2010 NHL Free Agency: Devils lock up shot blocker Anton Volchenkov for six years

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The New Jersey Devils lost key defenseman Paul Martin today, but they’re trying to fill the void by committee with the additions of Henrik Tallinder and former Ottawa Senators defenseman Anton Volchenkov.

Volchenkov’s agent Jay Grossman just Tweeted that the Devils are on the verge of signing the Russian shutdown D for a six year deal. Darren Dreger reports that the deal is worth $4.25 million per year, so that means the grand total is $25.5 million.

Despite having the reputation for being a solid defensive team, it seems like New Jersey struggles in the matchup-heavy playoffs since the team lacks the kind of players who can truly lock it down in their own end. Along with being gritty and defensive minded, Volchenkov is known for being one of the league’s most frequent shot blockers. He should help the team in those tough summer months.

The problem is that they’re paying pretty big money for a guy who regularly puts himself in harm’s way … and doesn’t do much to help his team put the puck in the opposing team’s net. His career high is 19 points, so Volchenkov is all about defense.

That’s fine, but it might be difficult for him to live up to his deal unless he really locks down the opposition’s top players. It’s a risky contract in many ways, but Volchenkov is the type of player sports writers like to call a “warrior” and should still be in his prime for most of the deal. (He’s only 28.)

So, overall, it’s a solid deal but – just like almost every free agent situation – it comes with some serious risks. How do you feel about the move? Tell us in the comments.

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: Bullet dodged?