It appears Zenon Konopka, who in May of 2014 was handed a 20-game suspension for violating terms of the NHL-NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program, isn’t ready to call it a career just yet.
From the Buffalo Hockey Beat:
Konopka’s unique skill set could be an intriguing option for some teams. In addition to fighting regularly in the NHL, he was also one of the best faceoff men. In the AHL, a league he’s willing to return to, he was also top playmaker.
“I had a good time in that league,” Konopka said. “It’s a lot different being put in big situations. So you kind of miss that. It’s a closer league down there. Guys are younger. You’re on the road, on the bus. You kind of miss that as hockey players.”
When the suspension was announced, Konopka, through a statement from the NHLPA, accepted responsibility for his actions but maintained he did not know the substance he ingested was in violation of the league’s program.
Konopka’s last NHL game was back on April 13, 2014, as a member of the Buffalo Sabres. He fought Brett Gallant of the New York Islanders on that night.
In 346 NHL regular season games, Konopka scored 12 goals and 30 points, while getting dinged for 1,082 penalty minutes.
The Washington Capitals added organizational depth along their blue line, signing 26-year-old defenseman Ryan Stanton to a one-year, two-way contract in a deal announced Friday.
The Vancouver Canucks, having signed left-shooting defenseman Luca Sbisa to a contract extension this past season, didn’t tender Stanton a qualifying offer, eventually turning him into an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
From Alex Prewitt of the Washington Post:
An undrafted free agent who parlayed three American Hockey League seasons into his NHL debut with Chicago in 2012-13, Stanton will likely bring a veteran presence to an expectedly young blue line in Hershey, where three professional rookies — Madison Bowey, Tyler Lewington and Christian Djoos — will compete for time. Mike Moore, Erik Burgdoerfer and Connor Carrick round out the corps.
The Canucks, under former GM Mike Gillis, claimed Stanton off waivers from Chicago just prior to the start of the 2013-14 season. He showed potential in his first few months with Vancouver, before suffering an ankle injury that kept him out of the lineup for more than a month.
In 118 career games with the Canucks over two seasons, Stanton scored four goals and 27 points.
The New Jersey Devils and defenseman Adam Larsson have avoided an arbitration hearing scheduled for next week after the two sides came a deal announced Saturday.
The Devils announced via Twitter that they re-signed the 22-year-old blue liner to a six-year contract, worth a total of almost $25 million. According to the club, the new deal comes with an annual average value of $4,166,666.67.
Larsson’s salary breakdown under this new deal includes $2.5 million this season, before earning $5.05 million and $5.1 million, respectively, in the final two years of the deal.
Last week, Devils GM Ray Shero was confident the two sides would be able to figure out a new deal, perhaps even before they were to go to arbitration.
Last season, Larsson, taken fourth overall in the 2011 NHL Draft, posted three goals and 24 points — career highs for him — in 64 games, leading all New Jersey defensemen in points.