Mike Halford

You've heard the expression "let's get busy?" Well, Mike Halford is a blogger who gets "biz-zay!" Consistently and thoroughly.
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Big money: Sharks drop $90.5 million to extend Jones, Vlasic

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Back in April, Sharks GM Doug Armstrong said it was “extremely important” to get Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Martin Jones locked into long-term deals.

Now we know just how important it truly was.

San Jose made a huge splash on the opening day of free agency, signing Vlasic to an eight-year, $56 million extension and Jones to a six-year, $34.5 million deal. Per TSN, Vlasic will now carry a $7 million cap hit, while Jones’ comes in at $5.75M.

Both contracts will kick in for the 2018-19 campaign.

Jones, 27, has been rock solid for the Sharks since being acquired via trade two years ago. He backstopped them to the ’16 Cup Final and has been one of the league’s busiest workhorses, starting 65 games in each of the last two years.

“We’re very happy we could get this extension done with Martin and feel that he is just beginning to hit his peak in terms of growth and prime playing seasons,” said Wilson. “He has proven that he is more than capable of excelling in high-pressure situations and big games, and we feel he has become one of the top goaltenders in the League. He is a calming influence in net for our team and we’re excited to have him in net for us for the foreseeable future.”

Vlasic, 30, has spent his entire 10-year career in San Jose. He’s developed a reputation as one of the league’s better defensive defensemen, strengthened by his role on Canada’s gold medal-winning side at the 2014 Olympics, and 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

Vlasic’s current deal — a five-year, $21.25 million pact — carries an average cap hit of $4.25M. Wilson didn’t mince words in describing how good he thinks Vlasic is.

“We’re thrilled we could get this extension done early and ensure one of the League’s top defensemen will remain in San Jose for the long term,” said Wilson. “Both Marc-Edouard and Hasso Plattner stepped forward and committed to get this deal done now, and this helps solidify our blueline for years to come. Marc-Edouard has been an integral part of this team, both on and off the ice, and we are excited to have him in San Jose for at least the next eight years.”

Predators send Colin Wilson to Avalanche for fourth-round pick

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Colin Wilson, who’s spent his entire career with Nashville after getting taken seventh overall in 2008, is on his way out of town.

The Preds have dealt Wilson to Colorado in exchange for a fourth-round pick in 2019, per TSN. The move essentially amounts to a salary dump for the Preds, who opened free agency by signing Nick Bonino to a four-year, $16.1 million deal.

Wilson has two years left on a four-year, $3.9 million pact. That was too steep a price for GM David Poile to continue paying, especially since the Preds have young forwards capable of replacing Wilson’s production (Kevin Fiala and Pontus Aberg, most notably).

Poile also needs to maintain cap space for Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson, both of whom are RFAs and in need of new contracts this summer.

For Colorado, they get a 27-year-old forward that, two seasons ago, posted career highs in goals (20) and points (42). It’s a decent upgrade in talent — something the Avs need — and the cost was minimal.

Devils add center depth, sign Boyle — two years, $5.1 million

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New Jersey filled a void down the middle at the start of free agency, signing Brian Boyle to a two-year, $5.1 million deal with a $2.55M cap hit.

Boyle, 32, had a productive year split between Tampa Bay and Toronto, finishing with 12 goals and 25 points in 75 games. Having carved himself a niche as a big-bodied (6-foot-6, 244 pounds) center that can win draws and play a strong defensive game, Boyle has often been in demand for teams looking at a bottom-six forward.

In New Jersey, he’ll probably be exactly that.

Travis Zajac and Adam Henrique did most of the heavy lifting down the middle last season, while young prospect Pavel Zacha continued to learn his craft. Based on projections, Boyle might have a more expanded role than he did in either Tampa or Toronto.

 

Detroit signs veteran d-man Daley — three years, $9.5 million

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In a deal that’s been rumored for a while, the Red Wings have secured the services of blueliner Trevor Daley.

It’s a three-year, $9.5 million pact with an average cap hit of $3.178 million, per TSN. The move comes after Daley, 33, helped Pittsburgh capture back-to-back Stanley Cups, averaging 19:07 TOI this spring while racking up five points over 21 games.

The move remains consistent with Detroit GM Ken Holland’s refusal to enter a rebuilding phase. Daley should help with Holland’s goal of getting the Red Wings back into the playoffs, as he’s a steadying and veteran presence on the back end.

That said, Daley has dealt with injury problems in each of the past two years — playing only 53 and 56 games — and will be 34 at the start of next season.

Jets sign Kulikov to three-year deal

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Winnipeg added some depth on defense to open free agency, agreeing to terms with former Sabres d-man Dmitry Kulikov.

Per TSN, it’s a three-year pact at $4.33 million per.

The deal comes after a disappointing campaign with the Sabres. Not only did Kulikov struggle statistically, finishing minus-26 with just two goals and three assists, he also had trouble staying healthy, appearing in just 47 games.

Despite all that, he generated plenty of interest on the free agent market and generated interest from a dozen teams, according to his agent. Presumably, the hope in Winnipeg is that Kulikov can bounce back, so long as he’s put in a better situation.

Remember, Kulikov is still just 26. And before he was traded to Buffalo a year ago, he’d had a number of respectable seasons with the Florida Panthers.

In Winnipeg, he’ll (presumably) slot in behind the likes of Dustin Byfuglien, Toby Enstrom, Tyler Myers, Jacob Trouba and Josh Morrissey, meaning he’ll likely be a bottom-pairing guy.