Vancouver has re-upped with a pair of AHL Utica standouts — on Tuesday, the club announced defenseman Andrey Pedan and forward Alexandre Grenier signed one-year, two-way deals.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
Pedan, 23, is a big-bodied (6-foot-5, 217 pounds), physical blueliner that will likely battle for one of the club’s last spots on defense. A former Isles draftee, he appeared in 13 games for the Canucks last year, spending most of his time with the Comets — where he posted career highs in almost every statistical category.
Cracking the blueline won’t be easy. The Canucks aren’t loaded with talent at the position, but there is quite a bit of depth with Alex Edler, Chris Tanev, Ben Hutton, Erik Gudbranson, Luca Sbisa, Nikita Tryamkin, Philip Larsen and Alex Biega all in the mix.
Grenier, 24, led Utica in scoring with 48 points last season, and made seven appearances with the Canucks. Like Pedan, he also boasts good size (6-foot-4, 211 pounds) and could be in position for a fourth-line role with the big club.
It’s worth noting both Grenier and Pedan would require waivers to be assigned to the AHL next season.
Coming off a solid season in which he posted career highs in games played (82), goals (14), points (37) and won a spot on Team Europe for the World Cup of Hockey, Tobias Rieder seemed primed to cash in this summer.
But it hasn’t happened yet.
And what’s more, it doesn’t sound like it’s coming anytime soon.
From Arizona Sports:
Rieder’s agent, Darren Ferris, continues to assert that the two sides are not close to a deal, with a significant difference of opinion on what Rieder is worth. Rieder set career highs for goals (14) and assists (23) last season. He averaged 17:18 of ice time in 82 games in the last season of a three-year, $2.8 million entry-level contract.
Ferris said he has some strong interest from European and KHL clubs, and he also intimated on Friday that Rieder could receive an offer sheet from another NHL team, which would force the Coyotes to either match the offer or walk away with compensation. It is unclear whether that will happen.
Having only turned 23 in January, Rieder would seem to have reasonably good value. He’s a very quick skater that can play up and down the lineup, and didn’t just avoid a sophomore slump last season after appearing in 72 games as a rookie — he thrived.
Of course, the hangup in negotiations could be a result of Arizona’s regime change. New GM John Chayka, a strong proponent of analytics, might have a different opinion of Rieder than previous GM Don Maloney, who traded to get Rieder from Edmonton three years ago, then wasted little time in signing him to an entry-level deal.
One would think the next big date on the calendar for both sides is Sept. 4, when Team Europe opens training camp for the World Cup.
Journeyman netminder Jason LaBarbera — who appeared in nearly 200 career games with the Coyotes, Kings, Rangers, Ducks, Oilers and Canucks — has hung up his skates in favor of a new position:
On Tuesday, the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen announced that LaBarbera was coming aboard as the club’s new goalie coach. The decision comes after the 36-year-old spent all of last season with Philly’s AHL affiliate in Lehigh Valley.
“I am really excited about this opportunity and moving onto the next chapter of my life,” LaBarbera said in a release. “I’m also looking forward to the challenges of coaching and being able to pass along some of my experiences to the guys on the team.”
More, from the AHL:
[LaBarbera] he left his mark on the American Hockey League, honored with the Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award as Top Goaltender and named an AHL First Team All-Star in both 2004 and 2007.
During the 2003-04 season, as a member of the Hartford Wolf Pack, he also took home the Les Cunningham Award given to the AHL MVP after setting the league record for most shutouts in a single season with 13. It’s a record that still stands to this day.
As that excerpt suggests, LaBarbera’s best years came in the minors, though that’s not to say he was without NHL success.
He enjoyed some banner campaigns as the Coyotes’ backup — first to Ilya Bryzgalov, then to Mike Smith — and once started 42 games in a single season (for the Kings back in ’07-08).
LaBarbera’s last NHL action came in ’14-15, when he appeared in a handful of games for Anaheim.
Washington and Marcus Johansson are set to go to arbitration for the second year in a row and, on Monday, Sportsnet reported the price points for both player and club.
Johansson is asking for $5.25 million, per Elliotte Friedman, while the Caps have countered at $3.85M. This comes after last summer’s negotiation, in which the Swedish forward sought $4.75 million in arbitration while the Caps filed for $3M — and, eventually, Johansson was awarded $3.75M.
The 25-year-old’s hearing is scheduled for July 20.
The situation at hand is tricky. Johansson has put together three very consistent scoring seasons, having notched 44, 47 and 46 points, and was a pretty decent producer in last year’s playoffs, racking up seven points in 12 games.
Washington, of course, is in a bit of a financial bind.
The club has roughly $8 million in cap space remaining, and needs to sign both Johansson and Russian blueliner Dmitry Orlov, who appears to be in line for a fairly healthy raise.
Nathan Lieuwen’s time with Sabres is up.
Lieuwen, a 2011 draft pick who debuted for Buffalo in ’13-14, has signed an AHL deal with the San Antonio Rampage, the minor league affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche.
Lieuwen, 24, has been bit the injury bug over the last few seasons, missing extensive time to concussions. When healthy, he posted some good numbers — including that aforementioned ’13-14 campaign, when he played seven NHL games and had a .922 save percentage with AHL Rochester — but wasn’t tendered a qualifying offer by Buffalo GM Tim Murray at the end of this season, making him an unrestricted free agent.
Yesterday, Murray inked goalie prospect Jason Kasdorf to a two-year deal, which all but suggested Lieuwen was on his way out. Kasdorf projects to be No. 4 on a depth chart that starts with Robin Lehner, and will (presumably) see Linus Ullmark and Anders Nilsson battle it out for second and third spots.
Lieuwen could be in line for a more prominent role in Colorado. Semyon Varlamov and Calvin Pickard are entrenched at the NHL level, but the situation behind them is a bit unclear, with the likes of ex-Bruins farmhand Jeremy Smith and ’13 draftee Spencer Martin in the mix.
On that note, the Rampage also brought in goalie Kent Simpson on a one-year deal on Monday.