Fitting that on New York Rangers day, the Blueshirts have reportedly re-upped with one of their bright young talents.
Danny Kristo, the 56th overall pick at the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, has inked a one-year, $826,875 deal with New York, per CapGeek. The deal comes roughly one month after Kristo, an RFA, accepted his qualifying offer from the Rangers.
A former scoring standout at the University of North Dakota, Kristo fared well last year with AHL Hartford in his first full season of professional hockey (he’d previously appeared in nine AHL games for Montreal, who originally drafted him before trading him to New York for Christian Thomas.) Kristo scored 25 goals for the Wolf Pack in ’13-14 and spent the majority of the season as the club’s top-line right wing.
“We liked [Kristo] in college,” Rangers’ director of player personnel Gordie Clark told NHL.com. “It wasn’t working out for him in Montreal and he turned out to be our No. 1 right wing in Hartford in his first full season. He’s got speed, skill and knack of the puck somehow following him around.
“We’re hoping to improve our pool of prospects at the center position where we weren’t very deep as an organization in Hartford. We hope Danny can help us in that area.”
Kristo, 24, has a fairly decent shot at seeing some big-league minutes this year. The Rangers lost some depth up front this summer (Benoit Pouliot, Brian Boyle, Brad Richards) and have tried to replace it with veterans on the cheap (Lee Stempniak, Matthew Lombardi, Chris Mueller), so one would think there’s an opportunity there if the older guys don’t work out. That said, Kristo will also likely be battling another young prospect — Jesper Fast — for minutes on the wing. Fast, a 22-year-old Swede, appeared in 11 games for New York last season and three during the team’s run to the Stanley Cup Final.
Zack Kassian may have avoided major injuries stemming from his Sunday car accident, but it likely sent the signal that he may need help.
The response: he was placed in Stage Two of the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program (SABH) of the NHL and NHLPA on Monday.
According to the league’s release, Kassian “will be suspended without pay until cleared for on-ice competition by the program administrators.”
Speaking of being suspended without pay, here’s a key detail:
The 24-year-old ended up with a broken nose and broken foot from that accident. The 2015-16 season was set to be his first campaign in the Montreal Canadiens organization after a tumultuous time with the Vancouver Canucks.
Kassian spoke of becoming more mature heading to Montreal, but the Canadiens were critical of his actions, wondering how many wake-up calls someone can get.
In case you’re wondering about the difference between stage one and two:
Are the Philadelphia Flyers aiming for some sort of record when it comes to expensive (potential) healthy scratches?
While lineups are obviously subject to change, CSNPhilly.com notes that Vincent Lecavalier appears to be among a rather rich group of Flyers who are expected to sit during their season-opener.
Also likely to be in street clothes: Sam Gagner and Luke Schenn.
That’s $11.3 million in cap space rotting on the bench.
“I really don’t know what to say,” Lecavalier said. “I’ll practice hard and be ready when they call me up.”
The CSNPhilly.com quotes from Lecavalier, Gagner and Schenn only get sadder from there, a reminder that there are human beings attached to these numbers – whether you focus on disappointing stats or bloated salaries.
Flyers fans with the urge to reach for an Alka-Setzler can at least take some comfort in knowing that the team will see $6.8 million in savings after this season, as both Gagner and Schenn are on expiring deals.
It could be a long season, though, and this Lecavalier headache may not truly end until his contract expires following the 2017-18 campaign.