Cam Tucker

TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 29:  Connor Carrick #8 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates against the Tampa Bay Lightning during an NHL game at the Air Canada Centre on February 29, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  The Lightning defeated the Maple Leafs 2-1. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
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Leafs sign Carrick to two-year deal, worth reported $750K AAV

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After adding 22-year-old Connor Carrick to the prospect pool following a trade with Washington prior to the deadline, the Toronto Maple Leafs have signed the offensive defenseman to a two-year deal.

As per General Fanager, the deal comes with an average annual value of $750,000 — with $650,000 in salary for the upcoming season.

Originally a fifth-round pick of the Capitals in 2012, Carrick was part of a deal that sent Daniel Winnik to Washington for Brooks Laich. He spent time with the Hershey Bears of the AHL and the Capitals before the trade, and then split time between the Toronto Marlies in the minors and the Maple Leafs.

He ended up playing 16 games for the Maple Leafs, with two goals and four points, to go with strong puck possession numbers in just under 270 minutes at five-on-five. And he shows potential for even better things ahead.

Earlier in the day, the Maple Leafs put Peter Holland on waivers prior to Monday’s arbitration hearing between the two sides.

From the Toronto Star:

Holland could also face tough competition for an NHL job in Toronto, with the signing of Matt Martin, and the influx of young players from the Marlies who look ready for the NHL.The Leafs also face a unique salary cap crunch. They have about $3 million in cap space, but must re-sign Holland, as well as defencemen Frank Corrado and Martin Marincin while remaining in the market for a backup goalie.

Rangers sign Hayes to reported two-year deal with $2.6M AAV

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The New York Rangers and right winger Kevin Hayes have avoided arbitration.

The Rangers announced Friday that the two sides have agreed to terms on a new contract. According to hockey analyst Aaron Ward, it’s a two-year deal with an average annual value of $2.6 million.

The two sides had an arbitration hearing scheduled for July 27.

Last season, the 24-year-old Hayes scored 14 goals and 36 points for the Rangers, but appeared in only three playoff games before New York was ousted in the first round by the championship-winning Pittsburgh Penguins.

Listed at six-foot-five-inches tall and 227 pounds, Hayes certainly brings size up front for the Rangers. But it appeared he needed the odd wake-up call from head coach Alain Vigneault at points during the regular season.

In late-December, Vigneault made Hayes a healthy scratch and then called him out for apparently not working hard enough in the eyes of the coach. Talk about trying to send a message.

A few weeks later, however, Vigneault praised Hayes for his improved play since getting parked in the press box, saying the young forward had a “better battle level” with and without the puck.

The Rangers also avoided an arbitration hearing scheduled for Friday with forward Chris Kreider, signing him to a four-year deal with an AAV of $4.625 million.

Nolan Patrick, potential No. 1 overall pick in 2017, undergoes sports hernia surgery

KELOWNA, CANADA - OCTOBER 25: Rourke Chartier #14 of Kelowna Rockets faces off against Nolan Patrick #19 of Brandon Wheat Kings during the first period on October 25, 2014 at Prospera Place in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)
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Nolan Patrick, who could be the first overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, has undergone sports hernia surgery, which will keep him from participating in Canada’s world junior development camp at the end of the month.

Patrick’s WHL team, the Brandon Wheat Kings, made the announcement on Sunday. They added that the surgery was a success and Patrick will still attend the camp.

At the age of 17, Patrick had astounding numbers in junior this past season. He scored 41 goals and 102 points in 72 games (1.41 points per game) with the Wheat Kings during the regular season and then followed that up by being named the WHL’s Most Valuable Player for the post-season, with 30 points in 21 games.

The Wheat Kings made it to the Memorial Cup tournament.

While Patrick hit the 100-point plateau, his points-per-game rate from last season falls just shy of what Connor McDavid — another No. 1 overall pick — accomplished in the season before his draft year, when he had 1.76 points per game with the OHL’s Erie Otters.

Sabres ink prospect goalie Kasdorf to reported two-year, two-way deal

BUFFALO, NEW YORK - APRIL 08: Jason Kasdorf #33 of the Buffalo Sabres warms up to play the Columbus Blue Jackets at First Niagara Center on April 8, 2016 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Jen Fuller/Getty Images)
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Jason Kasdorf made his NHL debut for the Buffalo Sabres in April. On Sunday, he signed on for a reported two more years with the Sabres.

As per General Fanager, it’s a two-year, two-way deal with an average annual value of $612,500 at the NHL level.

The Sabres originally acquired Kasdorf from the Winnipeg Jets as part of the Evander Kane trade. He then signed his entry-level contract after completing his fourth and final year at R.P.I., where he had a .931 save percentage as a senior.

His lone NHL game last season resulted in a loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. He allowed four goals on 30 shots.

“There’s no reason he can’t be an elite pro goalie and there’s no reason he can’t play in the National Hockey League down the road,” R.P.I. coach Seth Appert once told the Times Herald.

The Sabres also signed prospect forward Daniel Catenacci to a two-way contract.

Catenacci, 23, played in 11 games for Buffalo last season. He didn’t register a point. In 50 games with the Rochester Americans of the AHL last season, he scored 12 goals and 24 points.


Predators’ prospect Mazanec has chance to step into back-up role

David Poile

Pekka Rinne remains the No. 1 goalie in Nashville at the age of 33.

Coming off a season in which he struggled at times, with a .908 save percentage, he still has three more years remaining on a seven-year contract that has an annual cap hit of $7 million.

But the departure of Carter Hutton, who signed in St. Louis as an unrestricted free agent, has left a back-up spot open and, as per The Tennessean, there could be a battle between Marek Mazanec — who had 25 games experience in Nashville during the 2013-14 season — and 21-year-old Juuse Saros for the position.

“I’d say Mazanec certainly deserves the first look,” Predators general manager David Poile told The Tennessean.

“He’s spent four years in the organization, he’s been up here when Pekka (Rinne) went down a couple years ago, (played) 25 games and really played well. He’s had some inconsistencies in his game down in Milwaukee, but in terms of can he do it, should he be able to be that second guy? Absolutely.”

As for Saros, Nashville’s fourth-round pick in 2013, he emerged onto the scene in the American Hockey League last season, with a 29-8-0 record and a .920 save percentage.

The Predators also added to their depth at the goalie position by signing Jonas Gunnarsson out of Sweden at the beginning of June, which led to Hutton questioning at the time if his days in Nashville was done.