Cam Tucker

CALGARY, ALBERTA - APRIL 23:  Calgary Flames fan Ken Roder moves to make a save while playing street hockey with friends in the parking lot of the Pengrowth Saddledome before the Flames take on the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in game two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2006 NHL Playoffs on April 23, 2006 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.  (Photo by Tim Smith/Getty Images)
Getty Images

Game on! Toronto lifts ban on street hockey

4 Comments

Here’s a Canadian cliche: Kids playing street hockey with their friends, dreaming of scoring that Stanley Cup-winning goal.

So it’s interesting to note that in Toronto, Canada’s largest city and home to the Maple Leafs, there was actually a ban on playing street hockey. According to multiple reports, there was a $55 fine but the previous rules weren’t regularly enforced.

However, on Friday, Toronto Mayor John Tory announced via Twitter that city council has finally lifted the ban on street hockey.

More from the Toronto Star:

Nets will now be allowed on the road as long as they don’t block driveways or impede sightlines for cars and pedestrians. They must also not block the city’s ability to clean the road of snow and litter. Nets must be taken off the road when play is done.

Dealing with staff concerns over safety and liability to the city, Carmichael Greb’s successful motion says those participating or permitting play of road hockey and basketball games “are responsible for determining what locations are safe and for playing in a safe manner and agree that they are assuming any and all liability to persons and all risks to themselves or children under their care.”

Stars sign Jamie Benn to eight-year, $76M extension (Updated)

Fans celebrate along with Dallas Stars left wing Jamie Benn (14) after a score by Benn in the first period of Game 3 of a first-round NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoff series game, Monday, April 21, 2014, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
AP Photo
23 Comments

Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill was confident Jamie Benn would sign a long-term contract with the club this summer. On Friday, the two sides put pen to paper, making it a deal.

The Stars signed Benn to an eight-year contract extension, worth a total value of $76 million or an average annual value of $9.5 million. His new deal kicks in for the 2017-18 season.

That’s a substantial raise from the $5.25 million he was making annually with his current contract, which expires at the end of next season.

As of right now, the Stars have $22.75 million in cap space dedicated to forwards Benn, Tyler Seguin and Jason Spezza for the 2017-18 season.

Jamie has evolved into one of the most complete players in the NHL and his ability to lead our team is second-to-none,” said Nill in a statement.

“He impacts the game in so many ways and this signing was extremely important for the direction of the franchise. He’s shown in the playoffs, and at international events like the Olympics and the World Championship, that he is up to any challenge and that his fingerprints will be left on every game. He’s our leader and does things the right way, every day.”

Not bad for a player taken in the fifth round of the 2007 NHL Draft.

Since entering the league in 2009, Benn has become a dynamic offensive player for the Stars, a team that plays a high-flying offensive style.

He scored 41 goals and 89 points this season, finishing second behind Patrick Kane in the latter category.

The Stars finished the regular season with the best record in the Western Conference, eventually making it to Game 7 of the second round of the playoffs.

Only once in his NHL career has the 26-year-old Benn not hit the 20-goal mark in a season. That was during the lockout-shortened campaign. Since then, he’s had three straight seasons where he’s broken the 30-goal plateau, getting over 40 last season.

Playing alongside Tyler Seguin certainly helps, as the two have dominated puck possession when on the ice together at five-on-five, as per numbers from stats.hockeyanalysis.com.

Related: World Cup in question? Jamie Benn faces six-week rehab after surgery

Nylander signs entry-level deal with Sabres, could make jump to NHL next season

BUFFALO, NY - JUNE 24:  Alexander Nylander gives an inteview after being selected eighth overall by the Buffalo Sabres during round one of the 2016 NHL Draft on June 24, 2016 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Jen Fuller/Getty Images)
Getty Images
1 Comment

The Buffalo Sabres have inked eighth overall pick Alexander Nylander to a three-year entry-level contract.

The Sabres have some high hopes for Nylander. He stood out at the club’s recent development camp and the opportunity for him to potentially start next season in the NHL, earning a roster spot out of training camp, has been put out there by general manager Tim Murray.

“When we selected Alex, we obviously knew he was a talented, skilled player. We look forward to him coming to training camp and competing for a job,” said Murray in a statement on Friday.

According to the Buffalo News, the 18-year-old Nylander is also eligible to play in the American Hockey League for Rochester next season, so that’s possibly another option for his development.

Blues sign Schwartz to five-year deal, avoiding arbitration (Updated: It’s official)

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)
AP Photo
12 Comments

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)
Getty Images
4 Comments

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.”