World Cup, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger.

    It’s a one-year, $1 million deal, per Dreger.

    Seidenberg is currently playing a significant role for Team Europe, a surprise finalist against the heavily favored Canadians.

    The 35-year-old defenseman was unexpectedly bought out by the Boston Bruins over the summer. He had two years remaining on his contract, with a cap hit of $4 million.

    Seidenberg was a key part of the Bruins’ Stanley Cup champion team in 2011, but injuries limited him to just 61 games last season, and his average ice time fell below 20 minutes for the first time since he was with the Hurricanes in 2007-08.

    He’ll likely take on a bottom-pairing role with the Islanders, below Nick Leddy, Travis Hamonic, Johnny Boychuk, and Calvin de Haan. He may even be the extra defenseman, pushing the likes of Thomas Hickey, Ryan Pulock, Adam Pelech, and Scott Mayfield for a spot in the lineup.

    Related: Seidenberg shocked by Bruins’ decision

    Devils bolster defense, ink Quincey to one-year, $1.25M deal

    Detroit Red Wings v Columbus Blue Jackets
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    New Jersey needed some blueline depth after this summer’s blockbuster Adam Larsson-for-Taylor Hall trade and now, they’ve addressed it.

    On Wednesday, GM Ray Shero announced the club signed veteran defenseman Kyle Quincey to a one-year, $1.25 million deal.

    Quincey, 31, spent the last four seasons in Detroit, emerging as a regular fixture on defense — but ’15-16 was hardly a positive campaign.

    He missed 35 games with a serious ankle injury and, upon his return, never seemed to find his way into head coach Jeff Blashill’s good graces.

    Blashill even scratched Quincey in Game 3 of Detroit’s opening-round playoff loss to Tampa, and didn’t provide a reason why — a pretty bold move for a player that, in ’13-14, appeared in all 82 games for the Red Wings, averaging nearly 21 minutes per night.

    Overall, this move seems like a pretty reasonable gamble from the Devils. Quincey has his flaws, but the term is short and the money is relatively low.

    (Especially considering Quincey’s coming off a two-year, $8.5 million deal that paid $4.25M annually.)

    Shero could end up getting a nice return on his investment. Quincey projects  to challenge for top-four minutes in New Jersey, looking to break into a group that features the likes of Andy Greene, Damon Severson, John Moore and Ben Lovejoy.

    Jon Merrill, Steve Santini and Brandon Gormley are also in that mix, though likely to be challenging for spots on the bottom pair.