Sweden goaltender Johan Gustafsson makes a save against Russia during the first period of the world junior hockey championships title game Thursday, Jan. 5, 2012, in Calgary, Alberta. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Nathan Denette)

Wild secure Johan Gustafsson just before deadline


With time running out for the Minnesota Wild to ink Johan Gustafsson before he would have returned to the draft pool, the two sides managed to agree to a three-year, entry-level contract. The deadline to sign Gustafsson or lose him was Friday.

Gustafsson is a goaltending prospect who excelled in the Swedish Elite League this season, posting a 1.68 GAA and .932 save percentage. He was also part of Sweden’s gold medal winning team in the 2012 world junior championship.

The Wild originally took him in the sixth round of the 2010 NHL entry draft.

Gustafsson joins Darcy Kuemper and Matt Hackett as the Wild’s top netminding prospects. His presence could prove to be important over the next few of seasons as Josh Harding is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this summer and Niklas Backstrom’s deal will expire in the summer of 2013. Backstrom will be 35 years old when his contract ends.

Jason Demers tweets #FreeTorres, gets mocked

Los Angeles Kings v San Jose Sharks - Game One

Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.

We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.

It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”

Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)

Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.

So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”

… You get the idea.

The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.

The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.

Bruins list Chara on IR, for now

Zdeno Chara

Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.

It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.

The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.

As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.

Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?

The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.

This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.