Mike Halford

ST PAUL, MN - MARCH 21: (L-R) Teddy Blueger #23, Brad McClure #19, Matt Leitner #18, Jean-Paul Lafontaine #12 and C.J. Franklin #15 of Minnesota State celebrate in the final seconds of the 2015 WCHA Final Five hockey championship game against Michigan Tech on March 21, 2015 at Xcel Energy Center in St Paul, Minnesota. Minnesota State defeated Michigan Tech 5-2. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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Pens beat deadline, sign prospect Blueger to ELC

Teddy Blueger, the forward taken 52nd overall by Pittsburgh in 2012, has agreed to a two-year, entry-level deal with the club — just months before he was eligible to hit unrestricted free agency.

More, from the club:

Blueger, 21, completed his senior season at Minnesota State-Mankato, leading the Mavericks in points (35) and assists (24) while scoring 11 goals in 41 games as one of the team’s alternate captains.

Seven of Blueger’s 11 tallies this year were game-winning markers. Those numbers earned him a spot on the WCHA First All-Star Team.

A product of Shattuck St. Mary’s (the same prep school Pens captain Sidney Crosby attended), Blueger played his full four years at Minnesota State, which led some to believe he could go the way of Justin Schultz, Kevin Hayes and, most recently, Mike Reilly — skaters that played out their full college careers, passed the deadline to sign with the teams that drafted them, then inked with organizations of their choosing.

Like today’s other signing — Nebraska-Omaha forward Jake Guentzel — Blueger will report to Pittsburgh’s AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, where he’ll play on an amateur tryout contract.

Canucks sign Swedish League MVP Rodin: one year, $950,000

EURO HOCKEY TOUR SWE-CZE
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Yesterday, we passed along a report that Vancouver was “close” to agreeing to terms with SHL standout Anton Rodin.

Turns out it was really, really close.

On Tuesday, the Canucks announced they signed Rodin — the winner of this year’s Swedish League MVP — to a one-year, one-way contract.

Per Sportsnet, the deal is worth $950,000 and kicks in next season, meaning he won’t be joining the Canucks this year.

Rodin, 25, was Vancouver’s second-round pick at the 2009 draft. After spending two years with the club’s AHL affiliate (then in Chicago), he opted to return to Sweden and re-join the club of his youth, Brynas.

This year, the 5-foot-11, 181-pound forward had 16 goals and 37 points in 33 games for Brynas and finished tied for 15th in the league in scoring. His season ended about one week ago, and the Canucks have retained Rodin’s rights since his departure in ’13.

Earlier this season, Canucks GM Jim Benning acknowledged his club was scouting Rodin, noting the key to bringing him over to North America was the lure of playing in the NHL.

The one-way deal ensures that Rodin will earn his full NHL salary next year.

Sabres land prized Minnesota State d-man Nelson

ST PAUL, MN - MARCH 21: Casey Nelson #6 of Minnesota State controls the puck against CJ Eick #18 of Michigan Tech during the first period of the 2015 WCHA Final Five hockey championship game on March 21, 2015 at Xcel Energy Center in St Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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Buffalo has landed one of the biggest undrafted college free agents on the market — on Tuesday, the club inked Minnesota State blueliner Casey Nelson to an entry-level contract.

“We’ve been consistently impressed with Casey’s play for the last two years,” Sabres GM Tim Murray said in a statement. “We identified him as one of the top college free agents available and we’re excited to have him join the organization.”

Nelson, a 23-year-old junior, was believed to have garnered interest from a number of NHL clubs — to the point where, after initially leaning towards returning for his senior season, he switched gears and focused on turning pro.

Nelson led all Minnesota State d-men in scoring this season, capturing both WCHA Defensive Player of the Year honors and a spot on the All-WCHA First Team.

It’s been an exciting last 24 hours for Buffalo on the collegiate signing front.

Last night, the club announced talented University of Minnesota forward Hudson Fasching — acquired from L.A. in the Nicolas DeslauriersBrayden McNabb trade — had also decided to forego his senior year, and sign a pro contract.

‘Hawks prospect Ross facing revenge porn charges

Chicago Blackhawks left wing Garret Ross (61) is congratulated by teammate Mark McNeill after scoring during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Detroit Red Wings in Detroit, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
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Garrett Ross, a forward taken by Chicago in the fifth round of the 2012 draft, is facing charges for revenge porn stemming from an August 2015 incident, per CSN Chicago.

More:

The 23-year-old has been charged with one count of nonconsensual dissemination of a sexual image, also referred to as revenge porn, according to DeKalb County records.

The charge is a Class 4 felony, which could be punishable by one-to-three years in prison. Revenge porn became illegal in Illinois last year; the new law took effect on June 1, 2015.

Ross, 23, has spent the last three seasons with Chicago’s AHL affiliate in Rockford. On Tuesday, IceHogs head coach Ted Dent told WREX13 Ross had been excused from practice due to “personal reasons,” though WREX noted Ross had been removed from the team’s lineup over the weekend.

A Rockford spokesman told the station the club had “no comment on the situation.”

CSN Chicago requested comment from the Blackhawks regarding Ross, and has yet to hear back.

Goalie nods: Mrazek’s back, but in-form Howard starts for Detroit

Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard blocks a shot from the Los Angeles Kings during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Los Angeles, Monday, Jan. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
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Given the importance of tonight’s game in Tampa Bay — read more about that here — you’d think Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill would have started Petr Mrazek, given Mrazek’s healthy enough to suit up.

But instead, Blashill will stick with Jimmy Howard.

Mrazek will be on the bench tonight — his first back in uniform after falling ill last week — as Howard looks to extend his winning streak to three games, and continue his good run of fortune against the Bolts.

Howard has stopped 50 of his last 54 shots faced, good for a .924 save percentage, and has terrific numbers against Tampa Bay this season, going a perfect 2-0-0 with a 1.00 GAA and .961 save percentage.

For the Bolts, Ben Bishop starts in goal.

Elsewhere…

Chad Johnson‘s in for Buffalo, as the Sabres visit Carolina. The ‘Canes counter with Cam Ward.

Steve Mason played last night in Philly’s 4-1 win over the Isles but, because backup Michal Neuvirth is out injured, it’s unlikely the Flyers go to third-stringer Anthony Stolarz in another big game for their playoff chances. Sergei Bobrovsky‘s in for Columbus.

John Gibson starts for the Ducks (more on their goalie rotation here), while Mike Condon goes for the Habs.

— Sounds like Braden Holtby will be in goal for the Caps in Ottawa. The Sens are going with Craig Anderson.

Ondrej Pavelec is likely for the Jets tonight as they host the Canucks. No word yet on a Vancouver starter.

Scott Darling will continue his starting streak in place of the injured Corey Crawford, as Chicago hosts Dallas. Kari Lehtonen is likely for the Stars.

— No word yet on a Kings starter after Jonathan Quick got the hook versus Nashville last night. Devan Dubnyk‘s in for Minnesota.

Cam Talbot versus Mike Smith as the Oilers visit the Coyotes in Arizona.

Brian Elliott, who shut out the Canucks on Saturday in his return from injury, goes back in goal for the Blues. Sharks will start Martin Jones.