Mike Halford

Jake Allen, Carl Gunnarsson, Scottie Upshall, Kyle Brodziak
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Blues extend Brodziak — two years, $1.9 million

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The Blues liked Kyle Brodziak‘s first season in St. Louis so much, they signed up for two more.

On Monday, the club announced it signed Brodziak to a two-year, $1.9 million extension — one that carries a $950,000 average annual cap hit.

Signed to a one-year, $900,000 deal last season, Brodziak was a regular fixture in the lineup last season, appearing in 76 games while recording seven goals and 11 points.

In 20 playoff appearances, he scored twice.

Once a pretty effective scorer — he scored 38 times over two years in Minnesota — Brodziak is now almost primarily a bottom-six energy forward with good checking ability.

He was one of the better shot-blocking forwards on the team last year and was active in the faceoff circle, finishing fourth on the team in draws won.

With that bit of business done, GM Doug Armstrong can focus on some of his bigger decisions. Team captain David Backes is still without a contract, as is playoff standout Troy Brouwer.

Armstrong must also set aside money for prized RFA forward Jaden Schwartz, who had 14 points in 20 playoff games.

 

 

Wings re-sign Miller — one year, $1.025 million

DETROIT, MI - FEBRUARY 24:  Drew Miller #20 of the Detroit Red Wings looks on the Dallas Stars on February 24, 2011 at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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Detroit has re-upped with veteran checking forward Drew Miller on a one year deal worth $1.025 million, per the Macomb Daily.

The deal doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Earlier this month, Wings GM Ken Holland said the two sides were “working away” on an extension, describing Miller as a “good penalty killer, [and] a good leader in the room.”

Miller, 32, just wrapped a three-year, $4.05M deal with an average annual cap hit of $1.35 million. So he takes a bit of a pay hit, though that was somewhat expected given his difficult campaign.

Miller struggled through a nightmarish ’15-16, missing extensive time with a broken jaw and torn ACL. The result? Just 28 games played, and only two points scored — a tough situation to go through in a contract year.

When healthy, though, he can be an effective contributor.

Scooped off waivers from Tampa Bay seven years ago, Miller flourished during his time with the Red Wings and developed his niche as a defensively responsible forward that logs prime shorthanded minutes.

He didn’t miss a single game from 2013-15, appearing in 82 contests each season while racking up 15 and 13 points, respectively.

Miller was also one of the Red Wings’ best shot-blocking forwards and a staple of the penalty kill.

Looking ahead, the next big decision for Holland is another veteran free agent forward — Darren Helm.

It seems unlikely Helm is coming back. The Free Press suggested he could score “north of $3 million” annually on the open market, and even though the Wings did clear some major cap space by moving Pavel Datsyuk’s contract to Arizona, most of that money is (presumably) reserved to make a major play in free agency — perhaps one for Steven Stamkos.

Canucks waive Higgins for buyout purposes

Chris Higgins
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Looks like yesterday’s report proved accurate — per Sportsnet, the Canucks have waived veteran forward Chris Higgins for the purpose of buying out his contract.

Higgins, 33, has one year left on his four-year, $10 million deal with a $2.5M average annual cap hit. The 13-year vet has already been waived once by the Canucks — he cleared back in January, and was assigned to the AHL’s Utica Comets.

He was later recalled in March, finishing the NHL season with three goals and four points in 33 games.

Higgins’ buyout will result in an $833,333 cap hit for the Canucks this season and the next. For Higgins, it will mean an opportunity to try and catch on with another club, and there’s a halfway decent chance he could score an inexpensive contract with a team looking for a veteran presence.

Despite a tough ’15-16, Higgins was a good contributor for Vancouver the two seasons prior. He had 17 goals and 39 points in ’13-14, and 12 goals and 36 points in ’14-15.

Payday! Preds ink Forsberg to six-year, $36 million extension

DENVER, CO - MARCH 05:  Filip Forsberg #9 of the Nashville Predators awaits a face off against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center on March 5, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. The Predators defeated the Avalanche 5-2.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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Filip Forsberg has cashed in.

Forsberg, Nashville’s budding 21-year-old star, has inked a six-year, $36 million extension with the Predators, one that will pay him $6M annually through 2022.

It’s a significant bump in salary for the young Swede. Forsberg is coming off a three-year, entry-level deal that had an annual base salary of $925,000.

“Filip is among the most skilled, dynamic talents we’ve ever had in the organization and is an integral part of our success for the next six years and beyond,” Preds GM David Poile said in a release. “While we have already seen his creativity, hockey sense and puck skills, he has yet to reach the peak of his abilities.

“We have full confidence that he will continue to blossom into one of the top players in the world.”

Forsberg’s new deal comes on the heels of a banner campaign, in which he led the team with 33 goals and 64 points. He was a top-25 scorer in the league, and received some accolades for his two-way game with a 10th place finish in voting for the Selke Trophy.

This year’s effort effort was especially impressive given Forsberg avoided the dreaded sophomore slump. Last year, as a rookie, Forsberg was almost equally impressive, scoring 26 goals and 63 points en route to a fourth-place finish in Calder Trophy voting.

With the extension, Forsberg becomes the club’s highest-paid forward and third highest-paid player, behind Shea Weber ($7.8M cap hit) and Pekka Rinne ($7M).

Sabres goalie Makarov signs in KHL

UNIONDALE, NY - APRIL 04:  Playing in his first NHL game, Andrey Makarov #1 of the Buffalo Sabres takes a water break during the game against the New York Islanders at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on April 4, 2015 in Uniondale, New York.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Andrey Makarov, Buffalo’s pending RFA netminder, has signed a two-year deal in the KHL with Spartak Moscow, the league announced on Monday.

Makarov, 23, has appeared in one career game for the Sabres, spending the majority of his pro career with the club’s AHL affiliate in Rochester.

That lone NHL appearance came in ’14-15. Makarov spent all of last year in the minors and appeared in 22 games for the Amerks, going 9-9-2 with a 2.82 GAA and .916 save percentage.

His departure comes after he was passed by Swedish ‘tender Linus Ullmark on the club’s depth chart — Ullmark, 22, got the call up to Buffalo last year in the wake of Robin Lehner‘s early season injury, and proceeded to appear in 20 games.

Jason Kasdorf, a prospect signed out of R.P.I., also got a game at the NHL level last year. The Sabres also have 2011 draftee Nathan Lieuwen in the mix as far as goalie prospects go, which could have essentially squeezed Makarov out.