Kings sign Jeff Schultz: one year, $700,000


After losing Rob Scuderi to Pittsburgh, Los Angeles picked up a cheaper option on defense on Friday, signing former Caps blueliner Jeff Schultz to a one-year, $700,000 deal.

Schultz, 27, was bought out of his four-year, $11 million deal (one year, $3 million in salary remaining) this week after requesting a trade — to which the Caps found no takers.

He averaged career-low 14:15 in ice time during the 2013 season and became increasingly frustrated with his role on the team.

According to the Examiner’s Brian McNally, Schultz first requested a move in mid-March when it became apparent head coach Adam Oates bumped him down the depth chart (this coming from Schultz’s agent, Jarrett Bousquet).

Schultz only appeared in 26 regular season contests this year and didn’t play in the postseason, as Oates opted to go with a six-man defensive unit comprised of Karl Alzner, Mike Green, John Carlson, John Erskine, Jack Hillen and Steven Oleksy.

A towering presence at 6-foot-6, 230 pounds, Schultz was Washington’s first round pick (27th overall) at the 2004 NHL Entry Draft and had spent his entire career with the Caps.

His best year came in 2009-10, when he posted a career-high 23 points and led the NHL in plus-minus, with a +50 rating.

Columbus collapse: Rangers spoil Blue Jackets’ opener

Jarret Stoll, Mats Zuccarello
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For a little more than a minute, Brandon Saad was going to be the story of the Columbus Blue Jackets’ opener. Instead, his power-play goal merely got the ball rolling on a flabbergasting finish.

The New York Rangers scored three goals in 1:17 of game time to manage a 4-2 win.

They’ve now spoiled home openers for the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets to begin their 2015-16 season.

It might be easiest just to show you when the goals were scored, noting that the third period began with a 1-1 tie.

Brandon Saad power-play goal: 16:10 into third period (2-1 Columbus)
Oscar Lindberg: 17:24 (2-2 tie)
Kevin Hayes: 17:41 (3-2 Rangers)
Mats Zuccarello: 18:41 (4-2 Rangers)

Yikes. Zuccarello scored two of the Rangers’ goals, while a beauty by Cam Atkinson is likely long forgotten.

This post will be updated if there’s video of that staggering sequence.

Welcome back, Babs: Red Wings chase Bernier

Mike Babcock
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Mike Babcock admitted that there might be a painful transformation as he tries to fix the Toronto Maple Leafs.

His old friends made that abundantly, painfully clear on Friday.

As of this writing, the Detroit Red Wings are up 4-0 on the Buds. Justin Abdelkader just completed a hat trick with James Reimer in net, so the subplot isn’t just about Jonathan Bernier having another tough start.

The big story might just be Detroit’s varied new line of Abdelkader, Dylan Larkin (who scored his first career goal) and Henrik Zetterberg. At the moment, they’ve combined for seven points.

This post will be updated if Detroit’s tribute video to Babcock surfaces.

Really, though, this beating has been about as ugly as this blanket so far.

Here’s video of Abdelkader’s hat trick: