Mike Halford

Eric Lindros
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Lindros, Vachon, Makarov and Quinn make Hockey Hall of Fame

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Monday was seventh heaven for Eric Lindros.

Lindros, in his seventh year of eligibility, was named to the 2016 Hockey Hall of Fame class today, along with longtime Montreal/L.A. goalie Rogie Vachon, famed Russian forward Sergei Makarov and former player/head coach Pat Quinn, who was inducted in the builder’s category after passing away two years ago.

Known as “The Big E” during his playing days, Lindros was one of the most dominant power forwards in NHL history — yet it was his brief window of dominance that was often at the center of HHOF debates. When Lindros was healthy and in his prime, he was elite. He captured the Hart Trophy as league MVP in 1995, and was (at the time) the fourth-fastest player in NHL history to score 300 and 400 points.

Despite being active for 15 season, health problems — specifically a series of recurring concussion symptoms — limited Lindros to just 760 career games played. He did finish with 865 points in those games, and another 57 in 53 career playoff contests.

Vachon, who retired in 1982 and has been eligible for quite some time, finally got his call from the hall. A three-time Stanley Cup winner, Vachon captured the Vezina as the NHL top netminder in 1968, and held a number of the Kings’ franchise records during his seven seasons in L.A.

One of the most decorated international competitors of all time, Makarov was a staple of the Soviet Untion national teams in the 70s and 80s, winning two Olympic gold medals and eight world championships. He joined the Calgary Flames in 1989 and — at the age of 31 — scored 86 points in 80 games to capture the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year.

(The league has since implemented an age rule on the Calder, largely because of Makarov.)

Quinn, a two-time Jack Adams winner for coach of the year, led both Philadelphia (1980) and Vancouver (1994) to the Stanley Cup Finals as a bench boss and was highly decorated internationally, winning gold medals at the U-18, World Junior, World Cup and — most famously — the Olympic level, guiding Canada to victory in 2002 at Salt Lake.

Quinn also had served as the chairman of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Blues extend Brodziak — two years, $1.9 million

Jake Allen, Carl Gunnarsson, Scottie Upshall, Kyle Brodziak
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The Blues liked Kyle Brodziak‘s first season in St. Louis so much, they signed up for two more.

On Monday, the club announced it signed Brodziak to a two-year, $1.9 million extension — one that carries a $950,000 average annual cap hit.

Signed to a one-year, $900,000 deal last season, Brodziak was a regular fixture in the lineup last season, appearing in 76 games while recording seven goals and 11 points.

In 20 playoff appearances, he scored twice.

Once a pretty effective scorer — he scored 38 times over two years in Minnesota — Brodziak is now almost primarily a bottom-six energy forward with good checking ability.

He was one of the better shot-blocking forwards on the team last year and was active in the faceoff circle, finishing fourth on the team in draws won.

With that bit of business done, GM Doug Armstrong can focus on some of his bigger decisions. Team captain David Backes is still without a contract, as is playoff standout Troy Brouwer.

Armstrong must also set aside money for prized RFA forward Jaden Schwartz, who had 14 points in 20 playoff games.

 

 

Wings re-sign Miller — one year, $1.025 million

DETROIT, MI - FEBRUARY 24:  Drew Miller #20 of the Detroit Red Wings looks on the Dallas Stars on February 24, 2011 at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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Detroit has re-upped with veteran checking forward Drew Miller on a one year deal worth $1.025 million, per the Macomb Daily.

The deal doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Earlier this month, Wings GM Ken Holland said the two sides were “working away” on an extension, describing Miller as a “good penalty killer, [and] a good leader in the room.”

Miller, 32, just wrapped a three-year, $4.05M deal with an average annual cap hit of $1.35 million. So he takes a bit of a pay hit, though that was somewhat expected given his difficult campaign.

Miller struggled through a nightmarish ’15-16, missing extensive time with a broken jaw and torn ACL. The result? Just 28 games played, and only two points scored — a tough situation to go through in a contract year.

When healthy, though, he can be an effective contributor.

Scooped off waivers from Tampa Bay seven years ago, Miller flourished during his time with the Red Wings and developed his niche as a defensively responsible forward that logs prime shorthanded minutes.

He didn’t miss a single game from 2013-15, appearing in 82 contests each season while racking up 15 and 13 points, respectively.

Miller was also one of the Red Wings’ best shot-blocking forwards and a staple of the penalty kill.

Looking ahead, the next big decision for Holland is another veteran free agent forward — Darren Helm.

It seems unlikely Helm is coming back. The Free Press suggested he could score “north of $3 million” annually on the open market, and even though the Wings did clear some major cap space by moving Pavel Datsyuk’s contract to Arizona, most of that money is (presumably) reserved to make a major play in free agency — perhaps one for Steven Stamkos.

Canucks waive Higgins for buyout purposes

Chris Higgins
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Looks like yesterday’s report proved accurate — per Sportsnet, the Canucks have waived veteran forward Chris Higgins for the purpose of buying out his contract.

Higgins, 33, has one year left on his four-year, $10 million deal with a $2.5M average annual cap hit. The 13-year vet has already been waived once by the Canucks — he cleared back in January, and was assigned to the AHL’s Utica Comets.

He was later recalled in March, finishing the NHL season with three goals and four points in 33 games.

Higgins’ buyout will result in an $833,333 cap hit for the Canucks this season and the next. For Higgins, it will mean an opportunity to try and catch on with another club, and there’s a halfway decent chance he could score an inexpensive contract with a team looking for a veteran presence.

Despite a tough ’15-16, Higgins was a good contributor for Vancouver the two seasons prior. He had 17 goals and 39 points in ’13-14, and 12 goals and 36 points in ’14-15.

Payday! Preds ink Forsberg to six-year, $36 million extension

DENVER, CO - MARCH 05:  Filip Forsberg #9 of the Nashville Predators awaits a face off against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center on March 5, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. The Predators defeated the Avalanche 5-2.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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Filip Forsberg has cashed in.

Forsberg, Nashville’s budding 21-year-old star, has inked a six-year, $36 million extension with the Predators, one that will pay him $6M annually through 2022.

It’s a significant bump in salary for the young Swede. Forsberg is coming off a three-year, entry-level deal that had an annual base salary of $925,000.

“Filip is among the most skilled, dynamic talents we’ve ever had in the organization and is an integral part of our success for the next six years and beyond,” Preds GM David Poile said in a release. “While we have already seen his creativity, hockey sense and puck skills, he has yet to reach the peak of his abilities.

“We have full confidence that he will continue to blossom into one of the top players in the world.”

Forsberg’s new deal comes on the heels of a banner campaign, in which he led the team with 33 goals and 64 points. He was a top-25 scorer in the league, and received some accolades for his two-way game with a 10th place finish in voting for the Selke Trophy.

This year’s effort effort was especially impressive given Forsberg avoided the dreaded sophomore slump. Last year, as a rookie, Forsberg was almost equally impressive, scoring 26 goals and 63 points en route to a fourth-place finish in Calder Trophy voting.

With the extension, Forsberg becomes the club’s highest-paid forward and third highest-paid player, behind Shea Weber ($7.8M cap hit) and Pekka Rinne ($7M).