There’s another Raffl in the NHL.
On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.
Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.
“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.
With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.
For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.
We don’t usually pass along minor-league transactions, but this one’s intriguing — the New Jersey Devils have acquired Brian O’Neill, the reigning American League MVP, from the Los Angeles Kings.
In exchange, L.A. receives a conditional seventh-round pick.
O’Neill, 27, scored 78 points in 69 games for Manchester last season, then another 20 in 19 playoff games as the Monarchs captured the Calder Cup. O’Neill finished third in playoff scoring, losing out on playoff MVP honors to teammate Jordan Weal.
It’ll be interesting to see if O’Neill can parlay the AHL MVP award into NHL success. The ’13-14 winner, Texas’ Travis Morin, got a handful of games with the Dallas Stars the following year and the winner two seasons ago, Tyler Johnson, has gone on to become a star in Tampa Bay.
Whatever the case, O’Neill looks to have a greater shot at NHL minutes in New Jersey than in Los Angeles. The Kings are stacked at forward while the Devils have been adding veterans on the cheap in recent weeks, signing the likes of Jiri Tlusty and Lee Stempniak to one-year deals.
One of the greatest players in Devils history will soon have his name — and number — in the Prudential Center rafters.
On Tuesday, New Jersey announced that it would retire Martin Brodeur’s No. 30 on Feb. 9 in a ceremony prior to that evening’s tilt against Edmonton.
The decision comes as no surprise.
Brodeur, one of the greatest goalies in NHL history and holder of numerous statistical benchmarks, backstopped the Devils to all three of their Stanley Cup championships, and a surprise Cup Final appearance in 2012.
Widely regarded as the face of the franchise, Brodeur sits second all-time in games played for the Devils and, unsurprisingly, holds every significant goaltending record.
His 688 wins in a New Jersey uniform is a staggering mark, one that may never be broken.
When his No. 30 is raised, Brodeur will join some select company. Only three Devils have ever had their numbers retired: Ken Daneyko’s No. 3, Scott Stevens’ No. 4 and Scott Niedermayer’s No. 27.
Some fairly noteworthy developments out of Denver on Tuesday, the biggest being that Mikko Rantanen — the 10th overall pick at this year’s draft — has made the Avs’ opening-night roster.
Rantanen, 18, was considered one of the more NHL-ready prospects at the draft but “fell” to the Avs, which proved a good thing — Colorado has a long history of fast-tracking high picks to the NHL, as Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon all made the leap in their draft years.
At 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds, Rantanen already has big league size. It’s possible he opens the season on a line with center Carl Soderberg, one of the club’s big summer acquisitions.
Elsewhere in Colorado…
For the second straight day, a veteran forward has successfully converted his training camp tryout into an NHL contract.
On Tuesday, the Avs announced that Jack Skille had signed a one-year pact with the club. Skille, 28, is a former first-round pick (seventh overall in ’05) that’s appeared in nearly 250 career NHL contests with Chicago, Florida and, most recently, Columbus.
With Colorado, Skille is expected to fill a bottom-six checking role. As mentioned above, he joins Scottie Upshall as the other forward to successfully turn his PTO into a new deal — yesterday, Upshall signed a one-year, two-way pact with the Blues.
Devin Setoguchi, most recently in Leafs camp on a PTO, has signed with HC Davos of Switzerland’s National League A, the club announced on Tuesday.
Setoguchi, 28, was with Toronto following a summer in which he attended rehab in an effort to get sober and start repairing his reputation which, he admitted in August, had been tarnished.
“The amount of times I’ve let people down, there weren’t a lot of takers on me,” he said, per Sportsnet. “Around the league my word has not really meant much.
“I had gotten to the point where I had diminished any merit I had in the league.”
The decision to go to rehab came after a disappointing ’14-15 campaign in Calgary. Setoguchi appeared went pointless in 12 games, but did reasonably well with the club’s AHL affiliate, scoring 10 points in 19 games.
A former 30-goal scorer, Setoguchi now joins one of Switzerland’s biggest and most prolific clubs. Davos has won 31 NLA titles, and is the league’s reigning champion.