Mike Halford

You've heard the expression "let's get busy?" Well, Mike Halford is a blogger who gets "biz-zay!" Consistently and thoroughly.
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Report: Marleau has two-year offer from San Jose

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San Jose is pushing to get Patrick Marleau back in the fold.

Per TSN’s Darren Dreger, the Sharks have extended Marleau a two-year contract offer, one that Marleau and his family are currently mulling over. This comes after an earlier report from TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, which claimed San Jose’s initial offer was a one-year extension.

Marleau, 37, has spent his entire 20-year career in the Bay Area, and is coming off a very productive season in which he scored 27 goals — his highest total in three years.

That San Jose is willing to add term to the offer shouldn’t be a major surprise. Though Marleau will be 38 by the start of next season, he’s one of the most durable and healthy players in the league — he hasn’t missed a game in eight years.

The Sharks may also be operating on the idea that if Marleau sticks, so too will Joe Thornton.

More, from NBC Sports California:

Should Marleau return, it makes the return of Joe Thornton more likely, as well. Thornton, also a pending unrestricted free agent, has been receiving interest from across the league but would prefer to stay in San Jose with his longtime teammate.

There’s still no word on what the financial side of things would look like. Marleau’s last contract paid $6.7 million annually and the one prior to that paid $6.9M.

In short order, Botterill remodeled Buffalo’s blueline

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One of the biggest challenges Jason Botterill faced upon becoming Sabres GM was fixing the club’s defense.

He’s been on the job for 50 days now. And he’s certainly faced that challenge head on.

Friday’s acquisition of Marco Scandella — along with former captain Jason Pominville, while sending Tyler Ennis and Marcus Foligno to Minnesota — was his biggest move to date. It gives Buffalo a bonafide top-four guy, one that can log 20 minutes per night and provide a level of cost certainty. Scandella’s smack in the middle of a five-year, $20 million deal with a $4M average annual cap hit, and is locked in through 2020.

But it wasn’t Botterill’s only move.

The first was acquiring KHLer Victor Antipin. The 24-year-old joined the Sabres after a six-year stint with Metallurg Magnitogorsk, who he helped capture two Gagarin Cup titles. Botterill was effusive in his praise of Antipin in announcing the signing.

“Victor is a well-rounded defenseman who has played in all situations at the pro level,” he said, per NHL.com. “His mobility and puck-moving skills make him a perfect match for what we’re hoping to build with our defense corps next season.”

Three weeks after the Antipin acquisition, Botterill was at it again. This time, getting Nathan Beaulieu from Montreal in exchange for a third-round pick.

It was a modest price to pay for a guy that, despite his inconsistencies, put up a career year with the Canadiens. The 24-year-old had 28 points in 74 games while averaging 19:29 TOI.

Botterill still has work to do on this front. Beaulieu is a restricted free agent and needs a new contract though, to hear him explain it, that shouldn’t be a difficult one to negotiate. He’s excited about the future in Buffalo, thanks in large part to another of Botterill’s key moves — the hire of Hall of Fame defenseman Phil Housley as head coach.

“I’ve got a huge opportunity to re-grow my game with a guy who played the game similarly to the way I would like to play it,” Beaulieu said shortly after getting traded.

The Housley hire will, quite obviously, have a major impact on Buffalo’s blueline. He was lauded for his work as an assistant coach in Nashville, where he oversaw a speedy, play-making group highlighted by P.K. Subban, Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis and Matthias Ekholm.

Housley won’t have the same level of talent in Buffalo, but he’ll have a better product than what Dan Byslma coached last year. Scandella, Antipin and Beaulieu have been added to a group that included Rasmus Ristolainen, Zach Bogosian, Josh Gorges and Jake McCabe. Prospect Brendan Guhle could also be in the mix, after he finished last year playing for AHL Rochester.

And hey, Botterill might not be done remodeling. Though it sounds like the Sabres are now out on UFA blueliner Kevin Shattenkirk, other options remain. Chris Lee, who was Antipin’s defense partner in the KHL, is still looking for a contract.

Whatever the case, one thing is certain. Buffalo needed to fix its defense, and Botterill wasted no time doing it.

Pittsburgh on verge of trading for Bonino replacement

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The Penguins expect to lose Nick Bonino in free agency, so they’re in the process of finding his replacement.

On Friday, Pens GM Jim Rutherford told the Tribune-Review he’s close to completing a deal that would send a third-line center to Pittsburgh.

“There’s been enough conversation here over the last week that something could happen,” Rutherford said.

Pittsburgh won’t try to replace Bonino via free agency. Rutherford said the available 3Cs were too expensive to acquire given the shallow depth of this year’s market, something reflected in Bonino’s current situation. He’s being courted by a number of clubs, and is believed to be one of the most coveted prizes in free agency.

Whoever Rutherford acquires, there will be a fairly large role for him to fill.

Bonino has been one of the NHL’s best third-line centers over the last two years. This season, he racked up 18 goals and 37 points in 80 games, then another seven in 21 playoff games before suffering a season-ending broken leg in the Stanley Cup Final.

A deft passer that can also put pucks in the back of the net, Bonino regularly manned the Pittsburgh power play. But his game isn’t limited to just offensive contributions — last year, he led all Pittsburgh forwards with 99 blocked shots.

Journeyman goalie Peters signs in KHL

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After a seven-year career in which he played nearly 100 games with three different teams, Justin Peters is headed abroad.

Peters, who split last year between Arizona and Dallas, has signed on with Dinamo Riga of the KHL, the Latvian club announced on Friday. Peters joins the team after appearing in three games with the Coyotes last season, going 1-0-1 with a .900 save percentage. All his time with the Stars organization was spent with AHL Texas.

The 30-year-old did, at one point, look like he’d be a steady NHL backup. He was drafted pretty high — 38th overall at the 2004 draft — and had a solid ’13-14 campaign with Carolina, when he made 20 starts and finished with a .919 save percentage.

In addition to Arizona, Dallas and Carolina, Peters also spent time in the Washington organization, briefly serving as Braden Holtby‘s backup.

 

Orlov scores big payday — six years, $30.6 million from Caps

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Brian MacLellan hasn’t been shy about writing big checks in the aftermath of another playoff disappointment.

On Friday, the Caps GM announced the club extended d-man Dmitry Orlov to the tune of $30.6 million over the next six years. That works out to an average annual cap hit of $5.1 million — a major increase from the $2.575M he was making on his previous deal.

Orlov, 25, gets the payday after two good offensive campaigns. He scored eight goals and 29 points in ’15-16, and six goals and 33 points last year. It’s worth nothing he appeared in all 82 contests both times, and saw his TOI jump from 16:02 to 19:32.

There was also the looming specter of a possible deal coming from his native Russia. Orlov was reportedly in talks with KHL powerhouse CSKA Moscow.

The move makes Orlov Washington’s third highest-paid blueliner — behind Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik — and the only one signed beyond 2021. As mentioned above, it’s also the latest big money splash from MacLellan. Previously, he locked in T.J. Oshie with a monster eight-year, $46 million deal, one that carries a $5.75M hit.

It was understood the Russian rearguard was going to get a raise and while the AAV is a big jump, it’s in line with other contracts throughout the league. It actually comes in reasonably close to the seven-year, $31.5 million deal Toronto gave fellow Russian d-man Nikita Zaitsev, and that one came with Zaitsev having less experience at the NHL level.