Author: Mike Halford

Tampa Bay Lightning v New York Rangers - Game Seven

Defensemen Hunwick, Bartkowski to become UFAs


A pair of veteran blueliners will hit the open market tomorrow.

Matt Bartkowski, who’s played in 131 games over the last five years with Boston, has been told he won’t be re-signed by the club while Rangers rearguard Matt Hunwick, a veteran of nearly 350 NHL contests, will also go to market after New York passed on an extension.

Hunwick, 30, scored 11 points in 55 games for the Rangers last year and made six playoff appearances. The former Bruin and Avalanche played on a one-year, $600,000 deal in ’14-15 and could net a similar contract in free agency after what was, all things considered, not a bad effort in his lone year as a Blueshirt.

Bartkowski, 27, played last year on a $1.25 million deal but struggled to impress, scoring just four points in 47 games. He was briefly floated as a trade candidate at the deadline but, with no takers, he was left to play out the string with Boston.

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of traction Bartkowski gets on the open market. He’s still relatively young and, in ’13-14, he scored a career-high 18 points in 64 games and made eight playoff appearances for the Bruins.

No buyout: Flyers will keep Gagner

Arizona Coyotes v Buffalo Sabres

Sam Gagner is a Philadelphia Flyer — for now, anyway.

On Monday, the Flyers elected not to buy out Gagner prior to the window closing at 12 p.m. ET, meaning he’s a part of the club for the foreseeable future (barring a trade, of course).

More, from CSN Philly:

Gagner told that the last few days have been very “stressful” since being traded here from Arizona while not knowing what his future held.

“I’m very excited and motivated,” Gagner said, adding he did not get much sleep. 

Gagner, acquired at the draft from Arizona in a strange deal that saw Philly send Nicklas Grossmann and Chris Pronger’s contract to the Coyotes, was unsure if he’d ever wear Flyer orange.

His parting gift from Arizona was GM Don Maloney saying he ‘can’t play center at the NHL level,” and his arrival gift in Philadelphia was learning GM Ron Hextall was considering a buyout.

It was a tough turn of events for the former first-round pick. Gagner, who is still only 25 years old, carries a relatively large cap hit of $4.8 million (although some was retained in an earlier deal with Tampa Bay) but has proven to be productive in the past, and scored 41 points in 81 games for the Coyotes last season — tops among all Arizona forwards.

Habs re-sign deadline pickup Flynn: two years, $1.9 million

Montreal Canadiens v Toronto Maple Leafs

After a short cameo at the end of last season, Brian Flynn has re-upped in Montreal.

On Monday, the Habs announced they signed Flynn to a two-year, $1.9 million deal with an average annual cap hit of $950,000. A serviceable depth forward, Flynn was set to become a restricted free agent but avoids that route with this deal, which represents a slight pay raise from his previous contract.

The former Sabre, who had three points in six playoff games for the Habs last year, is the latest of GM Marc Bergenvin’s trade deadline pickups to stick in Montreal.

Previously, the Canadiens signed d-man Jeff Petry — acquired from Edmonton at the deadline — to a six-year, $33 million extension. Torrey Mitchell — who,  like Flynn also came over from Buffalo — agreed to a new contract shortly after Petry, inking for $3.6 million over three years.

With those three now locked in and P.A. Parenteau bought out of his contract, Bergevin can focus on other tasks at hand — specifically, new deals for RFA forward Alex Galchenyuk and blueliner Jarred Tinordi.

Christian Thomas, a winger that’s spent most of his time in AHL Hamilton, also needs a new deal.