Report: Buffalo captain Pominville to join German team

It appears another Sabre is ready to jump the pond.

That’s the word out of Buffalo on Friday as team captain Jason Pominville is reportedly set to sign with Mannheim of the German league, according to Bill Hoppe of the Olean Times Herald.

Pominville told Hoppe he’s been in talks with Mannheim for a while and figured now was a good time to join the club — especially in light of stalled CBA negotiations.

“If it does get settled quick, then I’ll be able to skate for a few weeks, a month – whatever it is,” Pominville said. “It’ll be a mini training camp. And if not, I’ll have a team for the rest of the season.

“I think it’s a move I wanted to do. I just want to play.”

Once the signing’s official, Pominville will become the third locked-out NHLer to join Mannheim. The Deutsche Eishockey Liga club already has Florida’s Marcel Goc and Boston’s Dennis Seidenberg in the mix and also has a standing offer to German-born Jochen Hecht, Pominville’s teammate in Buffalo.

“It’s a team my family felt comfortable going to,” Pominville explained. “We know that maybe eventually Jochen will be there. We’ll be living close to our friends. That’s the good part about it.”

With the move, Pominville becomes the eighth Sabre to have signed overseas during the lockout, joining Tyler Ennis (Switzerland), Andrej Sekera (Slovak Extraliga), Thomas Vanek (Austria), Tyler Myers (Austria), Alex Sulzer (Germany), Jhonas Enroth (Sweden) and Mike Weber (Norway).

Raffl coverts PTO into one-year, $575K deal with Jets

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There’s another Raffl in the NHL.

On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.

Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.

“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.

With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.

For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.

Flyers to start season with seven d-men; MacDonald sent to AHL

Andrew MacDonald, Matt Calvert
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Seven defensemen will comprise the Philadelphia Flyers’ opening-day roster, which the club finalized today.

Those seven are Radko Gudas, Michael Del Zotto, Luke Schenn, Nick Schultz, Brandon Manning, Mark Streit, and Evgeny Medvedev.

Not on the list? Andrew MacDonald, who has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Lehigh Valley. (That move allowed the Flyers to keep both Manning and youngster Scott Laughton.)

Also not on the list were prospects Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg, Sam Morin, Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim. The first three will start the season in the AHL. The last two have been sent back to junior.

But the opening-day roster is not where this story ends. How the Flyers’ defensive mix changes as the season progresses will be worth watching.

They’d no doubt love to move Schenn, a pending unrestricted free agent with a $3.6 million cap hit. He could also end up in the AHL, a la MacDonald.

Medvedev, the 33-year-old who came over from the KHL and put up five points in five preseason games, is another pending UFA. The club could either look to re-sign or flip him.

Might 37-year-old Streit be a chip worth cashing in at the deadline, especially if the Flyers aren’t in a playoff position on Feb. 29? He’s only got two years left on his contract.

Meanwhile, GM Ron Hextall will be watching pending restricted free agents Manning and Gudas closely. Are they part of the future?

So, lots of decisions to make in Philly as the blue line continues its much-needed transition.