Another day, another UFA defenseman off the market.
That was the story out of Colorado on Tuesday as the Avalanche re-signed defenseman Shane O’Brien to a three-year, $6 million deal, according to the Denver Post.
O’Brien, 28, has been something of a hockey nomad since breaking in with Anaheim in 2006-07. He’s spent time with the Ducks, Lightning, Canucks, Predators and Avalanche — yes, five clubs in five years — but had something of a renaissance in Colorado last season, tying a career high in assists (17) while putting 114 shots on goal, well above his previous best of 72.
Known for his partying ways (especially in Vancouver), O’Brien seemed to channel his, uh, enthusiasm last year under Avs head coach Joe Sacco, who praised the defenseman’s on-ice leadership skills, among other things.
“From a coach’s standpoint, that’s more important, but if you talk about intangibles, you can talk about O.B.,” Sacco told the Denver Post. “He brings a lot of positive energy, both on the ice and off the ice.”
Colorado GM Greg Sherman also noted O’Brien’s energy in discussing the deal.
“Having Shane under contract further solidifies our blueline,” Sherman told the Avs website. “He brings energy to our lineup and we’re pleased to have signed him to a multi-year deal.”
Teuvo Teravainen has played both center and right wing over the course of his brief NHL career.
Now, he’s got a new position — left wing — and a pair of shiny new linemates to boot.
Teravainen will open the year playing alongside captain Jonathan Toews and right wing Marian Hossa, per the Sun-Times.
The move could be a boon for the young Finn. Several ex-Chicago wingers thrived playing alongside Toews and Hossa, most notably Brandon Saad and Patrick Sharp.
It’ll be interesting to see what kind of production Teravainen, who just turned 21 last month, can manufacture on Chicago’s top line. His numbers from last year weren’t spectacular (nine points in 34 games), but he did a solid job of racking up points en route to the Stanley Cup, with 10 in 18 games.
It’ll also be interesting to see how long he sticks with Toews and Hossa.
Head coach Joel Quenneville has been known as a frequent user of the line blender, often switching up his combos at at moment’s notice.
That said, Quenneville is hoping to find some stability with this new-look group.
“[Teuvo will] play there to start the season,” he said. “Hopefully, all year.”
Pretty cool story out of Texas, where Mattias Janmark, the 22-year-old rookie that’s played a grand total of nine games in North America, has defied the odds to make the Stars’ opening-night roster.
“It’s a great story,” Dallas GM Jim Nill said, per the Morning News. “We really only planned to have him here for maybe two preseason games and then send him back. But he just kept being one of the best players out there, and he changed our minds.
“It’s a great example of what you can do if you just play hard.”
Nill acquired Janmark, 22, from Detroit at last year’s deadline as part of the Erik Cole trade. Nill was familiar with the Swedish forward from his time with the Wings — he was part of the front office team that drafted Janmark in ’13 — but didn’t think the deal would pay such immediate dividends.
As for Janmark, he didn’t even think he’d be in North America this year.
He has a contract with SHL club Frolunda, where he scored 36 points in 55 games last year. Given he’s barely played in the AHL — a few games with Grand Rapids, a few with Texas — Janmark figured he’d be back in Europe this season.
His strong play in the exhibition season changed all that. Janmark beat out two of Dallas’ touted prospects — former AHL rookie of the year Curtis McKenzie, and ’12 first-rounder Radek Faksa — for a roster spot, and showed good chemistry with third-line center Cody Eakin.
Janmark also performed well on a line with Jason Spezza and Ales Hemsky.