Author: Mike Halford

Dallas Stars v Detroit Red Wings

Detroit signs Nyquist to four-year, $19 million extension


The Red Wings made a big splash on Friday, signing forward Gustav Nyquist to a four-year contract extension worth $19 million.

“We’re very happy to have Gustav locked up for four more years,” Detroit GM Ken Holland said in a statement. “He’s quickly become an important part of our team, and is a critical piece to the Red Wings’ future.

“He is just now entering the prime of his career.”

Per War On Ice, the deal carries a $4.75 million average annual cap hit, and Nyquist receives a full no-trade clause in the third and fourth years of the deal. Financially speaking, it’s a nice pay bump for the Swedish sniper, who was pulling down an average of $950,000 per year on his old deal.

Nyquist certainly deserves the raise.

He’s been Detroit’s most consistent scorer over the last two seasons, leading the team in goals (a combined 55 in ’13-14 and ’14-15.) This year, he finished third in the NHL with 14 power-play markers, pacing a Red Wings PP that led the league with 70 goals on the man advantage.

With this new deal, the 25-year-old becomes the third highest-paid forward in Detroit, behind Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. Nyquist, along with Zetterberg and Johan Franzen, is also one of just three forwards inked beyond 2017.

With this deal done, Holland will now turn his focus to his other two remaining RFAs: Tomas Jurco and Teemu Pulkkinen.

Crowded blueline: Jets ink Postma to two-year, $1.775M deal

Paul Postma

Having already re-upped with Adam Pardy and Ben Chiarot this summer, the Jets retained another depth defenseman on Friday by giving Paul Postma a two-year, $1.775 million extension.

The deal, which carries an $887,500 cap hit, comes after Postma appeared in a career-high 42 games last year, averaging 14:08 TOI per night. The 26-year-old was a lineup regular for the first three months of the season, but phased out in the second half of the campaign due to healthy scratches and a lower-body injury.

This extension puts Postma firmly back in the mix, however, and it’s a crowded mix…

Right now, there are 10 blueliners in the fold: Pardy, Chiarot, Postma, Trouba, Tobias Enstrom, Dustin Byfuglien, Tyler Myers, Mark Stuart, Jay Harrison and Grant Clitsome, who is coming off back surgery. While it’s not surprising to see Winnipeg stockpile bodies — injuries ravaged the defense last year — it’ll be interesting to see if the Jets can carry this many contracts, or if a trade will eventually be orchestrated.

Worth mentioning the Jets also have touted prospect Josh Morrissey, the 13th overall pick in 2013, on the horizon.

Ex-NHLer Sturm named coach, GM of German national team

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Marco Sturm, the highest-scoring German player in NHL history, has agreed to become the head coach and general manager of Germany’s national team.

“I’m very proud that the DEB [German hockey federation] gives me the huge responsibility and I’m really immensely looking forward to this challenging and exciting task I will work on with huge motivation,” Sturm said, per the IIHF website. “Together we want to go the next step with German ice hockey.”

Sturm, 36, retired last January after a 15-year NHL career that went through San Jose, Boston, Los Angeles, Washington, Vancouver and Florida. He also represented Germany at nearly every international level, participating in three Winter Olympics.

As mentioned in his quote above, this new gig will be a challenge. Sturm, who doesn’t have any pro coaching experience, inherits a struggling national team; Germany finished a disappointing 10th at the 2015 World Hockey Championships, suffering one of the biggest blowouts of the tournament, a 10-0 loss to Canada.

This came on the heels of an equally disappointing effort at the ’14 tourney, in which the Germans needed group stage wins over Latvia and Kazakhstan to avoid relegation.

Currently, there are seven German skaters in the NHL: Tobias Rieder, Dennis Seidenberg, Christian Ehrhoff, Marcel Goc, Leon Draisaitl, Korbinian Holzer and David Wolf. Thomas Greiss and Philipp Grubauer are the country’s lone netminders.

Rangers sign goalie Hellberg to two-year extension

Nashville Predators v Los Angeles Kings

On Friday, the Rangers locked in some goaltending depth by signing Magnus Hellberg.

Hellberg, acquired from Nashville on the opening day of free agency, agreed to a two-year pact, according to his representation (A.M.A Sports Agency). No word yet on the financials.

The first goalie taken at the 2011 draft, one spot ahead of Anaheim’s John Gibson, Hellberg has only played in one NHL game — a 12-minute appearance in which he allowed one goal — and spent most of his time in North American shuttling between the ECHL and AHL.

Last year, Hellberg went 15-10-6 with AHL Milwaukee, posting a 2.33 GAA and .913 save percentage. He was dealt to the Rangers party because of the depth of Nashville’s goaltending group, which includes Marek Mazanec and Finnish national team member Juuse Saros.

With New York, Hellberg will enter the season battling for the No. 3 netminder position behind Henrik Lundqvist and Antti Raanta, acquired from Chicago at the draft. Mackenzie Skapski will also be in the running for that third-string spot, but not until he returns from hip surgery that’s expected to sideline him until November.

Sabres hire Allen to replace Irbe as goalie coach

Tim Murray, Dan Bylsma

The Buffalo Sabres rounded out Dan Bylsma’s coaching staff on Friday, hiring former Chicago Blackhawks goalie development boss Andrew Allen as their new goalie coach.

Allen, 38, replaces the outgoing Arturs Irbe.

A former AHL and ECHL netminder, Allen was with Chicago for the last four seasons, spending the majority of his time tutoring netminders with the club’s AHL affiliate in Rockford. During Allen’s tenure, a number of solid backups rose through the ranks: Carter Hutton (now Pekka Rinne’s No. 2 in Nashville), Antti Raanta (now Henrik Lundqvist’s backup in New York) and Scott Darling (now Corey Crawford’s backup in Chicago).

In Buffalo, Allen will work with newly-acquired starter Robin Lenher and No. 2 Chad Johnson, acquired at last season’s trade deadline.

With this hire, Bylsma’s staff is now complete — Allen will join assistant coaches Terry Murray, Dave Barr and Dan Lambert on the Sabres’ bench.