Author: Mike Halford

Bryce Salvador #24 of the New Jersey Devils skates against the New York Islanders at the Prudential Center on September 19, 2013 in Newark, New Jersey.
(September 18, 2013 - Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

Report: Devils captain Salvador to retire this week (Update: Official)

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The 10th captain in New Jersey Devils history is about to hang up his skates.

From NorthJersey.com:

An answer on captain Bryce Salvador’s future is expected by the end of the week, though, with a retirement announcement appearing to be the likely conclusion.

“We’ll probably have some news later in the week on Bryce and we’ll kind of see what direction he is going,” Devils GM Ray Shero said today. “I don’t anticipate this will be a situation that’s ongoing for a lot longer one way or the other. I anticipate that relatively soon there will be some sort of information.”

UPDATE: Per an NHLPA release, Salvador has officially called it a career.

“I would like to thank my wife, April, for her unconditional and ongoing support, and love. I’m blessed and so thankful that my two sons, Pierson and Hudson, were able to see and remember me play as I thought my career was over when I missed the entire 2010-11 season due to injury,” Salvador said in a statement. “To my parents, and my extended family, as well as Bonnie and Gerald, thank you for all your love and support.

“I would like to thank the Lethbridge Hurricanes and GM Bob Bartlett, the St. Louis Blues and GM Larry Pleau, and the New Jersey Devils and GM Lou Lamoriello, for giving me the opportunities to play hockey. Thanks also to my teammates, the owners of each of these organizations, and to the fans for bringing excitement and energy to every game. I look forward to a continued involvement in hockey for years to come.”

Salvador, 39, appeared in just 15 games last year, missing extensive time with nerve damage and a bulging disc in his lower back. There was talk of him potentially returning to the team this fall in some capacity — possibly on a training camp PTO — but now he’s walking away from the game after a 14-year career.

It was, by all measures, a pretty solid run.

A sixth-round pick back in ’94, Salvador appeared in nearly 800 games with the Blues and Devils, and was a huge piece of New Jersey’s Stanley Cup run in 2012. Never known for his offense, Salvador scored 14 points in 24 games to finish second among all d-men in playoff scoring.

Following that run, the Devils signed Salvador to a fairly lucrative three-year, $9.5 million deal and, prior to the start of the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign, named him captain.

Salvador also addressed his retirement in a recent Players Tribune piece. You can read it here.

Kings, Kopitar ‘not even in the ballpark’ on new contract

Anze Kopitar
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Anze Kopitar is heading into the last year of his deal, and eligible to sign an extension at any time.

Just don’t expect that “any time” to be “anytime soon.”

From LA Kings Insider:

The Kings and Kopitar are are “not even in the ballpark” in their discussions, Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi told LA Kings Insider over email when asked whether the two sides were “close” to reaching an agreement.

Kopitar, 28, is making $6.8 million annually on his current deal, which expires next July. Given his status as one of the NHL’s elite centers, it would stand to reason his camp’s initial ask is sky-high; he’s big, he’s strong, he’s won a pair of Stanley Cups, been a Selke finalist two years running, topped 60 points in each of the last two seasons and, for his career, has 60 points in 70 playoff games.

Bottom line? Kopitar is going to get paid.

The question is how much.

One would think the bar’s been set by Chicago’s Jonathan Toews who, starting next year, will pull down $10.5 million annually. Another comparable would be Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin, who pulls in $9.5M per season.

The hangup, of course, is that Los Angeles might not have a ton of financial flexibility in the future. Dustin Brown’s deal, a $5.875M cap hit that runs through 2022, gets more onerous by the day and there’s still no clear picture if the termination of Mike Richards’ contract will hold up after the NHLPA’s grievance is heard.

Still, it’s hard — impossible even — to envision a scenario where Kopitar doesn’t get extended. Top-line centers are some of the most coveted entities in the NHL and, in a Western Conference featuring the likes of Toews, Ryan Getzlaf and Tyler Seguin, Kopitar carries immense value.

The real question now, it seems, is if the Kings and Kopitar can avoid the distraction of entering the season without a new deal in place.

Report: Hawks feel Kane ‘disrespected’ team, have received trade calls

Patrick Kane
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Could the Chicago Blackhawks move on from under-fire superstar Patrick Kane?

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the subject has been broached.

Per sources of ‘Hawks beat writer Mark Lazerus, the club has reportedly fielded speculative trade calls from more than five different teams, following news that Kane is under police investigation for allegedly raping a woman in Buffalo last month.

More:

At least five teams contacted the Hawks once the Buffalo News first reported the investigation — which involves Kane and a woman at his Hamburg home — and said they’d be willing trade partners should the Hawks decide to cut ties with their superstar winger, according to a league source.

The 26-year-old is entering the first year of a record-setting eight-year, $84-million contract.

So it appears there’s significant interest in Kane. Which leaves the second half of the equation — would Chicago really deal him?

Lazerus notes the organization is extremely image-conscious and that, per a team source, feels “disrespected” by Kane’s actions, especially given his past transgressions.

The club also reportedly wasn’t enamored with Kane’s comments at this year’s Stanley Cup parade, during which he said “I know you said I’ve been growing up, but watch out for me the next week.”

Two different groups have already moved on from Kane.

EA Sports took him off the cover of its NHL ’16 video game, while Kane’s former OHL team — the London Knights — dropped the “Team Kane” moniker from its annual training camp routine.

Related: Hawks’ biggest question: What happens with Patrick Kane?

Flyers bring back tough guy Rosehill on AHL deal

Chris Thorburn #22 of the Winnipeg Jets fights with Jay Rosehill #37 of the Philadelphia Flyers during third period in a game between the Winnipeg Jets and the Philadelphia Flyers on April 6, 2013 at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
(April 5, 2013 - Source: Marianne Helm/Getty Images North America)
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The Philadelphia Flyers kept a familiar pugilist in the fold on Tuesday, inking Jay Rosehill to a contract with their AHL affiliate in Lehigh Valley.

Rosehill, 30, has spent the last three seasons within the Flyers organization, appearing in 45 games from 2011-13 before playing last year with the Phantoms, scoring 12 points in 65 games.

Though he’s slowed down in recent years, Rosehill has long been known as an extremely active fighter. At no time was this more evident than during the ’08-09 campaign, when he fought a staggering 33 times (yeah, thirty-three) while playing for AHL Norfolk.

Veteran UFA squeeze continues as Lapierre signs in Sweden

Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Rangers - Game Two
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Earlier today, we passed along word that 32-year-old Marcel Goc — a veteran of over 600 NHL contests — signed in the German League.

Now, another vet is taking his game overseas.

Maxim Lapierre, also with over 600 games on his resume, has signed with Modo of the Swedish Hockey League, per TVA. It’s a one-year deal with a second year option, and also has an out clause should Lapierre land an NHL contract in the next 15 days.

Lapierre, 30, split last season between Pittsburgh and St. Louis (he was traded for Goc, ironically enough). A known agitator, he finished the year with 11 points in 80 games, and appeared in all five games of the Pens’ opening-round playoff loss to the Rangers.

Prior to his time in Pittsburgh and St. Louis, “Yappy Lappy” played in Montreal, Anaheim and Vancouver. His best season came in 2009-10, when he scored a career-high 15 goals and 28 points, earning a handful of Selke votes.

It stands to reason that, given what we’ve seen recently, more veteran skaters will either be forced to take overseas gigs like Lapierre and Goc have, or wait for training camp PTOs.

The likes of Curtis Glencross, Brad Boyes, Lee Stempniak and Marek Zidlicky are all still without contracts.