You've heard the expression "let's get busy?" Well, Mike Halford is a blogger who gets "biz-zay!" Consistently and thoroughly.

Caps sign ‘outstanding draft pick’ Johansen

Lucas Johansen, the blueliner taken 28th overall at the 2016 draft, has signed his three-year, entry-level deal with Washington, the club announced on Thursday.

Johansen, the younger brother of Nashville center Ryan Johansen, is in his third season with WHL Kelowna. The 19-year-old has six goals and 36 points through 60 games, slightly off the impressive 10-goal, 49-point effort he put up in his draft year.

“I think he has some special tools, in terms of his ability to slow down the play and see some things that other players don’t,” Washington assistant coach Todd Reirden said after watching Johansen in the preseason, per the Post. “He’s looking like an outstanding draft pick for us and a real great prospect moving forward.”

The Caps announced that Johansen will remain in junior this season.

In a related move, the club also inked another defenseman — 22-year-old Colby Williams — to a two-year, entry-level deal. Williams, who’s been playing with the club’s AHL affiliate in Hershey, was a sixth-round pick in 2015.

Despite no contract talks, Hextall doesn’t rule out extending Mason

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Philly’s goaltending situation took another turn on Wednesday when Michal Neuvirth inked a two-year, $5 million extension with a $2.5M average annual cap hit.

Neuvirth was, along with battery mate Steve Mason, a pending UFA. But now he’s under contract through 2019, whereas Mason faces an uncertain future.

That said, Flyers GM Ron Hextall isn’t ruling out a return of “Mase-virth.”

From CSN Philly:

Now the Flyers have a goalie under contract for next season at a very low cost, one they can expose in the NHL expansion draft in June without having to expose [Anthony] Stolarz, which would have been their only other option.

That, too, crossed Hextall’s mind.

“This gives us flexibility,” Hextall said. “We had one choice before and now we have two. We have a goalie we feel very comfortable with. Neuvy has done a good job.

“Obviously,  the injuries, we talked about that. If it weren’t for the injuries, we wouldn’t be talking about $2.5 cap hit, probably. Again, for multiple reasons, I didn’t want to go into July 1 needing two goalies and the expansion draft.”

As for Mason …

“That doesn’t suggest we won’t sign Mase, but just that the timing,” Hextall said. “I wanted to get something done before the deadline.”

The piece goes on to note Hextall and the Flyers haven’t had any substantive talks with Mason about an extension. Which suggests Hextall’s comments might be pure window dressing.

Really, there doesn’t seem to be much appetite in returning the duo.

Both Neuvirth and Mason have struggled with consistency, though the former can chalk his up to injury problems (and, of the two, Neuvirth has probably been steadier).

The two have combined to give Philly the second-worst team save percentage in the league, one of the reasons why it heads into tonight’s action four points back of Toronto for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Chicago signs Quebec League sniper Highmore


On Thursday, the ‘Hawks announced they’ve signed QMJHL forward Matthew Highmore to a three-year, entry-level deal.

Highmore, 21, is an undrafted winger that’s racked up the points this year for the Saint John Sea Dogs. He has 82 through 58 games — good for seventh in league scoring — and sits tied for second on the team in goals with Bolts prospect Mathieu Joseph.

It’s probably worth noting that Highmore’s one of the oldest players in the Q, having turned 21 earlier this week, and that his offensive spike has come in his final two years of junior hockey (he had 22 goals and 75 points last year).

It’s also worth noting Highmore is teammates with Chicago prospect Nathan Noel, who was taken in the fourth round of last year’s draft.

After missing 62 games, Hemsky expected back for Stars


Dallas’ season might essentially be over, but that doesn’t mean players don’t have something to strive for.

Like Ales Hemsky, for example.

Hemsky, who’s appeared in just one of Dallas’ 63 games this year due to a hip ailment, appears likely to play for the first time since Oct. 22 when the Stars host the Isles tonight at American Airlines.

The 33-year-old’s injury is just one of the many that have, in part, derailed Dallas’ season. Mattias Janmark hasn’t played at all due to knee surgery, while the likes of Cody Eakin, Patrick Sharp, Jiri Hudler and the now-departed Johnny Oduya all missed at least 20 games with various ailments.

As mentioned above, Dallas heads into tonight’s action seven points back of St. Louis for the final wild card spot in the Western Conference, needing to jump three teams (the Blues, Kings and Jets) to get there.

So they’re pretty much done.

But as also mentioned above, Hemsky has quite a bit on the line.

In the last of a three-year, $12 million deal with a $4M average annual cap hit, he has plenty to play for over the 19 games. The most obvious thing is a new contract, given he’ll be a UFA on July 1, so he’ll need to show he’s 1) healthy and 2) still able to contribute offensively.

That last part is huge, given it came into question even before this hip injury. Hemsky had largely been a disappointment in Dallas prior to getting hurt, scoring just 11 goals in his first campaign and 13 last year.


PHT’s 2017 Trade Deadline Tracker


Here’s the full list of deals made prior to the Wednesday, March 1 3 p.m. EST trade deadline..

Mar. 1

To Chicago: F Kenton Helgesen, 2019 7th-round pick
To Anaheim: F Spencer Abbot, F Sam Carrick (link)

To Pittsburgh: D Mark Streit
To Tampa Bay: ’18 4th-round pick (link)

To Boston: F Drew Stafford
To Winnipeg: conditional 6th-round pick (link)

To Dallas: D Dillon Heatherington
To Columbus: F Lauri Korpikoski (link)

To Pittsburgh: D Frank Corrado
To Toronto: F Eric Fehr, D Steve Oleksy, ’17 4th-round pick (link)

To Calgary: F Curtis Lazar, D Mike Kostka
To Ottawa: D Jyrki Jokipakka, 2nd-round pick (link)

To Nashville: F P.A. Parenteau
To New Jersey: 6th-round draft pick (link)

To Tampa Bay: D Mark Streit
To Philadelphia: F Valtteri Filppula, ’17 4th-round pick, ’17 conditional 7th-round pick (link)

To Montreal: F Andreas Martinsen
To Colorado: F Sven Andrighetto (link)

To Columbus: D Kyle Quincey
To New Jersey: D Dalton Prout (link)

To New York Rangers: F Taylor Beck
To Edmonton Oilers: F Justin Fontaine (link)

To Tampa Bay: G Mike McKenna
To Florida: G Adam Wilcox (link)

To Los Angeles: F Jarome Iginla
To Colorado: ’18 conditional 4th-round pick (link)

To Montreal: F Dwight King
To Los Angeles: ’18 4th-round pick (link)

To Florida: F Thomas Vanek
To Detroit: ’17 3rd-round pick, D Dylan McIlrath (link)

To Colorado: G Joe Cannata
To Washington: D Cody Corbett (link)

To Colorado: F Brendan Ranford
To Arizona: F Joe Whitney (link)

Feb. 28

To Montreal: F Steve Ott
To Detroit: ’18 6th-round pick (link)

To San Jose: F Jannik Hansen
To Vancouver: F Nikolay Goldobin, ’17 conditional 4th-round pick (link)

To Edmonton: F David Desharnais
To Montreal: D Brandon Davidson (link)

To Chicago: D Johnny Oduya
To Dallas: F Mark McNeill, ’18 conditional 4th-round pick (link)

To New York Rangers: F Daniel Catenacci
To Buffalo: D Mat Bodie (link)

To Ottawa: F Viktor Stalberg
To Carolina: ’17 3rd-round pick (link)

To New York Rangers: D Brendan Smith
To Detroit: ’17 3rd-round pick, ’18 2nd-round pick (link)

Feb. 27

To Washington: D Kevin Shattenkirk, G Pheonix Copley
To St. Louis: F Zach Sanford, F Brad Malone, ’17 1st-round pick, ’19 conditional 2nd-round pick (link)

To Ottawa: F Alex Burrows
To Vancouver: F Jonathan Dahlen (link)

To Montreal: D Jordie Benn
To Dallas: D Greg Pateryn, ’17 4th-round pick (link)

To Toronto: F Brian Boyle
To Tampa Bay: F Byron Froese, ’17 2nd-round pick (link)

To Arizona: F Teemu Pulkkinen
To Minnesota: Future considerations (link)

Feb. 26

To Minnesota: F Martin Hanzal, F Ryan White, ’17 4th-round pick
To Arizona: ’17 1st-round pick, ’18 2nd-round pick, ’19 conditional 4th-round pick, F Grayson Downing (link)

To Los Angeles: G Ben Bishop, ’17 5th-round pick
To Tampa Bay: G Peter Budaj, D Erik Cernak, ’17 7th-round pick, ’17 conditional pick (link)

Feb. 24

To Anaheim: F Patrick Eaves
To Dallas: ’17 conditional 2nd-round pick (link)

To Chicago: F Tomas Jurco
To Detroit: ’17 3rd-round pick (link)

Feb. 23

To Pittsburgh: D Ron Hainsey
To Carolina: F Danny Kristo, ’17 2nd-round pick (link)

Feb. 20

To Calgary: D Michael Stone
To Arizona: ’18 3rd-round pick, ’18 conditional 5th-round pick (link)

Feb. 18

To Toronto: F Sergey Kalinin
To New Jersey: D Viktor Loov (link)

Feb. 15

To Washington: D Tom Gilbert
To Los Angeles: ’17 conditional 5th-round pick (link)

Feb. 4

To Nashville: F Vernon Fiddler
To New Jersey: ’17 4th-round pick (link)