Extension talks continue between Callahan, Lightning

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The clock is ticking for the Tampa Bay Lightning to sign Ryan Callahan to a contract extension before he becomes an unrestricted free agent. Even so, GM Steve Yzerman seemed optimistic about that prospect, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

“We still have some time,” Yzerman said. “We’d really like to keep Ryan in the organization, and we’re going to continue to work. I’d like to get a deal done before he reaches free agency.”

Yzerman said he’s had some “really good discussions” with the versatile 29-year-old.

There are some interesting competing forces at play here for Yzerman.

On one hand, he might feel some added pressure to ink Callahan because he was a key piece in the Martin St. Louis trade, even though the Lightning also netted two first-round picks for their trouble.

There are some significant risks to signing Callahan, however … particularly long-term.

  • The Lightning are bursting with an array of up-and-coming young talent, especially at that forward position. The likes of Tyler Johnson, Alex Killorn, Ondrej Palat and Jonathan Drouin are affordable now, but if Callahan wants a longer deal, second or third contracts could present added challenges down the line.
  • It’s reasonable to wonder if Callahan would be worth a steep price in Tampa Bay. His do-everything, shot-blocking style worked well when John Tortorella was running the Rangers ship, but his 2013-14 season didn’t go well. Injuries certainly factored in, yet he went pointless in the playoffs and only managed 36 points in 65 games between the Rangers and Lightning. Those aren’t unacceptable numbers, yet they don’t exactly scream “big, long-term investment,” either.
  • Speaking of injuries, players approaching their thirties tend to be more injury-prone to begin with, but those risks only increase with guys who put their bodies on the line like Callahan does.

Ultimately, it would likely come down to finding the right compromise, which might be difficult in a small window of time (Yzerman’s optimism notwithstanding).

In seemingly even less likely Lightning re-signing news, the Tampa Bay Times also reports that Yzerman said that Anders Lindback is “in the mix” to get a new deal. That’s a bit surprising considering the fact that the big goalie’s been a flop in Tampa Bay – especially in being swept by the Montreal Canadiens – yet the Lightning gave up a significant set of assets to nab him via a trade, too.

Report: Blue Jackets RFA Anderson in contact with Hockey Canada about 2018 Olympics

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The preseason is well underway and Josh Anderson is still without a contract.

Anderson, who scored 17 goals and 29 points last season for the Columbus Blue Jackets, is one of two remaining restricted free agents without a new deal. The other is Andreas Athanasiou of the Detroit Red Wings.

While there were reports this summer about Athanasiou potentially going to the KHL for this season, John Shannon of Sportsnet reported on Thursday that Anderson’s representatives have reached out to Hockey Canada’s staff about the 2018 Olympics. 

Anderson’s entry-level contract, with an AAV of just over $894,000, expired at the end of last season.

Meanwhile, here is the latest on this ongoing contract situation.

Making an impression: Sergachev has ‘NHL written all over him’

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Mikhail Sergachev has, over the summer, stated his belief he can play in the NHL this season.

He had a small taste of NHL action last season, appearing in four games for Montreal — the team that selected him ninth overall in 2016 — before getting sent back to junior and then being traded in June to Tampa Bay, as part of a blockbuster involving Jonathan Drouin to the Habs.

Well, Sergachev made a statement Wednesday in his preseason debut for the Lightning.

He scored once. He also played more than 22 minutes, which led all Lightning players on the night. That included time on the power play and penalty kill. If he was looking to make a favorable impression, to show that he belongs at the NHL level when the regular season begins, this seems to be another step in that direction.

“You watch this kid skate, shoot, stickhandle, he’s got NHL written all over him,” Tampa Bay’s associate coach Rick Bowness told the Tampa Bay Times. “Now we’ve got to give him experience. How much can he handle?”

There is competition on the blue line, with eight defensemen under contract in Tampa Bay for this season. That includes Sergachev, who is still only 19 years old. After getting sent back to junior last season, he recorded 43 points in 50 games with Windsor and then won the Memorial Cup that spring. That said, he’s made it a point of saying going back to junior “is not an option” for him.

Related:

Looking to make the leap: Mikhail Sergachev

Report: Lupul will have ‘independent medical exam’

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Joffrey Lupul issued a statement Wednesday, saying he wouldn’t seek a second medical opinion after the Maple Leafs announced he didn’t pass his training camp physical.

A day later, reports have surfaced that the 33-year-old forward will, in fact, undergo another, independent medical test.

That is according to James Mirtle of The Athletic:

Earlier this week, Lupul made accusations against the Maple Leafs on Instagram.

“I’m ready … just awaiting the call,” Lupul wrote in the comments section of the Instagram post, per a screen grab. “haha failed physical? They cheat. Everyone lets them.”

Lupul, who didn’t pass his physical for a second year in a row, issued an apology yesterday. But those comments — which have since been deleted — seem to have grabbed the attention of the league.

Darren Dreger of TSN added to that, saying it’s the NHL pursuing a second medical opinion on this matter.

“The National Hockey League has that right to pursue the second opinion. That’s exactly what they’re engaging in right now,” Dreger reported Thursday.

“The reasoning behind it is because of the comment that Lupul made on social media. I’ll go back a year ago. The league didn’t step in a year ago but Lupul stayed quiet at that point. So they want to make sure — ‘They’ being the National Hockey League — that the medical evaluation from the Toronto Maple Leafs is 100 per cent above the board.”

Team USA won’t include NHL draft-eligible prospects at 2018 Olympics

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) General manager Jim Johannson has ruled out the possibility of the U.S. men’s hockey team having NHL draft-eligible prospects competing at the Winter Olympics in February.

Johannson tells The Associated Press he doesn’t view anyone from the 18-and-younger pool of prospects capable of cracking the projected lineup of non-NHL players, many of whom are opening this season playing in Europe.

USA Hockey’s assistant executive director says he’s also targeting a number of established college players, and would not rule out keeping a spot or two open for members of the U.S. team competing at the World Junior Championships this winter.

Johansson spoke in Buffalo, New York, on Thursday, where he is attending USA Hockey’s sixth annual All-American Prospects game. The game features the top 42 U.S.-born players eligible to be selected in the NHL draft in June.