Jiri Hudler

Flames sign Jiri Hudler for four years, $16M


While the rest of the league waits for the Zach Parise/Ryan Suter dominoes to fall, the Calgary Flames seem content to march to the beat of their own drum. That tune apparently amounts to spending surprising amounts of money; Darren Dreger reports that the Flames scooped up hot-and-cold forward Jiri Hudler with a four-year, $16 million contract.

This adds another layer of risk on what is clearly not a rebuild in Calgary. GM Jay Feaster acquired Dennis Wideman for big money and re-upped Blake Comeau, Lee Stempniak and Cory Sarich (among other anti-white flag moves). The Flames now have about $4.26 million in cap space remaining, according to Cap Geek.

Will Hudler live up to his $4 million cap hit? That’s a tough question.

On one hand, he has the talent that left the Detroit Red Wings clamoring during his one-year exodus overseas. When things come together, he can be a dangerous talent. He has two 20-plus goal campaigns to his credit (including 25 goals and 50 points last season).

That being said, he’s frequently described as “frustrating,” which isn’t exactly promising for a Flames team that often doesn’t play to the level of its paychecks. Considering the term and money involved, this is a situation that could go negative – fast.

What do you think, though? Is this a big move for a Flames team that needs a more diverse offensive attack or a risky deal that is likely to blow up in Calgary’s face?

Senators select Kyle Turris as alternate captain

Chris Neil Kyle Turris Dustin Tokarski
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Kyle Turris is gearing up for his fifth season with the Ottawa Senators, but this campaign will be a little different.

Ottawa announced that Turris will be joining Chris Neil as one of the team’s alternate captains. Turris is assuming that role from Chris Phillips as the 37-year-old defenseman remains out indefinitely due to a back injury.

Since being acquired from the then Phoenix Coyotes in 2011, Turris has established himself as one of Ottawa’s top forwards. He tied for second in the team’s scoring race last season with 64 points in 82 contests and gelled with rookie linemate Mark Stone.

With the Senators favoring a youth movement, Turris actually stands out as one of the Senators’ more experienced players at the age of 26. He’s also set to play a big role with the Senators for years to come as he’s locked to an affordable $3.5 million annual cap hit through 2017-18.

Meanwhile defenseman Erik Karlsson is getting ready for his second season as the team’s captain.

Another Sabre hurt: Gionta (lower body) day-to-day

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On the eve of their season opener, the Buffalo Sabres got another bit of bad health news.

Captain Brian Gionta missed practice and is day-to-day with a lower-body injury, per head coach Dan Bylsma. The ailment puts the 36-year-old’s availability for Thursday’s game against Ottawa in jeopardy.

The ailment also puts Gionta alongside a slew of hurting Sabres. Defensemen Zach Bogosian and Josh Gorges were on the injured list when Buffalo’ roster was released this morning, along with rookie Brendan Guhle and veteran Cody McCormick.

There is a bright light for Buffalo, however.

Gorges skated on Wednesday and could possibly dress tomorrow, per Bylsma. If he does play, it’ll likely be on a pairing with Rasmus Ristolainen.