Seguin surprised by level of talent in Swiss League

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Tyler Seguin admitted that he wasn’t sure what to expect when he made the decision to sign with EHC Biel of the Swiss-A League. 21 games later, he gave the league glowing reviews.

“The league is very competitive — the speed and the talent level of the players has surprised me,” Seguin told the Tages-Anzeiger newspaper, according to CSNNE. “The league is very competitive — the speed and the talent level of the players has surprised me. It took me some time and effort to get used to it.”

After that transition period, Seguin caught fire and now has 20 goals and 32 points in 21 contests. That’s more goals than any other NHL player in the Swiss League, which is a list that includes Patrice Bergeron, Rick Nash, John Tavares, Logan Couture, Jason Spezza, and Joe Thornton.

“Scoring goals is never easy; I didn’t do very well at the beginning,” Seguin said. “Now I just hope to continue playing well like I have been lately.”

Seguin is also helping Biel kill penalties, which is something that he that he was almost never asked to do as a member of the Boston Bruins.

Obviously, no one is suggesting that he would have put up identical numbers with the Boston Bruins, but it certainly would have been great to see how he would have performed if it wasn’t for the lockout. Seguin took a giant leap forward last season with 29 goals and 67 points in 81 games.

2012-13 would have been his third full NHL season and Bruins fans might have watched Seguin establish himself among the NHL elite.

Of course, the season isn’t entirely lost yet. If the lockout ends in the not too distant future, Seguin will get a chance to return to Boston and try to help the Bruins win the Stanley Cup for the second time in three years.

Habs sign Mark Streit — is he Markov’s replacement?

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The Montreal Canadiens have signed 39-year-old defenseman Mark Streit to a one-year contract worth a reported $700,000.

This will actually be Streit’s second stint with the Habs. He started his NHL career in Montreal, all the way back in 2005.

Streit split last season between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. In the playoffs, he only appeared in three games for the Penguins, all of them in the Eastern Conference Final against Ottawa when Justin Schultz was hurt.

What the Streit signing means for Andrei Markov remains to be seen. Streit, like Markov, can run a power play, so it’s tempting to conclude that Streit is Markov’s replacement.

That being said, almost all of Streit’s contract could be buried in the AHL if necessary, so that conclusion may be premature. This could even be a move by GM Marc Bergevin to gain leverage and convince Markov to sign.

Markov, 38, remains an unrestricted free agent. The Canadiens want him back, but only at a certain price.

Devils give Mirco Mueller two-year extension

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The New Jersey Devils have signed defenseman Mirco Mueller to a two-year contract extension with a cap hit of $850,000.

Mueller, a first-round draft pick of the Sharks in 2013, has only played 54 NHL games, scoring two goals with four assists. In June, after spending most of 2016-17 in the AHL, San Jose traded the 22-year-old to the Devils.

In New Jersey, Mueller should get a good chance to crack a rebuilding roster.

“Mirco is adding another piece to what we’re trying to build here,” Devils coach John Hynes said, per NJ.com. “He’s a young player, he can play with pace. He’s a very good skater. He’s got size, which is something we need on the back end. He makes a good first pass. He allows you to get out of your own zone because he can break out, he can end plays defensively, get possession, make the pass to be able to transition yourself out of defensive situations.”

The Devils have also re-signed goalie Scott Wedgewood and forward Joseph Blandisi.

Rangers lock up Zibanejad for next five years

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The New York Rangers have locked up a key piece of their future, signing center Mika Zibanejad to a five-year deal with a cap hit of $5.35 million.

Zibanejad had an arbitration hearing scheduled for today, but that won’t be required anymore.

The 24-year-old had 14 goals and 23 assists in 56 games last season. It was his first year in New York after getting traded from Ottawa for Derick Brassard.

With Derek Stepan in Arizona now, Zibanejad is arguably the Rangers’ No. 1 center. Kevin Hayes is in that conversation as well, and perhaps Lias Andersson will be soon.

But getting Zibanejad signed long term was a top priority for GM Jeff Gorton this offseason. Hayes can become a restricted free agent next summer, but that’s a bridge to cross at a later date.

Related: Andersson to get ‘every opportunity’ to make Rangers next season

Avalanche reportedly settle with Nieto, avoiding arbitration

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Matt Nieto won’t need his arbitration hearing on Monday.

According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Nieto has agreed to a one-year, $1 million contract with the Colorado Avalanche.

Nieto split last season between San Jose and Colorado, which claimed him off waivers in January.

In 43 games for the Avalanche, the 24-year-old forward scored seven goals with four assists.

Nieto was the only Colorado player on this summer’s arbitration list. However, the Avs still have a restricted free agent in Nikita Zadorov, who could be off to the KHL next season.