Author: Jason Brough

Vladimir Tarasenko

Big money: Tarasenko signs eight-year, $60 million extension with Blues

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The St. Louis Blues have signed forward Vladimir Tarasenko to an eight-year, $60 million contract.

With a cap hit of $7.5 million, the deal makes Tarasenko the highest-paid player on the Blues.

One of the league’s top young stars, the 23-year-old had 37 goals in 2014-15, fewer than only four others in the NHL. He added six more goals in six playoff games.

The Blues drafted Tarasenko 16th overall in 2010.

As far as recent comparables go, it’s not easy to come up with many, given Tarasenko was a restricted free agent coming off his entry-level deal. Brandon Saad just signed a six-year, $36 million deal with Columbus, but his production pales next to Tarasenko’s.

Elite scoring wingers-wise, Phil Kessel is on an eight-year deal with an $8 million cap hit (shared now by both the Leafs and Penguins), while Corey Perry is also on an eight-year deal, with an $8.625 million cap hit.

Kessel, 27, and Perry, 30, each have a longer track record, but Tarasenko is considerably younger. And, of course, Kessel and Perry signed those deals as pending unrestricted free agents, which gave them more leverage in negotiations.

Canes sign Zach Boychuk to one-year, two-way deal

Zach Boychuk
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The Carolina Hurricanes are keeping a familiar face in the fold. The club announced today that it has comes to terms with forward Zach Boychuk on a one-year, two-way contract worth $600,000 in the NHL and $200,000 in the AHL.

“This will be Zach’s eighth season in our organization,” said GM Ron Francis in a release. “He’s a reliable depth forward who we know is capable of contributing offensively at either level.”

The ‘Canes drafted Boychuk 14th overall in 2008. The 25-year-old split last season between AHL Charlotte and Carolina. In 31 games with the ‘Canes, he had three goals and three assists.

Report: Boedker takes one-year deal with Coyotes, avoids arbitration

Mikkel Boedker
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The Arizona Coyotes and forward Mikkel Boedker have come to terms on a one-year deal, according to Craig Morgan of FOX Sports Arizona.

The deal is reportedly worth $3.75 million, a good raise over the $2.8 million he made last year.

Boedker, who recently filed for salary arbitration, was a restricted free agent. The 25-year-old Dane had 14 goals and 14 assists in 45 games in 2014-15. The player and club had tried unsuccessfully to negotiate an extension prior to the start of the season. In April, the two sides were still in an “arm wrestle” over terms.

“There’s been a lot of changes with the Coyotes and a lot gone on,” Boedker’s agent, Jarrett Bousquet, told azcentral over the weekend. “Our talks have been going on for a long time and right or wrong, it’s nobody’s fault. That’s why you get an arbitrator. When people disagree on something, it’s not a bad thing. We can continue to work toward a one-year deal.”

Of note, Boedker will be an unrestricted free agent when his new contract expires next summer.

Related: Coyotes confirm Boedker had spleen removed after Jets game

Blackhawks extend TVR through 2017-18

2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Six
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The Chicago Blackhawks have come to terms with Trevor van Riemsdyk on a two-year contract extension, the club announced today.

The new deal locks van Riemsdyk up through 2017-18, after which he can become a restricted free agent. The reported cap hit for the extension is $825,000. (Which is actually less than his current NHL cap hit of $925,000 that runs through next season, though unlike his current contract, his extension is a one-way deal.)

A 23-year-old defenseman, van Riemsdyk was a pleasant surprise for the ‘Hawks at the start of the 2014-15 campaign. However, injuries to both his leg and wrist meant missing a significant chunk of the season. He only returned in time to play the final four games of the Stanley Cup Final.

“We saw firsthand what he was able to do when he came into training camp. Surprised us all how well he played, how effective and efficient he is,” coach Joel Quenneville said prior to the final. 

“One of his strengths is his reads, positionally aware, decision-making with the puck. He’s got a lot of attributes that can help our team. I think he came onto the scene rather fast for us. I think we have a lot of confidence and trust in him.”

Related: Chicago signs NCAA prospect Trevor van Riemsdyk

Bucks’ threat to move to ‘Las Vegas or Seattle’ has an NHL angle

Milwaukee Bucks New Court
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While we hesitate to give credence to what may ultimately be an empty threat, here’s something from the Milwaukee Business Journal that we’ll be watching nonetheless:

Milwaukee Bucks president Peter Feigin told Wisconsin lawmakers Monday that time was of the essence in approving $250 million in public funding for the proposed arena in downtown Milwaukee or the NBA will move the team to another city.

At an informational hearing held by the state Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee, Feigin said the Bucks owners’ purchase agreement for the team includes a provision that construction of a new arena start in 2015. If that does not occur, he said the NBA will buy back the team for a $25 million profit and move them to “Las Vegas or Seattle.”

Why should this matter to hockey fans? Well, because an NBA team moving to Seattle could spur somebody in that city to — in the words of NHL commissioner Gary Bettman — get their “arena act together.”

Currently, nobody has that act together. When investor Chris Hansen failed to relocate the Sacramento Kings to Seattle, it threw his arena plan into doubt.

An arena is already being built in Las Vegas, which is expected to get an NHL expansion team at some point in the near future.

Related: Milwaukee has a plan to build a new arena — could an NHL team move in?