James O'Brien

San Jose Sharks v Edmonton Oilers

Oilers reach deals with Pitlick, Davidson

The Edmonton Oilers signed Tyler Pitlick and Brandon Davidson to one-year contracts on Thursday.

Pitlick (pictured) spent part of the 2014-15 season at the AHL and NHL level, at least when he wasn’t injured. The 23-year-old forward generated two goals in 17 games with the Oilers and nine points in 14 contests with the AHL’s Oklahoma City Barons in 2014-15. Pitlick was the 31st pick of the 2010 NHL Draft.

Davidson, also 23, spent time at both levels last season as well. He managed a goal in 12 games with the Oilers and 10 points in 55 games in the AHL. The blueliner was the 162th pick in 2010.

He told the team website that he’s OK with the possibility of being the team’s seventh defenseman.

“That’s very fair,” Davidson said. “That’s my goal right now, to get my foot in that door and if that’s that seventh spot then I’m going to relish that and run with that. Any chance I can be there and stay there, I’m going to take it, make the best of it and work my way to through the ranks kind of thing.”

The Oilers didn’t provide specifics regarding either contract beyond the length of the deals.

Avs grab Grigorenko for one year

Carolina Hurricanes v Buffalo Sabres
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The Colorado Avalanche signed Mikhail Grigorenko – a significant part of the Ryan O’Reilly trade – to a one-year contract on Thursday.

This isn’t official, but word from Bleacher Report’s Adrian Dater is that the contract is one-way and worth $675K.

As you may remember, the Buffalo Sabres weren’t pleased that Grigorenko insisted on a one-way deal, so that factor is pretty significant. The 21-year-old was part of a trade package that also sent the 31st pick of the 2015 NHL Draft, Nikita Zadorov and J.T. Compher from Buffalo to Colorado.

The 12th pick of the 2012 NHL Draft endured a bumpy start with the Buffalo organization, as he struggled at the NHL level with the Sabres but put up often-impressive numbers in the QMJHL and AHL over the years.

Grigorenko probably needed a fresh start, and Colorado could very well be a nice fit for the Russian. His development will likely play a key role in how that trade his viewed a few years down the line.

Kings sign five RFAs, including Shore and Weal

2010 NHL Draft Portraits
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The Los Angeles Kings announced the signings of five restricted free agents on Thursday: Nick Shore (to a two-year deal), Jordan Weal (one), Andrew Crescenzi (one), Nic Dowd (one) and Vincent LoVerde (two).

Shore and Weal (pictured) are the two players to watch most closely.

Shore, 23, brings decent size to the table and already managed seven points in 34 regular season games last season. He’s “currently penciled in as the third-line center for the Kings” next season, according to Mayor’s Manor.

Shore can also be sent down to the AHL via waivers, which is worth considering if he suffers from a slow start or a rough season in general. Mayor’s Manor points out that Weal, also 23, would need to pass through waivers.

Weal was the MVP of the AHL’s Calder Cup playoffs after tying for the league lead with 22 postseason points. He’ll likely get a strong chance to earn a depth spot with Los Angeles in 2015-16.

Crescenzi, 22, is a big forward acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs back in 2014. Dowd, 25, put up solid AHL numbers during the Manchester Monarchs’ playoff run. LoVerde, 26, is an undrafted free agent with plenty of AHL experience.

Flyers re-sign Del Zotto, reportedly for two years, $7.75M

Michael Del Zotto
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The Philadelphia Flyers signed defenseman Michael Del Zotto to a multi-year contract on Thursday.

The team didn’t provide details, but the Courier-Post’s Dave Isaac reports that it’s a two-year, $7.75 million contract. (The Canadian Press’ Stephen Whyno backs him up.) To save you the math, that’s a $3.875 million cap hit, more or less taking up the Flyers’ remaining space.

It’s quite the reclamation story for the 25-year-old defenseman. Philly essentially grabbed Del Zotto off of the scrap heap last summer, giving him a $1.3 million “prove it” deal in 2014-15.

If nothing else, he proved that he can continue to generate impressive offense, as he generated 32 points in 64 games (exactly a point for every two contests).

Of course, the rub with “MDZ” is that his defensive game can be lacking, as those calling him “Del-Zaster” will attest. Flyers fans likely felt more comfortable with the occasional lapse when he was relatively cheap, but what about now that he’s being more richly rewarded?

The Flyers avoided arbitration with Del Zotto, by the way.

Mike Ribeiro settles sexual assault civil lawsuit

Mike Ribeiro
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Mike Ribeiro and his wife settled their sexual assault civil lawsuit with their former nanny for an undisclosed amount on Wednesday, as the Nashville Post’s J.R. Lind reports.

The terms of the settlement (which was made out-of-court) were undisclosed, but Ribeiro’s attorney Brian Lauten released the following statement to the Nashville Post:

“This civil matter has been amicably resolved without incurring further time-consuming and potentially costly litigation,” Lauten said. “I am unable to discuss any of the elements of this confidential resolution. Mike looks forward to continuing to play hockey at a high level and looks forward to aggressively pursuing a Stanley Cup alongside his teammates. The Ribeiro family will not have any further comments on this matter.”

The Predators also are aware of the settlement, as the Nashville Post notes:

“The organization understands Mike Ribeiro has resolved his civil case. We are pleased that Mike and his family can focus on their future and we will have no further comment.”

The Predators organization decided to re-sign Ribeiro, 35, to a two-year, $7 million contract even as this lawsuit remained in civil court. When negotiations were taking place, GM David Poile described Ribeiro as “a good teammate and a productive player” along with someone who, alongside his wife, has been “excellent in the community.”

Re-signing Ribeiro rubs some fans (both of the Predators and hockey as a whole) the wrong way. Puck Daddy’s Greg Wyshynski provided this advice to those who were angered by Nashville’s decision to bring Ribeiro back in June:

This story has gotten national attention, and there’s been national media pressure on Poile. That’s fine. But ultimately, it doesn’t matter unless Predators fans decide it matters.

All politics are local. If you’re a woman that loves the Preds but this re-signing turns your stomach, don’t be silent. If you’re a guy that loves the Preds but can’t support someone like Ribeiro, let your voice be heard. Because right now, the Predators clearly believe that the past doesn’t factor in the present, that Ribeiro is just another rehabbed player and that you think a No. 1 center trumps a player facing this type of civil case.

However you might feel about the situation, the bottom line is that the case is now settled – legally speaking – and Ribeiro is under contract with the Predators for the next two seasons.