Avs re-sign Ryan Wilson, let Peter Mueller hit free agency


The Colorado Avalanche are locking up players here and there – Matt Duchene and David Jones, in particular – but they still have a ton of free agent decisions to make. They can cross defenseman Ryan Wilson off that list, however, as the team announced a three-year extension for the 25-year-old blueliner. On the other hand, Adrian Dater reports that the team won’t hand Peter Mueller a qualifying offer, permitting the concussion-plagued talent to test unrestricted free agency.

Dater reports that Wilson’s three-year contract is worth $6.75 million overall, paying him a $2 million salary next season and $2.375 million in each of the two following seasons. The team signed lower-level players Patrick Bordeleau and David Van Der Gulik on Monday, too.

The Avalanche still have decisions to make with plenty of other free agents including Erik Johnson, Steve Downie, Ryan O’Reilly, Jamie McGinn and Shane O’Brien.

Mueller mystery

Declining to hand Mueller a qualifying offer allows him to be one of the more interesting gambles in a thin free agent market. Concussions obviously tag him with a huge red flag, no doubt; he missed all of the 2010-11 season with post-concussion syndrome and was limited to just 32 games last season. He didn’t light up the hockey world in those 32 games, either, averaging exactly a point every other game with 16 (seven goals and nine assists).

That being said, there are plenty of reasons to give the guy a shot – especially if his concussion issues allow a team to limit their risks with a lower money offer.

He exploded onto the scene with Colorado after being traded from Phoenix in 2009-10 scoring nine goals and 20 points in 15 contests. He also has the pedigree that comes with being the eighth overall pick of the 2006 NHL Draft, boasts solid size, a right-handed shot and is still only 24.


Sure, there are questions beyond health – his foot speed isn’t exactly at a world class level – but if the price is right, some other team would be wise to roll the dice. Would he work for your team?

Oilers get Kronwall’d – in more ways than one

Niklas Kronwall
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When someone gets clobbered by Niklas Kronwall, they get Kronwall’d.

(His detractors may insist that the definition require the words “dirty” or “illegal,” but that’s a debate for another day.)

It’s easy to get lost in those thunderous hits and forget that the  Swedish defenseman also brings some skill to the table.

He made a big impact – literally and figuratively – in Detroit’s 4-3 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.

First, the Kronwalling:

Next, Kronwall’s overtime-winner:

It hasn’t always been pretty, but the Red Wings are leaning on guys like Kronwall and Dylan Larkin to stick with it.

Tonight’s win extends their point streak to six games (4-0-2), with five of those contests going to overtime.

Dubinsky – Crosby’s nemesis – gets the last laugh on Friday

Sidney Crosby, Brandon Dubinsky
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Brandon Dubinsky isn’t a household name like Sidney Crosby is, yet for all the hype that Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin gets, Dubinsky is the sort of guy who truly rankles No. 87.

It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.

To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:

The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)

That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:

They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.

Even Dubinsky kind of sort of admits that he may have been in the wrong.


More and more, the Blue Jackets are looking like a nuisance … possibly one that will grind their way to an unlikely playoff berth. They improved to 8-4-0 in November after a disastrous 2-10-0 October.

In other words, there’s at least a chance that we may see these increasingly bitter rivals butt heads in another playoff series.

Eichel’s sweet snipe helps Sabres snap six-game skid

Jack Eichel
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The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.

You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.

That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:

Call this a healthy reminder that Eichel has the ability to change games, something Buffalo fans hope to get used to.

Report: Likely no suspension for Matt Beleskey’s hit on Derek Stepan

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Alain Vigneault went there in comparing Matt Beleskey‘s hit on Derek Stepan to the notorious check Aaron Rome delivered on Nathan Horton many moons ago, but the league seems to disagree.

While Rome sat through that memorable Stanley Cup Final between Boston and Vancouver, it sounds like Beleskey won’t face any further discipline, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

In the unlikely event that anything changes, PHT will make note.

The next game between the Rangers and Bruins takes place at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 11. Will these bad feelings linger?