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Report: NHL trade deadline will be Feb. 26

Set the date.

The 2017-18 NHL trade deadline, one of the most highly anticipated days of the hockey calendar, will take place on Feb. 26, according to Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports.

The lead-up to last year’s trade deadline saw a number of high profile deals.

The struggling Canucks went into sell mode by trading Alex Burrows and Jannik Hansen. Bolts netminder Ben Bishop was sent to the L.A. Kings,  and Kevin Shattenkirk went to Washington as the Capitals attempted to bolster their lineup for what they were hoping was going to be a lengthy Stanley Cup run.

Of course, this year’s trade deadline will include the Vegas Golden Knights and general manager George McPhee. They have nine players that will be eligible for unrestricted free agency at the end of next season.

Gionta still considering options with NHL training camps approaching

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With NHL training camps beginning next week and free agents either signing late-summer deals or professional tryouts, Brian Gionta is still without a team for the upcoming season.

His agent, Steve Bartlett, recently spoke to the Buffalo News about that, indicating interest in his client from teams, though specific details weren’t publicly revealed.

“Gio has not made any final decision on his future,” Bartlett told the Buffalo News. “We have had a number of teams that have indicated they would sign him, but he is not sure right now which if any offer he would accept.

“He will continue to prepare as though he will play, and we will see how things play out here over the next couple weeks.”

Gionta wrapped up a three-year, $12.75 million deal with the Buffalo Sabres at the end of last season, eventually making him a free agent at the beginning of July.

He’s now 38 years old, with 1,006 career regular season games played. His tenure in Buffalo included two seasons in which he hit 35 points, while scoring 15 goals last season.

Sweeney: ‘No timetable’ for when Pastrnak deal might get done

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Talks between the Boston Bruins and David Pastrnak‘s agent continue. But with training camp a week away, there is still no deal in place.

Pastrnak is Boston’s lone remaining restricted free agent to get under contract. The 21-year-old forward broke out offensively last season with 34 goals and 70 points.

Bruins general manager Don Sweeney offered an update but didn’t get into specific details about those contract talks, prior to the opening of rookie camp.

“Status quo there,” Sweeney told reporters on Thursday. “[Pastrnak’s agent] J.P. [Barry] and I continue to talk and will continue to talk and find a deal at some point in time. But there’s no timetable on it and nothing really to expand on other than the nature of the talks have been ongoing.”

It’s already been reported that the Bruins have offered a long-term deal at $6 million per year. Last week, it was reported that Pastrnak’s camp was going to ask about an eight-year contract. That put Cam Neely in a position to discuss the possible impact Leon Draisaitl‘s new deal in Edmonton might have on these specific negotiations.

From CSNNE.com:

Meanwhile, the Bruins would probably like to sign Pastrnak to something more like the six-year, $40.5 million ($6.75 million) contract that Johnny Gaudreau agreed to with the Calgary Flames roughly a year ago. That kind of deal would pay him more than Cup-winning veteran Brad Marchand, but it would be a tick less than Patrice Bergeron ($6.875 million) and David Krejci ($7.25 million) in Boston’s internal salary structure.

According to CapFriendly, the Bruins currently have about $10.1 million in cap space.

Ideally, the Bruins would like to have a deal done before training camp begins in order to avoid one of their top forwards missing any time as the team prepares for the regular season.

“I was on record a while ago, and I think I read even a general manager yesterday talking about [it]… nobody really hides from the fact that I don’t think it’s productive on either side [to miss camp],” Sweeney told reporters.

Predators’ Ellis to miss ‘several months’ following offseason surgery

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Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis will miss a significant portion of the 2017-18 season.

The Predators delivered the bad news on Thursday, stating that Ellis will miss “several months” following offseason surgery to repair a “lower-body ailment.” According to Thomas Willis of the Predators, general manager David Poile told the media that Ellis isn’t expected back until the new year.

Ellis left Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final with an undisclosed injury but he returned to the lineup for Game 6. He appeared on a Hamilton, Ont., television station a couple of weeks later, sporting a large knee brace.

He told CHCH that he underwent a “minor procedure” on his right knee.

“It looks worse than it probably is,” Ellis said at the time. “Hopefully be back on the ice in no time.”

Unfortunately for Ellis and the Predators, that isn’t going to be the case.

After finishing as the second wild card team in the West last season, the Predators bolted through three rounds of the playoffs before ultimately losing to Pittsburgh in the Stanley Cup Final. There were a number of factors that contributed to their success in winning the Western Conference, most notably the performance of their top-four group of defensemen, which includes Ellis.

Given how well that unit played last season, this is a significant loss for a team expected to once again compete for the West this season and going forward for the next few years. He was able to log heavy minutes, averaging almost 24 minutes a night during the regular season, while playing on the power play (contributing four power play goals and 11 points) and leading the team in ice time on the penalty kill.

A few days after Ellis revealed he had surgery, Poile went out and acquired left-shooting defenseman Alexei Emelin from the Vegas Golden Knights. That cost the Predators a third-round pick in 2019.

Kings’ first-round pick Vilardi to miss training camp with back sprain

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Gabriel Vilardi will be sidelined for both L.A. Kings rookie camp and training camp due to a back sprain — an injury that flared up during the summer, said general manager Rob Blake in a statement.

The team announced the injury Thursday, one day before the start of rookie camp.

The Kings stated that Vilardi will not take part in on-ice activities, and while he has started the rehabilitation process, there is no timetable right now for his return.

After scoring 29 goals and 61 points with the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires and being touted as a skilled two-way center, Vilardi slipped somewhat down the board before he was selected 11th overall by the Kings in June’s NHL Entry Draft.