Chicago’s summer of retooling and tweaking the lineup continues today and for one restricted free agent waiting to be signed, it might signal the end of his run in Chicago.
The Blackhawks re-signed restricted free agent Michael Frolik to a reported three-year, $7 million deal and have also signed unrestricted free agent defenseman Sami Lepisto to a one year contract. Frolik will likely slot in on the second line and play at center for Chicago once again. Frolik has scoring touch and gives Chicago some necessary offensive help.
Last season, Frolik’s third in the NHL, he scored 11 goals and added 27 assists between Florida and Chicago. His previous two seasons saw him total up 42 goals and 46 assists. If he can find that kind of scoring touch and perhaps more with the Blackhawks in a full season, it’ll be a huge boost for the team. The $2.3 million cap hit should do well by Chicago’s salary situation.
Chicago also signing up Sami Lepisto, who spent last year with both Phoenix and Columbus, has a bit more of a curious effect on how GM Stan Bowman is handling things with restricted free agent Chris Campoli. Campoli is set to go to arbitration on August 3 with the team and now with Lepisto in the fold, Campoli’s job as a puck moving offensively skilled defenseman is essentially filled. Lepisto is also likely coming in to Chicago at a cheaper price than Campoli would in arbitration and certainly for less than he could be looking for out of Chicago now.
At least Chicago fans will have the lasting memory of seeing Campoli turned inside-out by Alex Burrows in overtime of Game 7 of their first round playoff loss to make them feel furious. Campoli is also coming off of offseason knee surgery as well but he would be ready to go for training camp. As for whose training camp that will be in September remains to be seen.
With the kind of award Campoli would get in arbitration, it’s likely that it would be large enough for the Blackhawks to walk away from and make Campoli an unrestricted free agent, much like what the team did last year with Antti Niemi. While Niemi had a limited market in free agency last year, Campoli is a serviceable guy and could be useful for a number of teams seeking defensive help, he’ll just have to do it at a discount more than likely as the free agent market has virtually dried up.
The Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins are going to take their rivalry outside on Saturday.
The Flyers visit the Penguins in a Stadium Series clash at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, beginning at 8 p.m. ET. You can catch the action on NBC or online with the NBC Sports Live Extra.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:
Goalie nods: Murray, Neuvirth get the call at Heinz Field
Kris Letang won’t play in outdoor game; Schultz game-time decision
NHL On NBC: Penguins, Flyers meet in Stadium Series
Giroux: ‘It’s all business’ between Penguins and Flyers at Heinz Field
The Tampa Bay Lightning and Arizona Coyotes have made a minor league trade.
The Bolts on Saturday acquired right winger Stefan Fournier from the Coyotes in exchange for right winger Jeremy Morin, who has played 82 career NHL games between the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets.
Fournier stands six-foot-three-inches tall and 226 pounds. He has two goals and four points in 29 games with the Tuscon Roadrunners in the AHL.
Morin, who has spent the majority of his pro career in the Blackhawks organization, has been a productive minor league player over the years. He has nine goals and 21 points in 43 games this season with the Syracuse Crunch in the AHL.
The New York Islanders entered today with a three-game winning streak and holders of the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
But yeah, it’s been a disastrous start for the Islanders on Saturday. The Blue Jackets scored three times in the first period, chasing Thomas Greiss from the New York net after he stopped 14 of 17 shots faced.
Jean-Francois Berube entered the game to begin the second period and promptly surrendered a goal to Josh Anderson, who scored his 12th of the season.
Oh, look at that: Another heated melee involving the Anaheim Ducks and L.A. Kings.
You’ll recall a first-period fight fest in a pivotal Pacific Division game between these teams almost one full year ago. On Saturday, in another meeting between these California rivals, the Ducks and Kings were once again at odds.
This latest conflict? Well, Corey Perry was involved. Again. (Last year, order had been restored during a brief scrum before Perry gave an extra shot to a Kings player, resulting in mayhem.)
Perry was called this time around for interference on Anze Kopitar. Kings players, as you might expect, suddenly rushed over before Nate Thompson and Brayden McNabb squared off in the main event.