2010 NHL Free Agency: Devils, Mark Fraser reach deal, will NJ utilize buyout window?

fraserpunching.jpgIn yet another move to avoid salary arbitration, the New Jersey Devils signed young defenseman Mark Fraser to a one-year, one-way contract worth $500K according to Tom Gulitti. With all due respect to Fraser, the signing might be most interesting because it gives the Devils a new 48-hour buyout window; some wonder if the team might take advantage of that opportunity to clear up space for an eventual Ilya Kovalchuk contract.

Gulitti asked Devils GM Lou Lamoriello if he’d exercise that option, but “Loophole Lou” didn’t seem interested in sharing his plans.

Devils GM Lou Lamoriello would not discuss whether he will utilize second buyout window (following Fraser signing) to clear cap space.

As you may know, buying out a player is far from a cure-all since there are still salary cap repercussions and a general manager must also face the embarrassment of essentially paying a player not to perform for his team.

Moving on, Gulitti provides a little bit of background on Mark Fraser.

Fraser also made $500,000 in 2009-10, but had a two-way contract. He was willing to take a one-year, low-paying deal in order to get the security of a one-way contract, with the hope of further establishing himself as an NHL regular in the upcoming season.

Lamoriello was pleased with the progess Fraser made in his first full season in the NHL in 2009-10. Fraser, who will turn 24 on Sept 29, had three goals, three assists, 36 penalty minutes and had a plus-3 defensive rating in 61 games. Former Devils coach Jacques Lemaire tried to bring the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Ottawa native along slowly, limiting his ice time to 12:22.

After the Devils added Martin Skoula in a trade and Paul Martin returned from injury, Fraser ended up as a healthy scratch for 13 of the final 19 regular season games and played in only one of the team’s five playoff games.

Could the Devils end up buying someone out in the next two days? Lamoriello isn’t tipping his hand on that one, but if he does, we’ll let you know.

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    Hockey tough: Mark Stone shakes off skate to face, scores

    Ottawa Senators right wing Mark Stone celebrates his game winning goal during overtime against the Boston Bruins during an NHL hockey game in Ottawa, Ontario, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016.  The Senators defeated the Bruins 2-1. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
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    You’d think the reaction to taking a skate to the face would be something like “Not coming back to that game, getting some ice and maybe do some soul-searching.”

    Nope, not in the NHL, at least.

    In this league, the real reaction is almost always to come back to the same game … and barely miss a beat.

    Ottawa Senators Mark Stone provides the latest example of hockey toughness, as he bounced back almost immediately from this.

    What did he do? He scored a nice goal in the Senators’ 6-1 blowout of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

    Latest way the Wild lost? Killed by penalty kill

    Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk sits on the ice after giving up a goal to St. Louis Blues' Jori Lehtera, of Finland, during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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    It’s said that variety is the spice of life, yet it seems to be the spite of the Minnesota Wild.

    As head coach Mike Yeo said, this struggling team appears to find a new way to lose virtually every night. That couldn’t have happened once again on Saturday, when they fell 4-1 to the St. Louis Blues, could it?

    Actually …

    If you ask Jarret Stoll, the latest problem was the penalty kill.

    Honestly, Stoll may have been too specific, likely trying to throw his own unit under the bus. Instead, it might be more accurate to say that Minnesota’s special teams let them down.

    Indeed, the Wild struggled to limit the Blues’ power play, which went an unsettling 3-for-6. That said, Minnesota had a chance to trade blows with St. Louis. Instead, the Wild managed one power-play goal on seven opportunities.

    The silver lining is that the Wild believe that they showed more fight than this fragile bunch had been generating before.

    On the other hand, with Jonas Brodin on IR and Jared Spurgeon apparently hurt, that silver lining may not be so easy to see.

    Statement in Blackhawks’ blowout of Stars? Coach Q says they’re even

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    Worry (if you’re pulling for the Stars) or gloat (if you’re a Blackhawks fan) all you want, but the bottom line is that the Central Division’s No.1 spot is clearly in Chicago’s control after Saturday night.

    The Blackhawks earned a decisive 5-1 win against the Dallas Stars, giving them a five-point standings lead over Dallas for the Central Division lead.

    You may feel like that’s more of the same, but consider this: things would look a lot closer if Dallas won or gained points, as they hold three games in hand on the ‘Hawks.

    At least one Blackhawks player admits this game means a little more than your average W.

    Indeed, while Antti Niemi was pulled from the game and Kari Lehtonen faced his own struggles in Dallas’ net, Corey Crawford ranked as one of the big reasons why the score was so lopsided.

    (Artem Anisimov had a big say in that, too.)

    As a wise coach with 1,000+ games of experience would do, Joel Quenneville didn’t go overboard in assessing the victory.

    Was this a statement game? Who knows, but a certain statement is that the Blackhawks now have a five-point standings lead.

    Brad Marchand wins it … on a penalty shot … in overtime

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    Looking at the standings, beating the Buffalo Sabres was pretty important for the Boston Bruins. The Atlantic Division’s run for spots appears particularly congested out East.

    Of all the Bruins to get a chance to win it all, the team might have wanted Brad Marchand to have that opportunity. He’s on pace to destroy his previous career-highs for scoring, and Marchand’s been particularly hot lately.

    Either way, Marchand came up big indeed, scoring the rare overtime game-winner on a penalty shot. Check out the drama below:

    That can be a big extra point and ROW (regulation/overtime win) when the regular season is finished.

    Note: Many believe that Marchand should not have received a penalty shot on the play.