Vinny Prospal

Filling a need: Blue Jackets sign Vinny Prospal to one-year, $1.75 million deal

The Blue Jackets were heading into next season without the help of Kristian Huselius while he’s out for 4-6 months after torn pectoral surgery. With that kind of hole in their top six forward unit and free agency pickings being slim, they had to find a way to fill their needs.

Thankfully for Jackets GM Scott Howson, there was one experienced veteran out there to sign and get things taken care of. Howson announced via Twitter that the Jackets signed former Rangers forward Vinny Prospal to a one-year contract and take Huselius’ spot in the top six. Aaron Portzline of The Columbus Dispatch reports that the deal is worth $1.75 million for the year.

Prospal will take Huselius’ spot working on either the first or second line alongside the likes of Rick Nash, Jeff Carter, R.J. Umberger, and Derick Brassard. Huselius was a guy that did well as a playmaker for Columbus last year before running into injury problems. By bringing in Prospal, the Jackets will be bringing in a guy coming off his own injury problems last season as Prospal had knee troubles that limited him to 29 games last year.

In that time, Prospal had nine goals and 14 assists. Two seasons ago, however, Prospal had 20 goals and 38 assists and was one of the Rangers’ better offensive producers. When he’s healthy, he’s a great contributor and that’s what the Jackets are counting on as they’re in desperate need of better offense especially on the power play.

If Prospal can plug in seamlessly into coach Scott Arniel’s system and jell with his new teammates, things are looking up in Columbus offensively. They could still use another experienced defenseman to help make their summer a great one, but for now, their offense is shaping up nicely.

After lopsided loss, Julien says it’s ‘not about the young D’

Claude Julien

The Boston Bruins’ young, makeshift defense failed to come through Thursday night as the B’s were thumped, 6-2, on home ice by the Winnipeg Jets.

Without injured veterans Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg, the defensive pairings were as follows:

Torey KrugAdam McQuaid
Joe MorrowKevan Miller
Matt IrwinZach Trotman

And let’s just say, turnovers were a factor:

That was Irwin getting checked off the puck there.

“I had the puck behind the net, and I went to one side of the net, and then I just didn’t use the net to my advantage,” he explained afterwards, per CSN New England. “He got his stick in there, obviously stripped me of the puck, and we all know what happened after that. I take full blame for that one.”

But head coach Claude Julien wasn’t willing to blame inexperience for the poor outing.

“It’s not about youth. It’s not about the young D,” said Julien. “It’s about our game without the puck. I think we might have gotten a little excited here about our offense and forgot about the other part of our game.”

And to be fair, even Boston’s more accomplished d-men had their challenging moments.

Here’s Krug failing to get position on Nicolas Petan in front of the Bruins’ net:

All in all, it was a tough night.

“We’ll correct those [mistakes] tomorrow in practice,” said Irwin. “We’re a confident group in here. We liked our offense. We liked the chances we were getting. All those mistakes, D-zone, are something that we’re going to work on and get better every day.”

The Bruins host their rivals from Montreal on Saturday.

Greene named 11th captain in Devils history

Dion Phaneuf; Andy Greene
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Andy Greene has been named Bryce Salvador’s successor as New Jersey’s team captain.

Greene, an undrafted free agent that’s spent his entire nine-year career with the Devils organization, becomes the 11th captain in the franchise’s history and third American to wear the “C” (Zach Parise and Jamie Langenbrunner were the others).

A former standout at Miami of Ohio, Greene — who served as an alternate captain in each of the last two seasons — has developed into a steady, durable blueliner that hasn’t missed a game in three years. He’s also locked into the Devils long term, having signed a five-year, $25 million extension with the club last summer.

That deal kicks in this season, and runs through 2020.

As for the rest of the leadership group, four players will serve as alternate captains this season: Patrik Elias, Travis Zajac, Mike Cammalleri, and Adam Henrique.

Elias and Zajac both wore an “A” in New Jersey last year, while Cammalleri and Henrique are first-timers.