Author: Mike Halford

2015 NHL Draft - Round One

Decision made: Eichel signs entry-level deal with Sabres


After months of refusing to say whether he’d turn pro or return to school next year, Jack Eichel made up his mind on Wednesday:

He’s going pro.

Eichel, the second overall pick at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, signed his three-year entry-level deal today, which ends his brief-but-impressive tenure at Boston University, during which he became just the second freshman ever to win the Hobey Baker.

“It’s just so exciting,” Eichel told the Sabres’ website. “I think everyone’s excited about what’s happening around here, and I can’t wait to get things started.”

Eichel’s first order of business will be participating in Buffalo’s prospect development camp, which will get underway in a few days.

From there, all eyes will be on the reigning Hobey Baker winner to see where he fits in the Sabres lineup; he, along with Sam Reinhart and newly-acquired Ryan O’Reilly, should be in competition for minutes at center.

Related: Boston University or Buffalo? Eichel’s still playing coy (Video)

After Preds buyout, Stalberg signs one-year, $1.1M deal with Rangers

Viktor Stalberg #25 of the Nashville Predators warms up prior to a game against the Winnipeg Jets at Bridgestone Arena on October 24, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee.
(October 23, 2013 - Source: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images North America)

New York traded away speedy Swedish forward Carl Hagelin at the NHL Entry Draft.

On Wednesday, they signed speedy Swedish forward Viktor Stalberg.

A bit of a stretch? Sure, but there’s definitely something to it — the Rangers added an older, cheaper winger that can skate in Stalberg, who agreed to a one-year, $1.1 million pact just days after getting bought out by the Predators.

The former Blackhawk failed to live up to expectations in Nashville after signing a four-year, $12 million deal in the summer of ’13. He spent time in AHL Milwaukee last season, though part of that was rehabbing from injury; when up with the Preds, Stalberg had decent production — 10 points in 25 games — and was a pretty useful contributor in the club’s opening-round playoff loss to Chicago, finishing with three points in six contests.

For New York, the contract is a low-cost, low-risk move, and those are the types of deals the Rangers need to take on as they’re up against it in terms of the salary cap. New deals are still needed for the likes of Derek Stepan, J.T. Miller, Emerson Etem and Jesper Fast.

Roundup: Jackman to Preds, Moore to Devils, Parenteau to Leafs

Barret Jackman

Some smaller signings to pass your way…

Nashville has signed veteran d-man Barret Jackman to a two-year, $4 million deal with an average annual cap hit of $2 million. Jackman, 34, had previously spent his entire NHL career — 14 years, 803 games — with the St. Louis Blues and, though it was a while ago, is still one of just four defensemen in the last 25 years to win the Calder Memorial Trophy as NHL rookie of the year.

In Nashville, he’ll provide a veteran presence in the club’s top-six defense alongside Shea Weber, Roman Josi, Seth Jones, Mattias Ekholm and Ryan Ellis.

New Jersey has signed former Blue Jackets, Rangers and Coyotes defenseman John Moore to a three-year, $5 million deal with an average annual value of $1.67M. Columbus’ first-round pick (21st overall) at the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Moore had a pretty decent ’13-14 campaign with the Rangers (15 points in 74 games, 21 playoff appearances) but was sent to Arizona as part of the Keith Yandle trade, and wasn’t given a qualifying offer by Coyotes GM Don Maloney.

• Just days after Montreal bought him out of his contract, P.A. Parenteau has signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal with Toronto.

Parenteau, 32, has struggled to find the form that saw him score 67 points in 80 games for the Islanders in 2011-12 — when he played on a line with John Tavares — but less will be expected of him now that he’s no longer pulling down a $4 million cap hit.

End of an era: Gorton in, Sather out after 15 years as Rangers GM

2014 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Practice Sessions

The third-longest tenured general manager in the NHL has stepped aside.

On Wednesday, the New York Rangers announced that Glen Sather — who’s been in charge since June of 2000 — has ceded GM duties to his longtime assistant, Jeff Gorton.

With the move, Gorton becomes the 11th general manager in New York Rangers history.

While reports of a new GM are always noteworthy, this one is more about the man passing the torch. Over the last 15 years, Sather has been a constant presence in New York, leading the club to the playoffs in nine of the last 10 seasons and one Stanley Cup Final (which the Rangers lost, to the Kings, in 2014).

Though the club was unable to hoist Lord Stanley’s Mug during the Sather era, it did achieve a number of successes — including this year, when the team won a franchise-record 53 games and captured the Presidents’ trophy for the first time since 1994.

As for Gorton, he gets the Rangers gig after being hotly pursued by a number of clubs, including the Boston Bruins. He’s been working under Sather since 2007 and, prior to joining the Rangers, earned widespread praise for his previous work with the Bruins, having orchestrated theTuukka Rask-for-Andrew Raycroft trade.

KHLers Burmistrov (Jets), Tikhonov (‘Hawks) make NHL returns

Alex Burmistrov
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A pair of talented young KHL skaters are making their way back to North America.

Winnipeg’s Alex Burmistrov, who’s spent the last two seasons playing for Ak-Bars Kazan, has agreed to a two-year, $3.1 million deal ($1.55 AAV) with the Jets while Viktor Tikhonov, a former Coyotes first-rounder, has signed a one-year, $1.04 million deal with the Blackhawks.

More on Burmistrov, from the Jets:

[Burmistrov] has spent the past two seasons in the KHL with Kazan Ak-Bars after playing the prior three seasons with the Atlanta Thrashers/Winnipeg Jets organization where he tallied 23 goals and 58 points in 194 NHL games.

With Kazan, Burmistrov had 20 goals and 64 points in 108 KHL games.

A talented, skill forward that’s still only 23 years old, Burmistrov should help replace the void left by Michael Frolik signing with Calgary today.

As for Tikhonov, here’s more on his situation from ESPN Chicago:

Tikhonov, 27, has spent the last four seasons in the KHL. He had eight goals and 16 assists in 49 games with SKA last season. He was drafted No. 28 overall by the Arizona Coyotes in 2008 and played in 61 NHL games during the 2008-09 season.

In Chicago, Tikhonov will be reunited with former SKA running mate Artemi Panarin, who agreed to a two-year deal with the ‘Hawks in April. The two were instrumental in helping SKA win the Gagarin Cup this season.