New York Islanders v New Jersey Devils

Report: Islanders’ Nilsson might sign with European club


Goaltender Anders Nilsson has played in 23 career games with the New York Islanders since he came to North America in 2011, but the 24-year-old has gotten significantly more work in the minors.

He’s scheduled to become a restricted free agent this summer and would like to ink a one-year contract after posting a 3.11 GAA and .896 save percentage in 19 games this season. The Islanders aren’t willing to meet that demand, so he will probably sign with a Swedish or KHL club, according to Newsday’s Arthur Staple.

Nilsson reportedly tipped his hand to the Swedish newspaper Expressen.

“I have done for three years in the AHL and I do not think it would be good for my development to play a fourth year in the AHL,” Nilsson said, per Google translate. “That’s what I’ve said to them, since we have not started to go into contract negotiations.”

If this report is true, it would make the Islanders’ goaltending situation is a little more uncertain. The Islanders starting goalie, Evgeni Nabokov, is also scheduled to become a free agent. The 38-year-old netminder had a 2.74 GAA and .905 save percentage in 40 games in 2013-14.

Report: Kings, Richards nearing settlement

Mike Richards
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The Los Angeles Kings and Mike Richards may be nearing a settlement in their dispute over Richards’ terminated contract, TSN’s Bob McKenzie is reporting.

You can read the report for all the details, but we’re sure curious about this part:

If a settlement is reached, there’s no word yet on what salary cap penalties the Kings would still face. There’s bound to be something, but not likely as onerous as the full value of Richards’ contract, which carries with it a cap hit of $5.75 million. If there’s a settlement, Richards would undoubtedly become a free agent though there’s no telling at this point what monies he would be entitled to from the Kings in a settlement.

The issue here is precedent, and what this case could set. The NHL and NHLPA can’t allow teams to escape onerous contracts through a back door, and many are adamant that that’s what the Kings were attempting to do in Richards’ case.

Bettman to players: Don’t screw up ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’ with drugs

Gary Bettman
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The NHL wants to take an educational approach — not a punitive one — to deter its players from using illicit drugs like cocaine.

“My interest is not to go around punishing people,” Bettman told Sportsnet today.

“My interest is getting players to understand the consequences of doing something that could jeopardize this great, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that they’ve been given, to play in the NHL.”

While some players have expressed surprise at hearing that cocaine use is growing, the anecdotal evidence of substance abuse has been very much in the news, from Jarret Stoll‘s arrest to Mike Richards’ arrest to, more recently, Zack Kassian‘s placement in the NHL/NHLPA’s treatment program.

“We don’t have the unilateral right to do things here. We need the consent of the Players’ Association,” Bettman said. “It’s not about punishment. It’s about making sure we get it to stop.”

Related: Cocaine in the NHL: A concern, but not a crisis?