Mike Halford

OTTAWA, ON - FEBRUARY 6: Cody Ceci #5 of the Ottawa Senators skates against the Toronto Maple Leafs during an NHL game at Canadian Tire Centre on February 6, 2016 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)
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Report: Sens offered both short- and long-term deals to Ceci

Cody Ceci, the former first-round pick that played alongside Dion Phaneuf in Ottawa last season, has reportedly been offered both short- and long-term contract extensions by GM Pierre Dorion, per the Sun.

Ceci, the 15th overall pick in ’12, just wrapped the last of his three-year entry deal and will be a restricted free agent on July 1. The 22-year-old defenseman was a bright spot for Ottawa last season — scoring a career-high 10 goals and 26 points — and he helped Canada capture gold at the 2016 World Hockey Championships, finishing with six points in 10 games.

It’ll be very interesting to see what kind of financial commitment the Sens end up making. The club could “buy” some of Ceci’s UFA years with a longer-term deal, but that will cost a pretty penny. The alternative could be to offer something shorter and see how Ceci progresses, but the danger there is the asking price going up should he continue to develop as a good offensive blueliner.

 

Report: Jackets have interviewed Shaw, Sydor for spot on Torts’ staff

Chicago Blackhawks v Minnesota Wild
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Columbus is zeroing in on replacements for outgoing assistant coach Craig Hartsburg.

Per the Dispatch, a pair of notable coaches have been interviewed for the position — Brad Shaw, the former Isles head coach that’s spent the last few years as Ken Hitchcock’s right-hand man in St. Louis, and Darryl Sydor, who previously served as an assistant coach in Minnesota.

Sydor, 44, would make a lot of sense on Tortorella’s staff, as he played on Torts’ 2004 Tampa Bay Lightning team that won the Stanley Cup.

Shaw, 52, is certainly the more experienced of the two candidates. He’s spent the last 10 years with the Blues and, prior to that, had the aforementioned stint with the Isles, along with some AHL head coaching experience as well.

It’s worth noting that both Sydor and Shaw had long careers as NHL defensemen, and are regarded for their work with young blueliners.

The Dispatch also reports that Columbus has interviewed two coaches from its minor-league affiliate in Lake Erie — head coach Jared Bednar, and assistant Nolan Pratt. The two led the Monsters to the Calder Cup this season.

‘Valuable asset’ Alfredsson re-ups as Ottawa’s senior advisor of hockey ops

Daniel Alfredsson Eugene Melnyk Bryan Murray
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Daniel Alfredsson will be back working in the Senators’ front office next season — on Monday, he agreed to a one-year extension to continue serving as the club’s senior advisor of hockey operations.

“Daniel offers a fresh perspective and unique insights on what we do in hockey operations,” said Senators general manager Pierre Dorion, in a release. “We feel this year we’ll be able to build on his experiences from last year and he’ll continue to be a valuable asset to our staff.”

Alfredsson, 43, joined the organization last year in the same role, albeit under the tutelage of former GM Bryan Murray, who stepped down and ceded his position to Dorion earlier this offseason.

It’s not surprising Ottawa wanted to keep Alfie in the fold, given he’s the most decorated player in franchise history. Alfredsson is the Senators’ all-time leader in goals (426), assists (682), points (1,108), power-play goals (131), shorthanded goals (25), game-winning goals (69), shots (3,320) and hat tricks (eight).

Looking ahead, it’s possible Alfredsson could be groomed to eventually become Dorion’s assistant. Currently, Ottawa only has one AGM on staff — longtime club employee Randy Lee — and, in today’s release, Alfredsson certainly sounded like someone interested in a front office career.

“When I started this last year, I was not really sure what to expect,” said Alfredsson. “This job has turned out to be exactly what I am looking for – the opportunity to be flexbile and see so many of different requirements of working in an NHL front office.

“I’ve been able to do just about everything I could imagine, from being part of scouting meetings to working one-on-one with the players on the ice.”

Buyout window opens Wednesday, here are some candidates

BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 19:  Thomas Vanek #26 of the Minnesota Wild looks on during the first period against the Boston Bruinsat TD Garden on November 19, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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Now that the Stanley Cup has been awarded, it’s time to move on to an equally enjoyable topic — players that will be paid to go away this summer!

The NHL’s buyout window opens on Wednesday, 48 hours after the final game of the season. A quick refresher on the math (per General Fanager):

Buyouts are paid over twice the number of years remaining on the player’s contract.

The rate is one-third of the total salary remaining for players under the age of 26, and two-thirds for those 26 and older.

There are a bunch of other smaller rules and regulations so, if you’d like to read about those, head over to the General Fanager page. It’s a good site.

Now, for the potential buyout candidates?

— Rumblings have Minnesota considering a Thomas Vanek buyout. Vanek, 32, is heading into the last of a three-year, $19.5 million deal with a $6.5M cap hit, and is owed $7.5 million in salary. He’s coming off a disappointing year in which he scored a career-low 18 goals.

— Nashville GM David Poile said buying out veteran forward Eric Nystrom could happen, if he’s unable to trade Nystrom prior to the window. Nystrom, 33, carries a $2.5 million cap hit but is set to pull in $3M in salary next season.

R.J. Umberger said he expects the Flyers to buy him out. Umberger, 33, is heading into the last year of a contract that pays $4.6 million annually.

Toronto is expected to do the same with d-man Jared Cowen, who was acquired in the Dion Phaneuf trade but never played for the Leafs.

Alex Burrows and Chris Higgins, both facing uncertain futures in Vancouver, are also candidates to be bought out.

Chicago could finally decide to part ways with Bryan Bickell, whose four-year, $16 million contract has been an albatross the last couple of seasons.

— Former Oilers captain Andrew Ference, who only played in six games last year before getting shut down, could be in line for a buyout. This one may be more complicated, though, depending on Ference’s health. He underwent season-ending hip surgery in January, and it’s unclear if he’s fully recovered.

Preds re-sign goalie Mazanec to one-year deal

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 05: Marek Mazanec #39 of the Nashville Predators skates against the Carolina Hurricanes at the Bridgestone Arena on December 5, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Hurricanes defeated the Predators 5-2.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Per agent Allan Walsh, the Nashville Predators have re-upped with RFA goalie Marek Mazanec on a one-year deal.

Per the Preds, it’s a two-way contract worth $575,000 at the NHL level and $100,000 at the AHL level. So essentially the same deal he played the ’15-16 campaign on.

Mazanec, 24, has appeared in 27 career games for the Preds, though none this past season, having spent the entire campaign in AHL Milwaukee (where he posted a 2.45 GAA and .912 save percentage in 39 games).

Mazanec made his big-league debut during the 2013-14 season in the wake of Pekka Rinne‘s hip injury, getting significant minutes in tandem with Carter Hutton. The Czech netminder earned NHL Rookie of the Month honors for November that year and finished with a .902 save percentage and 2.80 GAA, but was then jettisoned back to Milwaukee, with Rinne and Hutton filling the Preds’ No. 1 and 2 spots.

Now, one has to wonder if Hutton’s time is up.

He’s set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, and the Preds boast some pretty good goaltending depth. There’s Mazanec, Jonas Gunnarsson — a Swedish League standout GM David Poile signed two weeks ago — and another good young prospect in Juuse Saros, who’s coming off a solid campaign in AHL Milwaukee.