James O'Brien

New York Rangers v Buffalo Sabres

Schaller among three Sabres who accepted qualifying offers


The following players agreed to qualifying offers with the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday: Tim Schaller, Jerome Leduc and Nathan Lieuwen.

Schaller (pictured) generated two points in 18 games with the Sabres, representing his first NHL reps. The 24-year-old also generated 43 points and 116 PIM in 65 games at the AHL level with the Rochester Americans.

Leduc, 22, was selected 68th overall in the 2010 NHL Draft. He hasn’t appeared in an NHL game just yet, but he scored 25 points in 76 games in the AHL.

Lieuwen, 23, played seven games with the Sabres in 2014-15, going 1-4-0 with a .906 save percentage. The big goalie went in the sixth round (167th choice) in 2011.

Ducks bring back O’Brien, sign Sgarbossa and Wagner

St Louis Blues v Florida Panthers

The Anaheim Ducks reached multiple one-year deals on Thursday, inking Shane O’Brien, Michael Sgarbossa and Chris Wagner.

O’Brien, 31, is an interesting case, as the Ducks drafted him with the 250th pick of the 2003 NHL Draft. O’Brien only ended up playing 62 games for the Ducks in 2006-07, beginning a journeyman career that included nine games with the Florida Panthers in 2014-15.

His career stats should tell the story of his role with the Ducks, when he’d manage to play beyond the AHL level: 92 points and 916 PIM in 537 career NHL games.

Wagner, 24, was the 122nd pick of the 2010 NHL Draft. He played in nine games with the Ducks in 2014-15, but failed to score a point. He’d likely provide injury insurance.

Sgarbossa, 22, has appeared in nine NHL games, with three of those contests coming with Colorado in 2014-15.

Oilers reach deals with Pitlick, Davidson

San Jose Sharks v Edmonton Oilers

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

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

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.