Jason Brough

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Bruins re-sign Tommy Cross to one year, two-way contract

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The Boston Bruins have signed defenseman Tommy Cross to a one-year, two-way contract worth $650,000 at the NHL level.

Cross, 27, spent most of last season in the AHL; however, he did get into one of Boston’s playoff games against Ottawa when Adam McQuaidTorey Krug, Brandon Carlo and Colin Miller were all injured.

It was just the fourth NHL game of Cross’ career, the other three coming in the 2015-16 regular season.

In 74 games for Providence this past season, Cross had 12 goals and 23 assists.

Team USA unveils Bills-esque jersey for outdoor game in Buffalo

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At the home of the Buffalo Bills, Team USA will look the part when it plays Canada Dec. 29 in the preliminary round of the World Juniors tournament.

“This jersey will be worn just once for a very historic occasion,” said USA Hockey’s Mike Bertsch. “We’re obviously excited to host the first-ever outdoor game played in the World Juniors and this jersey will help add to the overall significance and fanfare of the game.”

The outdoor game at New Era Field was announced in October.

Click here for ticket information.

Devils, Bolts and Leafs could make play for Vatanen

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The New Jersey Devils are in a good spot, for sort of a bad reason.

With the expansion draft looming, and a player like Anaheim defenseman Sami Vatanen potentially available via trade, the Devils might be able to swoop in.

Why?

Well, just consider New Jersey’s defense, where only Damon Severson is an absolute must-protect.

That’s no disrespect intended to Andy Greene, who’s been a fine defenseman in this league for a while now. But Greene also turns 35 in October. He’s no longer the offensive catalyst he used to be.

But OK, fine, let’s say the Devils protect Greene. He is their captain, after all. They’d still be able to protect another defenseman. Probably one of Ben Lovejoy or John Moore.

Again, no disrespect intended. But if the Devils could get Vatanen at a reasonable price, might they be willing to expose Lovejoy and Moore? At most, they’d only lose one of those two anyway.

A similar thing could be said about the Tampa Bay Lightning’s defense. The Bolts will obviously want to protect Victor Hedman and Anton Stralman, but to add a guy like Vatanen, they might be willing to expose Jason Garrison and Andrej Sustr.

Ditto for the Toronto Maple Leafs, who’d love to add another defenseman. The Leafs are going to protect Morgan Rielly and Jake Gardiner, but they don’t have to expose Nikita Zaitsev, and losing Connor Carrick or Martin Marincin wouldn’t be a complete disaster.

Now, we’ve only used Vatanen as an example here. There could be other defensemen traded ahead of the expansion draft. Other forwards or goalies, too.

The point is, any team that adds a player prior to the expansion draft will need to be able to protect him, and some teams are better able to do that than others.

Yandle did not waive NMC, Panthers will protect him

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Keith Yandle did not waive his no-movement clause, so he must be protected in the expansion draft by the Florida Panthers, according to Harvey Fialkov of the Sun Sentinel.

It was reported a few days ago that Yandle may be asked to waive. But the Panthers said yesterday, per George Richards of the Miami Herald, that they hadn’t asked him, nor did they intend to ask him.

Yandle only signed with Florida last summer. The 30-year-old offensive defenseman still has six years left on his $44.45 million deal.

The Panthers will also protect d-man Aaron Ekblad in the expansion draft. Assuming they use the 7-3-1 format, that would only leave one spot to protect Jason Demers, Alex Petrovic, or Mark Pysyk.

Johnny Hockey’s little brother signs AHL contract

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Johnny Hockey’s kid brother, Matt, has signed a one-year AHL deal with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

The Tigers are the New York Islanders’ top minor-league affiliate.

From the press release:

Gaudreau, 22, completed a four-year career at Boston College in March, posting career highs in goals (eight), assists (27) and points (35) in 40 games last season. He ranked second on the Eagles in scoring and led the team in assists during his senior campaign. Overall, Gaudreau recorded 63 points (16 goals, 47 assists) and a plus-25 rating in 119 career contests with Boston College. He signed an amateur tryout (ATO) with Bridgeport on March 28, training with the team in the final weeks of the 2016-17 season. 

Gaudreau, an undrafted winger, has a lot to prove as a professional. He’s listed at just 5-foot-9 and 150 pounds, which is even lighter than his brother (157 lbs).