Panthers prospect Erik Gudbranson to sign entry-level deal, get chance to stay in NHL

GYI0061888122-gudbranson-joelauerbach-getty.jpgFlorida Panthers 2010 first round pick Erik Gudbranson is getting his wish. At the very least, he’s getting his chance to prove to the Panthers that he can stick in the NHL. The Florida Sun Sentinel’s Harvey Fialkov gives us the scoop on the news that Gudbranson will sign an entry level contract with the team and get his shot to show the Panthers that the future is now for him.

…Panthers General Manager Dale Tallon confirmed before Saturday night’s final preseason game against the Lightning that he will present a contract offer to the 18-year-old defenseman’s agent Monday morning.

“I’m not even thinking about juniors right now,” Gudbranson said Friday.”I’m playing for the Florida Panthers. I’m not thinking about what could happen or should happen.

“Basically, what they want me to do is to come to play hockey.”

Well yes, they want you to come play hockey and play it better than some of the guys the Panthers initially had slated to start the season on the blue line. For Gudbranson, he’ll get a nine-game window to show Tallon and coach Pete DeBoer that he’s worthy of staying around in the NHL or else the team can send him back to junior hockey.

The Panthers have given Gudbranson a long look during training camp playing him in all of the team’s preseason games. While the Panthers are in the process of building a bigger, better team, they’re also a group that could benefit by having all their young guys learning together at the NHL level and winning games. For Gudbranson, his preseason has been regular season-like all along and he gets nine more games to prove that he belongs with the big boys. For an 18 year-old kid that might be asking a lot, but at the NHL Draft in Los Angeles, many experts felt that he was the defenseman most ready to make it to the NHL right away. It’ll be fun to see if he can make it through his audition and stay in the NHL.

(Photo: Joel Auerbach – Getty Images)

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    Blackhawks PK has another brutal night in loss to Blue Jackets

    COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 15:  Zach Werenski #8 of the Columbus Blue Jackets skates after the puck during the game against the San Jose Sharks on October 15, 2016 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
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    There will be no 0-8 start in Columbus this season.

    The Blue Jackets were 3-2 winners against the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night to earn their first win of the season thanks to goals from Zach Werenski, Nick Foligno and William Karlsson. The first two of those goals came on the power play as the Blue Jackets were the latest team to feast on Chicago’s dismal penalty killing unit this season. Those two power play goals came on Columbus’ only two power play opportunities of the night.

    Right now everybody is scoring against the Blackhawks on the power play.

    With the two more goals against on Friday, Chicago’s penalty kill has already given up 11 goals through the first five games of the season, becoming just the 18th team in the past 30 years to do that.

    Their early season penalty kill success rate has been so bad that as Daily Herald beat writer John Dietz pointed out on Friday that even if they successfully kill off their next 20 shorthanded opportunities their PK would still only be at 71.8 on the season. The worst penalty kill in the NHL a season ago was 75.5 percent. In other words: That is not ideal.

    After falling behind 3-1, the Blackhawks attempted to rally thanks to a goal from Richard Panik (already his fifth of the season) to cut the deficit from one. They pretty much took over the game in the third period and threw everything they could at the Blue Jackets’ net, but Sergei Bobrovsky was sensational and holding down the fort and helping the Jackets get their first win of the season.

    It was a costly win for the Blue Jackets in some ways though as they lost defenseman Ryan Murray to an upper body injury in the first period. Injuries have been a problem for him throughout his young career.

    As for the Blackhawks, the loss drops them to 2-3-0 on the young season. There are a lot of new faces on this year’s team, and a lot of young players filling out the bottom half of the roster. Early on it has been a struggle for pretty much everybody.

    Blue Jackets’ Murray leaves game with upper body injury

    COLUMBUS, OH - APRIL 4:  Ryan Murray #27 of the Columbus Blue Jackets skates after the puck during the game against the New York Rangers on April 4, 2016 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
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    Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Ryan Murray had to leave his team’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night with an upper body injury, the team announced.

    He will not return to the game.

    Murray, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2013 draft, seemed to be injured when his arm was pinned against the boards when trying to finish a check on Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook behind the net.

    Murray played only 4:38 on Friday night before exiting the game.

    The No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 draft, Murray played in 81 games for the Blue Jackets a year ago, scoring four goals to go with 21 assists.

    He had played in one of the Blue Jackets’ two games this season entering Friday and did not record a point.

    Former first round pick Zach Boychuk signs in KHL

    LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 20:  Zach Boychuk #22 of the Carolina Hurricanes heads back for the puck during the game against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on November 20, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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    After spending the past eight years moving around the NHL, Zach Boychuk is moving overseas.

    On Friday it was announced that the 27-year-old forward has signed a contract with HC Sibir of the KHL.

    Boychuk was a first-round draft pick by the Carolina Hurricanes in 2008 and has also spent time with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Nashville Predators in his career.

    He did not play in the NHL during the 2015-16 season, spending the year split between the Charlotte Checkers and Bakersfield Condors of the American Hockey League.

    In 127 NHL games he has scored 12 goals and added 18 assists.

    Boychuk was in camp in September with the Arizona Coyotes on a tryout contract but did not make the team.

    Flyers’ Dale Weise suspended three games

    GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 15:  Dale Weise #22 of the Philadelphia Flyers during the NHL game against Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on October 15, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Coyotes defeated the Flyers 4-3 in overtime.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

    The Philadelphia Flyers are going to be without forward Dale Weise for the next three games as a result of a suspension handed out by the NHL’s department of player safety on Friday evening.

    The league announced that Weise has been suspended due to an illegal check to the head of Anaheim Ducks defenseman Korbinian Holzer during their game in Philadelphia on Thursday night.

    Weise was not penalized for the hit.

    The incident happened midway through the second period of the Ducks’ 3-2 win, and came just as Holzer was skating with the puck in his own zone.

    Here is a look at the play, as well as the NHL’s explanation for the suspension.

    Holzer was not injured as a result of the hit.

    The Flyers have been hit hard by suspensions so far this season. They played the first three games of the season without forward Brayden Schenn as he served a suspension that carried over from the 2016 playoffs. Defenseman Radko Gudas is still sidelined as he serves a six-game suspension for a hit this preseason.

    Weise has yet to record a point in four games for the Flyers this season. He scored 14 goals and added 13 assists a year ago for the Montreal Canadiens and Chicago Blackhawks.

    This suspension will cost him $39,166.68 in salary.

    He will be eligible to return to the Flyers’ lineup on Oct. 27 when they host the Arizona Coyotes. He will miss games against Carolina, Montreal and Buffalo.