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
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
Fired last week after 22 seasons as the New Jersey Devils’ director of scouting, David Conte says he respects the decision by new general manager Ray Shero.
“I respect it,” Conte told NJ Advance Media. “They’re doing what they were supposed to do and that’s operating in the best interest of the franchise.”
Conte was asked if he’d clashed with Shero.
“No, I don’t think so,” Conte said. “Nothing more than I would’ve had with [former GM Lou Lamoriello], whether we should trade this pick or not trade it. That’s not a clash. That’s just a disagreement.”
With the exception of Adam Henrique, the Devils have not seen many of their recent draft picks turn into above-average NHLers. Though part of that can be explained by a lack of high first-round picks, and while the Devils do have some promising young players, Shero felt a change was necessary regardless.
“David and I have had numerous discussions regarding his future,” Shero said last week in a release. “Based on our conversations, I believe it is in the best interests of our organization for David to pursue other opportunities and to not renew his contract.”
Related: The Devils are old, and that’s a problem no coach can fix
In confirming the report that they’d re-signed forward Mitch Callahan for one more more year, the Detroit Red Wings also announced today that defenseman Nick Jensen had inked a two-year extension.
From the press release:
Jensen, 24, tripled his offensive output from his rookie AHL season in 2013-14 by registering 27 points (6-21-27) in 75 games with the Griffins this season after tallying nine points (0-9-9) in 45 games last year. The 6-foot, 200-lb., blueliner placed second among Grand Rapids defensemen in scoring this season and ranked among club leaders with 21 assists (6th) and a plus-30 rating (T1st), which tied for the best plus-minus in the AHL. Jensen has also logged four points (0-4-4) in 26 career AHL playoff games.
Financial terms were not released. Jensen’s last deal was a two-way contract with a cap hit of $882,000.
Jensen has yet to play his first NHL game. And with seven NHL blue-liners under contract for next season in Detroit — plus youngsters Xavier Ouellet, Alexey Marchenko, Brian Lashoff, and Ryan Sproul in the system — it’s not clear if he’ll get his chance anytime soon.
Related: Red Wings aim to fill void on blue line internally
From Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports:
Callahan is coming off a good news/bad news year with AHL Grand Rapids. The 23-year-old winger had 16 goals and 22 assists in 48 games, which was the good news. The bad news came in February, when he tore his ACL.
Still rehabbing from that injury, Callahan was able to skate lightly at Wings development camp earlier this month.
“The way it’s been going right now, I couldn’t be happier,” he said, per MLive. “I’m above where I’m supposed to be. I’m ahead of schedule.
“It doesn’t feel 100 percent yet but it’s the first time skating in four months. By August, I’ll be fully cleared for contact and everything.”