Jori Lehtera won’t be joining the Blues anytime soon.
Or, possibly ever.
The Finnish prospect — a former SM-liiga MVP that’s spent the last three years playing in Russia — has re-upped with KHL club Sibir Novosibirsk on a two-year deal, according TrueHockey’s Andy Strickland.
“At the end of the day he does not want to play in the NHL,” Blues GM Doug Armstrong said. “We offered him a one-way, seven-figure deal.
“Can’t force guys to want to play in the NHL.”
Lehtera, 25, was St. Louis’ third-round pick (65th overall) at the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.
Since then, he’s only made one trek to North America — appearing in seven games with AHL Peoria during the 2008-09 season — while emerging as a dynamic scorer in both Finland and Russia.
Lehtera finished fifth in the KHL in scoring this year (46 points in 52 games) and became something of a viral video sensation with this shootout goal in the KHL All-Star game:
“We talked to him as soon as his (KHL) season ended about coming over,” Armstrong said. “He was off a concussion. We thought about bringing him over to play this year. It just didn’t work out. We’ve talked to him about what his plans are for the summer and next season.
“We’d like to have him. It’s up to him whether he wants to come.”
Jeremy Rutherford of the Post-Dispatch said Lehtera was “a strong candidate” to make the Blues next season.
Ducks add Konowalchuk, Morrison to Carlyle’s staff
Anaheim has added two assistants to Randy Carlyle’s coaching staff — longtime NHLer Steve Konowalchuk, and AHL Manitoba assistant Mark Morrison.
Konowalchuk, 44, comes over after a successful stint as the bench boss in WHL Seattle. Last year, he led the Thunderbirds to a league title and a spot in the Memorial Cup. He has history with Carlyle from their days together in Washington — Konowalchuk as a player, Carlyle as an assistant coach.
Konowalchuk also has NHL experience, having served two years as an assistant in Colorado.
Morrison, 54, has spent the last six years with the Moose/IceCaps, Winnipeg’s AHL affiliate. Prior to that, he was the head coach of ECHL Victoria.
Today’s moves after the Ducks parted ways with Paul MacLean. He’d been with the organization for two seasons, serving under both Carlyle and Bruce Boudreau.
Report: Senators plan to keep Phaneuf, after asking him to waive NMC
Phaneuf denied Ottawa’s request to waive, and the Senators ended up losing Marc Methot to Vegas, which then flipped him to Dallas in exchange for a 2020 second-round pick and prospect goalie Dylan Ferguson.
Now, it’s been reported, the Senators plan to keep Phaneuf after the market for him apparently to cool off.
The Senators plan on keeping Dion Phaneuf. Inquiries slowed after the Draft in Chicago and more so once Methot was traded to Dallas.
“It was a man-to-man conversation. There was no bulls**t. When we talked to him I explained to him: ‘I said it’s not that you’re the fourth-best defenceman on this team, Dion.’ It’s ‘we want to try to top keep our top-four intact.’”
Phaneuf played in 81 regular season games for Ottawa in 2016-17, scoring nine goals and 30 points. He scored one goal and five points in 19 playoff games.
The Senators currently have six defensemen under contract for next season, with their star Erik Karlssonfacing a four-month recovery from offseason foot surgery. With Methot gone, prospect blue liner Thomas Chabot should also have quite an opportunity to crack the Senators’ lineup next season.
Preds’ Ellis says he underwent ‘minor procedure’ after Stanley Cup Final
Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis made an appearance on a Hamilton, Ont., television station Wednesday, sporting a large brace running almost the full length of his right leg.
Ellis left Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final with an undisclosed injury and didn’t return in what was a blowout loss to the Penguins. He did, however, return to the lineup for Game 6, but Nashville’s playoff run came to an end on home ice with a stunning 2-0 loss.
Ellis played in each of Nashville’s 22 playoff games, but coach Peter Laviolette said following the team’s season-ending loss Sunday that Ellis’ ailment was “pretty serious.” Poile said that more should be known next week.
The Predators made the playoffs as the second wild card team in the West, but swept Chicago in the first round and surged all the way to the final. Their top-four defensemen, including Ellis, played such a pivotal role in the team’s historic postseason. Ellis finished third on the Predators in playoff scoring, with 13 points in 22 games.
Carolina re-signs ‘physical, smart’ McGinn — two years, $1.775 million
After a breakout campaign, Brock McGinn has cashed in with the Hurricanes.
McGinn has signed a two-year, $1.775 million extension, the club announced on Wednesday. The deal carries a $887,500 average annual cap hit, and comes on the heels of a campaign in which he scored 16 points in 57 games, averaging 12 minutes per night.
“Brock took a step forward last season and was a regular presence in our lineup,” GM Ron Francis said in a release. “He is a young player who plays a physical, but smart brand of hockey, and can contribute offensively.”
McGinn, 23, is the youngest of the McGinn brothers. Tye spent last year with Tampa Bay’s AHL affiliate in Syracuse, while Jamie wrapped the first of a three-year deal in Arizona.