Cam Tucker

St. Louis Blues left wing Jaden Schwartz celebrates after scoring during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Florida Panthers, Friday, Feb. 12, 2016, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
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Blues sign Schwartz to five-year deal, avoiding arbitration (Updated: It’s official)


The St. Louis Blues and forward Jaden Schwartz have avoided arbitration.

The Blues have reportedly signed the 24-year-old Schwartz to a five-year contract, worth just under $27 million, according to Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post Dispatch on Friday.

Updated: The Blues have officially announced the deal. It’s five years worth a total value of $26.75 million.

“He’s part of that core we have moving forward,” said Blues GM Doug Armstrong.

“Schwartz and (Vladimir) Tarasenko, Robby Fabbri, Colton Parayko, Alex Pietrangelo, Jake Allen — we’re trying to build around these guys. Having Schwartz wrapped up in that group, we know we now have a core that we can build around and try to win a championship around.”

Schwartz, a restricted free agent, had elected for salary arbitration. His hearing was scheduled for next Wednesday.

The reported five-year contract and estimated total value represents an increase in term and substantial pay raise for Schwartz, who had eight goals and 22 points in 33 games in the regular season for the Blues. He was at the end of a two-year deal worth a total of $4.7 million, as per General Fanager.

His season was shortened due to a fractured left ankle that caused him to miss 49 games, before he made his return to the lineup in the middle of February.

Sounds like Jared McCann has beefed up as he looks to make Panthers

ANAHEIM, CA - NOVEMBER 30: Jared McCann #91 of the Vancouver Canucks looks on during a game against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center on November 30, 2015 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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It was evident throughout his rookie campaign with the Vancouver Canucks. As skilled as Jared McCann is, he just wasn’t physically ready to compete as a 19-year-old center in the Pacific Division.

He admitted as much toward the end of last season — “I know that I have to get bigger and stronger. That’s something that the summer is going to be about for me,” he told The Province newspaper at the time —  after the Canucks chose to keep him with the big club rather than send him back to junior.

He scored nine goals and 18 points in 69 games.

However, it sounds as though McCann, now a member of the Florida Panthers after a trade from Vancouver in late-May, has beefed up over the last few months.

“Last year was definitely tough,” McCann told the Sun Sentinel. “I wasn’t ready physically matured. My skill level took over when I made the team [out of training camp]. I put on 25 pounds since the end of the season.”

The Panthers have been busy this off-season, with front office moves, bolstering their defense through the trade market and free agency and extending Aaron Ekblad, and re-signing key forwards like Vincent Trocheck and Reilly Smith.

Acquiring McCann, Vancouver’s second first-round pick in 2014, was among those moves, as the Panthers added to their forward depth. Ahead of him at center are Aleksander Barkov, Trocheck, Nick Bjugstad — all under the age of 24 — and 35-year-old Derek MacKenzie, who recently signed a two-year extension.

After beginning last season in the middle, McCann was able to gain experience playing on the wing later on for the Canucks.

He may need to continue at the wing in order to make the Panthers next season.

“You’ve got be versatile,” McCann told the Vancouver Sun in March.

“If you want to stay in the lineup, you’ve got to learn to adapt. It’s not my natural position, not something I’ve done a lot. But having guys on this team who have played wing their whole lives, I just try to be a sponge and take in as much as I can. You’ve got to be a versatile player if you want to be in the NHL. I’ve got to switch it up.”

Red Wings sign 2016 second-round pick Hronek to entry-level deal

BUFFALO, NY - JUNE 25:  Filip Hronek poses for a portrait after being selected 53rd overall by the Detroit Red Wings during the 2016 NHL Draft on June 25, 2016 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Jeffrey T. Barnes/Getty Images)
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The Detroit Red Wings got more work done on Thursday.

After signing Luke Glendening to a four-year contract extension worth $7.2 million, the Red Wings got defenseman Filip Hronek under contract, inking him to a three-year entry-level deal.

The Red Wings selected the 18-year-old Hronek in the second round, 53rd overall, of this year’s draft.

This past season, Hronek played for HK Hradec Kralove in the Czech league, with four assists in 40 games. He also had 16 points in 13 games for Hradec Kralove in the Czech junior league.

“We had him extremely high. He’s a very good skater, has very good hockey sense, a very good puck-mover. He can run a power play. He plays with a little bit of a bite,” said Tyler Wright, the club’s director for amateur scouting, to

“He’s not the biggest guy, which is a little bit of a downside, but everything else he did well for us to not overlook.”

Foley says Las Vegas NHL team having trademark issues with name

LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 22:  New Las Vegas NHL franchise owner Bill Foley addresses the media during the Board Of Governors Press Conference prior to the 2016 NHL Awards at Encore Las Vegas on June 22, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The NHL's board of governors approved expanding to Las Vegas, making the franchise the 31st team in the league. The team will start play during the 2017-18 season and play at the newly built T-Mobile Arena.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Las Vegas owner Bill Foley would love to have a name for his expansion team, and he’s open to ideas.

Three weeks after the NHL awarded an expansion team to Foley, he said his group is having trademark issues and wants to settle on a name quickly. After naming George McPhee as his general manager, Foley expressed some impatience at how the process has stalled.

“We have a lot of names in mind, but a lot of the ones I really liked are trademarked, so that’s a little bit of an issue,” Foley said Wednesday. “I’m happy to take any suggestions anyone has for a name, particularly one that’s not already trademarked.”

Foley is a 1967 graduate of West Point and has expressed an affinity for the name “Black Knights” as a nod to the Army. Canadian sports network TSN reported Wednesday that “Knights” was likely to be the name of the Las Vegas team, which will begin play in 2017-18.


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After agreeing to pay the league a $500 million expansion fee, Foley joked that he should be able to pick the name. Again he reiterated that there won’t be a pick-the-name contest but cited the urgency to get one.

“Our goal is to have a logo and a team name ASAP,” Foley said, adding “I didn’t realize how complicated it was. It is complicated and we’re working our way through the process right now as we speak.”

Another ongoing process is getting a top minor league affiliate. American Hockey League president and CEO David Andrews said in a telephone interview that there would be a 31st team for 2017-18 to even out with the NHL, although Las Vegas could take a current team or a new franchise.

Foley mentioned Salt Lake City as a potential option geographically close to Las Vegas.

There are plenty of Las Vegas-esque names out there, but Foley said the NHL made it clear it should have no association with gambling. Foley knows what he wants.

“It should represent Las Vegas, it should represent the environment, it should be unique to Las Vegas,” he said. “But it needs to be a name that people hear the name and say, `These guys are tough, these guys are going to win, these guys are dedicated.’ So I need to have that kind of momentum, that kind of philosophy behind the name.”

After enduring through family tragedy last summer, Laberge signs entry-level deal with Flyers

BUFFALO, NY - JUNE 25:  Pascal Laberge reacts after being selected 36th overall by the Philadelphia Flyers during the 2016 NHL Draft on June 25, 2016 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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The Philadelphia Flyers have signed 2016 second-round pick Pascal Laberge to an entry-level contract, the team announced Thursday.

Laberge, a six-foot-one-inch, 175 -pound winger, was taken 36th overall, after scoring 23 goals and 68 points in 56 games this season with the Victoriaville Tigres of the QMJHL.

His story, however, goes beyond just putting pen to paper on a new contract.

In a gripping piece for the Players’ Tribune, Laberge detailed the tragic passing of his stepmom after a brief battle with cancer, his father’s prostate cancer diagnosis and his mother’s battle with multiple sclerosis. Below is one excerpt.

From the Players’ Tribune:

Last summer, after we found out about my stepmom’s cancer, I had a terrible training camp. Even at the beginning of the season, I just wasn’t myself. I always tried my best, of course, but it was tough.

Then, one day, my Victoriaville coach, Bruce Richardson, called me into his office for a talk. He said: “Hockey is the best sport in the world, and when you’re at the rink you should only think about hockey. When you get out of the rink, you can think about everything else. But if you perform well on the ice, that’s going to help your family feel better and make them happy.”

So I took that to heart, and I started playing hockey again the way I know I can play. I focused on being a good leader for my team, and doing everything I could to make my family proud.

“I think it’s been a hard year for me but I did what I can. I played good hockey, I think, when I got all clear in my head that my parents are OK. It’s going to be fine,” he told reporters at the draft.

“I’m just proud to be a Flyer now.”