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Flames re-sign RFA goalies Gillies and Rittich

The Calgary Flames have re-signed goalies Jon Gillies and David Rittich to one-year, two-way contracts, the club announced Saturday.

Both spent the majority of last season in the American Hockey League, but did get in some game action with the big club in Calgary. The 23-year-old Gillies, the Flames’ third-round pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, played in 39 games with the Stockton Heat, posting a .910 save percentage.

He then made his first career NHL start on April 6 against the L.A. Kings and stopped 27 of 28 shots faced for the win. He then began the playoffs as Calgary’s back-up because of an injury to Chad Johnson.

Rittich made his debut two days later, allowing one goal on 10 shots in 20 minutes of ice time versus San Jose.

The Flames have already taken care of their goaltending situation at the NHL level for next season, bringing in Mike Smith from Arizona and Eddie Lack from Carolina.

Columnist: Potential new Hurricanes owner concerned with ‘revitalizing Raleigh as a hockey market’

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The Carolina Hurricanes may have a potential new owner in Chuck Greenberg, the former CEO of the MLB Texas Rangers who also had interest in the NHL’s Dallas Stars.

A report Friday goes into further details about Greenberg’s motivation in purchasing the Hurricanes from Peter Karmanos, who has been exploring a sale of the team for quite some time now.

Previous reports indicate the agreement between the Hurricanes and Greenberg would keep the club in Raleigh, amid ages of speculation it may be a candidate for possible relocation to markets like Seattle or Quebec City.

From the Raleigh News and Observer:

Interviews with people close to Greenberg and others who have knowledge of the proposed purchase but requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks paint a picture of a front man who would be deeply concerned with the fan experience and revitalizing Raleigh as a hockey market, but lacking the money to fund the purchase himself and reliant on a group of investors to get the deal done.

If the deal goes through, at a reported price of $500 million that likely includes a large amount of assumed debt while valuing the actual franchise closer to $300 million, Greenberg would move to Raleigh with the intention of making the team work here. That’s what Hurricanes fans long afraid of a move to Quebec City or Seattle during these years of ownership uncertainty as Karmanos has had the team on the market have been hoping to hear.

The Hurricanes won the Stanley Cup in 2006 but haven’t made the playoffs since 2009. Despite their postseason drought, Carolina is building quite a depth of young talent, most notably on defense. They could take another positive step forward next season, perhaps contending for a playoff spot. In a bid to bolster their goaltending situation, the Hurricanes also acquired and then signed former Chicago No. 2 netminder Scott Darling.

After making his NHL debut last season, Oilers re-sign Simpson to one-year deal

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The Edmonton Oilers re-signed defenseman Dillon Simpson, who appeared in three games for the big club last season.

On Sunday, the team announced it is a one-year deal for Simpson, worth $675,000 at the NHL level, per CapFriendly.

Originally selected by Edmonton in the fourth round of the 2011 NHL Draft, the now 24-year-old Simpson has spent the vast majority of his professional career in the minors.

Last season, he appeared in 53 games for the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors. He scored three times with 11 points. He was recalled to the Oilers in November, before making his NHL debut against Philadelphia on Dec. 8.

Agent: Torts ‘should be among the top-paid coaches’ in the NHL

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Last season started with John Tortorella as the early favorite to be the first coach fired.

By the end of June, however, he was the Jack Adams Award winner as the league’s coach of the year.

The Columbus Blue Jackets underwent quite a transformation, setting single-season franchise records in wins (50) and points (108), while goalie Sergei Bobrovsky was sensational and claimed the Vezina Trophy.

The success of last season could have an impact on the dollar figure Tortorella may be able to demand for his next contract, according to the Columbus Dispatch, which spoke with Torts’ agent Neil Glasberg.

Remember, not only was he favored to be fired early last season, he was previously let go by the Canucks after a disastrous single season in Vancouver. Charging down a hallway to the Calgary Flames dressing room to get at Bob Hartley during an intermission — and the subsequent suspension for his actions — was the low point for Tortorella with that franchise.

That was during the 2013-14 season.

Three years later . . .

From the Columbus Dispatch:

Tortorella’s situation bears watching. He’s entering the final year of his contract, a five-year, $10 million deal signed with Vancouver in 2013. Since the Blue Jackets hired him in October 2015, they’ve paid only $750,000 of his $2 million annual salary, with the Canucks picking up the rest. In other words, the Blue Jackets have been paying less for their coach than just about any other team in the NHL. Even the $2 million figure puts him only in the middle of the pack, but that’s about to change.

“Who just won coach of the year?” Glasberg said. “It’s not the first time he’s won the Jack Adams Trophy, either. He’s won a Stanley Cup. The Blue Jackets just had the best season in franchise history, and it’s not even close. Yeah, he should be among the top-paid coaches in the league.”

Mike Babcock of the Maple Leafs, hired by that franchise in May of 2015, signed an eight-year deal worth an estimated $50 million in Toronto. According to CapFriendly, he makes $6.25 million per season, listed as the highest paid coach in the league. Joel Quenneville is second, making $6 million.

Could Brandon Pirri be on his way to Switzerland?

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Unrestricted free agent forward Brandon Pirri may be on his way to Switzerland for next season, where he could join fellow former Rangers teammate Kevin Klein, according to reports.

From the Swiss Hockey News:

Only one day after the signing of defenseman Kevin Klein, another New York Ranger reportedly joins the ZSC Lions for the upcoming season. According to information from La Regione, the Lions have signed the 26-year-old forward Brandon Pirri. The confirmation of the club should follow soon.

Two years ago, Pirri scored 22 goals in 49 games with the Florida Panthers. Last season with the Rangers, he had eight goals and 18 points in 60 games on a one-year contract worth a $1.1 million cap hit.

Pirri had a decent start to the 2016-17 season, with four goals and six points in the first seven games, but couldn’t sustain that pace.

He became an unrestricted free agent after the Rangers did not extend him a qualifying offer last month.