Mike Halford

ANAHEIM, CA - MARCH 02:  Mike Santorelli #25 of the Anaheim Ducks looks on during a game against the Montreal Canadiens at Honda Center on March 2, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Getty Images

Report: Journeyman Santorelli signs in Swiss League

1 Comment

Veteran forward Mike Santorelli, who’s appeared in over 400 NHL contests over the last eight years, is headed overseas.

Per multiple reports (see here and here), Santorelli has signed with Geneve-Servette of the Swiss League. The 30-year-old spent last season with the Ducks, scoring nine goals and 18 points in 70 games but didn’t dress for any of the club’s opening-round playoff loss to Nashville.

Santorelli broke into the NHL with Nashville but enjoyed his best years with Florida and Vancouver. He was a former 20-goal scorer with the Panthers and enjoyed a successful stint with his hometown Canucks in ’13-14, scoring 28 points in 49 games before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury.

Santorelli is the second veteran forward to sign in the Swiss League recently. Over the weekend, fellow journeyman Kris Versteeg agreed to join SC Bern.

Jackets sign d-man Harrington, acquired in Rychel trade

TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 14:  Scott Harrington #36 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates against the Vancouver Canucks during an NHL game at the Air Canada Centre on November 14, 2015 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Leafs defeated the Canucks 4-2. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Getty Images
1 Comment

Upon trading Kerby Rychel to Toronto at the draft for Scott Harrington, Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen said Harrington was “a guy we’ve watched for a while,” and a “steady, smart [and] good defender.”

Which makes today’s move none too surprising.

On Monday, Kekalainen announced Harrington signed a one-year, two-way deal (financial terms weren’t disclosed). The contract comes after Harrington split last season between the Leafs and the AHL Marlies, appearing in 15 NHL contests.

While Kekalainen was high on Harrington, the most noteworthy thing about the acquisition is it ended a long-running saga with Rychel, the 19th overall pick in 2013. There were repeated rumblings that Rychel wanted out of town, and felt stifled by Columbus’ reluctance to make him a full-time NHLer.

For a while, Kekalainen stood firm in the face of the reports, once openly wondering where they came from. But in the end, the decision was made to part ways with the 21-year-old, the son of ex-NHLer Warren Rychel.

As for Harrington, he should compete for a spot on the Columbus blueline next season. Right now he projects to be the No. 7 or 8 guy, assuming that super prospect Zach Werenski is primed for a full-time gig in the NHL, firmly entrenched in the Blue Jackets’ top six.

In other news from Columbus today, the club has also agreed to terms with AHL forward Alex Broadhurst.

One of the pieces acquired in last summer’s Brandon Saad blockbuster, Broadhurst was a key contributor to AHL Lake Erie’s Calder Cup championship this past spring, finishing second on the club in playoff assists.

Leafs avoid arbitration again, sign Corrado to one year, $600K deal

VANCOUVER, BC - FEBRUARY 13: Frank Corrado #20 of the Toronto Maple Leafs shoots the puck in NHL action against the Vancouver Canucks on February, 13, 2016 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
Getty Images
1 Comment

Over the weekend, reports suggested that Toronto and RFA blueliner Frank Corrado were close to agreeing to a new contract.

On Monday, the two sides sealed the deal.

The Leafs announced they signed Corrado to a one-year contract, with Sportsnet reporting it to be a $600,00 pact, of the one-way variety.

Corrado, 23, was scheduled to go to arbitration tomorrow. His ask was $900,000, while the Leafs countered with a $625,000 figure on a two-way deal, and $575,000 on a one-way.

So Toronto was nearly spot-on with its valuation.

The former Canucks draftee took a while to make his Leafs debut last season — he sat 28 games after they claimed him off waivers — but when he did get into the lineup, he fared reasonably well. Corrado finished with a goal and six points in 39 games, averaging 14:27 TOI per game.

This marks the second player Toronto avoided going to arbitration with. Prior to signing Corrado, the Leafs inked center Peter Holland to a one-year, $1.3 million deal.

With Grigorenko signed, Avs’ attention now squarely on Barrie

Tyson Barrie
AP
2 Comments

Colorado had two key RFAs to deal with this offseason — Mikhail Grigorenko and Tyson Barrie.

The former inked a one-year, $1.3 million deal on Wednesday.

Which means all eyes are now on the latter.

Barrie, 24, just wrapped a two-year, $5.2 million deal — one that paid $2.6M annually — and figures to be in line for a hefty raise. Avs GM Joe Sakic has shot down trade rumors about Barrie, who’s been one of the league’s better offensive blueliners over the last two years with 53 points last season, and 49 this season.

But Sakic’s words haven’t exactly silenced the rumblings.

Barrie is represented by Newport Sports, the same agency that represents former Avs center Ryan O'Reilly. Back in 2014, the Avs filed for arbitration with O’Reilly, a case Morris said “we didn’t think we’d have to attend to,” suggesting the team was playing a dangerous game with a key young performer.

While the O’Reilly situation ended with him being traded to Buffalo, Barrie’s agent — Newport’s Don Meehan — insisted that wouldn’t affect current negotiations.

“We just view it as business, that’s all,” Meehan said in February, per the Denver Post. “We have a professional camaraderie with Joe [Sakic, Colorado’s GM] that is very good. We will have differences of opinion, but that’s fine. We want to be fully open and transparent about a process, and we have a good relationship with Joe.”

As you can imagine, Colorado is a difficult team to get a read on.

While there’s no denying Barrie’s value, the Avs suggested that nobody was untouchable on the current roster, especially after a year in which they disappointed by missing the playoffs.

In a emotional post-season wrap, head coach Patrick Roy said failing to make the postseason was “unacceptable” and lit into the club’s veterans, claiming “our core needs to show more leadership.”

Whether Barrie was one of those leaders in question was unclear. But things appeared to potentially look that way when, in early June, reports suggested the club was eyeballing Jets d-man Jacob Trouba.

Then, the Avs proceeded to remake their blueline. Nick Holden, who appeared in all 82 games last year, was sent to the Rangers at the draft. Shortly thereafter, veteran Brad Stuart was bought out of the final year of his contract.

In explaining those moves, Sakic told the Denver Post d-men Nikita Zadorov (21 years old), Chris Bigras (21) and ’11 first-round pick Duncan Siemens (22) will have “every opportunity to try and make this team.”

Sakic added that 25-year-old Eric Gelinas, acquired from New Jersey at last year’s trade deadline, is also in the mix for minutes.

As such, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what Colorado wants to do with Barrie.

Given he’s only 24, and a right-handed shot, and gifted offensively, he has tremendous value across the league. But would the Avs be able to upgrade if they dealt him? Or is keeping him around the smarter play?

There are just nine days left until Barrie’s arbitration hearing. Safe to say there’ll be plenty more rumblings in the meantime.

Is Lamoriello acting ‘foolish’ in negotiations with Matthews?

BUFFALO, NY - JUNE 24: (l-r) Lou Lamoriello and  Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs attend round one of the 2016 NHL Draft on June 24, 2016 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Getty
25 Comments

Jesse Puljujarvi, the fourth overall pick at this year’s draft, has already signed his entry-level deal.

So too has the No. 3 pick, Pierre-Luc Dubois, and the No. 2 pick, Patrik Laine.

In fact, only one of the top four picks in this year’s draft has yet to sign:

Toronto’s Auston Matthews, the first overall selection.

(More on that here.)

It’s been reported that Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello, as old-school an executive as there is, remains steadfast in his belief against performance bonuses. This dates back to his time in New Jersey, like when he infamously refused to negotiate a performance bonus for Adam Larsson, the fourth overall pick in 2011.

For more on the current stalemate with Matthews, here’s Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star:

“This one, to me, feels foolish,” an NHL source not involved in the talks told The Star. “I don’t know what Lou’s reward is if he wins for the amount of risk you take by going this direction.”

The Leafs not only risk alienating Matthews and his camp — souring future talks when Matthews will have more leverage — but they may be sending a negative message to players around the league about how the team treats stars, he said.

“I hope Lou’s not holding his breath,” said an executive with a rival club. “I’ve got a lot of respect for Lou, but I would not be wagering the house on (the Leafs) being able to hold that line.”

The Star reported that Matthews is looking for an entry-level deal with $2.85 million in performances bonuses, on par with what Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel — the top two picks in last year’s draft — received from Edmonton and Buffalo, respectively.

This is somewhat uncharted territory for the Leafs organization.

Matthews is the most ballyhooed prospect the club’s had in years, and it’s also Lamoriello’s first major draft pick as GM. Remember, he wasn’t around when the club took Mitch Marner fourth overall last year, and the performance-laden deal Marner signed was orchestrated prior to LouLam coming aboard.

Now, to be clear, there’s still no reason for panic. The Leafs are months away from training camp and we’re still six weeks out from the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, in which Matthews will be suiting up for Team North America.

But with every passing day, the situation will be monitored just little bit closer.