Jason Brough

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 10: Kyle Palmieri #21 of the New Jersey Devils in action against the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center on October 10, 2015 in Washington, DC. The Washington Capitals won, 5-3. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Palmieri named to Team USA World Cup squad, replaces Callahan


The United States will replace injured winger Ryan Callahan on its World Cup squad with New Jersey Devils forward Kyle Palmieri.

Palmieri is coming off a 30-goal season. He led the Devils with 57 points and recently signed a five-year contract extension.

“Kyle brings an all-around game that we’re confident will fit nicely with the framework we’re looking to build,” said Team USA GM Dean Lombardi in a release. “He’s coming off an outstanding year in New Jersey and will play an important role with our team.”

Palmieri, 25, is more than just a goal-scorer. He finished second among New Jersey forwards with 129 hits, a statistic that no doubt appeals to head coach John Tortorella. Ditto for Palmieri’s 51 blocked shots, also the second most among Devils forwards.

Many had wondered if Callahan would be replaced by Phil Kessel. It’s not known if the Penguins’ star winger was a consideration; he recently underwent hand surgery and was still wearing a bandage on Monday during his day with the Stanley Cup in Toronto.

Related: Kessel on World Cup snub: ‘It is what it is’

Nill says Hamhuis could be on the top defensive pairing in Dallas

ANAHEIM, CA - JANUARY 05:  Dan Hamhuis #2 of the Vancouver Canucks skates against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center on January 5, 2014 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

For just $7.5 million over the next two years, the Dallas Stars may have found themselves a top-pairing defenseman in free agency.

Stars GM Jim Nill was interviewed on TSN 1040 radio yesterday and was asked where he saw Dan Hamhuis playing next season. Nill replied that it was “wide open” heading into training camp, but didn’t rule out a major role for the 33-year-old veteran.

“There’s a chance he could play with John Klingberg,” Nill said, per Today’s Slapshot. “John’s got great offensive skills. I think Dan Hamhuis might be a great fit for him, to be the guy back there moving the puck out, giving the puck to him.”

Klingberg spent most of last season paired with Alex Goligoski, who’s in Arizona now. The Stars also lost Jason Demers to free agency and didn’t re-sign Kris Russell, leading Nill to target Hamhuis on July 1.

If Hamhuis, a left shot, isn’t paired with right-shooting Klingberg, there are “lots of other options” for a partner, according to Nill.

“We’ve got Stephen Johns,” Nill said. “We’ve got this Esa Lindell. Patrik Nemeth. We’ve got Jordie Benn. So we’ve got lots of young defensemen that could always use the mentorship of a veteran like Dan Hamhuis.”

It will certainly be interesting to see how Hamhuis fares with his new team, and not just from a Stars perspective. Despite not being far removed from winning Olympic gold for Canada in Sochi, the Canucks did not make him a priority to re-sign, opting instead to acquire Erik Gudbranson from Florida and bolster their forward group with Loui Eriksson.

Related: Dallas loves its young defensemen, which could mean goodbye for some vets

Report: NHL dismisses neutral arbitrator who reduced Wideman’s suspension

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, right, speaks at a news conference before the NHL Awards show Wednesday, June 24, 2015, in Las Vegas. At left is Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly. The NHL is officially exploring expansion. The league is opening a formal expansion review process to consider adding new franchises to its 30-team league, Bettman announced Wednesday, June 24, 2015. Las Vegas, Seattle and Quebec City are the markets that have expressed the most serious interest. (AP Photo/John Locher)

James Oldham, the neutral arbitrator that reduced Dennis Wideman’s suspension from 20 games to 10, has been dismissed by the NHL, according to SportsBusiness Daily’s Liz Mullen.

The dismissal should come as no surprise, given the NHL’s response to Oldham’s ruling.

“We believe that Arbitrator Oldham, in reaching his decision, exceeded his contractual authority by failing to properly apply the parties’ collectively bargained standard of review,” deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in June.

Daly’s remark was made after the NHL sued the NHLPA in an effort to vacate Oldham’s decision and restore Wideman’s original 20-game suspension for hitting linesman Don Henderson. That suspension was upheld by commissioner Gary Bettman on first appeal, before the appeal went to Oldham.

As noted by The Hockey News, the NHL had the right to dismiss Oldham. A neutral arbitrator must be acceptable for both sides, and clearly he wasn’t anymore.

Related: On Wideman suspension, NFL refs stand with their NHL brethren

Caps, Johansson settle on three-year, $13.75 million deal

BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 05:  Marcus Johansson #90 of the Washington Capitals looks on  during the second period against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden on January 5, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

It came right down to the wire, but the Washington Capitals and Marcus Johansson won’t require an arbitration hearing today. They’ve settled on a three-year, $13.75 million deal.

The new contract garners a cap hit of $4.583 million, a compromise of what the two sides had been hoping for. The 25-year-old winger can become an unrestricted free agent after his contract expires in the summer of 2019.

From the release:

Johansson, 25, registered 46 points (17 goals, 29 assists) in 74 games with the Capitals last season. The 6’1”, 209-pound forward set career highs in plus/minus (+12) and game-winning goals (7) in 2015-16 and tied his career high in power-play goals (6). He ranked tied for 11th in the NHL and second on the team in game-winning goals. In addition, Johansson ranked third among Capitals skaters in power-play goals, fifth in assists and sixth in points.

The task now for the Caps is to get Dmitry Orlov signed. The 24-year-old defenseman is their final restricted free agent, and there’s not a ton of cap space to work with.

‘Canes enjoying stronger ticket sales, but ‘fence-sitters’ still need convincing

RALEIGH, NC - JANUARY 22:  Fans welcome the players to the ice before a game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Carolina Hurricanes during play at PNC Arena on January 22, 2013 in Raleigh, North Carolina.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

The team that finished dead last in NHL attendance last season is enjoying a stronger summer of ticket sales.

Carolina Hurricanes president Don Waddell spoke to the News & Observer recently and shared the encouraging news:

Compared to this time last year, new season-ticket package sales are up about 40 percent and overall ticket sales revenue is up about 60 percent, Waddell estimated on Monday. 

Waddell also said the team’s existing season-ticket member (STM) renewal rate stands at 90.15 percent. Last summer, the team achieved an 87 percent renewal rate but didn’t do so until September, and only about 72 percent renewed the previous summer.

The ‘Canes averaged just 12,203 fans in 2015-16, more than a thousand fewer than the Arizona Coyotes, who finished 29th in attendance. The struggles to fill PNC Arena have only fueled speculation that the Hurricanes could one day be relocated.

Despite the improved ticket sales, Waddell knows the real key to stability will be putting a winning team on the ice. The Hurricanes have missed the playoffs seven years in a row.

“The season-ticket base is really going to grow once we prove to the fence-sitters that we are a playoff-bound team,” he said.

Until then, optimism about the future is what the ‘Canes will have to sell. GM Ron Francis has been building something in Raleigh, but it remains to be seen when the roster will be good enough to actually compete for a Stanley Cup.