Mike Halford

New York Islanders v Arizona Coyotes

Embroiled in contract dispute, Rieder won’t attend Coyotes camp


Still-unsigned RFA Tobias Rieder is currently loving life as a member of Team Europe’s surprising World Cup entry.

His life with the Arizona Coyotes is less idyllic, though.

Over the weekend, Rieder’s agent told the Arizona Republic his client won’t attend Coyotes training camp after the World Cup is over, the latest move in what’s been a contentious negotiation that’s lasted the entire offseason.

“We’ve made them a fair offer at two years at $2.5 million a year, and they’re unwilling to do it,” Darren Ferris explained. “Tobi brings a lot of intangibles to that team. I know he’s a fan favorite.

“He loves Arizona, but it’s disappointing that they’re unwilling to compensate this kid fairly.”

Coyotes GM John Chayka called the decision ‘disappointing,’ saying that he wouldn’t comment on negotiation specifics publicly.

(Of course, Chayka did tell the Republic the Coyotes made “some real considerable long-term offers that are right on par with the longest offers we’ve ever made in this organization.” Which would classify as a negotiating specific, no?)

According to an earlier Arizona Sports report, Rieder was seeking a two-year, $5.5 million deal, one that carries a $2.75M average annual cap hit. That would be a sizeable raise from the $925,000 he made on his now expired entry-level deal.

Per that same report, the Coyotes were offering “somewhere between $2 million and $2.3 million per year on a two-year deal.”

Rieder, who turned 23 in January, would seem to have reasonably good value. He’s coming off a career year with personal bests in goals (14) and assists (23), and is a very quick skater that can play up and down the lineup.

There have been rumblings of a potential KHL move, though Ferris said Rieder’s No. 1 goal is to stick in the NHL. The next big date for the Rieder situation is Dec. 1 — if RFAs are still unsigned by then, they’re ineligible to play for the remainder of the NHL campaign.

Sticking in St. Louis: Steen signs four-year, $23 million extension

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 06:  Alexander Steen #20 of the St. Louis Blues during the NHL game against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on January 6, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. The Blues defeated the Coyotes 6-0.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

In shooting down reports of a contract ultimatum last week, Alex Steen said “I want to be in St. Louis, and the organization knows that.”

Turns out the organization wanted him, too.

On Friday, the Blues announced they’ve signed Steen to a four-year, $23 million extension — one that carries a $5.75 million average annual value.

“We are extremely excited to have Alexander signed for the next four seasons,” Blues GM Doug Armstrong said in a release. “He has developed into one of the league’s premier 200-foot players and is a key member of our leadership group.

“He has shown tremendous loyalty to the Blues organization, its fans and the St. Louis community.”

While the AAV is lower than his previous deal — a three-year pact that paid $5.8M per season — Steen gets an extra year of term, which is significant.

Steen turns 33 in March, and while he’s been a very productive player — a career-high 33 goals in ’13-14, and a career-high 64 points in ’14-15 — he’s also had major health concerns, missing 37 games over the last three years combined.

That trend carried over to this summer, as shoulder surgery prevented him from representing Sweden at the World Cup of Hockey.

In light of that, some wondered how comfortable the Blues would be investing in Steen. It was also unknown what the organization had planned for him, especially given how David Backes‘ time ended in St. Louis.

Like Steen, Backes was a vested, veteran leader and, like Steen, Backes was pretty long in the tooth heading into the final year of his deal.

But unlike Steen, Backes left the club and signed elsewhere (Boston) in free agency.

Looking ahead, Steen said he’s recovered from his shoulder injury and will be ready for the start of the year. That’s key, as the Blues will likely lean on Steen and running mate Paul Stastny for some offense in Ken Hitchcock’s final year behind the bench.

Lazar (mononucleosis) absent as Sens open camp

Colorado Avalanche v Ottawa Senators

Ottawa opened training camp minus one of its better young players, as former first-rounder Curtis Lazar was out due to mononucleosis.

And it doesn’t sound like Lazar will be back anytime soon.

“We’re going to be really cautious,” Sens head coach Guy Boucher said, per the Sun.

Lazar, the 17th overall pick in 2013, scored six goals and 20 points in 76 games last year, all career highs. He averaged just under 14 minutes per night, and was one of the club’s more active faceoff men.

This is a pretty tough development for the 21-year-old. Mono is difficult to return from, and can sideline players for a significant length of time — two seasons ago, Los Angeles’ Tyler Toffoli missed three weeks (six games) while recovering from the illness.

Veteran forward Jones at Ducks camp on PTO

CALGARY, AB - NOVEMBER 7: David Jones #19 of the Calgary Flames skates against the Pittsburgh Penguins during an NHL game at Scotiabank Saddledome on November 7, 2015 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)

The Anaheim Ducks have brought another experienced NHLer into training camp, signing David Jones to a professional tryout.

The deal, first reported by News 1130, comes after Anaheim GM Bob Murray had previously extended PTOs to Sean Bergenheim and David Booth.

And those PTOs came after Murray signed a trio of veterans in winger Mason Raymond, center Antoine Vermette and noted tough guy Jared Boll.

At first glance, it appears Jones has a greater shot at landing a deal than Bergenheim and Booth. He’s been an NHL regular, having found the back of the net 11 times in 75 games last year, split between Calgary and Minnesota.

Jones is also a two-time 20-goal scorer.

And as the earlier transactions noted, Murray likes his veteran forwards. We saw this last year, when he rounded out Anaheim’s group with the likes of Shawn Horcoff, Chris Stewart and Mike Santorelli.

All that said, this could simply be an exercise to get bodies into camp. Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, Hampus Lindholm and Jakob Silfverberg are all still competing at the World Cup, and won’t be in attendance.

Not done yet: Cleary re-signs with Detroit’s AHL affiliate

ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 12:  Daniel Cleary #11 of the Detroit Red Wings looks on against the Anaheim Ducks in Game Seven of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Honda Center on May 12, 2013 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Dan Cleary is back for another kick at the can.

Cleary, who turns 38 in December, has agreed to a one-year deal with Detroit’s AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids, the club announced on Friday. The contract comes just one week after the Red Wings announced they were bringing Cleary to training camp on a professional tryout.

A Stanley Cup winner with Detroit eight years ago, Cleary hasn’t played in the NHL since ’14-15, and spent all of last season with the Griffins. He performed reasonably well, scoring 15 points in 35 games.

“I really enjoyed what I did last season, being in that role, helping the young kids grow into being future Red Wings,” Cleary said earlier this summer, per the Detroit News.

Cleary also told the News “I am, and always will be, a Red Wing at heart,” suggesting that he’s more than happy to help out the organization whatever way he can.

Given he’s won Cup and has over 900 games on his resume, he would be a quality mentor for some of Detroit’s AHL-bound prospects.