Alec Martinez ,Chuck Kobasew

Pens sign Kobasew to one-year contract


The Pittsburgh Penguins have signed veteran forward Chuck Kobasew to a one-year, $550,000 contract.

From the press release:

Kobasew, 31, attended training camp with the Penguins on a professional tryout contract. He suited up for five exhibition games, tying for second on the club with two goals while posting an even rating.

Originally drafted by the Calgary Flames in the first round (14th overall) of the 2001 NHL Draft, Kobasew has played 10 NHL seasons with Calgary, Boston, Minnesota and Colorado, totaling 208 points (108G-100A), 30 power-play goals and 18 game-winning tallies in 568 career regular-season games.

The 6-foot, 192-pound forward spent the previous two seasons playing with Colorado, totaling 23 points (12G-11A) in 95 regular-season contests. His plus-6 rating in 2012-13 ranked first among all Avalanche forwards.

Kobasew’s best offensive season came in 2008-09 when he scored 42 points, including 21 goals, for the Boston Bruins. But he’s not joining the Pens for his offense. He was a constant on the penalty kill last year with the Avs, averaging 1:46 per game in shorthanded ice time.

Devils send ’15 first-rounder Zacha back to junior

2015 NHL Draft - Round One

Pavel Zacha was this close to making his NHL debut.

Just days prior to opening their season against the Jets, the Devils returned Zacha — the sixth overall pick at this year’s draft — back to his junior club in OHL Sarnia.

The move comes after Zacha, 18, impressed throughout training camp and the preseason. He appeared in four exhibition games for New Jersey, scoring one point while endearing himself to the organizational brass, coaching staff and players.

“He understands the game. He plays with a maturity. It’s crazy to think an 18-year-old coming out of high school is up here and playing with the maturity and understanding of the game with the new system,” Kyle Palmieri told “I think he’s got a lot of raw talent there as a power forward. He’s got the body for it, the puck-handling skills and the nose for the net.”

At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, Zacha has the frame and physical stature to play at the NHL level, and looked the part for long stretches of the exhibition season, getting turns on New Jersey’s top line.

The decision to send him back to junior is probably the right one, however.

Zacha only turned 18 in April and has limited experience even at the OHL level; ’14-15 was his first year with Sarnia, though he did appear in 38 Czech League games (for Liberec) the season prior.

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.