Jason Brough

Ryan Strome

Isles sign Strome for two more years — can he bounce back?

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The New York Islanders have come to terms with forward Ryan Strome on a two-year deal with a reported cap hit of $2.5 million.

Strome, 23, was a restricted free agent. He had 28 points (8G, 20A) in 71 games last season for the Isles. He then added four points (1G, 3A) in eight playoff games.

But it was hardly a smooth year for the former fifth overall draft pick. He was sent to AHL Bridgeport for eight games in November, and he was an occasional healthy scratch in the playoffs. His point total fell from 50 (17G, 33A) in 2014-15.

That’s why, even after today’s announcement, there’s considerable pressure on Strome to bounce back this season. It remains to be seen how much leverage he’ll have, and where he’ll be, when his next contract negotiation takes place.

Shattenkirk, who expected to be traded, will wear an ‘A’ for the Blues

ST LOUIS, MO - MAY 23:  Kevin Shattenkirk #22 of the St. Louis Blues skates against the San Jose Sharks in Game Five of the Western Conference Final during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scottrade Center on May 23, 2016 in St Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Kevin Shattenkirk expected to be traded this summer. His agent even called it “inevitable.”

And while it’s still possible the 27-year-old defenseman could be dealt in the next few weeks, it looks more and more like he’ll start the season as a member of the Blues, while wearing an ‘A’ on his jersey to boot.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has an informative story on Shattenkirk’s situation, and includes this tidbit about a phone call from head coach, Ken Hitchcock:

The Blues grew concerned about Shattenkirk’s state of mind because of the constant rumors, so Hitchcock phoned him.

“I was kind of in limbo, and I get a call from ‘Hitch,’” Shattenkirk said. “He said, ‘I don’t care where you are a year from now, or two years from now, I care where you are five minutes from now.’ I think that was good for me, to assume that mentality myself and know that I had to come in here and just enjoy it.”

“We talked about, ‘Can he put everything behind him to become a leader?’” Hitchcock said. “Where things go at the end of the year is out of our reach as a coaching staff. But we need to know how locked in you are … and he said he’s very locked in and wants to have a hell of a year. That’s when we put him in the leadership position.”

Shattenrkirk is a pending unrestricted free agent, which is why the trade rumors started in the first place. A realist about the business, he understands that the speculation about his future “is something that I think is going to go on all year.”

A lot could depend on how the Blues fare this season. If they’re good again, trading him at the deadline becomes less likely, at least according to their general manager.

“If you get to a part of the year and you have guys that are unrestricted and your team is no good, then you make those decisions,” Doug Armstrong said over the summer. “But if you have a good team and you have guys that are unrestricted, you just play it out.”

Related: Blues GM says he might just keep Shattenkirk

‘Make no mistake,’ Ryan Miller is still the No. 1 goalie in Vancouver

Ryan Miller
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It should be obvious by now that Jim Benning is extremely loyal to Ryan Miller. The Canucks’ general manager was instrumental in the drafting of the American netminder (almost two decades ago in Buffalo), and one of Benning’s first moves in Vancouver was to sign Miller to a three-year, $18 million deal.

And while 26-year-old Jacob Markstrom is most definitely on the rise, Benning insisted today that Miller, whose contract expires after this season, is still the man for the Canucks.

“Ryan Miller is our No. 1 goalie,” Benning told TSN 1040 radio (audio). “He’s a guy that, he has the experience, he had a good season for us last year. So let’s make no mistake about that, first and foremost, Ryan’s our No. 1 goalie, but I feel we have two real good goalies and that’s a strength of our team.”

Benning did watch Markstrom make a surprise start for Sweden yesterday at the World Cup, and he was “really happy” to see his young netminder stop all but one of the 28 shots he faced in a 2-1 win over Russia.

“I think this is a good step for him in his confidence and going forward, so I was happy that he played real good and his team won,” said Benning.

The message for Markstrom is that he’ll have to outplay the 36-year-old Miller to become the No. 1, and that’s certainly fair enough. Both goalies had similar save percentages last season. Markstrom’s was .915 in 33 games, Miller’s was .916 in 51 games.

Related: Canucks extend Markstrom through 2019-20

Team USA practice suggests Byfuglien and Palmieri could play versus Canada

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 15:  Dustin Byfuglien #33 of Team USA answers questions during Media day at the World Cup of Hockey 2016 at Air Canada Centre on September 15, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

Based on today’s practice, changes could be coming to Team USA’s lineup for tomorrow’s must-win versus Team Canada at the World Cup.

Dustin Byfuglien, a controversial scratch in Saturday’s loss to Team Europe, was reportedly skating on a pairing with Erik Johnson, while Jack Johnson did not participate in rushes.

Jack Johnson played just 11:26 on Saturday, the lowest amount of any American defenseman.

It also appears that winger Kyle Palmieri, a 30-goal scorer for the Devils last season, could be entering the lineup.

David Backes played a team-low 6:35 against Team Europe, so he’s the most obvious candidate to come out.

P.S. — Patrick Kane with Derek Stepan and Justin Abdelkader is an….um….interesting combination.

Related: That was the worst possible World Cup debut for Team USA

Report: Fleischmann headed to Minnesota on PTO

ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 15: Brian Elliott #1 of the St. Louis Blues makes a save against Tomas Fleischmann #12 of  the Chicago Blackhawks in Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Scottrade Center on April 15, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/ Getty Images)

Thomas Fleischmann has reportedly chosen to accept a professional tryout with the Minnesota Wild.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman tweeted the news today, noting that Fleischmann has a history with Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau. The two were together for a number of seasons in Washington, preceded by a couple of seasons with AHL Hershey.

Fleischmann’s best NHL season under Boudreau came in 2009-10 when he had 23 goals and 28 assists in 69 games. The Capitals traded him to Colorado the following season, in return for defenseman Scott Hannan.

Since the start of 2013-14, Fleischmann has just 30 goals in 222 games, for four different teams. He split last season between Montreal and Chicago.

According to Fleischmann’s agent, eight teams were willing to give the 32-year-old winger a tryout.