Author: Mike Halford

Carolina Hurricanes v Florida Panthers

Florida waives Boyes for buyout purposes

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The Florida Panthers are ready to part ways with veteran forward Brad Boyes.

Per TSN, the club has placed Boyes on waivers for the purpose of buying out the last of his two-year, $5.25 million contract — one that carries a cap hit of $2.625M.

Per Cap Friendly, the buyout will cost Florida $833,333 in each of the next two seasons, while carrying a cap hit of $958,333 in year one and $833,333 in year two.

Boyes, 33, has spent the last two seasons in Florida and achieved a decent level of success, scoring 21 goals in his first year and 38 points last year — his highest total since 2011. That said, he did see a dip in minutes under new head coach Gerard Gallant this year.

The well-traveled journeyman could land with a new team once his buyout is complete. Though not the scorer he once was — Boyes netted 43 during the 2007-08 campaign, lest we forget — he can still produce on occasion and has proven durable, missing just eight games over the last three seasons.

Boyes is also one of the NHL’s all-time best in the shootout.

What character concerns? Treliving has ‘slept like a baby’ since Hamilton trade

Dougie Hamilton
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Not long after the inevitable “Dougie Hamilton was disliked!” stories came out of Boston, Hamilton’s new boss — Flames GM Brad Treliving — shot down any notion the young d-man was arriving in Calgary with character concerns.

From the Sun:

“I’m not going to comment on any anonymous people out there, but we’ve done our homework — thorough homework — both on the player and the person, and we are over-the-moon excited about the player and the person that we’re getting,” Treliving said. “We think he’s going to fit like a glove — on and off the ice — with us.

“This type of player doesn’t come around very often at this age. You’re talking about a very intelligent kid. He’s a 98% student. He won the scholastic award (in the Ontario Hockey League in 2011). I like that he’s a very cerebral kid. Smart. Intelligent.

“This doesn’t keep me awake at night. Since the day we got Dougie Hamilton, I’ve had the best sleeps of the past few years. I’ve slept like a baby.”

As if to further hammer home his point, Treliving began negotiating a contract extension with Hamilton’s agent, J.P. Barry, before the club made its perfunctory qualifying offer on Monday. If you’re wondering what the figures might look like, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that Boston’s offer to Hamilton was for $33 million over six years — a $5.5M annual cap hit — while the counter was “about $2M per year higher.”

In that light, it’ll be really curious to see what number Calgary settles on — especially given what else the club needs to do this summer.

Treliving’s on record saying his biggest priority of the offseason was an extension with another key defenseman, team captain Mark Giordano, and early rumblings suggest the Giordano camp has opened negotiations with an eye-popping ask of $9 million per season.

Could be a spendy July in Calgary.

‘Hawks sign No. 3 goalie Leighton to one-year extension

Michael Leighton, Chicago Blackhawks
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Just days after trading away Antti Raanta, the Chicago Blackhawks have shored up their goaltending by re-signing veteran Michael Leighton.

Per ESPN, it’s a two-way deal that pays $575,000 at the NHL level.

Leighton, 34, enjoyed a solid campaign with AHL Rockford last season, going 22-13-4 with a 2.26 GAA and .920 save percentage. He finished with five shutouts, led the team to the playoffs and was named the IceHogs’ MVP.

A veteran of over 100 career NHL games — and a Stanley Cup Final with Philadelphia, which he lost to the ‘Hawks — Leighton is now firmly entrenched as Chicago’s No. 3 netminder, behind Scott Darling and Corey Crawford.

Raanta, who at times served as Crawford’s backup with the ‘Hawks, was traded to the Rangers at the draft to fill Cam Talbot’s backup gig behind Henrik Lundqvist. Talbot was flipped to Edmonton.

Report: Isles, Hickey closing in three-year pact around $6.5M

thomashickeygetty
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Sounds as though the New York Islanders are close to a deal with pending RFA blueliner Thomas Hickey.

Per Newsday’s sources, the contract extension is believed to be of the three-year variety, with Hickey pulling down “in the range of” $6.5 million total — a cap hit of around $2.16M.

For Hickey, 26, it’s a nice bump from the $675,000 he netted annually on his last deal.

The former Kings first-rounder was claimed off waivers by the Isles prior to the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign and has been a steady lineup presence ever since; he’s appeared in 82 and 81 games in consecutive seasons and both set and matched a career-high in points, with 22 each year.

Getting Hickey locked in was fairly important for the Isles, as they dealt away Griffin Reinhart at the draft and don’t expect to return Lubomir Visnovsky.

That puts Hickey in a top-six defensive group with Johnny Boychuk, Travis Hamonic, Nick Leddy, Calvin De Haan and Brian Strait, with youngsters like Ryan Pulock and Scott Mayfield looking to make the leap.

‘Canes re-sign Nestrasil: two years, $1.825 million

Carolina Hurricanes v Detroit Red Wings
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Carolina has rewarded Andrej Nestrasil — claimed off waivers last year from Detroit — with a two-year deal worth $1.825 million.

Nestrasil, 24, will carry an average annual cap hit of $912,5000 and, per Carolina GM Ron Francis, will be paid $875,000 in 2015-16 and $950,000 in 2016-17.

“Andrej is a big body and a good fit for our team and what we’re trying to do,” Francis said in a statement. “He battled an injury last season, but proved he could produce offensively on the NHL level.”

The Czech forward was a good pickup for the ‘Canes last year. After floating in and out of the lineup with Detroit, Nestrasil became a pretty productive player in Carolina, scoring seven goals and 18 points in 41 games while averaging over 14 minutes per night.