The Bruins locked in one of their better young forwards on Wednesday, signing Ryan Spooner to a two-year deal worth $1.9 million — a cap hit of $950,000.
Spooner, 23, finished last season with eight goals and 18 points in 29 games. He’ll likely get a crack at replacing Carl Sodeberg at center next season, now that the veteran Swede is a member of the Colorado Avalanche.
Spooner got a few looks down the middle last season and looked to have some chemistry on a line with Milan Lucic (another departed Bruin) and rookie David Pastrnak.
Boston’s 45th overall pick at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Spooner was a restricted free agent that, earlier, had received his qualifying offer from the B’s.
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)
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.
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.
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.