One of the most intriguing free agents of the 2013 class is off the market.
Viktor Stalberg, just weeks removed from winning a Stanley Cup with Chicago, has agreed to join Nashville on a four-year, $12 million deal, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie.
The deal is a huge raise for the Swedish winger, who was making $875,000 annually on his last deal.
Stalberg, 27, fell out of head coach Joel Quenneville’s favor during the playoffs and was a healthy scratch four times during the Stanley Cup run – so it was unsurprising to hear he was leaving the ‘Hawks at season’s end.
At 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, he’s got the size and skating ability — he was one of Chicago’s fastest players — to be a handful for opposing defensemen.
He posted career-highs in goals (22) and points (43) in 2011-12 and, in the shortened 2013 season, still managed to score at a 0.49 points per game clip, pretty close to what he posted the season prior (0.54).
Stalberg will have an average annual cap hit of $3 million in Nashville which, coincidentally, is the same cap hit Sergei Kostitsyn currently carries.
There’s some belief Kostitsyn will bail on the final year of his deal with the Preds to play in the KHL, where he’s been negotiating with Avangard Omsk.
Auston Matthews’ 33rd goal includes a dash of comedy (Video)
This wouldn’t have been worth a chuckle if not for the correction. (Well, maybe a chuckle at Auston Matthews‘ expense.)
On the 33rd goal of his brilliant rookie season, Auston Matthews made it 2-0 for Toronto on the power play. Crusty “act like you’ve been there” types might grumble that he actually celebrated before a goal really happened, only to tap it in for real the second time around. The rest of us, again, get a mild chuckle.
William Nylander‘s pass was nothing to laugh at, however. That one just gets a big thumbs up.
Both the Columbus Blue Jackets and Toronto Maple Leafs have motivation to win their Wednesday game, but the Maple Leafs need it more.
So far, it shows, too.
The Maple Leafs have raced off to a 2-0 lead, with Auston Matthews scoring his 33rd goal of the season. If generating such offense didn’t highlight the urgency, Connor Carrick‘s huge hit on Josh Anderson makes a compelling argument. Witness that big impact in the video above.
There was also another high-impact moment when Nick Foligno went crashing into the boards:
Ouch, Blues consider Paul Stastny out week-to-week
Stastny generated 18 goals and 40 points in 66 games so far this season. He has played more of a defensive role this season (46.2 offensive zone start percentage after being closer to 50 earlier in his Blues days) and has been impressive in the dot, winning 53.8 of his faceoffs.
WATCH LIVE: Islanders at Rangers – Wednesday Night Rivalry
A night after a feisty matcuhup with the Devils, the Rangers host an even bigger rival in the Islanders at Madison Square Garden for Wednesday Night Rivalry on NBCSN.
As nasty as Tuesday’s contest got at times, this one means more.
While the Rangers seem pretty safely seated as the East’s first wild card, the Islanders stand three points behind the Maple Leafs for the final spot in the conference. They’ve seen other bubble teams stumble, so this is their chance to close in on Toronto in what might be a shrinking field of contenders.
Spiting the Islanders might just give the Rangers a little extra life on back-to-back nights … especially since their fans would probably let them have it if they sleepwalk through this one.
It should be a fun, physical and dramatic one on NBCSN. You can also watch online and via the NBC Sports App.