Author: Cam Tucker

Report: Andrei Kostitsyn ‘open to any team’ when it comes to possible NHL return


Friday marked the third day of the National Hockey League’s free agent period. The frenzy from Wednesday has settled somewhat.

While the deals get signed and announcements made, former NHL forward Andrei Kostitsyn is still hoping to make his return back to North America after spending the last three seasons in the KHL.

It was reported back in May that the 30-year-old Kostitsyn was hopeful to get back to the NHL, where he posted three 20-goal seasons as a member of the Montreal Canadiens. He left for the KHL following the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs, when he was suspended for reportedly breaking curfew before a post-season game when he was with Nashville.

Based on his recent comments to Chris Johnston of Sportsnet, it seems Kostitsyn feels the North American style fits his game.

“I like to play the style there,” Kostitsyn told Sportsnet. “You have more chances in the smaller rink. A lot of good chances to score goals. … I’m open to any team; happy to be there.

“I think I can help any team.”

Sabres sign veteran d-man Colaiacovo


The Buffalo Sabres added a veteran presence to their blue line, signing Carlo Colaiacovo to a one-year contract. As per Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, the deal is worth $900,000.

The 32-year-old Colaiacovo, who has a history of injuries throughout his career, now joins his fourth team in the last four seasons. He spent 2014-15 with the Philadelphia Flyers, scoring twice with eight points in 33 games.

The Sabres have also added another O’Reilly to their organization.

Yes, in addition to locking up Ryan O’Reilly with a long-term contract on Friday, the Sabres also signed veteran minor league forward Cal O’Reilly to a two-year contract.

Cal O’Reilly led the AHL Utica Comets in points in the regular season (61 points in 76 games) and in the playoffs (19 points, and only two goals, in 23 games).

Brandon Saad brings championship experience to Blue Jackets


He’s only 22 years old. Yet twice already in his young career, Brandon Saad has hoisted the Stanley Cup as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Traded to Columbus on Tuesday, Saad officially signed a six-year, $36 million deal with the Blue Jackets on Friday.

Speaking to reporters in a conference call, Saad said he was “pretty certain” during the last few days since the blockbuster trade that a deal would get done with the Blue Jackets.

Despite his young age, he brings championship experience to a franchise that has made the playoffs only twice in its history.

Tuesday’s trade marked the end of Saad’s tenure in Chicago, a hockey market that has undergone a revival in the last 10 years and celebrated three championships in six years with the nucleus of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook.

Saad believes his time in Chicago has been vital to the evolution of his career. He scored twice in the Stanley Cup Final, including the winner in Game 4. The Blackhawks never looked back from there.

“Just the experience of being there and going on deep playoff runs and being able to win … it’s really helped my game grow,” he said.

“It’s really incredible for my career. It’s really helped me progress along and I can’t thank them enough.”

It has already been talked about that Saad, coming off a career best 23 goals and 52 points this past season in Chicago, could play on the wing on a line with 22-year-old center Ryan Johansen, who also established a career best in points with 71.

“I’m not sure who I’m going to be playing with and we’ll deal with that when it comes but they’ve got a lot of talented guys and I know playing against them, for how hard they work and the type of system, they’re tough to play against,” said Saad, adding he’s played mostly on the left wing during his NHL career, but is familiar on the right side, too.

“With that talent and skill on top of that, it makes them lethal and I’m happy to be a part of the team now.”

Sharks sign Joel Ward to three-year deal


The San Jose Sharks have signed unrestricted free agent forward Joel Ward to a three-year contract, the club announced Friday.

The 34-year-old Ward spent the last four seasons with the Washington Capitals. This past season, he scored 19 goals and 34 points in 82 regular season games and three goals and nine points in 14 playoff games.

His nine post-season points put him in a tie with Alex Ovechkin for the team lead in that category.

“Joel is a quality veteran player who can score but also plays an extremely hard-nosed brand of hockey,” said general manager Doug Wilson in a statement. “He meshes well with our core group of forwards and has a strong track record of playing his best hockey at crucial times of the season.”

“Joel is an identity player in that he plays exactly the way I want our team to play,” added Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer. “He’s big, strong, fast and hard to play against. That’s exactly what we are looking for.”

Related: UFA of the Day: Joel Ward

Video: Addition of Prust gives Canucks two willing fighters along with Dorsett


Brandon Prust is known to drop the gloves on occasion. So, too, is Derek Dorsett.

After Wednesday’s trade that sent Zack Kassian to the Montreal Canadiens and Prust to the Vancouver Canucks, it’s possible both Prust and Dorsett are on the same line when the 2015-16 season begins, and that could make things interesting for opposing teams as well as for fans, who will surely have to keep an eye on both players when they’re on the ice.

Dorsett, acquired by the Canucks at the 2014 NHL Draft, had 17 fighting majors this past season, according to The 31-year-old Prust had 16. Last season, while playing on different teams, Dorsett and Prust combined for 309 penalty minutes.

“Prust is going to supply us the toughness for our young kids so they don’t get pushed around,” Canucks general manager Jim Benning told TSN 1040 radio on July 1.

The addition of Prust should help ease the burden Dorsett faced last year as Vancouver’s tough guy, a role he accepted while also playing regular minutes as a bottom-six forward and establishing career highs in assists and points.

Of course, given their penchant for fighting, it seems only natural they’ve had a disagreement between them in the past.