Cam Tucker

GLENDALE, AZ - MARCH 03:  Goaltender Frederik Andersen #31 of the Anaheim Ducks during the NHL game against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on March 3, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. The Ducks defeated the Coyotes 5-1.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Ducks trade Frederik Andersen to Maple Leafs

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The Anaheim Ducks now have two first-round picks in the 2016 NHL Draft, after shipping goalie Frederik Andersen to the Toronto Maple Leafs in a trade Monday.

In exchange for Andersen, the Ducks get the 30th overall pick — originally from Pittsburgh to Toronto in the Phil Kessel deal a year ago — in this week’s draft and a second-round pick in the 2017 draft. They also have the 24th overall pick in this year’s draft.

Last season, Andersen went 22-9-7 with a .919 save percentage and three shutouts. In the playoffs, he won three of his five starts and posted a save percentage of .947, as the Ducks were eliminated in the opening round by Nashville.

Andersen, 26, was a pending restricted free agent, but there’s more news on that front. too.

For only one more season, the Maple Leafs have Jonathan Bernier under contract at a cap hit of $4.15 million, while Garret Sparks is a pending RFA.

In the playoffs, Andersen was given the start over John Gibson in Game 3 of the first-round series, and never relinquished the position until the series was over. There had been speculation this season about Andersen’s future in Anaheim, with the idea he “will be expendable at some point” because of his contract status.

Ducks’ GM Bob Murray had also worried about the prospect of losing one of his goalies — Andersen or Gibson — to a possible expansion draft. This move solves that problem, while giving the 22-year-old Gibson the undisputed starting role.

 

Sabres acquire rights to reigning Hobey Baker winner Jimmy Vesey (Updated)

BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 23:  Jimmy Vesey #19 of the Harvard Crimson skates against Steve Santini #6 of the Boston College Eagles during the second period of the 2015 Beanpot Tournament consolation game at TD Garden on February 23, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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The Buffalo Sabres have acquired the rights to forward Jimmy Vesey in a trade with the Predators that sent a third-round pick (76th overall) in this week’s NHL Draft to Nashville.

Vesey wrapped up his collegiate career with Harvard by claiming the Hobey Baker Award after scoring 24 goals and 46 points in 33 games this season as a senior.

The Predators selected Vesey in the third round of the 2012 draft, however he declined to sign an entry-level deal with Nashville, opting instead to choose free agency.

He doesn’t become an unrestricted free agent until Aug. 15, when he’ll be free to sign with any NHL club of his choosing.

Predators assistant GM Paul Fenton claimed in March that when the organization asked Vesey if he was going to sign in Nashville, he replied that he would.

The Vesey camp refuted that, saying in a statement that what Fenton said was not accurate.

Update:

Report: After surgery in May, potential third overall pick Puljujarvi to miss summer development camp

MONTREAL, QC - DECEMBER 31:  Kevin Reich #30 of Team Germany stops a shot by Jesse Puljujarvi #13 of Team Finland in a preliminary round game during the 2015 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships at the Bell Centre on December 31, 2014 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  Team Finland defeated Team Germany 2-0.  (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
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Jesse Puljujarvi is expected to be the third overall pick in the NHL Draft next week, behind Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine.

Despite the excitement around that pick, it will take Puljujarvi a little longer before he takes the ice in the uniform of the team that does draft him.

According to Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Post Dispatch, Puljujarvi will miss summer development camp after coming back from minor knee surgery that also kept him out of fitness testing at this month’s scouting combine.

The Columbus Blue Jackets currently have the third overall pick in the draft, followed by Edmonton and Vancouver.

However, there’s been speculation the Blue Jackets could consider moving that third overall pick. That said, general manager Jarmo Kekalainen also told ESPN Insider: “I’ve told everyone who has inquired, you’d better blow my socks off before we get to any kind of discussion about it.”

Related: Get to know a draft pick — Jesse Puljujarvi

UFA of the Day: Jiri Hudler

SUNRISE, FL - MARCH 10: Jiri Hudler #24 of the Florida Panthers looks up at the scoreboard as he skates prior to the game against the Ottawa Senators at the BB&T Center on March 10, 2016 in Sunrise, Florida. The Panthers defeated the Senators 6-2. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
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Every day until June 30, we’ll write about a pending unrestricted free agent. Today’s UFA of the Day is…

Jiri Hudler

In a bid to help bolster their lineup for the playoffs, the Florida Panthers went out just prior to the trade deadline and acquired Jiri Hudler from the Calgary Flames in exchange for two draft picks — a second-round selection in 2016 and a fourth-round selection in 2018.

The Panthers were eliminated in the first round, losing in six games to the New York Islanders. Hudler played in all six post-season games and registered only a single point — held without a shot on goal in three of those games, too — and could now become an unrestricted free agent when July 1 rolls around in less than two weeks.

From the Sun Sentinel:

2016-17 salary status: Earned $4 million this year and is an UFA.

What’s next: The Panthers’ depth in the minors, makes it highly unlikely the Panthers will sign Hudler, 32.

In a contract year, Hudler saw his overall point production drop back down compared to the marvelous, breakout 2014-15 season he put together with the Flames, while playing mostly on a line with Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan.

That was his final full season with Calgary. Hudler scored 31 goals  and 76 points. Only seven players in the entire league had more points and only 11 players had more goals.

In addition to a lower-body injury in January, Hudler had 35 points in 53 games before he was traded. When he got to Florida, he produced 11 points in 19 regular season games. Things took another turn toward the end of May when Hudler was left off the Czech roster for the upcoming World Cup of Hockey.

Hudler’s previous season in Calgary was what garnered the attention of Dale Tallon, then the Panthers’ GM, leading up to the deadline deal. The Panthers have since gone and acquired 20-year-old forward Jared McCann from the Vancouver Canucks. As per stats.hockeyanalysis.com, the veteran forward was 25th in the league with 2.10 points-per 60 minutes for players with more than 750 minutes of ice time as five-on-five.

Other UFA forwards will likely garner more attention and command more term, but despite his age, Hudler may still be able to provide another team with an experienced point producer. But will this season, capped by a lack of production in the 2016 playoffs, have some NHL GMs turning their heads in another direction?

Click here for all our 2016 UFA profiles.

Report: Islanders GM, Nielsen’s agent talking long-term deal

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 03: Frans Nielsen #51 of the New York Islanders prepares to play against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Second Round during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Barclays Center on May 03, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Lightning defeated the Islanders 5-4 in overtime.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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When it comes to the New York Islanders and their pending unrestricted free agents, the writing appears on the wall for forward Kyle Okposo.

For some time now, it has looked like his time with the Islanders is at an end, and he’ll head to the open market.

However, when it comes to Frans Nielsen, the 32-year-old forward and another pending UFA, there appears to be optimism for the Islanders, with July 1 approaching.

From Newsday:

“We’re just in a situation with the salary cap that you really have to analyze where you are today and where you’re going to be in five years from now. So there’s always tough decisions,” Snow said. “Kyle’s a great person. He’s been a terrific player for this organization. Wish him nothing but the best.”

Snow was not asked about Matt Martin or Frans Nielsen, but sources indicated that Snow and Marc Levine, Nielsen’s agent, have been in contact on a long-term deal in recent days.

Martin, like Okposo, appears headed for a new team once free agency begins on July 1.

Nielsen, at the end of a four-year, $11 million contract, finished third on the Islanders in points with 52 in 81 games during the regular season, behind John Tavares and Okposo. He also scored 20 goals, fourth on the team in that category.

In addition to solid production, Nielsen was also relied on for special teams, averaging 1:59 of ice time per game on the penalty kill and 2:43 of ice time per game on the power play.

(The Islanders had the fourth best PK in the league during the regular season, but the 17th-ranked power play.)

There could also be something else in the works for the Islanders.

Citing anonymous sources, Arthur Staple of Newsday also reported that the Islanders GM would be willing to part with the 19th overall pick in next week’s draft as part of a package to land an “established NHL forward.”

Two developments worth keeping an eye on in the coming days.