Jaden Schwartz, Antoine Roussel

Stars consider Roussel a ‘big part’ of their team


Considering how scrappy Antoine Roussel is, it makes sense that the Dallas Stars are glad they avoided a salary arbitration squabble with him by agreeing to a four-year, $8 million contract on Tuesday.

More than that, management clearly seems high on the pugnacious forward, as you can see from GM Jim Nill’s comments to the Dallas Morning News.

“We think he’s a big part of our team going forward, and we wanted to get him locked up,” Nill said. “He’s a character guy who has worked hard to become an NHL player. It was important for us to get this done with him.”

As Defending Big D notes, the 24-year-old forward was a key part of a nice checking line alongside Ryan Garbutt and Cody Eakin last season.

Roussel was a surprise addition to the team coming out of the lockout in 2013 and was seen as merely fourth line depth, but quickly established himself as a player that can have a significant impact on the game. Playing at times on the second line in 2013-14, Roussel became one of the best checking line forwards for the Stars last season while also proving capable of adding some offensive pop when needed.

The Stars gave themselves two fantastic one-two offensive punches in the form of Tyler Seguin – Jamie Benn and Jason Spezza – Ales Hemsky, yet that also shifts a lot of the “dirty work” to players like Roussel. Considering Roussel’s fairly handsome reward in the form of that new deal, it’s clear that the franchise values the “grunt work” too.

Sharks name Pavelski captain; Thornton, Couture alternates

Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton
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Joe Pavelski is the new captain of the San Jose Sharks. The club made the announcement today via Twitter.

The former captain, Joe Thornton, will be an alternate captain, along with Logan Couture.

Pavelski, 31, was the Sharks’ leading scorer last season, finishing with 37 goals and 33 assists. He’s also signed through 2018-19, so giving him the ‘C’ makes sense from a long-term stability perspective.

Couture, 26, is also signed through 2018-19, while Thornton, 36, only has two years left on his contract.

The Sharks had four alternate captains (Thornton, Pavelski, Patrick Marleau and Marc-Edouard Vlasic) in 2014-15, but no captain.

Related: DeBoer says Sharks will have a captain next season

After PTO, Upshall signs one-year deal with Blues

Florida Panthers v Ottawa Senators
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Scottie Upshall has parlayed his training camp tryout into a contract with St. Louis.

On Monday, the Blues agreed to a one-year, two-way deal with the veteran forward, worth $700,000 at the NHL level. The deal comes after Upshall spent all of training camp and the preseason impressing the Blues his speed and skating ability, no small feat for a 31-year-old veteran with over 500 NHL games on his odometer.

But where Upshall fits in the Blues lineup — and within the organization — remains to be seen.

The club has plenty of depth up front and Upshall isn’t coming off a terrific campaign, having scored just eight goals and 15 points in 63 games with Florida last season. That said, he showed enough to be just one of a handful of veterans on PTOs to score a contract.