Stepan scores beauty, does “bow and arrow” celebration…but doesn’t shoot opposition

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New York Rangers center Derek Stepan scored a highlight-reel marker in Sunday’s 6-1 win over the Florida Panthers:

The goal was noteworthy for a couple reasons. One, Stepan walked around fellow youngster Erik Gudbranson, the third overall pick at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

Two, Stepan broke out the bow and arrow celebration.

Normally this wouldn’t be a big deal (Vancouver’s Alex Burrows does it often, a nod to the late Luc Bourdon) but the timing was interesting given what transpired Thursday against the Lightning. Stepan’s teammate, Artem Anisimov, drew the ire of Tampa Bay captain Vincent Lecavalier with this gun-shooting celebration:

These “shooting” celebrations could be purely coincidental (and — some would argue — completely unrelated, as Stepan didn’t direct his toward the opposition like Anisimov did) or part of a larger issue. The New York Daily News wrote about a possible personality change with the HBO 24/7 cameras in-house.

On the ESPN-1050 radio side, between the second and third periods, Albert suggested Anisimov was “playing up to the HBO cameras.” Why else would there be such a personality change? After all, this is a player whom coach John Tortorella described as a “solid, solid guy,” and a “good kid.”

Still, one never knows how someone will react when those HBO reality-show cameras are following you. That clearly was on the mind of Al (Wiggie) Trautwig during the postgame program. Trautwig contended the Rangers “lately” have become a “feisty” team that has engaged in “a lot” of first-period fights.

“Are they overreacting to these HBO cameras that are around?” Trautwig asked Micheletti?

“You certainly would have to consider that (they are overreacting). They (the cameras) are around, the Rangers know what this 24/7 and all this is all about,” Micheletti said. “It’s not Anisimov’s personality to do what he did.”

Tortorella acknowledged the HBO presence and didn’t mince words about how it made him feel.

“Oh, it’s a pain in the (butt). There’s no question, I can’t stand it,” Tortorella said. “Once you get going, once you’re — and listen, let me make sure — they’re good guys. They’re good guys. I just don’t want people in our locker room, but I know we have to do it.”

Habs sign Mark Streit — is he Markov’s replacement?

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The Montreal Canadiens have signed 39-year-old defenseman Mark Streit to a one-year contract worth a reported $700,000.

This will actually be Streit’s second stint with the Habs. He started his NHL career in Montreal, all the way back in 2005.

Streit split last season between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. In the playoffs, he only appeared in three games for the Penguins, all of them in the Eastern Conference Final against Ottawa when Justin Schultz was hurt.

What the Streit signing means for Andrei Markov remains to be seen. Streit, like Markov, can run a power play, so it’s tempting to conclude that Streit is Markov’s replacement.

That being said, almost all of Streit’s contract could be buried in the AHL if necessary, so that conclusion may be premature. This could even be a move by GM Marc Bergevin to gain leverage and convince Markov to sign.

Markov, 38, remains an unrestricted free agent. The Canadiens want him back, but only at a certain price.

Devils give Mirco Mueller two-year extension

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The New Jersey Devils have signed defenseman Mirco Mueller to a two-year contract extension with a cap hit of $850,000.

Mueller, a first-round draft pick of the Sharks in 2013, has only played 54 NHL games, scoring two goals with four assists. In June, after spending most of 2016-17 in the AHL, San Jose traded the 22-year-old to the Devils.

In New Jersey, Mueller should get a good chance to crack a rebuilding roster.

“Mirco is adding another piece to what we’re trying to build here,” Devils coach John Hynes said, per NJ.com. “He’s a young player, he can play with pace. He’s a very good skater. He’s got size, which is something we need on the back end. He makes a good first pass. He allows you to get out of your own zone because he can break out, he can end plays defensively, get possession, make the pass to be able to transition yourself out of defensive situations.”

The Devils have also re-signed goalie Scott Wedgewood and forward Joseph Blandisi.

Rangers lock up Zibanejad for next five years

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The New York Rangers have locked up a key piece of their future, signing center Mika Zibanejad to a five-year deal with a cap hit of $5.35 million.

Zibanejad had an arbitration hearing scheduled for today, but that won’t be required anymore.

The 24-year-old had 14 goals and 23 assists in 56 games last season. It was his first year in New York after getting traded from Ottawa for Derick Brassard.

With Derek Stepan in Arizona now, Zibanejad is arguably the Rangers’ No. 1 center. Kevin Hayes is in that conversation as well, and perhaps Lias Andersson will be soon.

But getting Zibanejad signed long term was a top priority for GM Jeff Gorton this offseason. Hayes can become a restricted free agent next summer, but that’s a bridge to cross at a later date.

Related: Andersson to get ‘every opportunity’ to make Rangers next season

Avalanche reportedly settle with Nieto, avoiding arbitration

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Matt Nieto won’t need his arbitration hearing on Monday.

According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Nieto has agreed to a one-year, $1 million contract with the Colorado Avalanche.

Nieto split last season between San Jose and Colorado, which claimed him off waivers in January.

In 43 games for the Avalanche, the 24-year-old forward scored seven goals with four assists.

Nieto was the only Colorado player on this summer’s arbitration list. However, the Avs still have a restricted free agent in Nikita Zadorov, who could be off to the KHL next season.