Report: Dallas Stars sale inching closer to completion

When the NHL Board of Governors gets together on June 21, we know that they’ll be voting on whether or not to approve the sale of the Atlanta Thrashers and their move to Winnipeg. While that’s likely to be the top thing on their agenda, they might have another team sale to vote on before it’s all said and done.

Ken Campbell of The Hockey News is reporting that the sale of the Dallas Stars to Vancouver businessman Tom Gaglardi may finally be completed and also up for approval at the Board of Governors meeting later this month. For the Stars, it’s a deal that’s long been waiting to be completed as former owner Tom Hicks is eager to get out of owning the team.

Should the sale be done that quickly, Campbell says it might have another effect that’s pleasing to Stars fans.

It’s believed the banks that are running the Stars and Gagliardi are deeply into negotiations that will see Gagliardi buy the team and half the lease to the American Airlines Arena in Dallas for about $160 million.

Having an owner in place for that board of governors meeting would be a boon to the Stars and would give them a chance, contrary to published reports, to re-sign pending unrestricted free agent Brad Richards before July 1. Without an owner in place, there’s virtually no way Richards will stay in Dallas.

We’ve been discussing Brad Richards here a lot lately and for good reason as he’s set to be the most pursued free agent of the summer on July 1. A report came out yesterday saying that the Stars and Richards were going to part ways thanks to the ownership mess. That report led us to wonder about where he’ll land next year. Should this sale go through before the end of June, the chances that the Stars can retain his services re-enters the picture.

Of course, given all the talk that’s gone down today you have to wonder if perhaps the ownership mess isn’t the only reason why the Stars and Richards are parting ways. Either way, this drama might be far from over and if Gaglardi can complete his purchase of the team and get it approved later this month, the sweepstakes for Richards could hang in the balance.

 

Isles sign Northeastern captain Stevens

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John Stevens, who just wrapped a four-year career at Northeastern University, has signed a two-year, entry-level deal with the Islanders, the club announced on Monday.

Stevens, 22, went undrafted but emerged as a valuable player for the Huskies, culminating with a senior season in which he served as captain and averaged better than a point per game (28 in 25 contests).

Stevens is the son of longtime L.A. Kings associate coach John Stevens, who formerly served as the bench boss in Philly.

A third member 0f the Stevens clan, Nolan, also played this season at Northeastern — his junior campaign — and was taken by St. Louis in the fifth round of last year’s draft.

McElhinney to start for Leafs tomorrow

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Curtis McElhinney will start in goal for the Maple Leafs when they host Florida tomorrow.

Which means Toronto’s regular starter, Frederik Andersen, will not.

Andersen, hurt Saturday in Buffalo, only lasted 20 minutes of practice this morning. The Toronto Star, citing a Leafs source, is reporting that Andersen “took a blow to his jaw from a player in Saturday’s 5-2 loss to the Sabres.”

McElhinney is 4-5-0 with a .919 save percentage in 10 appearances for the Leafs this season. He told reporters that tomorrow will be the biggest start of his NHL career.

It remains to be seen who will back up McElhinney against the Panthers. The Leafs have recalled goalie Garret Sparks from the AHL on an emergency basis. All three netminders were on the ice today.

Update:

Expect Sparks to be the back-up tomorrow.

Toronto has a three-point playoff cushion, with eight games remaining.

The Leafs also recalled forward Kasperi Kapanen, the 22nd overall draft pick in 2014. Kapanen, 20, has 18 goals and 25 assists in 43 games for the Marlies this season. He’s expected to replace Ben Smith on the fourth line, alongside Brian Boyle and Matt Martin.

Habs sign d-man Mete, who ‘does everything’ for junior team

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Victor Mete, Montreal’s fourth-round pick at last year’s draft, has signed his three-year, entry-level deal, the club announced on Monday.

Mete, 18, is in his third year with OHL powerhouse London, and finished this season with 15 goals and 44 points in 50 games. He’s developed a reputation as a terrific skater, and often plays alongside fellow Knights d-man Olli Juolevi, who the Canucks took fifth overall at last year’s draft.

London assistant coach Dylan Hunter had high praise for Mete this season.

“When it comes to little nuances of his game, stick on puck, knowing when to make a play and when there isn’t a play to just get it out, he’s one of the best there is right now,” Hunter said, per the London Free Press.

“He does everything for us.”

Mete has one year of junior eligibility remaining, so it’s likely he’ll be back in London next season. At 5-foot-10 and just 180 pounds, he’s undersized and could use another year of development before turning pro.

 

After ‘great’ senior year, Pens sign Union standout Taylor

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Pittsburgh wasted little time in getting Jeff Taylor in the mix.

Taylor, the Union College senior defenseman who had his collegiate career end over the weekend, signed a two-year, entry-level deal on Monday, and also inked an ATO to join the club’s AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Taylor, the club’s seventh-round pick in 2014, enjoyed a career year at Union, helping the Dutchmen advance to the NCAA Tournament by setting career highs in goals (9) and points (33) in 38 games.

Back in December, Pens assistant GM Bill Guerin spoke glowingly about Taylor’s last collegiate campaign, saying he was in the midst of a “great” senior season.

“This is a kid we’ve been looking forward to getting since we drafted him,” Guerin said, per the Post-Gazette. “I remember his first development camp, everybody was like, ‘Oh, wow, look at this kid. He can move the puck, he can skate, he’s quick. He thinks the game well.’ And it hasn’t stopped.

“He’s an undersized guy, but he has the ability to get himself out of trouble because he’s got great feet and he thinks the game well.”