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PHT Morning Skate: Penguins might target BriseBois for GM job


Starting on Saturday, the Eastern and Western Conference Final series are scheduled to alternate on a daily basis, but before that happens, all four teams will rest today. With no games to preview, we’re instead taking a look around the league this morning:

Boston Bruins president Cam Neely and general manager Peter Chiarelli both wished outgoing assistant general manager Jim Benning luck ahead of his introduction as Vancouver’s new general manager today. (Boston Herald)

Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Penguins are continuing their search for a new general manager and it looks like Tampa Bay Lightning assistant GM Julien BriseBois might be in the running. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was even angrier about his team’s collapse the morning after it happened. “Normally it’s the other way around.” Still, the team is moving forward. (CSN Chicago)

The AHL Toronto Marlies don’t want to get overconfident after sweeping their first two playoff series. (NHL.com)

Defenseman Josh Morrissey, 19, has been able to make a smooth transition from the WHL to AHL St. John’s IceCaps. He was taken by Winnipeg with the 13th overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. (Winnipeg Sun)

Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter isn’t one for making big speeches to his players. “They don’t need some coach coming in there yelling and hollering,” he said. (LA Kings Insider)

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.