2010 NHL free agency: Small-time signings ahoy

grantclitsome.jpgSometimes some signings aren’t quite big news enough to demand their own single post. No offense guys, but there’s a bit of a pecking order around here. We’ll sum up today’s depth signings for you here.

Blue Jackets re-sign defenseman Grant Clitsome

Everyone’s favorite defenseman, whether they know it or not, is back
on a one-year deal with the Blue Jackets. Clitsome, a former standout
defenseman at Clarkson University, got some part-time work with the Blue
Jackets last year as they dealt with injuries. He spent the majority of
last season in the AHL with Syracuse.

Senators sign 2009 fifth-round pick Mike Hoffman

Hoffman is a 20 year-old winger who just completed his last year in the CHL. He was the QMJHL most valuable player last year with the St. John Sea Dogs. He scored 46 goals and had 85 points last season for the Sea Dogs. Whether he gets to crack the Ottawa lineup or not remains to be seen, but an immediate future in AHL Binghamton isn’t out of the question.

Senators re-sign forward Cody Bass for one year

Cody Bass is what you’d call a “scrappy” player. He’ll do all the dirty work that the rest of the guys on the ice might not want to do. He’ll go into the corners, he’ll throw the body and he’ll fight on occasion. There’s a spot for guys like on every team and in Bass’ case, he’ll have either Ottawa or Binghamton to do that with as his contract is a two-way deal.

Flames sign goaltender Jean-Philippe Lamoureux

The Flames are looking for more goaltending depth within the organization and in signing Lamoureux they’ve got it. The former University of North Dakota standout played with the Portland Pirates of the AHL last year. Just so long as other teams in the AHL aren’t populated with former Boston College Eagles, Lamoureux should do all right in Abbotsford with the Heat.

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    Rangers punch playoff ticket to wrap up night of clinched spots

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    The New York Rangers weren’t ecstatic that Chris Tierney‘s 4-4 goal sent their game to overtime against the San Jose Sharks, but either way, getting beyond regulation punched their ticket to the playoffs on Tuesday night.

    For the seventh season in a row, the Rangers are in the NHL’s postseason. They fell to the Sharks 5-4 in overtime, so they haven’t locked down the first wild-card spot in the East … yet. It seems like a matter of time, however.

    The Rangers have now made the playoffs in 11 of their last 12 tries, a far cry from the barren stretch when they failed to make the playoffs from 1997-98 through 2003-04 (with the lockout season punctuating the end of that incompetent era).

    New York has pivoted from the John Tortorella days to the Vigneault era, and this season has been especially interesting as they reacted to a 2016 first-round loss to the Penguins by instituting a more attacking style. The Metropolitan Division’s greatness has overshadowed, to some extent, how dramatic the improvement has been.

    This result seems like a tidy way to discuss Tuesday’s other events.

    The drama ends up being low for the Rangers going forward, and while there might be a shortage of life-or-death playoff struggles, the battles for seeding look to be fierce.

    Oilers end NHL’s longest playoff drought; Sharks, Ducks also clinch

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    There’s something beautiful about the symmetry on Tuesday … unless you’re a Detroit Red Wings fan, maybe.

    On the same night that the longest active NHL playoff streak ended at 25 for Detroit, the longest playoff drought concluded when the Edmonton Oilers clinched a postseason spot by beating the Los Angeles Kings 2-1.

    The Oilers haven’t reached the playoffs since 2005-06, when Chris Pronger lifted them to Game 7 of the 2006 Stanley Cup Final.

    In doing so, other dominoes fell. Both the Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks also punched their tickets to the postseason.

    The Sharks, of course, hope to exceed last season’s surprising run to the 2016 Stanley Cup Final.

    Meanwhile, the Anaheim Ducks continue their run of strong regular seasons, even as memories of their Cup win start to fade into the distance. All three teams are currently vying for the Pacific Division title.

    The Western Conference’s eight teams are dangerously close to being locked into place, as the Nashville Predators, Calgary Flames and St. Louis Blues are all close to looking down their spots as well.

    Want the East perspective? Check out this summary of Tuesday’s events from the perspective of the other conference.

    Craig Anderson took his blunder hard – probably too hard – in Sens loss

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    Members of the Ottawa Senators were quick to defend Craig Anderson following his blunder (see above) in Tuesday’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Philadelphia Flyers, and it’s easy to see why.

    It’s not just about his personal struggles, either. When Anderson’s managed to play, he’s been flat-out phenomenal, generating a .927 save percentage that ranks near a Vezina-type level (if he managed to play more than 35 games).

    Goaltending has been a huge reason why Ottawa has at least a shot of winning the Atlantic or at least grabbing a round of home-ice advantage, so unlike certain instances where teams shield a goalie’s failures, the defenses are absolutely justified.

    Anderson, on the other hand, was very hard on himself.

    You have to admire Anderson for taking the blame, even if in very much “hockey player” fashion, he’s not exactly demanding the same sort of credit for his great work this season.

    It’s official: Red Wings’ playoff streak ends at 25 seasons

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    When we look back at the 2016-17 season for the Detroit Red Wings, it will be remembered for some sad endings.

    It began without Pavel Datsyuk. We knew that their last game at Joe Louis Arena this season would be their last ever. And now we know that Joe Louis Arena won’t be home to another playoff run.

    After 25 straight seasons of making the playoffs – quite often managing deep runs – the Red Wings were officially eliminated on Tuesday night. In getting this far, they enjoyed one of the greatest runs of longevity in NHL history:

    Tonight revolves largely around East teams winning and teams clinching bids – the Edmonton Oilers could very well end the league’s longest playoff drought this evening – but this story is more solemn.

    EA Sports tweeted out a great infographic:

    “Right now it’s hard to talk about it, because you’re a big reason why it’s not continuing,” Henrik Zetterberg said in an NHL.com report absolutely worth your time.

    Mike “Doc” Emrick narrated a great look back at Joe Louis Arena here: