Sam Gagner

Arbitration dates set; Gagner, Stewart up first


Last week, 21 players filed for salary arbitration.

Today, 15 of them got their hearing dates.

The first two up are perhaps the two most interesting of the lot — Edmonton’s Sam Gagner and St. Louis’ Chris Stewart. The pair are slated for hearings on the morning of Monday, July 22.

Gagner, 25, finished second on the Oilers in scoring last season with 14 goals and 24 assists, playing on a one-year, $3.2 million deal.

For the Oilers, the problem with going to arbitration is that the maximum term that could be awarded is one year, which would leave Gagner — who’s already got six NHL seasons under his belt — a pending unrestricted free agent.

Stewart, 25, led St. Louis in scoring last year with 36 points in 48 games. His last contract, a one-year deal, paid him $3 million — though his situation is different than Gagner’s, in that Stewart needs two more years of service before becoming a UFA.

Here’s the full schedule of arbitration hearings, courtesy the NHLPA:

Hearing Date  AM/PM Player  Club
 July 22, 2013  AM  SAM GAGNER  EDM
 July 24, 2013 AM BRYAN LITTLE WPG
 July 25, 2013 AM NICK SPALING NSH
 July 30, 2013 AM PAUL POSTMA WPG
 July 30, 2013 AM MARK FRASER TOR
 July 31, 2013 AM DALE WEISE VAN
 August 1, 2013 AM JORDAN NOLAN LOSA
 August 2, 2013 AM TREVOR LEWIS LOSA
 August 2, 2013 AM ZACH BOGOSIAN WPG

Should be noted that Brendan Smith (Detroit), Alec Martinez (Los Angeles), Jake Muzzin (Los Angeles), Ryan White (Montreal), Josh Bailey (New York Islanders and Erik Condra (Ottawa) all received new deals after they filed for arbitration.

Update: Cross Tangradi off the list, as he and the Jets agreed to a two-year, $1.35 million deal.

Niemi blanks Pens, notches two assists in Stars debut

Antti Niemi, Sidney Crosby, Patric Hornqvist

DALLAS (AP) — Antti Niemi recorded his 33rd career shutout and assisted on two goals in his Dallas debut, as the Stars beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0 on Thursday night in the season opener for both.

Ales Hemsky had a power-play goal and an assist.

Rookie Matthias Janmark scored on his first shot on his first shift in an NHL game to make it 1-0. The Stars acquired Niemi and Janmark in trades earlier this year.

Dallas scored on two of five power plays. Jamie Benn, the NHL’s leading scorer last season, had a power-play goal in the third period.

Niemi made 37 saves to improve his career record against the Penguins to 5-1-1. He withstood a flurry in the final minute after Pittsburgh pulled goalie Marc-Andre Fleury for an extra skater.

Fleury had 21 saves.

The Stars are 4-0-1 in their last five home games against Pittsburgh, and have won three in a row overall.

Janmark skated down the slot, took a pass from Hemsky and shot between Fleury’s legs at 1:39 of the first.

The Penguins dominated the latter half of the period, but couldn’t score. Niemi’s best stop was a reaching glove save of Rod Scuderi’s drive from the blue line with less than 3 minutes remaining. Pittsburgh outshot the Stars 10-4 in the first.

Hemsky scored at 5:42 of the second on Dallas’ first power play. His shot from the top of the right faceoff circle went in over Fleury’s right shoulder.

The Penguins again had an advantage in shots, 13-11. Pittsburgh had chances in close, but Niemi turned those away. Midway through the second, John Klingberg cleared away a loose puck from in front of the net.

Seven seconds into the Stars’ fourth power play of the third period, Jamie Benn tipped in Jason Spezza‘s shot from the right point.

NOTES: Dallas acquired Janmark as part of a March trade that sent Erik Cole to Detroit. The rookie had been playing in the Swedish Hockey League. . San Jose traded Niemi’s rights to the Stars in June for a seventh-round draft pick. Also making their Dallas debuts were LW Patrick Sharp and D Johnny Oduya, teammates with Chicago’s Stanley Cup champions last season. . In his first game for the Penguins, Phil Kessel played in his 447th straight game. . Pittsburgh was 0 for 3 on the power play.

Fabbri’s first spoils McDavid’s debut as Blues down Oilers

Robby Fabbri, Justin Schultz
1 Comment

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Rookie Robby Fabbri scored the tiebreaking goal midway through the third period to help the St. Louis Blues beat Edmonton 3-1 Thursday night, spoiling Oilers rookie Connor McDavid‘s NHL debut.

Vladimir Tarasenko had the tying goal for the Blues near the midpoint of the second period, and Troy Brouwer added an empty-netter with 18 seconds remaining in the third. Brian Elliott finished with 23 saves.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored in the first period for Edmonton and Cam Talbot had 28 saves.

McDavid, the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, took 22 shifts, played 18:07 and was on the ice for Brouwer’s goal. He had two shots on goal, and struggled on faceoffs – winning only three of 13.

Fabbri, a 19-year-old forward — and McDavid’s childhood friend — was also playing in his first NHL game. The Blues’ first-round pick in 2014 was one of three rookies in the St. Louis lineup, joining defensemen Colton Parayko and Joel Edmundson.

Nugent-Hopkins gave the Oilers a 1-0 lead late in the first period with a fluke power-play goal. He lost a face-off but when Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo tried to clear the puck it bounced off Alexander Steen and past Brian Elliott. Nugent-Hopkins was credited with the unassisted power-play goal with 2:38 remaining in the period.

Tarasenko tied it a 9:10 of the second after getting loose on a breakaway with a stretch pass from Alex Pietrangelo and beating Talbot through his legs.

Tarasenko, who signed an eight-year, $60 million extension in the offseason, was the last Blues player to score in his debut.

NOTES: McDavid and F Anton Slepyshev made their NHL debuts for the Oilers. … St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina dropped the ceremonial first puck. … The attendance was announced as standing room-only 19,327.