Mike Commodore

Mike Commodore, Cam Barker, and Sheldon Souray all waived today to be bought out

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With noontime having passed and the league’s buyout period coming to an end at 5 p.m. today, it was the final day to put players on waivers for the purpose of buying them out of their contracts. Once the clock struck 12 noon, the word came down, this time courtesy of TSN’s Bob McKenzie that three defensemen would hit the waiver wire to be eligible to be bought out.

McKenzie tweeted that Edmonton’s Sheldon Souray, Columbus’ Mike Commodore, and Minnesota’s Cam Barker were all unconditionally waived by their teams. They’ll be on waivers for the next 24 hours and if another team doesn’t pick them up, they’ll become unrestricted free agents.

For all three of them, last season proved to be a struggle. For Souray, he was buried in the AHL by the Oilers with the Capitals farm team in Hershey as they didn’t want him around any of their prospects. Their parting is long overdue and the fat contract they gave to Souray back in 2007 sits as one filled with injury and now bad feelings. With one year remaining on his deal, his buy out will be paid out over the next two seasons with a cap hit of $2.4 million this year and $1.5 million next year according to CapGeek.

Mike Commodore’s situation in Columbus was similarly difficult. Commodore didn’t see eye-to-eye with coach Scott Arniel and struggled to get ice time with the Blue Jackets who had defensive issues all season. With those kinds of problems and when you’re not getting a chance to help fix them, that means things are going rather poorly.

Commodore was sent to the Jackets’ AHL team in Springfield for most of the year and was put on waivers a couple of times to see if teams would snag him. No one ever bit and Commodore stayed in the AHL to languish.  Commodore’s contract has two years left which means his buy out will be paid out over the next four years with a cap hit against the Blue Jackets in the range of just over $1 million per year according to CapGeek.

  • 2011-12: $1,391,667
  • 2012-13: $1,541,667
  • 2013-14: $1,141,667
  • 2014-15: $1,141,667

Cam Barker’s tenure in Minnesota was a brutal one. After coming to the Wild in the deal that saw Nick Leddy and Kim Johnsson sent to Chicago, Barker was seen as the “sure thing” in that deal. After a year and a half in Minnesota, Barker’s struggles have made it so that he’s worn out his welcome in St. Paul and the Wild are moving on without him.

In 71 games with the Wild, Barker had two goals and ten assists and was a -12 defenseman. He was known more for his turnovers and poor coverage than he was anything else and now the Wild are eager to let him go. That trade involving Nick Leddy might go down in infamy in Minnesota when it’s all said and done. With just one year left on his deal, it’ll take two years to get the buyout hit off the Wild’s salary cap. With Barker being 25 when being bought out the buyout is for 1/3 of his cap hit meaning that the $1.083 million cost is spread out over two years. CapGeek breaks down the minimal pain felt by Minnesota for the buyout.

With these three guys likely hitting unrestricted free agency on Friday afternoon, things get a little bit more interesting as all three will likely see some interest from teams. With the defensive market getting thinned out leading up to Friday’s free agency frenzy, the buyouts could be a blessing in disguise for them as they’ll be free to pursue a deal with a team that wants them around now. They may not be the lucrative deals they’re coming off of, but at the least they should be able to get back to the NHL or find a comfortable place to fix their game.

Sharks swarm in the third period, take down Predators in Game 1

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For two periods, the San Jose Sharks couldn’t solve Pekka Rinne.

Maybe it was because of that black cat that found its way on to the ice prior to the start of Friday’s game, or the video review that didn’t go in San Jose’s favor in the opening period.

But that all changed in the final period. It started with Tomas Hertl on the power play finding room just under the glove of Rinne to get San Jose on the board. Joel Ward followed that up with a gorgeous deke, tucking the puck in behind Rinne just as he started to go behind the net, as San Jose was able to take advantage of a defensive breakdown.

Logan Couture added the eventual winner. Within the span of 13 minutes, the Sharks had completely taken over, cashing in on two Nashville penalties and a defensive lapse.

When the onslaught was over, the Sharks skated off with a 5-2 win in Game 1 of this second-round series with the Predators, who only wrapped up a seven-game series win over Anaheim on Wednesday.

Ryan Johansen made it interesting, cutting into San Jose’s lead with under two minutes remaining, but any further comeback attempt was quickly halted by a pair of empty net goals from the Sharks.

The game ended with a dust-up along the boards, before cooler heads did prevail.

Another North Dakota junior goes pro as Blackhawks sign Luke Johnson

Quinnipiac forward Tommy Schutt, left, moves the puck as North Dakota forward Luke Johnson, middle, checks Quinnipiac forward Travis St. Denis during the first period of an NCAA college hockey tournament game Friday, March 27, 2015, in Fargo, N.D. North Dakota won 4-1. (AP Photo/Bruce Crummy)
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Another day, another University of North Dakota player deciding to enter the professional hockey ranks.

This time, it was 21-year-old forward Luke Johnson who turned pro following his junior year, as he signed a three-year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks, the team that selected him in the fifth round of the 2013 NHL Draft.

In 43 games with the NCAA champs this season, Johnson scored 11 goals and 21 points, just shy of his college career high of 24 points set the previous year.

Johnson will forgo his senior year at North Dakota, making him the fourth member of that program’s junior class to turn pro since the end of the season. Keaton Thompson signed with the Anaheim Ducks, Troy Stecher inked with the Vancouver Canucks and Paul LaDue signed with the L.A. Kings.

Senior forward Drake Caggiula, now a free agent, has reportedly narrowed down his list of NHL suitors to six teams.

Brock Boeser, Vancouver’s 2015 first-round pick and coming off an impressive freshman year, will return to North Dakota for his sophomore year, as per Canucks general manager Jim Benning earlier this month.

Video: Black cat hits the ice before Sharks-Predators Game 1

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Perhaps it’s an ominous sign of bad luck to come, but for which team?

Prior to puck drop between the host San Jose Sharks and Nashville Predators in Game 1 on Friday, a black cat hit the ice at SAP Center, taking a nervous stroll along the boards.

Not sure exactly where it came from, although it’s possible someone was feeling extra superstitious before the start of this series.

Official update on the really important story of the evening:

Speed, skill help Stars score late victory to take series lead over Blues

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The Dallas Stars scored a late winner, held on in the final minute and eventually struck first in their best-of-seven second-round series with the St. Louis Blues.

Once again, it was the speed and skill of the Stars that proved to be the difference in the end. Radek Faksa scored with less than five minutes remaining in the third period, breaking the deadlock and giving Dallas a 2-1 victory and 1-0 series lead over their Central Division foes on Friday.

As he entered the zone on the rush, Faksa dished off to a flying Ales Hemsky, who was denied by Brian Elliott in alone. But Faksa followed up, jamming in the rebound to give the Stars the lead, as both St. Louis defensemen Jay Bouwmeester and Alex Pietrangelo were caught by the speed of the Dallas forwards on the rush.

The Stars held on from there, as the Blues made a late push to tie the game.

Kari Lehtonen stopped 31 of 32 shots for Dallas, while Elliott was busy throughout the night, stopping 40 of 42 shots.

Elliott was furious after the Stars opened the scoring in the second period, as Antoine Roussel tallied on a rebound after yet another nice Dallas passing play in the offensive zone.

Stars forward Patrick Eaves left the game early in the third period and didn’t play another shift after being hit in the lower part of his leg with the puck from a point shot.