Faksa

Roundup: Stars ink first-round pick Faksa, Bolts get Taormina

Signings continue to trickle in…

Dallas signs 13th overall pick at 2012 Draft

The Dallas Stars have inked their first round pick from the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Radek Faksa, to a three-year entry-level contract.

Faksa is currently participating in the Stars’ annual Summer Development Camp. He has two options for the upcoming season — either make the NHL club, or be sent back to his junior team (OHL Kitchener.)

The 18-year-old center enjoyed a tremendous campaign with the Rangers last season, leading all OHL rookies in goals, assists, points, game-winning goals and plus-minus. At 6-foot-3, 202 pounds, he’s drawn many comparisons to another Kitchener product — the reigning Calder Trophy winner, Colorado’s Gabriel Landeskog.

Tampa Bay adds another defenseman

Bolts GM Steve Yzerman continued to stockpile blueliners on Friday, signing former Devils rearguard Matt Taormina to a one-year, two-way contract.

The 25-year-old Michigan native spent the last two years shuttling between the Devils and AHL Albany. He played 30 games for the big club last year, scoring 1G-6A-7PTS while averaging just over 16 minutes of ice time per night.

Taormina is the third free agent defenseman Yzerman’s signed this offseason. He also agreed to terms with former Canuck Sami Salo and ex-Flyer Matt Carle. (Oh yeah, he also re-signed Evan Oberg.)

Jets get Maxwell, Dekanich

The Winnipeg Jets have agreed to terms with forward Ben Maxwell and goaltender Mark Dekanich on new contracts. Terms of the agreements were not disclosed.

Maxwell, 24, appeared in nine games for the Jets last year, spending most of his time with AHL St. John’s. All told, Maxwell has appeared in 47 NHL contests between the Canadiens, Thrashers, Ducks and Jets.

Dekanich, 26, was signed by Columbus last season to back up Steve Mason but ended up missing the entire season after reconstructive ankle surgery. He was once part of the great goalie glut in Nashville — stuck behind Pekka Rinne and Anders Lindback — and has such, only has one NHL appearance on his resume.

That said, Dekanich has posted stellar numbers at the AHL level, including his 2010-11 season in Milwaukee where he posted a 2.02 GAA and .931 save percentage in 43 games.

Kings place Ehrhoff on waivers

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 05:  Nick Bonino #13 of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Christian Ehrhoff #10 of the Los Angeles Kings head for the piuck during the first period at Staples Center on December 5, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Getty
Leave a comment

The Los Angeles Kings have placed defenseman Christian Ehrhoff on waivers, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie.

A veteran of almost 800 NHL games, Ehrhoff has not fit well with Los Angeles after signing a one-year, $1.5 million deal in August. The 33-year-old has just 11 points in 40 games and is a team-worst minus-10. Though he had two assists in last night’s 9-2 win over the Bruins, he also took a careless tripping penalty in the first period that led to a Boston goal.

In a related story, the Kings are rumored to be looking for help on the back end. In fact, they were reportedly quite interested in Dustin Byfuglien, before he re-signed with the Jets.

According to Jon Rosen of LA Kings Insider, 23-year-old defenseman Kevin Gravel is “on the verge of a recall” from AHL Ontario.

The Kings play Thursday in Brooklyn.

Report: Kadri’s throat-slashing gesture being reviewed by NHL

Nazem Kadri
AP
1 Comment

Nazem Kadri‘s throat-slashing gesture is under review by the NHL, according to TSN.ca.

The Maple Leafs forward made the gesture while sitting on Toronto’s bench last night in Calgary, moments after he was laid out by Flames captain Mark Giordano.

The NHL first started cracking down on the throat-slashing gesture in 2000. Former NHLer Nick Boyton was suspended twice for making the gesture, first in 2006 then again in 2010. He was banned one game for each incident.

Fix coming? Blues activate Schwartz after 49-game absence

Jaden Schwartz
Leave a comment

After Tuesday’s loss to the Jets — the Blues’ fourth in their last six games — head coach Ken Hitchcock said his club has “got to play harder than this” and “got to compete at a lot higher level than this.”

He then added “it’s up to us to fix it.”

Well, help is on the way.

On Wednesday, the Blues activated forward Jaden Schwartz off injured reserve, after he missed the last 49 contests with a fractured left ankle. Schwartz is expected to be in the lineup on Friday when the Blues take on the Panthers in Florida.

The 23-year-old should provide an immediate boost to the lineup. Schwartz had four points in seven games before getting hurt, and that came on the heels of a successful ’14-15 campaign in which he posted career highs in goals (28) and points (63).

The Blues’ first-round pick in 2010 (14th overall), Schwartz is a 17-18 TOI per night guy, so he’ll be a big presence almost immediately. His return also inches the team back to full health, though there’s still a ways to go — Alex Pietrangelo and Jake Allen are still week-to-week with knee and lower-body injuries, while Steve Ott is out until late February following hamstrings surgery.

Related: Armstrong wants Blues to get healthy before any trades are made

‘Very upset’ Jokinen blasts NHL’s handling of Abdelkader-Barkov hit

24 Comments

You can add Jussi Jokinen to the list of Florida Panthers livid with Justin Abdelkader‘s hit on Aleksander Barkov.

“I’m very upset,” Jokinen said, per the Florida Sun-Sentinel. “I don’t know if I’m too emotional because that’s my best friend on the team. It looked really dangerous.”

Barkov was knocked woozy by a big Abdelkader check during Detroit’s 3-0 win over the Panthers on Monday. The hit forced the young Finn from the game, and also forced him to miss yesterday’s contest in Buffalo.

Abdelkader wasn’t fined or suspended for the hit and, according to the Sun-Sentinel, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety didn’t contact him at all.

It’s also worth pointing out that Abdelkader wasn’t penalized at the time of the incident.

But that didn’t stop Nick Bjugstad and head coach Gerard Gallant from calling the hit “cheap,” with Gallant suggesting Abdelkader left his feet to make the hit, and caught Barkov in the jaw.

Jokinen put the onus on the league to wipe out checks of this nature.

“There are too many hits like that an no suspensions,” he explained. “Fans want to watch Barkov, not those guys. The league has to do a better job of taking those hits out of the game.”

Florida and Detroit next play on Mar. 19, in case you’re wondering.