Which teams could be interested in Jeff Carter?

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There’s no shortage of reasons for NHL general managers to pass on Jeff Carter at the trade deadline. The Columbus forward is injury-prone, his attitude has been called into question, he’s earned a reputation for partying a little too hearty, and last but not least, there’s his contract that stretches all the way through 2021-22 with a cap hit of $5.3 million.

All that said, TSN insider Darren Dreger isn’t convinced Carter’s untradeable.

The L.A. Kings have moderate interest. The Calgary Flames may take a run, though contractually it’s hard to imagine how Jay Feaster finds the fit. And as much as Leafs GM Brian Burke loathes the mega-contracts, Jeff Carter is the player Toronto is looking for in a lot of ways.

The Kings speculation makes a certain amount of sense, as L.A. needs scoring badly. Plus, it would allow Carter to reunite with his old Flyers teammate, Mike Richards. (Sure, those two were a little out of control when they were together in Philadelphia, but when was the last time anyone partied in Los Angeles?)

Calgary? Seems unlikely, but the Flames did make a run at Brad Richards over the summer, plus Olli Jokinen’s a pending UFA.

Dreger rightly notes the Leafs are in desperate need of a first-line center like Carter, and have been for a while. The holdup would be the contract – both the length and the front-loaded structure. Burke has been among the most uppity outspoken when it comes to that kind of contract.

“These deals that are front-end loaded and have small amounts on the back end in my opinion are designed to circumvent the salary cap,” Burke said during the summer. “I won’t do them, I never have, I’m not going to.”

One last team I’ll throw out there (after which I’ll get ridiculed in the comments section) is Washington. No, not just because Nicklas Backstrom is out indefinitely with a concussion – that’s a short-term problem (hopefully). And yes, Carter’s a center – but he can play the wing.

Adding Carter would obviously give Washington another goal-scoring threat, which could subsequently take some of the opponent’s defensive focus off Alex Ovechkin. But it would also allow the Caps to let Alex Semin walk away on July 1, or even trade him prior to the deadline.

Isles sign Gaudreau’s kid brother, beat deadline for Bischoff

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Busy day for Isles GM Garth Snow.

First, in an interesting move, the Isles have signed Boston College’s Matt Gaudreau — the younger brother of Calgary star Johnny Gaudreauto an ATO with its AHL affiliate in Bridgeport.

Gaudreau, 22, is a diminutive forward (not unlike his brother), listed at 5-foot-9, 145 pounds. He had a good offensive campaign for BC, leading the team in scoring with 35 points in 40 games.

In a second move, the Isles finally agreed to terms with University of Minnesota d-man Jake Bischoff on an entry-level deal.

Five years ago, the Isles selected Bischoff in the seventh round of the draft (out of USHL Omaha). The 22-year-old then proceeded to build an impressive resume with the Gophers, which includes a solid senior campaign that saw him rack up 32 points in 38 games. He also captured the Big Ten defensive player of the year award.

New York had until this summer to sign Bischoff, otherwise it would’ve lost his draft rights.

Like Gaudreau, Bischoff will report to Bridgeport to begin his pro career. There, the pair will join yesterday’s signing — Northeastern captain John Stevens (the son of Kings associate coach John Stevens), who inked a two-year ELC with the Isles.

 

Devils sign d-man Michael Kapla

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The New Jersey Devils have signed UMass-Lowell defenseman Michael Kapla to a two-year, entry-level contract.

Kapla, 22, had three goals and 27 assists in 41 games this season. He’ll report to the Devils and likely burn the first year of his ELC by making his NHL debut sometime very soon.

The Devils host the Winning Jets tonight. They’re in Brooklyn Friday to play the Islanders.

Kapla spent four years in college. Per the Devils’ press release, he “most recently captained the River Hawks to the 2017 Hockey East Championship. He also received Hockey East All-Tournament Team honors and was named to the Hockey East Second All-Star Team.”

 

Report: Penn State sophomore Pedrie leaves school, signs with Rangers

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For the second straight day, the Rangers have landed an undrafted college free agent.

Vince Pedrie, a sophomore blueliner that just wrapped his sophomore campaign at Penn State, has reportedly agreed to terms with the Rangers on an entry-level deal, per the Collegian.

Citing a post from Pedrie’s Facebook account confirming the move, the Collegian reports the 23-year-old is the youngest Nittany Lion in program history to leave the team for the professional ranks.

It comes after Pedrie emerged as a “dominant offensive force” for the club last season, racking up 30 points in 39 games while helping Penn State qualify for its first NCAA championship appearance.

As mentioned above, this is the second intriguing prospect to join the Blueshirts in as many days. On Monday, University of Minnesota senior Vinni Lettieri agreed to join the team after an impressive four-year career with the Gophers.

Hjalmarsson says ‘Hawks are ‘too comfortable’ after rough trip through Florida

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When most people take trips to Florida, it’s to get away from the stress and struggle of everyday life. But it’s safe to say that this edition of the Chicago Blackhawks won’t want to remember their visit to the Sunshine State.

The ‘Hawks dropped an embarrassing 7-0 decision to the Florida Panthers on Saturday night before blowing a 4-1 lead in last night’s game against the Bolts (they eventually lost 5-4 in OT).

They still have a comfortable lead atop the Central Division (eight points up on the struggling Wild), but they aren’t satisfied with their play.

“It’s getting close to the end here and we’re getting a little bit too comfortable maybe,” defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson said, per the Chicago Tribune. “As soon as you do that, you’re going to lose games … At the same time I’m glad that we were playing like this before the playoffs so we can make some adjustments.

“Eighty-two games is a long season. It’s a mental grind more than anything. As soon as you’re not there 100 percent, it’s going to show in the scoring.”

As Hjalmarsson said, six games is still enough time to figure things out for Chicago. They just won’t have the luxury of facing easy opponents when they do try to sort out their struggles.

They’ll play the Penguins in Pittsburgh on Wednesday before returning home to play Columbus and Boston. They’ll then head back on the road to close out the season in Denver, Anaheim and Los Angeles.