Alex Burrows

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Canucks sign ‘very skilled’ Dahlen to entry-level contract

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The Vancouver Canucks have signed forward Jonathan Dahlen to a three-year entry level contract.

Dahlen, acquired from Ottawa in the trade that sent Alex Burrows to the Senators, was the 42nd overall pick in the 2016 draft.

“Jonathan is a very skilled player with good hands and goal-scoring abilities,” said GM Jim Benning. “He had a terrific year playing in Sweden and we’re excited to see him at training camp as he continues to grow and develop into an NHL player.”

Dahlen, 19, scored 25 goals for Timra this season and was named the best junior player in the second-tier Allsvenskan.

His signing is a bit of good news for the Canucks, who had some disappointing news yesterday with the departure of defenseman Nikita Tryamkin to the KHL.

The Canucks’ original plan was for Dahlen to start next season in the AHL, but it seems a return to Sweden is also an option.

Senators clinch playoff spot, move ahead of Bruins

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First, the Ottawa Senators made sure that they’ll make the playoffs by clinching a spot. By beating the Boston Bruins 2-1 via a shootout, they put themselves in a solid position to grab home-ice for a round.

While the contest hasn’t been a thrill ride, the Senators deserve some credit for getting this key win with Erik Karlsson out of the lineup.

As a bonus, Viktor Stalberg also returned during OT after a hard hit by Adam McQuaid. Senators GM Pierre Dorion has to love that Alex Burrows‘ goal was the tying tally.

A lot of things came up in Ottawa’s favor on this one. They managed a sweep of the Bruins, a swing that may just make the difference in the race for second in the Atlantic.

Granted, there are still plenty of variables that can play out during the final few days of 2016-17.

Here’s an update on the race for second:

2. Senators – 96 points (37 ROW, 43 W) in 80 games
3. Bruins – 95 points (42 ROW, 44 W) in 81 games

Leafs – 93 points in 80 games after loss to Lightning.

That’s quite the edge for the Sens, especially if Toronto ends up losing. The Senators host the Rangers on Saturday and then visit the Islanders on Sunday. The Bruins close out 2016-17 by facing the Capitals at home on Saturday.

Edler and Tanev dance around trade question

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Alex Edler chuckled before he answered the question.

Not a happy chuckle.

More like annoyed.

But it was the same question a lot of veteran Canucks have been asked the past couple of years — if management approached him, would he be willing to waive his no-trade clause?

“I don’t know,” Edler told TSN 1040 radio today. “You can ask me that question if they ask me. I don’t know. I haven’t thought about it.”

Another veteran Vancouver defenseman, Chris Tanev, was part of the same interview. And with a modified no-trade that kicks in this summer, he got asked the question, too.

Though Tanev acknowledged the Canucks were “going in a new direction,” he didn’t sound desperate to jump ship.

“Right now, obviously me and Alex are happy to be here,” said Tanev. “(But) it’s a business. Anything can happen at any point. I think things happen when you’re usually not ready for them to happen.”

Edler, 30, is signed for two more seasons at a cap hit of $5 million.

Tanev, 27, has three more years at $4.45 million.

The Canucks, of course, have been hesitant to strip down their roster and undertake an aggressive rebuild, a la Toronto or Buffalo. Instead, GM Jim Benning has chosen to try and stay competitive, while bringing along young players at the same time.

But when Jannik Hansen and Alex Burrows were dealt away at this year’s deadline, it may have signaled a slight shift in strategy.

And given Benning has said he’d be willing to trade a defenseman for help up front, well, that’s why Edler and Tanev got asked the question today.

It should be another interesting offseason in Vancouver.

Related: The Canucks have a big decision to make with Erik Gudbranson

Sens held team meeting after ugly defeat in Minnesota

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Ottawa played last night down the services of Erik Karlsson, Alex Burrows and Zack Smith, who exited in the first period with an upper-body injury.

Those built-in excuses could’ve whisked away any bad feelings from what ended up a 5-1 loss to the Wild in Minnesota. But the Sens weren’t having any of that — per the Citizen, they held a team meeting following the defeat, which dropped them to 2-4-3 in their last nine and suddely into a bit of danger with regards to their playoff spot.

“It’s a difficult loss that they really took it to us,” Dion Phaneuf said, also per the Citizen. “The score reflects the whole game. If you look at how we got beat, they had more than us.

“They did the little things right and we’ve got to regroup quick because we’ve got a big one Saturday.”

Saturday’s game, in Winnipeg, is undoubtedly crucial. The Sens were comfortably in a playoff position on Mar. 11, sitting six points up on Boston and eight on Toronto.

But after last night? Just three up on the Bruins. And just two up on the Leafs.

There are reasons for this latest slump. Health, as mentioned above, has become a factor. And even prior to sitting out, Burrows — who was on fire upon being acquired from Vancouver at the deadline — went cold, and failed to register a point in his last five games.

Craig Anderson has been shaky in net over the last two outings, which included a horrific gaffe against Philly on Tuesday night.

The offense has sputtered, with just 14 goals over the last nine games.

The Sens will need to turn this around, and quickly. They’re in serious danger of going from getting home ice advantage in the opening playoff round, to potentially falling into a wild card spot.

Sens prospect White signs ATO, contract talks moving in ‘positive direction’

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It hasn’t moved along as quickly as Clayton Keller-to-Arizona or Brock Boeser-to-Vancouver, but the Colin White-to-Ottawa transaction is slowly churning along.

Last night, White — the Senators’ first-round pick (21st overall) at the ’15 draft — sign an amateur tryout offer with the club’s AHL affiliate in Binghamton, while his agent continues to work with Sens GM Pierre Dorion on an entry-level deal.

“We are excited to see Colin make the next step in his development in turning professional after a great college career,” Dorion said in a release. “We have spoken to Colin and his advisors at length and we are all in agreement that getting him on the ice to play games in the AHL is what is best for his growth at this moment.

“While our ongoing contract discussions are moving in a positive direction, we all know there is a small window left this season for Colin to gain professional experience.”

White, a Boston College sophomore, saw his college season end more than a week ago with a loss to UMass-Lowell on Mar. 18.

Unlike Boeser, who made his NHL debut on Saturday, or Keller — who projects to make his tonight — White’s played the waiting game, and now appears primed to travel a similar road as U.S. world junior teammate Luke Kunin, who last week left the University of Wisconsin to join the Wild organization.

Like White, Kunin signed an ATO and headed directly to the American League. Unlike White, Kunin also inked his ELC at the exact same time (it will kick in next year).

White, 20, has had a terrific last couple of years. He’s been a point-per-game player at BC and was a major catalyst at the world juniors. He finished second in the tournament in goals, with seven in seven games, and was a force in the U.S.’s gold medal win over Canada.

There was some thought White, like Boeser and Keller, could play in the NHL this year. But the Sens don’t have extra minutes at forward after picking up the likes of Alex Burrows, Viktor Stalberg and Chris DiDomenico at the deadline.

That said, Stalberg is currently sidelined with an injury.