Mike Halford

DENVER, CO - FEBRUARY 17:  Dale Weise #22 of the Montreal Canadiens awaits a face off against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center on February 17, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. The Avalanche defeated the Canadiens 3-2.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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Flyers sign Weise to four-year, $9.4 million deal

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Dale Weise posted a career-high in goals last year, and now he’s getting a career-high payday.

The veteran winger has inked a four-year, $9.4 million deal with the Flyers, one that carries at $2.35M average annual cap hit, per Sportsnet.

Prior to this, Weise had never earned more than $1.025M in a single season, but greatly upped his value in ’15-16 by scoring 14 goals and 27 points with the Habs and Blackhawks.

In Philly, it’s possible Weise will be called upon to replace some of the grit and sandpaper Ryan White brought to the team. White looks as though he’ll exit as an unrestricted free agent, and at first glance Weise seems more than capable of filling the role.

He’s younger, more offensively inclined and a faster skater, all of which bodes well. The big sticking point with Weise will be this contract, though — $2.35 million is a lot to pay annually for a guy that might end up being a fourth-line forward.

 

 

 

Hedman inks eight-year, $63M extension as Bolts strike another huge deal

TAMPA, FL - MAY 8:  Victor Hedman #77 of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrates his goal against the New York Islanders during the first period of Game Five of the Eastern Conference Second Round during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena on May 8, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)
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Steve Yzerman is having himself quite the week.

Just days after preventing captain Steve Stamkos from leaving via free agency, the Lightning GM has orchestrated another vitally important deal — star defenseman Victor Hedman has agreed to an eight-year, $63 million deal.

“Victor has matured into one of the top defensemen in the NHL and coming off the recent re-signing of our captain, Steven Stamkos,  we’ve secured another extremely important member of our team,” Yzerman said upon making the announcement. “I’m very appreciative of both Victor and [agent] Peter Wallen’s efforts to reach an agreement with us at this time.”

The contract comes with Hedman going into the final year of his current contract, meaning the extension kicks in for the 2017-18 campaign. It will carry a hefty $7.85M cap hit — up from his current $4M — but is still good value for a franchise-type defenseman that, in case you forgot, is still only 25 years old.

Hedman enjoyed another stellar campaign this season, finishing with 10 goals and 47 points in 78 games, and his highest-ever Norris finish (seventh in voting). He then stepped it up in the playoffs, scoring at a near point-per-game clip (14 in 17 contests) and saw his ice time skyrocket to 27:26 per night.

While the Stamkos and Hedman signings were both excellent pieces of business from Yzerman, there remains plenty of work to be done. The team is pushing closer and closer to the salary cap ceiling, and new deals still need to be reached for prized RFAs Nikita Kucherov and Alex Killorn, as well as a promising young prospect in Vladislav Namestnikov.

Next summer, more big deals need to get done — for Ondrej Palat, Tyler Johnson and Jonathan Drouin.

As such, it’s possible the club may have to part with Vezina finalist Ben Bishop. The NHL’s tallest netminder was terrific for the team last year, but carries a $5.9M cap hit and will be a UFA after next season.

What’s more, the Bolts have their goalie of the future already in the mix with Andrei Vasilevskiy (who, of course, will need a new contract next summer.)

Sharks sign ‘solid puck-moving defenseman’ Schlemko — four years, $8.4 million

David Schlemko
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The defending Western Conference champions beefed up their blueline on the opening day of free agency — San Jose has inked journeyman blueliner David Schlemko to a four-year, $8.4 million deal, one that carries a $2.1M average annual cap hit.

More, from the Sharks:

“David is a solid puck-moving defenseman with good speed who can play the game at both ends,” said [GM Doug] Wilson. “He is coming off of a very productive season in New Jersey and we think he will fit well with our group.”

Schlemko, 29, posted career-highs in goals (6), assists (13), points (19), power-play points (12), game-winning goals (3) and shots on goal (104) in a career-best 67 games played with New Jersey last season. He led all Devils blueliners in goals, ranked T-2nd in points and ranked 3rd on the team in blocked shots (88) and T-3rd in power-play points. In addition, Schlemko skated the eighth-most minutes per game of any Devils skater (18:38).

Schlemko will bolster a pretty solid Sharks blueline, one that already featured the likes of Brent Burns, Paul Martin, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Justin Braun, and Brenden Dillon. It’s possible Schlemko comes in and fills Roman Polak‘s spot on the bottom pairing next to Dillon.

That coupling was exposed at time in the Stanley Cup Final, though Schlemko might not the proper fit for a replacement given he’s a lefty, and so is Dillon.

Coyotes sign gritty McGinn to three-year, $10 million deal

DENVER, CO - MARCH 09:  Jamie McGinn #88 of the Anaheim Ducks skates against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center on March 9, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. The Avalanche defeated the Ducks 3-0.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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Jamie McGinn is on the move again.

But this time, he might stick around for a while.

The eight-year veteran is moving onto his fifth team — the Arizona Coyotes — after signing a three-year, $10 million deal on the opening day of free agency.

The contract carries a $3.3M average annual cap hit, slightly up from the $2.95M he earned last season.

The contract comes after McGinn had a pretty productive ’15-16 campaign, racking up 22 goals and 39 points in 84 games — yes, 84 games — with the Sabres and Ducks.

Acquired by Anaheim at the deadline, McGinn acquitted himself nicely as a top-six forward and scored a pair of goals in an opening-round playoff loss to Nashville.

He’s a versatile guy, physical, and brings a lot of energy (as evident by his 164 hits last season). He can also fill several different spots in the lineup, which should benefit him in Arizona — one could see McGinn playing alongside the likes of Max Domi and/or Anthony Duclair.

Blues shore up goaltending — extend Allen, bring in Hutton

St. Louis Blues goalie Jake Allen (34) is scored on by the Edmonton Oilers during second period NHL hockey action in Edmonton, Alta., on Wednesday, March 16, 2016. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)
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From the club:

St. Louis Blues President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Doug Armstrong announced today the club has signed goaltender Jake Allen to a four-year, $17.4 million contract extension and goaltender Carter Hutton to a two-year, $2.25 million contract.

The Allen deal — one that carries a $4.35M average annual cap hit — was a no-brainer, especially after Armstrong traded away Brian Elliott to Calgary at the draft. Allen is the club’s goalie of the future and all signs point to him carrying at starter’s workload next season, as Hutton has been a career backup.

Speaking of Hutton, he moves on from Nashville after spending the last three seasons as Pekka Rinne‘s No. 2. The 30-year-old posted a .918 save percentage and 2.33 GAA last year, but only had 17 appearances as Rinne proved to be a big workhorse for the Preds.

Hutton should be in line for a few more starts in St. Louis, as Allen adjusts to being the clear-cut No. 1 for the first time in his career. But make no mistake, Allen is being counted on to be “the guy” for the Blues next season — and beyond.