<span class="vcard">Cam Tucker</span>

Dougherty expected to play for WHL Winterhawks next season after signing with Predators

The Nashville Predators signed Jack Dougherty to a three-year entry level contract in a deal announced Friday, and it looks like the young defenseman’s next stop will be in Portland.

According to the Predators, it’s expected Dougherty will play for the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League next season.

Selected in the second round, 51st overall, of the 2014 NHL Draft, Dougherty played last season for the University of Wisconsin, recording nine points in 28 games, which put him into a tie for fourth amongst Big Ten freshman defensemen in points.

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    After 2014 PED suspension, could Zenon Konopka be eying return to NHL?


    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.

    Stanton signs with Capitals after Canucks let him go to free agency


    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.

    Deal with the Devils: New Jersey re-signs Larsson to six-year contract


    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.

    Waters completes purchase of OHL Otters


    In April, it was reported the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League filed for bankruptcy. At the end of this week, it was announced that club has a new owner.

    Jim Waters, owner of JAW Hockey Enterprises LP, announced in a statement that his acquisition of the Otters was now complete.

    “Today is a very special day for me. I am thrilled to be the new owner of the Erie Otters,” Waters said in a statement.

    “The team is fortunate to play in a first class facility in front of great fans. We will now work to enhance the product, our presentation and brand. I would like to thank OHL Commissioner David Branch and the OHL Board of Governors for their support and approval.”

    According to GoErie.com, Waters purchased the team for $7.225 million and has pledged to keep the team in Erie.