Author: Mike Halford

Veteran d-man Gervais signs in German League

Journeyman Bruno Gervais has signed with Eisbaren Berlin of Germany’s Deutsche Eishockey Liga, the club announced on Monday.

Gervais, 30, spent last season with Colorado’s AHL affiliate in Lake Erie, scoring 13 points in 71 games. Prior to joining the Avs organization, Gervais had appeared in over 400 contests with the Islanders, Lightning and Flyers; his most recent NHL action came with Philly during the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign, when he appeared in 37 games.

Gervais’ best time as an NHLer came on long Island from 2007-10, with his top individual campaign coming in ’08-09 — he scored a career-high 19 points and averaged over 21 minutes a night.

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    Locked in: Columbus signs Saad to six-year, $36M deal


    It took a while, but the Blue Jackets finally inked their guy.

    On Friday, Columbus announced it had signed Brandon Saad — acquired three days ago in a blockbuster trade with Chicago — to a six-year contract extension. Per Sportsnet, it’s a $36 million deal with an average annual cap hit of $6M.

    “Adding a player of Brandon’s caliber is exciting for the Columbus Blue Jackets organization and our fans,” Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen said in a statement. “We are extremely pleased to have reached this long-term commitment that assures he will be an important part of our team for years to come.”

    Saad, 22, was acquired in a multi-player deal that saw prospects Alex Broadhurst and Michael Paliotta also come to Columbus, in exchange for Artem Anisimov, Marko Dano, Corey Tropp, Jeremy Morin and a fourth-round pick in 2016. Like Saad, Anisimov quickly signed with his new team, inking a five-year, $22.75 million deal with the Blackhawks earlier this week.

    Getting Saad locked in is a major score for Kekalainen and the Blue Jackets organization. He’s a two-time Stanley Cup winner, scored a career-high 23 goals last year and is considered to be one of the brightest young forwards in the league — along with center and likely future linemate Ryan Johansen, the two will cut an imposing figure for Columbus next season.

    Speaking of Johansen, it’s worth noting that with this deal, Saad becomes the highest-paid skater in Columbus (in terms of cap hit, anyway), ahead of Brandon Dubinsky ($5.85M) and captain Nick Foligno ($5.5M). Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky is the team’s highest-paid individual, with a $7.425M cap hit that kicks in next season.

    Johansen, who becomes a RFA again in 2017, is currently making $4M per.

    Larkin, Mantha in tough to make Red Wings roster, says Holland


    Anthony Mantha and Dylan Larkin, two of the brightest forward prospects in the Detroit organization, will be hard pressed to be on the opening night roster — at least according to GM Ken Holland.

    From the Detroit Free Press:

    “Realistically, I think he’s going to have to come in — it’s going to be a struggle for him to make the team,” Holland said of Mantha. “You gotta come in and take the job. We’ve probably got 14, 15, 16 forwards that we think, legitimately, are going to be competing for a spot on the team. I’m not even sure if Anthony’s in that group.

    “Then there’s another group of young players — (Andreas) Athanasiou, (Tomas) Nosek, Mantha — that we think are going to be Red Wings. Are they going to be Red Wings in September? They gotta come in and knock somebody out of the box.”

    What about Larkin?

    “Same thing,” Holland said. “My take on Larkin is he’s gotta be in our top 12. Coach (Jeff) Blashill’s gotta say to me, as we’re putting the team together, ‘I want him in the lineup.’ He’s not going to be a 13th, 14th forward.”

    This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. Detroit was already deep at forward before inking AHL Grand Rapids standout Andy Miele to a one-way deal, and signing veteran center Brad Richards on the opening day of free agency.

    All told, Detroit currently has 12 NHL-caliber forwards under contract (though one is Johan Franzen, still dealing with concussion issues) with four guys — Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Jurco, Teemu Pulkkinen and Landon Ferraro — still needing new deals.

    So, all signs point to both Larkin and Mantha heading to the Griffins next year. For Larkin, the 15th overall pick in 2014, it’ll be a chance to further impress after scoring five points in six Calder Cup playoff games this year.

    For Mantha, the 20th overall pick in ’13, it’ll be a chance to rebound after a tough year in which Red Wings executive Jim Devellano said Mantha was “very, very, very disappointing.”

    Jets re-sign Maurice’s coaching staff

    Winnipeg Jets v Colorado Avalanche

    After making the playoffs for the first time since their move from Atlanta, the Jets have re-upped with all of Paul Maurice’s coaching staff.

    Assistants Charlie Huddy and Pascal Vincent have inked new contracts, along with goalie coach Wade Flaherty. All signed three-year extensions.

    In related news, the Jets have also announced that Rick St. Croix is coming aboard as the club’s goalie development coach.

    It’s not surprising that Winnipeg GM Kevin Cheveldayoff kept Maurice’s staff in the fold. They were not only responsible for last year’s postseason berth, but also played a role in Maurice finishing fourth in Jack Adams voting for NHL coach of the year. Maurice received six first-place votes — tied with Nashville’s Peter Laviolette, who was a finalist.

    Philly hires goalie coach Dillabaugh, formerly of Los Angeles

    Steve Mason

    The Philadelphia Flyers have named a replacement for ex-goalie coach Jeff Reese.

    Kim Dillabaugh, who spent the last eight years in charge of the Kings’ goalie development, was hired on Friday, the club announced.


    Dillabaugh comes to the Flyers from the Los Angeles Kings, where he spent the last eight seasons working in a goaltender development role for the club. In his time with the Kings, Dillabaugh contributed to the development of Jonathan Quick, Jonathan Bernier and Martin Jones, while also working with goaltenders at the club’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Manchester Monarchs, and prospects playing elsewhere in professional and amateur hockey.

    During Dillabaugh’s time with the Kings organization, Los Angeles won two Stanley Cups and made the Conference Finals one other time, while Manchester won one Calder Cup and reached the Eastern Conference Finals two other times.

    The goalie coach position in Philly is one worth monitoring, especially after what happened to Reese last season. A favorite of No. 1 goalie Steve Mason, Reese was fired abruptly in March after eight seasons on the job, amid rumors he had a “simmering relationship” with management and head coach Craig Berube.

    Reese has since landed as the goalie coach in Dallas. Philly, meanwhile, added to its goalie depth on the opening day of free agency by signing Michal Neuvirth to back up Mason.