Author: Jason Brough

Calgary Flames v New York Rangers

Rangers agree to terms with RFA Lindberg (Update: two years, $1.3M)


The New York Rangers have agreed to terms with restricted free agent forward Oscar Lindberg, the club announced today.

From the release:

Lindberg, 23, skated in 75 games with the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League (AHL) this past season, registering 28 goals and 28 assists for 56 points, along with a plus-seven rating and 68 penalty minutes. He established AHL career-highs in goals, assists, points, power play goals (10), plus/minus rating, and shots on goal (214), and tied AHL career-highs in games played and game-winning goals (six).

The next year should be a big one for Lindberg. After two full seasons in the AHL, he’ll be aiming to make the jump.

Lindberg played one game for the Rangers last season, skating just 8:18 against the Flames on Feb. 24 at MSG.

UPDATE: Per the New York Post, Lindberg’s deal is for two years at $650,000, $1.3M total.

In ‘trying to fast-track’ prospects, do Coyotes risk rushing them?

Arizona Coyotes Prospect Development Camp

You know how they warn against rushing prospects into the NHL?

Well, the Arizona Coyotes should be an interesting team to watch in that regard.

“We’re trying to fast-track some people to the NHL,” coach Dave Tippett conceded at the team’s recent development camp, per The Arizona Republic.

Said GM Don Maloney: “We’ve got some unreal talent coming. We just have to hurry it along.”

Top prospects include forwards Max Domi, Anthony Duclair, Dylan Strome and Christian Dvorak. Domi is the eldest of those four, at just 20 years old.

Now, the optimist will say that the NHL is a young man’s league, where youth is actually an advantage, not a disadvantage.

But the skeptic will argue that the Coyotes have tried this before, and it didn’t turn out so well.

You’ll recall the Wayne Gretzky-coached teams that featured top draft picks Mikkel Boedker (eighth overall in 2008), Viktor Tikhonov (28th overall in 2008), and Kyle Turris (third overall in 2007).

Today, only Boedker remains with the club. And he first needed to be returned to the minors for more seasoning. The consensus, in hindsight, is that the Coyotes forced their prospects to bite off more than they could chew.

Not that there’s anything wrong with giving the youngsters a chance. If they’re ready, they’re ready.

The question the Coyotes will have to ask come the start of next season is, are they really ready?

Related: Coyotes praise Duclair’s ‘outstanding’ playmaking skill

In effort to ‘minimize injuries,’ Penguins announce two hirings

2011 NHL Winter Classic: Washington Capitals v Pittsburgh Penguins

The Pittsburgh Penguins announced a couple of new hires today. Andy O’Brien has been given the fancy title of Director of Sport Science and Performance, while massage therapist Andreas Hüppi has also joined the club.

In addition, the Penguins plan to hire a strength and conditioning coach to work under O’Brien.

“We are excited to add such highly-regarded specialists as Andy O’Brien and Andreas Hüppi to our staff,” GM Jim Rutherford said in a release. “We want to look at all aspects of how we train and prepare our players, how we can maximize performance and hopefully minimize injuries. We want to make sure they receive the best information available regarding training, nutrition, rehab and getting proper amounts of rest during a long season.”

Nobody in Pittsburgh needs to be reminded how many injuries the Penguins have suffered in recent years. In fact, out of all 30 teams, the website Man Games Lost deemed Pittsburgh the “most impacted by injuries” since 2009-10.

Granted, no trainer or massage therapist can keep a player from experiencing some of the serious health issues with which the Penguins have dealt, including blood clots, stroke, and cancer.

But according to O’Brien, it’s all about establishing “a methodology around how we develop and care for our players.”

Report: Stars among teams courting Oduya

Johnny Oduya

From Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News:

Everyone knows that Johnny Oduya’s first choice is to remain with the Chicago Blackhawks. But the 33-year-old defenseman can’t wait around forever for GM Stan Bowman to clear the cap space.

If it’s not the ‘Hawks, the Stars — with a young, inexperienced defense that doesn’t have veteran Trevor Daley anymore — may make sense. Dallas has a ton of talent up front, and after GM Jim Nill signed Antti Niemi to address the goaltending, the blue line is the one area that could perhaps be improved.

The Buffalo Sabres are another team that’s interested in signing Oduya. There are undoubtedly a few others.

For those teams that lose out on Oduya, other UFA d-men include Cody Franson and Christian Ehrhoff.

Related: Ehrhoff will take another one-year contract

Ehrhoff will take another one-year contract: agent

Andrew Ebbett, Christian Ehrhoff

Despite his brief stay with the Pittsburgh Penguins, defenseman Christian Ehrhoff is willing to roll the dice on another one-year contract.

Ehrhoff’s agent, Rick Curran, told PHT in an email that the 33-year-old unrestricted free agent “doesn’t mind having the flexibility of a single year commitment. He’s confident in his ability to provide a valued role to the right team. If there’s a mutual fit, an extension will likely follow.”

Ehrhoff signed a one-year, $4 million deal with the Pens last summer, not long after being bought out by the Sabres. After registering just 14 points in 49 games, in addition to suffering multiple concussions, it may be a one-year deal is the most he’ll be able to get anyway. (He’s apparently been give a “clean bill of health.”)

Curran insists “there’s continued serious interest” in both Ehrhoff and another UFA client, forward Jiri Tlusty.

“I would expect the log jam to clear a little once teams have a better handle on signing their remaining RFA players and know how much they have left in the till to spend,” wrote Curran. “Meanwhile, both players are content to remain patient until an appropriate offer hits the table from someone who will obviously be the right fit.”

Related: UFA of the Day: Christian Ehrhoff