Mike Halford

Jonathan Bernier; Steve Bernier

Isles sign Bernier: one year, $750,000


Last week, the Isles announced that veteran winger Steve Bernier would be attending training camp on a PTO.

Turns out he didn’t even need it.

On Thursday, as the Isles were set to begin camp, the club went ahead and signed Bernier to a one-year, one-way deal worth $750,000.

The move comes on the heels of a busy last 24 hours — last night, the club agreed to a three-year extension with RFA forward Brock Nelson and, today, GM Garth Snow traded speedy forward Michael Grabner to Toronto for a handful of players, including Taylor Beck.

But back to the Bernier signing for a second.

Though he’s never lived up to the hype — he was the 16th overall pick in 2003, and the Blues once signed him to an offer sheet — Bernier is coming off a pretty good year; he matched career highs in goals (16) and points (32) in just 67 games with the Devils last season, averaging just under 13 minutes a night.

At 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, he should provide good size and a net-front presence for the Isles.

Coyotes sign recently acquired d-man Elliott

Colorado Avalanche v Nashville Predators
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Arizona has inked blueliner Stefan Elliott to a one-year, $650,000 deal, per General Fanager.

Elliott, 24, was acquired from Colorado last week for Brandon Gormley, a flip of two young defenseman that have yet to establish themselves at the NHL level. Elliott was the 49th overall pick in 2009, Gormley the 13th overall pick in 2010, but neither has appeared in more than 40 games in a single season.

With Arizona, Elliott should have a better shot at a bigger role.

The Coyotes are pretty thin on the back end, and young. Only Nicklas Grossmann and Zbynek Michalek are over 30, while the likes of 24-year-olds Klas Dahlbeck and Philip Samuelsson — both relatively untested at the NHL level — are projected to battle for spots.

It’s worth noting that Elliott is the last of all this year’s restricted free agents to sign a new contract.

Veteran NHLer Winchester calls it a career

Brad Winchester

Brad Winchester, who appeared in nearly 400 games over a seven-year career, announced his retirement on Thursday via Twitter.

Winchester, 34, had spent the last few seasons with a variety of organizations — Chicago, Minnesota, Anaheim, Edmonton — but played exclusively in the AHL, most recently with the Oilers’ affiliate in Oklahoma City.

That last stint with the Oilers was a homecoming of sorts, as Edmonton made Winchester the 35th overall pick in 2000 and gave him his NHL debut (he would later appear in 10 games during the Oilers’ Stanley Cup run of 2006.)

Winchester’s best years came with St. Louis, most notably the 2008-09 campaign in which he scored a career-high 13 goals and 21 points.

Ducks d-man Stoner charged with unlawful grizzly bear hunt

Calgary Flames v Anaheim Ducks - Game One

Two years ago, Clayton Stoner was in hot water after pictures of him hoisting the severed head of a grizzly bear appeared online.

Now, the water’s even hotter.

Stoner is facing five chargers under British Columbia’s Wildlife Act in relation to the hunt, per the Vancouver Sun.


The B.C.-born Stoner is charged with two counts of making a false statement to obtain a licence on May 22, 2013, as well as one count of hunting without a licence, one count of hunting wildlife out of season, and one count of unlawful possession of dead wildlife — the latter three offences allegedly taking place on May 28, 2013.

Stoner is scheduled to appear in Vancouver provincial court on Oct. 9.

The legal argument is that Stoner did not meet those conditions due to living out of the province as a professional hockey player. At the time of the hunt, Stoner played for the Minnesota Wild but joined Anaheim as a free agent in 2014. “All five charges are directly related to the residency requirement,” [conservation office Detective-Sergeant Cynthia] Mann said.

Shortly after the social-media firestorm occurred, Stoner released a statement through the Wild’s PR team to explain his side of the story.

“I grew up hunting and fishing in British Columbia and continue to enjoy spending time with my family outdoors,” he explained. “I applied for and received a grizzly bear hunting license through a British Columbia limited entry lottery last winter and shot a grizzly bear with my license while hunting with my father, uncle and a friend in May.

“I love to hunt and fish and will continue to do so with my family and friends in British Columbia.”

It’s believed about 100 bears are hunted and killed annually in the Great Bear Rainforest, a remote region in B.C. between Vancouver Island and Southeast Alaska.

Farewell, Carbomb: Carcillo announces retirement

Chicago Blackhawks v Philadelphia Flyers

After 429 games and 1233 penalty minutes, Dan Carcillo is calling it a career.

On Thursday, Carcillo announced his retirement from the NHL via the Players Tribune. The decision comes after a tumultuous ’14-15 campaign in which Carcillo’s close friend, ex-NHLer Steve Mondator, passed away; in the aftermath, Carcillo re-directed his focus on helping NHLers transition into retirement with his new endeavor, a charity called Chapter 5.

Carcillo, 30, walks away with a pretty colorful career. A two-time Stanley Cup winner with the Blackhawks, he’ll probably best be remembered for his numerous brushes with the league’s disciplinary office — Carcillo was suspended or fined 12 times in his first nine seasons in the league, which included a lengthy ban for physically engaging a linesman during the ’14 playoffs.

The later stages of Carbomb’s career did show a different side to him. He shot an emotional, well-received video segment for the Players’ Tribune following Montador’s passing, and been lauded for his initiatives with Chapter 5.