Luca Sbisa

Ducks sign defenseman Luca Sbisa to four-year extension

Anaheim rewarded young defenseman Luca Sbisa rather nicely today giving the Swiss blue liner a four year extension worth $8.7 million.

Sbisa is an up and comer in the Ducks system and has tightened his game up to be more of a physical, defensive force. The former first round pick of the Flyers was acquired in the deal that sent Chris Pronger to Philadelphia and at 21 years-old figures to stick around with the Ducks for a while and grow up alongside Cam Fowler.

This season, Sbisa’s first full one in the NHL, he has two goals and six assists with a -6 plus/minus rating over 52 games. With the additions the Ducks have made to their blue line over the course of the season, Sbisa’s minutes have picked up in recent games showing that coach Randy Carlyle’s confidence in the youngster is growing. Giving Sbisa a contract that has a $2.175 million cap hit for the next four years shows that Bob Murray believes in his skills as well.

The side effect of this deal is the effect it’ll have on other young defensemen whose entry level contracts are due to expire. We’re looking at you Karl Alzner in Washington. Alzner’s game has a bit more skill to it but the numbers are similar. We won’t even go into what John Carlson might be able to ask from Washington after next season when his entry level deal comes to an end.

Raffl coverts PTO into one-year, $575K deal with Jets

Leave a comment

There’s another Raffl in the NHL.

On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.

Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.

“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.

With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.

For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.

Flyers to start season with seven d-men; MacDonald sent to AHL

Andrew MacDonald, Matt Calvert
1 Comment

Seven defensemen will comprise the Philadelphia Flyers’ opening-day roster, which the club finalized today.

Those seven are Radko Gudas, Michael Del Zotto, Luke Schenn, Nick Schultz, Brandon Manning, Mark Streit, and Evgeny Medvedev.

Not on the list? Andrew MacDonald, who has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Lehigh Valley. (That move allowed the Flyers to keep both Manning and youngster Scott Laughton.)

Also not on the list were prospects Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg, Sam Morin, Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim. The first three will start the season in the AHL. The last two have been sent back to junior.

But the opening-day roster is not where this story ends. How the Flyers’ defensive mix changes as the season progresses will be worth watching.

They’d no doubt love to move Schenn, a pending unrestricted free agent with a $3.6 million cap hit. He could also end up in the AHL, a la MacDonald.

Medvedev, the 33-year-old who came over from the KHL and put up five points in five preseason games, is another pending UFA. The club could either look to re-sign or flip him.

Might 37-year-old Streit be a chip worth cashing in at the deadline, especially if the Flyers aren’t in a playoff position on Feb. 29? He’s only got two years left on his contract.

Meanwhile, GM Ron Hextall will be watching pending restricted free agents Manning and Gudas closely. Are they part of the future?

So, lots of decisions to make in Philly as the blue line continues its much-needed transition.