SUNRISE, FL - MARCH 7: Interim head coach Ted Nolan of the Buffalo Sabres directs the players during a break in action against the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Center on March 7, 2014 in Sunrise, Florida. The Panthers defeated the Sabres 2-0.

Coach Nolan’s new contract getting ironed out


The Buffalo Sabres have expressed an interest in signing head coach Ted Nolan beyond his trial period and after a reported setback, they will probably get their wish.

Nolan has placed his contract negotiations in the hands of his representative, but it sounds like all the heavy lifting is done.

“Just formality and getting a couple of things ironed out and doing all the legal stuff,” Nolan said of the talks, per the Buffalo News.

Buffalo was reportedly ready to announced Nolan’s extension in late February, but that obviously didn’t happen. It was speculated that former Sabres president Pat LaFontaine departure was related to that event getting scrapped — or at least postponed.

Nolan and LaFontaine are close friends and the Sabres bench boss admitted that it was difficult to cope with.

The Sabres are 15-22-7 under Nolan, which is actually pretty good given what he’s had to work with. Buffalo is undergoing a full rebuild and right now it looks like he’s going to be the guy to lead them through it. His stock has also gone up after he led Latvia to the quarterfinals in the 2014 Winter Olympics.


Report: LaFontaine signed non-disclosure agreement with Sabres

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.

Flyers to start season with seven d-men; MacDonald sent to AHL

Andrew MacDonald, Matt Calvert
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Seven defensemen will comprise the Philadelphia Flyers’ opening-day roster, which the club finalized today.

Those seven are Radko Gudas, Michael Del Zotto, Luke Schenn, Nick Schultz, Brandon Manning, Mark Streit, and Evgeny Medvedev.

Not on the list? Andrew MacDonald, who has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Lehigh Valley. (That move allowed the Flyers to keep both Manning and youngster Scott Laughton.)

Also not on the list were prospects Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg, Sam Morin, Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim. The first three will start the season in the AHL. The last two have been sent back to junior.

But the opening-day roster is not where this story ends. How the Flyers’ defensive mix changes as the season progresses will be worth watching.

They’d no doubt love to move Schenn, a pending unrestricted free agent with a $3.6 million cap hit. He could also end up in the AHL, a la MacDonald.

Medvedev, the 33-year-old who came over from the KHL and put up five points in five preseason games, is another pending UFA. The club could either look to re-sign or flip him.

Might 37-year-old Streit be a chip worth cashing in at the deadline, especially if the Flyers aren’t in a playoff position on Feb. 29? He’s only got two years left on his contract.

Meanwhile, GM Ron Hextall will be watching pending restricted free agents Manning and Gudas closely. Are they part of the future?

So, lots of decisions to make in Philly as the blue line continues its much-needed transition.