Coyotes ink Klinkhammer to two-year deal


When in doubt, pick the player with the coolest name.

That might not be the strategy the Phoenix Coyotes are actually employing by signing forward Rob Klinkhammer to a two-year deal on Thursday, yet it’s probably the most entertaining way to think about it.

The 26-year-old boasts the kind of size that could allow him to live up to a fabulous last name, standing at 6-foot-3 and 214 lbs. He collected 11 points in 22 games at the NHL level in 2013, representing a respectable rookie season.

The financial terms weren’t disclosed, but the monetary impact is likely to be minimal.

The Coyotes have plenty of other questions to answer this offseason, even beyond bigger-picture questions about ownership. While goalie Mike Smith represents the biggest conundrum, the team’s forward corps could be in a serious flux. Here’s a list of the scorers who need new deals:


Kyle Chipchura
Alexandre Bolduc
Chris Conner
Boyd Gordon


Mikkel Boedker
Lauri Korpikoski

Defenseman Michael Stone (restricted) and backup Jason LaBarbera (unrestricted) also need new deals – either with the Coyotes or someone else – this summer.

At least the team crossed one name off the list today, though.

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.