Cam Tucker

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 31:  Lars Eller #81 of the Montreal Canadiens skates during practice at Gillette Stadium on December 31, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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Eller is pumped to play for Cup-contending Capitals


ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) When Lars Eller was playing for the Montreal Canadiens, he was a man without a position whose name was constantly bandied about in trade talks.

He wasn’t comfortable.

Following a trade to the Washington Capitals, Eller knows he’ll start next season as the third-line center behind All-Stars Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeni Kuznetsov. And he’s joining a team that has been trying to acquire him for more than a year, so he feels wanted.

“When a team shows that much interest in you and has a specific need and finds a player that they think can fill that need, then I think that’s the best thing for me and I think it’s good for Washington,” Eller said on a conference call Monday. “They see me fitting in in a certain spot, in a certain place, in a certain role that’s going to be defined, and I think that stability is going to do me well.”


Trade: Habs get Shaw from ‘Hawks, send Eller to Caps

Capitals don’t extend qualifying offer to Latta, acquired in 2013 Filip Forsberg trade

Eller had some stability in Montreal because he was there six seasons after a 2010 trade from the St. Louis Blues. But he kept getting moved from the wing to center and back, especially in recent seasons under coach Michel Therrien, and his production suffered.

It also didn’t help, Canadiens general manager said, that Eller often put too much pressure on himself. Eller agreed with that and figured it showed in his play.

“I am a player that has put a lot of pressure on myself,” the 27-year-old said. “I was too hard on myself at times. Just I want to do as good as possible. Sometimes maybe it was too much and there was times where I didn’t have much fun playing and it hurt my game at times.”

Eller had only 13 goals and 13 assists last season and was frustrating because of his tendency to come up big at times and disappear at others. The Capitals are aware of that, but GM Brian MacLellan said Eller fits exactly what he was looking for.

“He’s got good size, he skates well, he’s got good skill level, he plays a good two-way game,” MacLellan told reporters in Buffalo, New York, at the draft Friday. “We’ve been looking to fill that spot for a little while now.”

After losing in six games to the eventual Stanley Cup-champion Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round, MacLellan said his goal was to improve his depth at forward. Adding Eller, who has two years left on his contract at a salary-cap hit of $3.5 million, was the first step toward doing that.

Eller was part of the 2014 Montreal team that made the Eastern Conference final, and he’ll be counted on to help the Capitals get there and beyond.

“I’m going to go play for a Stanley Cup contender,” Eller said. “It’s fun playing on a winning team where they have a winning culture and they have a chance to play for a Cup. I’m honestly really excited about that.”

Predators hire Redden as asst. director of player development

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After 1,023 regular season games in the National Hockey League and retiring as a player in January, 2014, Wade Redden has been hired by the Nashville Predators as an assistant director of player development.

From the Predators:

In his role, Redden will assist Director of Player Development Scott Nichol in following and evaluating prospects drafted by Nashville, assisting them with their maturation process into NHL players by focusing on nutrition, off-ice workouts and conditioning, practice habits and game performance.

At the height of his career, the seasons immediately before and after the second lockout, Redden was Ottawa’s most productive defenseman, hitting the 50-point plateau in 2005-06.

The season before the second lockout, he had a single-season career best 17 goals.

In addition to playing for the Senators, the team he began his NHL career with in 1996, Redden played for the New York Rangers (and two seasons with their AHL affiliate in Connecticut when the Rangers sent him down), St. Louis Blues and Boston Bruins.

Related: Redden’s unusual journey to 1,000 games

Capitals don’t extend qualifying offer to Latta, who was acquired in 2013 Filip Forsberg trade

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 01:  Michael Latta #46 of the Washington Capitals skates against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center on November 1, 2013 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Capitals defeated the Flyers 7-0.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Michael Latta is now an unrestricted free agent.

According to reports, the Capitals didn’t extend the 25-year-old Latta a qualifying offer on Monday, so he now heads to free agency after three seasons in Washington. He scored three goals and seven points in 43 games this past season.

From the Washington Post:

The decision to let Latta walk is a bit of a surprise after General Manager Brian MacLellan said twice last week that he intended to extend qualifying offers to all four. But the trade for Lars Eller, who projects to be the Capitals’ third-line center, leaves Latta again without a role, as Jay Beagle is expected to be the Capitals’ fourth center.

Meanwhile, in Nashville. . .

. . . The Predators on Monday signed 21-year-old forward Filip Forsberg to a six-year, $36 million extension, following a 33-goal, 64-point regular season.

The significance?

The Capitals traded Forsberg — their first-round pick, 11th overall, in the 2012 NHL Draft — to Nashville in April of 2013 for Martin Erat and Latta, who was playing in the AHL at the time.

Erat played 62 games in parts of two seasons for Washington, before moving to Phoenix with the Coyotes and eventually signing in the KHL last September.

Now Latta is an UFA.

Canucks re-sign Etem to one-year, $775K deal

CALGARY, AB - APRIL 7: Emerson Etem #26 of the Vancouver Canucks in action against the Calgary Flames during an NHL game at Scotiabank Saddledome on April 7, 2016 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)
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The Vancouver Canucks have brought back forward Emerson Etem on a one-year, one-way contract worth $775,000, the team announced Monday.

Etem, 24, was a pending restricted free agent, coming off a one-year deal that paid him $850,500, more than his newly signed deal does, as per General Fanager.

A former first-round pick of the Anaheim Ducks in 2010, Etem scored 61 goals and 107 points in his final year of junior with the Medicine Hat Tigers, but that scoring touch hasn’t yet transferred to the NHL level.

Etem is now on his third NHL team, having been traded twice.

The Canucks acquired Etem from the New York Rangers in January, in exchange for prospect Nicklas Jensen.

After going 19 games without a goal in New York, Etem scored seven times and had 12 points in 39 games for a Vancouver team that, across the board, didn’t score very much.

“He’s a guy that is going to bring us speed and he’s got strength to get to the net,” said general manager Jim Benning of Etem at the time of the trade. “He’s proven he can score in the past and so I expect him, when he comes in here and gets his confidence, to be a scorer for us.”

Related: Canucks waive Higgins for buyout purposes

Police reports outline complaints against Sabres’ Evander Kane

BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 01: Evander Kane #9 of the Buffalo Sabres warms up to play the Edmonton Oilers at First Niagara Center on March 1, 2016 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Jen Fuller/Getty Images)
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BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) Buffalo police have released a pair of complaints against Sabres forward Evander Kane in which two women accuse him of grabbing them at a bar.

The accusers’ names are blacked out in the harassment reports released Monday. The incidents allegedly occurred shortly after 3 a.m. EDT June 24.

Police say they’re investigating and no charges have yet been filed.

According to the reports, one woman told police Kane threatened her inside the club, and while outside grabbed her throat and tried to push her into his car. The second woman accused the 6-foot-2-inch Kane of trying to force her from the bar.

Kane’s attorney and the Buffalo Sabres didn’t immediately return messages.

Kane was investigated for a possible sex offense in December but prosecutors determined there wasn’t evidence to support charges.


AP Source: Police investigating Evander Kane harassment claim 

Report: After ‘alleged incident’ at a Buffalo bar, two crime reports have been filed against Evander Kane