Depth charge: Lightning sign Corrente, re-sign Kunyk

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The Tampa Bay Lightning have added plenty to their defense this offseason and now they’re adding to their depth as well.

The team announced they’ve signed former New Jersey Devils blue liner Matt Corrente to a one-year two-way contract. Corrente spent last season in the Carolina Hurricanes organization with the AHL Charlotte Checkers. In his NHL career, he’s played 34 games with the Devils during the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons.

Corrente will likely join the Syracuse Crunch in the AHL and be on call to help out when injuries arise in Tampa Bay. After signing Anton Stralman and acquiring Jason Garrison from Vancouver, the Lightning’s top-six on defense is looking good as they’ll join Victor Hedman, Matt Carle, Eric Brewer, and Radko Gudas. Mark Barberio and Andrej Sustr will also compete for time.

The Lightning also announced they’ve re-signed forward Cody Kunyk to a one-year two-way deal. He was signed out of Alaska-Fairbanks in March and appeared in one game for the Lightning last season.

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?