Mike Halford

NEWARK, NJ - SEPTEMBER 25: Sebastian Collberg #49 of the New York Islanders skates against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on September 25, 2015 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Isles waive Collberg, acquired in Vanek trade

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Sebastian Collberg, the prospect New York acquired in dealing Thomas Vanek to Montreal two years ago, has been cut loose by the organization. On Friday, the Isles put Collberg on unconditional waivers.

The 33rd overall pick in 2012, Collberg was acquired along with a conditional second-round pick for Vanek, and was held in high regard by Isles GM Garth Snow.

“Collberg has the potential to be a top-six forward,” he said at the time of the deal, per the team website. “As a staff we are excited to have Sebastian in our mix.”

Collberg, 22, spent the last two years primarily in AHL Bridgeport, with a brief stint in the ECHL. His numbers with the Sound Tigers weren’t terrific — he had just three goals in 42 games this season — and he was in and out of the lineup.

“Collberg has been one guy we expected more from all year,” coach Brent Thompson said, per the CT Post. “He can play good hockey. It’s been an inconsistent year.”

Rangers make Buchnevich signing official

TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 4:  Pavel Buchnevich #19 of Team Russia skates against Team Sweden during a semi-final game in the 2015 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship at the Air Canada Centre on January 4, 2015 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Team Russia defeated Team Sweden 4-2 to advance to the gold medal game against Canada. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
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Two days ago, we touched on a New York Post report claiming the Rangers were close to bringing prized prospect Pavel Buchnevich over to North America.

Today, the Blueshirts made it official.

Buchnevich has agreed to a three-year, entry-level deal, the club announced on Friday. It’s a move met with great excitement from Rangers fans, as Buchnevich is arguably the organization’s most exciting young talent.

The Russian forward, who only turned 21 last month, is coming off a quality KHL campaign split between Cherepovets Severstal and SKA St. Petersburg, scoring 16 goals and 37 points in 58 games.

The Post notes Buchnevich, the 85th overall pick in 2013, has drawn comparisons to Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov.

Where the youngster plays next year remains to be seen. Given his pedigree and skill set, it’s likely he’ll get a crack at making the Rangers’ roster out of camp — and, per TSN’s Bob McKenzie, Buchnevich is expected to stick with the big club.

No Stamkos, Stralman for Bolts in Game 1

TAMPA, FL - JUNE 02: Steven Stamkos #91 and Anton Stralman #6 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skate during the practice day prior to the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Finals at Amalie Arena on June 2, 2015 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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The Tampa Bay Lightning will compete in their second consecutive Eastern Conference Final tonight, but will do it without the services of two vitally important members.

Anton Stralman and captain Steve Stamkos, who have missed the entire playoffs thus far due to a broken leg and blood clots, respectively, won’t suit up for Game 1 against the Penguins tonight at Consol.

Of the two, Stralman is expected to return to the lineup the soonest. He’s been participating in full practices, taking reps on the penalty kill and was skating on a pairing with regular d-man partner Victor Hedman, suggesting he could be back soon.

A 22-minutes-per-night guy that’s among the Bolts’ best possession d-men, Stralman is a valuable right-handed shot, on a blueline that doesn’t have many. It’ll be interesting to see how head coach Jon Cooper eventually works him back in, as Stralman hasn’t played since March.

As for Stamkos, the issue around his return seems to be with the blood thinners he’s taking. More on that, from WFLA’s Paul Ryan:

Stamkos did participate in Friday’s practice, and participated in full (meaning sans red no-contact jersey). It’s the first time he’s done that since the blood-clotting diagnosis was revealed in early April.

Sutter has ‘no desire to go anywhere’ other than L.A. (Updated)

Darryl Sutter
AP
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Last week, Kings GM Dean Lombardi said he had no concern about Darryl Sutter leaving Los Angeles.

This week, Sutter basically said the same.

“I’m under contract until July 1,” the Kings head coach said, per the Los Angeles Times. “I have no desire to go anywhere else or do any of that. We’ll get it worked out. That’s my plan.”

While this news doesn’t come as a huge surprise, it has to be something of a relief for the organization. Nobody wanted to see the 57-year-old bench boss depart — he’s been in L.A. for the last five seasons and enjoyed a tremendous amount of success, winning two Stanley Cups.

But Lombardi was blunt in his assessment of the Kings last week. After missing the playoffs two years ago and getting bounced in five games this year, he said there were going to be some tough times ahead for everyone, Sutter included, as the club tried to figure things out.

“To get this back on track,” Lombardi said, “there’s going to be some minor punches in the gut as we fight our way through.”

He also admitted the Kings are in “uncharted waters,” and “not where we want to be.”

Reading into both Lombardi’s and Sutter’s comments, it appears next year could be one of transition. The Kings sound like they’re looking to their prospect base in AHL Ontario, hoping to bring more young players into the fold.

There are two main reasons for this. One, that group has been very successful recently, and captured last year’s Calder Cup. 2) Los Angeles doesn’t have a ton of cap flexibility heading into the offseason, and could probably use some younger players contributing on entry-level deals, or reasonably affordable contracts.

Sutter told the Times he was currently monitoring Ontario’s second-round playoff series against San Diego.

As for Lombardi — the guy in charge of the financials — he’s got a busy summer ahead. The club wants to retain power forward Milan Lucic, and is working towards a contract extension… but Lombardi said he doesn’t see a deal getting done anytime soon.

Decisions also need to be reached on UFAs like Kris Versteeg, Trevor Lewis and Luke Schenn.

RFAs Nic Dowd and Brayden McNabb also need new deals, but the really important RFA decisions come next year, when Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson see their contracts expire.

UPDATE: Per the L.A. Times, it appears Sutter’s deal is done and will be announced Friday.

McLellan’s deal in Edmonton was a five-year, $15 million contract with a $3M annual salary, to give you an idea of what Sutter’s salary might look like.

Condon, Larkin shine as U.S. topples France at Worlds

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ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) The United States moved a step closer to qualifying for the quarterfinals of the hockey world championship by beating France 4-0 Thursday.

The Americans, who were coming off a loss to Finland, have a 2-2 record and could end up in third place in Group B if Canada beats Germany later Thursday. The top four teams advance to the next round.

UPDATE: Canada defeated Germany 5-2, with Taylor Hall scoring a pair for the Canadians.

Chris Wideman, Connor Murphy and J.T. Compher scored three goals in quick succession late in the second period. Brady Skjei scored the fourth early in the third. Detroit rookie Dylan Larkin registered a pair of assists.

Goaltender Mike Condon made 19 saves for the shutout while the United States killed six power plays.

“Our special teams were a factor tonight and it’s important that we continue to have good habits in our game,” United States coach John Hynes said.

The Americans next play Hungary on Friday.

In Moscow, the Czech Republic routed Norway 7-0 to go three points clear at the top of Group A.

Lukas Kaspar scored two goals, while Dominik Furch made 26 saves for his second shutout of the tournament.