Author: Cam Tucker

Report: Kopitar contract extension now the Kings’ ‘highest, most forefront priority’

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L.A. Kings center Anze Kopitar will turn 28 years old toward the end of next month, so could he be celebrating his birthday with a contract extension?

According to LA Kings Insider, negotiations between the Kings and Kopitar on an extension have only just started but are expected to pick up as the summer continues. The report also mentions optimism that an extension could be finalized by the end of the summer.

From LA Kings Insider:

One of the reasons for the timing of the current contract push is that the Kings needed to finalize new contracts for a heavy crop of restricted free agents. That had been communicated to Kopitar and his representation, and because the final six RFAs signed contracts with the Kings over the previous two days, Kopitar’s extension now becomes the club’s highest and most forefront priority. Because he would be resigning with Los Angeles, he would be eligible to sign an eight-year contract extension.

Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career to date with the Kings, winning two Stanley Cups in 2012 and 2014. In both runs to the championship, he had a point-per-game pace. He recorded 64 points last season, but finished ninth in the league with 48 assists.

He was also a dominant force as far as puck possession goes, with the second-best Corsi For rating on the Kings at 59.2 per cent at five-on-five, according to stats.hockeyanalysis.com.

Kopitar is entering the final year of his current seven-year contract worth a total of $47.6 million. He would be eligible for unrestricted free agency at the end of the 2015-16 season.

Report: Sabres sign Larsson to one-year deal

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The Buffalo Sabres have reportedly signed left winger Johan Larsson to a one-year, one-way deal worth $800,000, according to a report out of Sweden.

From the Buffalo News:

“Sure it is good money, but for me this is mainly that I will now be able to continue playing hockey with a very exciting team with new players and new coach,” Larsson said, in the Google translation of Gotland Newspapers. “It will be an exciting season.” 

The Sabres have yet to officially announce a deal.

Now 22 years old and a former second-round pick of the Minnesota Wild, Larsson scored six goals and 16 points in 39 games with the Sabres last season. He split the 2014-15 campaign between Buffalo and the AHL Rochester Americans.

He scored 15 goals and had 40 points in 44 games with Rochester.

Capitals owner Leonsis has a message: ‘Don’t take Alex Ovechkin for granted’

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Alex Ovechkin will turn 30 years old in September. He started his NHL career in 2005-06 when the league came out of its second lockout and posted 52 goals and 106 points.

He’s coming off another 50-plus goal season in 2014-15. It’s the sixth time in his NHL career he’s accomplished the feat, including his 65-goal season in 2007-08. But the one thing that has eluded him in his time with the Washington Capitals is a Stanley Cup, much to the lamentation of the club’s owner Ted Leonsis.

“He’s a fantastic player. I think all of you in this room, don’t take Alex Ovechkin for granted. I think that happens sometimes. You see him all the time and there’s this repetitiveness about his greatness,” said Leonsis, as per CSN Washington.

“But when people from outside the organization come in, I think you heard that with Justin Williams, this is the best player in the league. He’s been that for the last 10 years. And the consistency that he has brought is really historical.

“He doesn’t miss games. He plays hard all the time and I feel I haven’t met my commitment to him, that we would build a team that would be able to win Stanley Cups. That we’re in it together.”

Eliminated by the New York Rangers after a seven-game, second-round series that went the distance in May, the Capitals have had a busy off-season trying to bolster their club to take a run at the Stanley Cup next year.

They signed unrestricted free agent forward Justin Williams, known for his penchant of scoring important goals in Game 7s, and then acquired T.J. Oshie from the St. Louis Blues in exchange for Troy Brouwer, Pheonix Copley and a 2016 third-round pick the following day.

Oshie admitted in an interview with Mike Vogel of the Monumental Network that he’s unsure at this point in the summer of where he will fit into the Capitals lineup.

 

Report: Ducks sign Stewart to one year, $1.7 million deal

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The Anaheim Ducks have inked winger Chris Stewart to a one-year contract worth $1.7 million, according to a report Saturday evening from John Shannon of Sportsnet.

The Ducks have yet to officially announce any deal for the 27-year-old Stewart.

It’s worth noting that enforcer Brian McGrattan announced his deal with the Ducks via Twitter well before the club did.

Stewart spent last season with the Buffalo Sabres and then the Minnesota Wild following the NHL trade deadline.

Stewart scored a combined 14 goals and 36 points last season with both the Sabres and Wild, and he also brings size on the wing at 6’2″ tall and 231 pounds and an element of toughness.

‘It was a blast’: Sheldon Souray writes emotional retirement letter

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In a letter authored for the Players’ Tribune, retired NHL defenseman Sheldon Souray reminisced about the players, personalities, executives and family members that helped shape his playing career, which has officially come to a close.

He also discussed how he finally got his big break in hockey as a teenager, following a brawl during his minor hockey days in Alberta and how that led him to play in neighboring British Columbia.

From the Players’ Tribune:

I could thank a million more people for making my life so special. I knew this had been coming for a long time, but when I woke up the first morning after officially announcing my retirement, I definitely had a heavy heart. It’s not the spotlight that I’m going to miss. It’s the moments of tedium spent with the boys. When I’m 70 years old and looking back on this wild life, I don’t think I’ll get nostalgic about skating out in front of 20,000 people, as cool as it was. But I will get a little misty for the times me and a few of the boys broke curfew after a terrible loss in Minnesota and sat around the hotel room with a case of beer, trying to solve the world’s problems.

It went fast. It was a blast. I can’t believe it happened.

I was just a wannabe who got to be. What a ride.

Armed with a wicked slap shot, Souray played 758 regular season games in the NHL, scoring 109 goals and 300 points. He also played in 40 Stanley Cup playoff games, scoring three goals and 11 points.

His last NHL game came on May 12, 2013. That summer, he suffered a torn wrist ligament that eventually required surgery the following year.