Carolina trades Anton Babchuk and Tom Kostopolous to Calgary for Ian White and Brett Sutter

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A trade from out of the blue always spices the day up nicely. Today, the Carolina Hurricanes traded defenseman Anton Babchuk and forward Tom Kostopolous to the Calgary Flames for defenseman Ian White and young forward Brett Sutter.

Sutter we’ve heard plenty about of late after his legal wranglings after allegedly assaulting a taxi cab driver in Scottsdale, Arizona. Making this deal all the more awkward for him is that it was his father, Darryl Sutter, that traded him to Carolina all while his uncle Brent is the coach in Calgary. In Carolina, he’ll be on the same team as his cousin Brandon Sutter. It’s always a family affair when it comes to Calgary. If you’re thinking that Brett’s arrest played into the deal, TSN’s Darren Dreger says that’s not the case.

As for the other players in this deal, the ones to focus on are Babchuk and White. Babchuk came back to Carolina this season after spending a year away in the KHL. He’s an offensively-minded blue liner with a huge shot from the point to help him out. Having him trade spots with White seems like an even-up kind of deal. White, after being traded to Calgary last season from Toronto, was an offensive blue line specialist for the Flames providing a boost to their scoring with Jay Bouwmeester being ineffective from the point.

With White moving on to Carolina, they add a guy that logs tons of minutes (he’s averaged 21:43 per game this year) and gives them a similar kind of production on the power play when needed. Whereas Babchuk was more of a one-way threat, White gives the Hurricanes better balance on the back line. While White has been struggling badly of late, reuniting him with Paul Maurice whom he played for in Toronto could spark his game. Babchuk, meanwhile, will try to help jump-start the Flames offense from the back end.

Not to be lost here are the financial implications of the deal. White’s contract is up after this season and he’s making nearly $3 million, whereas Babchuk is pulling in about $1.4 million on his deal that ends this year. Meanwhile Kostopolous’ cap hit is for $916,000 for the next two seasons. It’s not much of a cutback for the Flames, but the extra salary freedom could help them out should they either be looking to make another move down the road or just get some players from LTIR (like Ales Kotalik for example) back into the lineup. Of course, if that’s what their motivation is, you can just chalk this up as more strangeness coming out of the front office in Calgary.

On the whole, this deal looks like one that swaps out offensive-defensemen and gives Calgary a character grinder in Kostopolous and gives Carolina another young forward to put in their system, one who could benefit playing with his cousin in the future.

Islanders sign 2016 first-round pick Bellows to entry-level deal

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The New York Islanders made a few roster moves Friday. That included sending 2016 first-round pick Kieffer Bellows back to the Portland Winterhawks in the Western Hockey League.

Shortly after that, it was announced that Bellows and the Islanders agreed to terms on a three-year entry-level contract.

The Islanders originally selected Bellows with the 19th overall pick in the 2016 NHL Draft.

The 19-year-old left winger played one year at Boston University, tallying seven goals and 14 points before deciding to leave school to play this season in the WHL, which has a completely different schedule from college.

“Play more games,” Bellows told NHL.com in July. “I think just the 72 games in the [WHL] regular season is the biggest thing. I can’t thank [Boston University coach David] Quinn enough and all the guys on the team. I had an unbelievable first year at Boston University, but I just felt it was best for me to go and play more games.”

Stamkos to make preseason debut tonight vs. Predators

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For the first time since Nov. 15, 2016, Steven Stamkos will be in the Tampa Bay Lightning lineup.

Per Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times, the prolific scorer will play tonight for the Bolts, as they continue the preseason against the Nashville Predators.

Stamkos suffered a knee injury last November. He underwent surgery but didn’t make it back to the lineup for the remainder of the year, marking the second time in four years his regular season was derailed by a significant injury.

“Listen, I snapped my leg in half and came back and was playing the best hockey of my career,” Stamkos told the Tampa Bay Times, referring to his broken leg suffered during the 2013-14 season.

“So this is another hurdle. I’m confident that when you put in the work, you’re going to find ways. It may be different ways. You may have to adjust certain parts of your game. But we’ll handle that when I see how it feels in a game situation. We’ll know more tonight.”

Given such a lengthy time away from game action, it might be wise — at least early on — to temper expectations of Stamkos.

He is one of the league’s most dangerous scorers. But he also hasn’t played a game in 10 months. In a conversation with the Tampa Bay Times, Minnesota Wild forward Zach Parise, who had the same surgery in 2010, said it “took probably a year and a half to get back to feeling back to normal.”

It appears Stamkos will center a line tonight with Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov, who should certainly be pleased to be playing alongside No. 91.

Habs place Redmond on waivers — again

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A number of players found themselves on waivers Friday, including Montreal depth defenseman Zach Redmond.

(CapFriendly has an extensive list of players on waivers, which you can check out here.)

Redmond is in the final year of a two-year contract with the Habs, who already had a crowded blue line with eight defensemen signed for this season and Jakub Jerabek making the move from the KHL and looking to earn a roster spot out of camp.

Noah Juulsen was also a prospect defenseman to watch in camp, however, he recently suffered a fractured foot and is out six weeks.

Redmond, who was previously placed on waivers in January, split last season between Montreal and the Habs’ AHL affiliate in St. John’s, where he had 18 points in 26 games.

Now 29 years old, Redmond has 130 games worth of NHL experience with Winnipeg, Colorado and Montreal.

Report: Oilers and potential UFA Maroon talking extension

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The Edmonton Oilers and forward Patrick Maroon are reportedly discussing an extension, according to TSN’s Ryan Rishaug.

Maroon spent a good chunk of the season playing with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, and it showed in his numbers.

The 29-year-old scored a career-high 27 goals (he had never scored more than 11 goals in a season) and 42 points in 81 contests.

Maroon is in the final year of a three-year contract that came with an annual average value of $2 million. You’d have to think that he’s in line for a raise.

“Obviously without those two I wouldn’t have the success I did, but sometimes you’ve got to give yourself some credit too,” Maroon said earlier this month, per NHL.com. “Those two are very tremendous players, and for me I’ve just got to keep doing what I’m doing to stay with them.

“Obviously [Oilers coach] Todd McLellan had a really big part in that. He gave me an opportunity to play with those two. For me, I’ve just got to continue what I did last year, come [to training camp] in really good shape again, and hopefully good things fall into place again.”