The PHT Nightcap: Monday, August 23rd

Even in the depressingly hockey-free summer, we expect to be a productive bunch here at Pro Hockey Talk. Sometimes it might be difficult to follow our pace. We understand that. For that reason, whenever we can, we’ll put all of the day’s stories in one convenient post called the PHT Nightcap. Enjoy, hockey fans.

Skepticism surrounds the World Hockey Summit

Thrashers re-sign Bryan Little – He regressed a bit last season, but that’s still a pretty good deal for a guy who already hit the 30-plus goal mark once so far.

Cristobal Huet to play in Switzerland – So much for the Chicago Blackhawks’ salary cap issues. Now, that whole losing money thing? That could still be a problem.

Red Wings re-sign Justin Abdelkader – Another good player signed for a cheap price. Today was a good day for contract extensions, at least for the teams who signed them.

Blues search for investors going along slowly – Maybe they can generate more interest if they win more games next season?

Michael Bublé mocks the Calgary Flames – Some might call him irresponsible.

NHL’s successes in Europe increase with more preseason games – Jetlag Shmetlag.

Report: Kovalchuk, Devils decision coming soon – Stay tuned, hockey fans.

Niklas Kronwall’s still dealing with knee problems – He’s still on the fence about surgery. That’s not good.

Cristobal Huet’s agent says he would have been willing to renegotiate his contract – Unfortunately, the current CBA won’t allow him to do so. Instead, Huet will have to play overseas.

MSG hires Butch Goring to replace Billy Jaffe in the broadcast booth

Poll results: Readers want the NHL to stay with the Olympics – Good to know you’re not (completely) crazy sometimes.

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    Oilers re-sign Pakarinen for one year

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    The Edmonton Oilers have given winger Iiro Pakarinen a one-year contract extension.

    From the release:

    Pakarinen just finished his third season with the Oilers organization, appearing in 14 regular season games in 2016-17, posting four points (2 goals, 2 assists).  The 25 year old forward missed 53 games due to an injury suffered during the pre-season. He appeared in one playoff game against the San Jose Sharks.

    The Oilers brought Pakarinen over from Finland in 2014. Since then, he’s split his North American career between the AHL and NHL while drawing praise for his versatility and hard-nosed style.

    Per CapFriendly, Pakarinen’s cap hit will be $750,000 in 2017-18. It’s a one-way deal.

    Market heating up for prized Czech d-man Rutta

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    Coming off an impressive performance for the Czech Republic at the World Hockey Championship, Jan Rutta is now being courted by a number of NHL clubs.

    Per The Athletic, the Blackhawks are in contention for securing Rutta’s services. That comes on the heels of earlier reports from TSN’s Darren Dreger, who said there are “multiple” offers for the 26-year-old, including ones from Edmonton and Calgary.

    “He’s a steady defenseman with size, and he had a strong finish of the season,” an NHL scout told The Athletic. “He was very good in the playoffs and played his best at the Worlds.”

    Rutta, who was never drafted by an NHL club, has spent his professional career with Czech League outfit Pirati Chomutov. He’s blossomed into a talented offensive defenseman — finishing second among Czech League d-men with 32 points in 46 games this year — and, as mentioned above, has good size at 6-foot-3, 200 pounds.

    Last week, Rutta’s agent — longtime Octagon Hockey representative Allan Walsh — tweeted that his client would make a decision on NHL offers soon.

     

    Sharks keep stockpiling European free agents, land Sandberg

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    Doug Wilson is at it again.

    On Thursday, the Sharks GM confirmed yesterday’s news — the signing of Czech d-man Radim Simek — and announced that Swedish forward Filip Sandberg had agreed to a two-year deal.

    “Filip is a very creative player who sees the ice well and can create offense in limited space,” Wilson said in a release. “He plays a high-pressure, puck-pursuit game and his battle level is something we have been impressed with, especially against older players.

    “We are excited for him to join our organization.”

    Sandberg, 22, is fresh off a Swedish League title with HV71. The club announced Sandberg would be headed overseas last week, but didn’t divulge what team had signed him.

    It wasn’t surprising NHL clubs had interest. Sandberg had a good offensive campaign in Sweden, scoring 25 points in 52 regular season games, then broke out for six goals and 14 points in 16 playoff contests.

    Prior to this year, Sandberg twice represented Sweden at the World Juniors, including the 2013 tournament where the country won silver. He finished with two goals in six games playing alongside the likes of Filip Forsberg, Viktor Arvidsson, Elias Lindholm and Victor Rask.

    As for Simek, he inked a one-year deal.

    “Radim is a quick transition defenseman who drives the play offensively and plays with a physical edge,” said Wilson. “We like his offensive instincts especially on special teams and think his game will translate well in North America.”

    Simek just finished representing his native Czech Republic at the World Hockey Championship, where he had two points in eight games.

    According to a report from Radio Praha, the Sharks beat out the Rangers to acquire Simek. Passed over in his draft year, the 24-year-old has spent his entire pro career with Liberec Bili Tygri.

    As mentioned above, Wilson has done well finding European skaters in their early-to-mid-20s, ones that can contribute right away at the NHL level: Melker Karlsson, Joonas Donskoi and Marcus Sorensen, most specifically.

    The hope now is that Simek and Sandberg will continue that trend.

    Avs dismiss three from coaching staff, but Bednar remains

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    Colorado GM Joe Sakic said there would be turnover this offseason, but that head coach Jared Bednar was safe.

    On Tuesday, Sakic followed through.

    The Avs have parted ways with two of Bednar’s assistants — Tim Army and Dave Farrish — and also relieved goalie coach Francois Allaire of his duties.

    Army, 54, has been with the club for the last six years, having previously served as the head coach at Providence. He served under three different head coaches in Colorado — Bednar, Patrick Roy and Joe Sacco — and was largely tasked with running the team’s power play (which finished 30th in the NHL this year).

    Farrish, 60, just wrapped his second year on the job with the Avs after coming over from Toronto. A veteran of nearly 30 years in coaching, Farrish was brought aboard by Roy, and brought “a wealth of experience and hockey knowledge to our organization.” A journeyman blueliner who playecd 430 games at the NHL level, Farrish ran the club’s defense last season.

    Allaire, 57, has been coaching goalies at the NHL level for over 25 years, with previous stops in Montreal, Anaheim and Toronto. His ties to Roy ran deep — he mentored the former Avs coach with the Canadiens, and the pair won two Stanley Cups together (in 1986 and ’93). Allaire has been with the Avs for the last four years, on the heels of an acrimonious departure from Toronto.

    Today’s shakeup is a significant one, but it didn’t come out of nowhere. Bednar was essentially forced into retaining all of Roy’s staff following the latter’s shock resignation last August, and probably wants to bring in some of his own guys.

    Sakic, meanwhile, had to make some sort of changes after the worst regular season in franchise history — and today’s could just be the tip of the iceberg.

    Related: Avs president gives Sakic vote of confidence