Jason Brough

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Report: Carolina Hurricanes ‘close’ to being sold

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The Carolina Hurricanes may have found a new owner that’s willing to keep them in Raleigh.

According to Bloomberg’s Scott Soshnick, the former Managing Partner and CEO of MLB’s Texas Rangers, Chuck Greenberg, is “close” to a deal worth approximately $500 million to buy the ‘Canes.

The Hurricanes’ current owner, Peter Karmanos, has been exploring sale options for a while now. As time passed, reports emerged that he’d be willing to sell, even if the team was relocated. And weren’t hockey fans in Quebec City happy to hear that.

But NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has repeatedly shot down any relocation speculation.

“There’s no imperative for the franchise to be sold on any immediate basis, and the franchise is not moving,” Bettman said in January.

Karmanos, who moved the franchise from Hartford in 1997, has guaranteed that “the Hurricanes will not become the Nordiques.”

As for the potential new owner, differences with partner Nolan Ryan led to Greenberg’s resignation from the Rangers in 2011. (For more on that, click here.)

Greenberg then considered buying the Dallas Stars, only for them to be sold to Tom Gaglardi.

Update:

This from reporter Jeff Gravley of WRAL-TV in Raleigh:

Rangers sign Lias Andersson to entry-level contract

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We wrote yesterday that Lias Andersson would “get every opportunity” to make the New York Rangers next season.

Today, Andersson — the seventh overall pick in last month’s draft — agreed to terms on his entry-level contract with the Blueshirts.

The Rangers were able to select the 18-year-old center with the pick they received from Arizona, along with Anthony DeAngelo, for Derek Stepan and Antti Raanta.

“Obviously my goal is to play in the NHL,” Andersson said after he was selected. “I know it’s tough, and if I don’t make it, maybe play in the American League or play back home in Sweden. I don’t know yet. We’ll figure something good out.”

Loktionov to attend Kings training camp on PTO

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Andrei Loktionov is giving it another shot in North America.

The Los Angeles Kings confirmed today that Loktionov will attend training camp on a professional tryout. The 27-year-old center has been in the KHL the past three seasons.

Loktionov was a fifth-round draft pick of the Kings in 2008. He split his time with the organization between the AHL and NHL, before getting traded to New Jersey in 2013, then getting traded again a year later to Carolina.

In 155 career NHL games, Loktionov has 22 goals and 26 assists.

Loktionov got to hoist the Stanley Cup in 2012; however, he only appeared in two games of the Kings’ postseason run.

Report: Duchene could start next season with Avs

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If you’ve been wondering why Matt Duchene is still a member of the Colorado Avalanche, here’s an update from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman:

Everyone decided to take a deep breath and go back to their corners when Matt Duchene wasn’t traded July 1. It sounds like everyone is realizing the possibility he could start next season in Colorado. But remember this: Avalanche assistant GM Chris MacFarland was with Scott Howson in Columbus when Howson waited until July 20, 2012, to trade Rick Nash. Sometimes the best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour, and MacFarland could be following that blueprint. I wouldn’t be surprised if interested parties (Boston, Columbus, Nashville, Pittsburgh, maybe Calgary) try again to see if anything shakes loose.

Friedman goes on to say that Duchene’s contract, which has two years left on it, could be a stumbling block.

We’ve written about that in the past. If Duchene only had one year left, an acquiring team could immediately sign him to an extension, like when the Avs traded Ryan O’Reilly to Buffalo.

But with two years left, it’s more complicated because an extension can’t be signed until next summer. That means an acquiring team would have to trust that Duchene wanted to stay long-term. And even if he said he did, there’d still be a risk he could change his mind.

Another factor in all this is that the Avs absolutely have to nail this deal. Certainly, they need to do better than what they got for O’Reilly.

To illustrate, it’s been reported that the Columbus Blue Jackets offered defenseman Ryan Murray to Colorado as part of a package for Duchene.

With all due respect to Murray, the second overall draft pick in 2012, he is not the franchise defenseman the Jackets had hoped he’d be. If the Avs are going to trade Duchene, they’ll need to get a guy with a higher ceiling than Murray’s.

And that’s the toughest part for GM Joe Sakic. As we’ve said before, fixing a defense with trades is not easy to do. Sure, the Jackets were able to get a good, young defenseman in Seth Jones, but they had to give up Ryan Johansen to get him.

The key there? Johansen was under club control for more than two years.

Related: Cale Makar goes fourth overall to Avs

Fehr: Players would be ‘foolish’ to ignore possibility of work stoppage in 2020

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If there’s a work stoppage in 2020, Derek Stepan is one of the growing number of NHLers who will have some insurance.

That’s because, for the 2020-21 season, Stepan managed to negotiate $3 million of his $5 million salary to be paid out in a signing bonus. Whether there’s a season or not, he’ll get paid that bonus.

It’s a strategy that dates back to the last lockout in 2012. And according to NHLPA chief Donald Fehr, it’s simply sound business practice for his union members.

“My judgement is that players would be foolish not to take into consideration the possible outcomes when the contract expires or either side terminates it early,” Fehr said Wednesday, per Postmedia. “They have to take that into account.”

The NHLPA must decide by Sept. 19, 2019, if it wants to opt out of the final two seasons of the 10-year CBA. The NHL can also opt out two years early; however, it’s the players who’ve complained most about the current deal. They don’t like escrow. And they were furious that the league tried to use the 2018 Winter Olympics as a negotiating chip.

If neither side opts out, the CBA will run until Sept. 15, 2022 — unless it’s extended first.