Mike Halford

CALGARY - SEPTEMBER 12:  Doug Soetaert of the Calgary Flames poses for a portrait at Don Hartman Arena on September 12,2005 in Calgary, Canada. (Photo by: Gerry Thomas/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Doug Soetaert
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Coyotes hire ‘extremely knowledgeable’ Soetaert as AHL GM

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On Wednesday, Arizona GM John Chayka made a fairly significant hire, bringing aboard Doug Soetaert as the GM for the club’s new AHL affiliate in Tucson.

“We are very pleased to add Doug as the General Manager of the Roadrunners,” Chayka said in a release. “Doug has extensive experience as a general manager and is extremely knowledgeable. He is well-respected throughout the league and we are confident that he is an ideal fit for our team.”

Soetaert, 61, certainly comes with the wealth of experience Chayka alluded to:

— He’s worked as a scout with the Coyotes, and Red Bull Hockey in Europe.

— He’s served a GM and vice president of WHL Everett.

— He’s worked as an assistant GM with the Calgary Flames.

— He spent 12 seasons as a goalie with the Rangers, Jets and Canadiens, helping the Habs win the Stanley Cup in 1986.

Hiring a 61-year-old with this much experience is noteworthy, given Chayka — the youngest GM in NHL history — is 34 years younger than Soetaert.

 

Report: Grigorenko requests $1.65 million from Avs in arbitration (Update: signs for $1.3M)

DENVER, CO - APRIL 09:  Mikhail Grigorenko #25 of the Colorado Avalanche controls the puck against Ryan Kesler #17 of the Anaheim Ducks at Pepsi Center on April 9, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. the Ducks defeated the Avalanche 5-3. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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Mikhail Grigorenko, one of the pieces acquired by Colorado in last summer’s Ryan O'Reilly trade to Buffalo, is asking for a fairly healthy raise ahead of Friday’s scheduled arbitration hearing.

Per CBC, Grigorenko wants $1.65 million, while the Avs are countering at $950,000.

The 22-year-old just wrapped a one-year deal that paid $675,000.

UPDATED: CBC has since reported the two sides have avoided the upcoming hearing, and agreed on a one-year deal worth $1.3M.

The 12th overall pick in 2012, Grigorenko has been something of an enigma over the last few seasons. He made the Sabres out of training camp as an 18-year-old rookie, scoring five points in 25 games, but spent the following campaigns bouncing back and forth between AHL Rochester and QMJHL Quebec.

A gifted, dynamic offensive talent in junior, Grigorenko got his first full NHL season with the Avs in ’15-16, scoring six goals and 27 points in 74 games. He sat as a healthy scratch on a few occasions, but ended the year in Colorado’s top-six forward rotation with a decent uptick in minutes (though he did finish the year averaging just 13:10 TOI all told).

One thing Grigorenko has going for him is his relationship with Avs head coach Patrick Roy. The two worked well together in junior, most notably during the ’11-12 campaign when Grigorenko scored 85 points in just 59 games to win QMJHL offensive rookie of the year.

Report: One of NCAA hockey’s most storied rivalries is going to Vegas

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 10:  Stephane Pattyn #28 of the North Dakota Fighting Sioux shakes the hand of  Nate Condon #16 and the rest of the Minnesota Golden Gophers on the win during the 2014 NCAA Division I Men's Hockey Championship Semifinal at Wells Fargo Center on April 10, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.The Gophers defeated the Fighting Sioux 2-1.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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North Dakota and Minnesota are two of the best collegiate programs in the nation, and have long held a fierce rivalry.

Now, they’re taking it to Sin City.

Per the Grand Forks Herald, the two schools will take part in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Game in Las Vegas in October of 2018.

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The Herald reported in November that the two schools had verbally agreed to play the game, but no contract had been signed as Minnesota transitioned to a new athletic director. Eight months later, that contract has now been finalized, the Herald has learned, and an official announcement is expected sometime in the next two weeks.

The single game is set for Orleans Arena, which is part of the Orleans Hotel and Casino. The 7,773-seat horseshoe venue previously served as home of the Las Vegas Wranglers of the East Coast Hockey League.

Orleans Arena is located roughly a mile and a half west of Strip hotels New York, New York, MGM Grand, Excalibur and Tropicana.

The game is yet another feather in the cap for Las Vegas. Earlier this month, the NHL announced that Vegas would become the league’s 31st franchise, granting owner Bill Foley an expansion club that will begin play in the 2017-18 campaign.

Related: Vegas names McPhee first GM in franchise history

North Dakota finished atop the NCAA landscape this year, capturing its first Frozen Four championship in 16 years. The club was led by Canucks prospect Brock Boeser and Most Outstanding Player Drake Caggiula, who went on to sign with the Edmonton Oilers.

The Gophers, meanwhile, have captured five national championships, though none since 2003. The program has sent a plethora of talented players to the NHL, including current standouts like Erik Johnson, Phil Kessel, Blake Wheeler and Kyle Okposo.

Per the Herald, the two schools have set aside Saturday, Oct. 27 as the date for the Vegas game.

Dan Cleary isn’t ready to retire just yet

Edmonton Oilers v Detroit Red Wings
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When Detroit waived Dan Cleary last year and Cleary waited before agreeing to join AHL Grand Rapids, many thought it would be the veteran forward’s swan song as a player.

Well, guess again.

“I really enjoyed what I did last season, being in that role, helping the young kids grow into being future Red Wings,” Cleary said, per the Detroit News. “I’m training to do that (playing). It took me a few days (after being sent down), but after I settled into it, I really enjoyed the experience in Grand Rapids.

“It was a lot of fun, and I still want to play.”

Cleary, 37, signed a one-year, $950,000 deal with the Wings last September but lasted just a month before the club exposed him on the wire. Unclaimed, Cleary went to the AHL for the first time in more than 15 years — but rather than use the demotion as a stepping stone to retirement, he joined Grand Rapids and performed reasonably well, scoring 15 points in 35 games.

At this stage of the game, it sure sounds like Cleary is angling for another shot within the Detroit organization. He told the News “I am, and always will be, a Red Wing at heart,” and that posturing is probably partly due to the fact there aren’t a ton of opportunities elsewhere.

The UFA market has dried up, and there are a number of younger, unsigned veteran skaters with more recent NHL experience under their belts (Cleary’s played in just 17 games over the last two campaigns).

Still, there’s something to be said for experience.

Cleary’s won a Cup and has over 900 games on his resume, which could make him a quality mentor for some of Detroit’s AHL-bound prospects.

Canucks ink Pedan, Grenier to one-year extensions

EDMONTON, AB - APRIL 6:  Andrej Sekera #2 of the Edmonton Oilers defends his zone against Andrey Pedan #29 of the Vancouver Canucks on April 6, 2016 at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The game was the final game the Oilers played at Rexall Place before moving to Rogers Place next season. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)
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Vancouver has re-upped with a pair of AHL Utica standouts — on Tuesday, the club announced defenseman Andrey Pedan and forward Alexandre Grenier signed one-year, two-way deals.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Pedan, 23, is a big-bodied (6-foot-5, 217 pounds), physical blueliner that will likely battle for one of the club’s last spots on defense. A former Isles draftee, he appeared in 13 games for the Canucks last year, spending most of his time with the Comets — where he posted career highs in almost every statistical category.

Cracking the blueline won’t be easy. The Canucks aren’t loaded with talent at the position, but there is quite a bit of depth with Alex Edler, Chris Tanev, Ben Hutton, Erik Gudbranson, Luca Sbisa, Nikita Tryamkin, Philip Larsen and Alex Biega all in the mix.

Grenier, 24, led Utica in scoring with 48 points last season, and made seven appearances with the Canucks. Like Pedan, he also boasts good size (6-foot-4, 211 pounds) and could be in position for a fourth-line role with the big club.

It’s worth noting both Grenier and Pedan would require waivers to be assigned to the AHL next season.