Columbus coach Richards inks two-year extension

After leading Columbus to the most successful season in franchise history, head coach Todd Richards has been rewarded.

Richards, 47, signed a two-year contract extension on Tuesday, agreeing to coach the Jackets through the 2016-17 campaign. The deal was more than deserved after Richards led Columbus to a franchise-best 43 wins this season, and orchestrated the club’s first-ever playoff victories in a spirited opening-round series loss to Pittsburgh.

“Todd has done an outstanding job for the Columbus Blue Jackets and we’re pleased that he will continue to lead our team,” Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen said in a statement. “We believe he is one of the top young coaches in the NHL because of his knowledge of the game, work ethic and ability to communicate well and bring out the best in our players.”

Locking up Richards through the next three years keeps a good chunk of Columbus’ core in place, as the likes of Nathan Horton, Jared Boll, James Wisniewski, Jack Johnson and Fedor Tyutin are locked in through ’17 as well.

That said, Kekalainen still has a very busy summer ahead of him as he needs to reach a new deal with arguably the team’s most important forward — RFA center Ryan Johansen — and may be forced to trade alternate captain R.J. Umberger, who struggled last season and fell out of the rotation, serving as a healthy scratch on a number of occasions.

Glencross released from another PTO, this time by Avs

Washington Capitals v Ottawa Senators
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Curtis Glencross’ hard-luck preseason continued on Monday, as the Avalanche announced they released him from his training camp tryout.

Glencross had previously been cut from Toronto’s camp, which he described as “kind of a shock” move. Following that release, the 32-year-old quickly shifted to Colorado but arrived fairly late in the overall process, and only got a bit of exposure before being let go.

While some thought yesterday’s trade of Freddie Hamilton to Calgary may have opened up a spot for Glencross, the Avs now appear to be going in a different direction.

A two-time 20-goal scorer that netted 13 in 71 games last year, it’s unclear what lies ahead for Glencross.

Slepyshev earns final Oilers roster spot; Draisaitl to AHL

Anton Slepyshev, Anton Lander
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The Edmonton Oilers have assigned center Leon Draisaitl to AHL Bakersfield.

The demotion of Draisaitl, 19, means 21-year-old rookie Anton Slepyshev has made the opening-day roster after scoring twice and adding two assists in exhibition action.

The Oilers experimented during the preseason with Draisaitl, a natural center, on the wing. He didn’t have a particularly poor camp, finishing with one goal and three assists in six games.

But Slepyshev apparently impressed more.

“He’s a young player but he’s played pro hockey before,” coach Todd McLellan told the Edmonton Journal. “You can see it.”

Slepyshev played 58 games in the KHL last season, scoring 15 goals for Salavat Yulaev Ufa.