You've heard the expression "let's get busy?" Well, Mike Halford is a blogger who gets "biz-zay!" Consistently and thoroughly.
Busy Tuesday around the NHL, as teams continue to make moves ahead of the trade deadline.
• The Wild have signed veteran d-man Mike Weber to an NHL contract, this after he caught on with their AHL affiliate in Iowa. It’s a two-way deal and, in order to make him roster-eligible, the club has placed him on waivers. Weber’s last big league action came in ’15-16, when he appeared in 10 games for the Caps.
• The Blue Jackets made a similar move with Marc-Andre Bergeron, per TVA. Bergeron, 36, joined AHL Cleveland this season after a three-year stint with Zurich of the Swiss league, and has scored nine points in 13 games for the Monsters. His is also a two-way deal and, like Weber, has been placed on waivers as a formality.
• Calgary has waived d-man Jyrki Jokipakka. Acquired from Dallas in last year’s deadline deal for Kris Russell, Jokipakka has appeared in 38 games for the Flames, scoring six points. Today’s move comes after Calgary made a pair of moves to upgrade the defense, signing Matt Bartkowski and trading for Michael Stone.
• Anaheim has waived forward Joseph Cramarossa. Cramarossa, 24, was taken in the third round of the ’11 draft, and has appeared in 49 games for the Ducks this year, scoring 10 points (making his NHL debut in the process).
• Chris DiDomenico, who Ottawa signed out of the Swiss League yesterday, has been waived for the purpose of joining the roster.
• Tampa Bay waived Gabriel Dumont, who’s been up and down between the Bolts and AHL Syracuse throughout the season. The former Montreal forward has two points in 19 games for the Lightning.
Noteworthy move out of Pittsburgh on Tuesday — the Pens have waived 31-year-old Eric Fehr.
Fehr, in the second of a three-year, $6 million deal with a $2M cap hit, has appeared in 55 games this season, scoring six goals and 11 points while averaging just under 11 minutes a night.
He was also a regular in last year’s Stanley Cup run, scoring three times in 23 games.
Though his role decreased, Fehr was still frequently used by head coach Mike Sullivan — albeit in a more limited capacity. He was a good PK contributor, and did play over 10 minutes in Saturday’s outdoor game win over the Flyers, registering an assist.
The immediate speculation is that Pens GM Jim Rutherford waived Fehr to clear some cap space for a future deal. Rutherford already acquired Ron Hainsey to help bandage the Pens’ defense, and could be pushed to make another splash in the wake of Washington’s blockbuster deal to get Kevin Shattenkirk.
Chicago re-upped with a pair of veteran skaters on Tuesday, agreeing to one-year contract extensions with d-man Michal Rozsival and forward Jordin Tootoo.
At first glance, these deals certainly appear to be expansion draft-related. The Sun-Times notes this will allow ‘Hawks GM Stan Bowman to protect former first-round pick Ryan Hartman, who’s enjoying a breakout campaign with 15 goals through 57 games.
Rozsival, 38, has been the more active of today’s signees, appearing in 51 contests while notching a pair of points. He’s won a pair of Stanley Cups in Chicago.
Tootoo, 34, was signed last summer and has appeared in 36 games. He’s gone scoreless while racking up 21 PIM.
Rozsival’s current deal pays $600,000, while Tootoo’s is at $750,000. Terms of their extensions weren’t released but it’s fair to suggest the dollar figures will be similar, given Chicago’s pressed right up against the cap ceiling.
Bowman certainly seems to be getting his house in order ahead of the aforementioned expansion draft. Last week, he inked journeyman goalie Jeff Glass to a two-year deal, another move that appeared to be with Vegas in mind.
Having already dealt away Ben Bishop and Brian Boyle, Lightning GM Steve Yzerman could be on the verge of moving another veteran out of town:
Fippula, 32, is in the fourth of a five-year, $25 million deal with a $5M average annual cap hit. He’s had a nice bounce-back offensive campaign, with 34 points through 59 games — last year, those totals dipped to 31 in 76 — and has been a dependable, defensively responsible center during his time in Tampa Bay.
So, why might he get moved?
Yzerman has plenty of business to attend to this summer. Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Jonathan Drouin are all pending RFAs requiring new deals, and it’s going to be expensive trying to keep all three in the fold.
It’s also worth noting that Victor Hedman‘s monster extension kicks in next year and, per ESPN, Yzerman is still searching to add a top-four defenseman to the mix.
McKenzie notes it’s unclear if Filppula has agreed to waive his NTC. If he does, though, teams would undoubtedly be interested in acquiring an experienced middle man, with tons of playoff experience.
Filppula’s appeared in over 150 career postseason contests, winning a Stanley Cup with Detroit in 2008.
New York made an interesting move on Tuesday, recalling prospect Josh Ho-Sang from AHL Bridgeport on an emergency basis, ahead of Thursday’s game in Dallas.
Ho-Sang, 20, was the club’s first-round pick (28th overall) at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. A gifted offensive talent, Ho-Sang was a polarizing and controversial figure in his draft year, known equally for his skills as he was for his brash, outspoken demeanor.
Controversy followed him to the Isles when, in his first pro training camp, he was sent packing after just one day.
To his credit, Ho-Sang has morphed into a quality AHL scorer and impressed the Isles along the way. He has 10 goals and 36 points in 48 games this year, sitting first on the team in assists and second in scoring.
Because of the timing of this recall — and the fact the Isles were blasted 7-0 in their last game, on Saturday against the Jackets — some have speculated this recall could be tied to a pending trade from GM Garth Snow.
Well, this is getting interesting. The Isles have now “returned” Ho-Sang to Bridgeport, per Newsday. Isles writer Arthur Staple said he expects the rookie to be recalled tomorrow, and speculation continues to grow these transactions are tied to a potential trade.