Mike Halford

MISSISSAUGA , ON - NOVEMBER 2: Jordan Maletta #9 of the Niagara Icedogs skates up ice against the Mississauga Steelheads during OHL game action on November 2, 2014 at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Graig Abel/Getty Images)
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Jackets sign OHL Niagara leading goalscorer Maletta

Columbus has dipped into the undrafted free agent pool, signing Niagara IceDogs forward Jordan Maletta to a three-year, entry-level deal.

Maletta, 20, was passed over in his draft year but has put together a good fifth season in the OHL, leading Niagara with 34 goals through 68 games this year. His output comes on a pretty talented IceDog club, one that features first-round picks like Josh Ho-Sang (Islanders) and Brendan Perlini (Coyotes).

More on Maletta, from the Blue Jackets:

Serving as an alternate captain, Maletta was named the Eastern Conference’s best player on face-offs and finished as the second-most underrated player and third-best penalty killer via the OHL’s annual Coaches Poll.

Listed at 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, Maletta has good size and could be a nice diamond in the rough find for Columbus, if he continues to progress.

Niagara has qualified for the OHL playoffs, so he’ll be tied up with junior league duties for the foreseeable future.

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    Report: Canucks ‘close’ to signing Swedish League MVP Rodin

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    Vancouver is trying to find excitement down the stretch of what’s been a disappointing season.

    And to find that excitement, they’re going overseas.

    Just one week after towering KHL d-man Nikita Tryamkin made his NHL debut, the Canucks are reportedly close (per TSN 1040) to signing forward Anton Rodin, who recently captured Swedish Hockey League MVP honors.

    Rodin, 25, was Vancouver’s second-round pick at the 2009 draft. After spending two years with the club’s AHL affiliate (then in Chicago), he opted to return to Sweden and re-join the club of his youth, Brynas.

    This year, Rodin had 16 goals and 37 points in 33 games and finish tied for 15th in the league in scoring. Brynas’ season ended about one week ago, and the Canucks have retained Rodin’s rights since his departure in ’13.

    Earlier this season, Canucks GM Jim Benning acknowledged his club was scouting Rodin, noting the key to bringing him over to North America was the lure of playing in the NHL.

    “He is not going to want to sign a contract at this stage to come and play in the American league,” Benning explained. “We have to make the determination first if he makes this team and where we think he is going to fit on our team.”

    Rodin told News 1130 in Vancouver that his “goal is to play for the Canucks,” so the NHL dream remains alive and well.

    Goalie nods: It’s Mason versus Greiss in key wild card clash

    In this Nov. 4, 2014 photo, Philadelphia Flyers' Steve Mason puts on his helmet before an NHL hockey game against the Edmonton Oilers in Philadelphia. Franny Drummond "zombified" several Flyers for Mason's latest helmet. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
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    There’s plenty to play for tonight at Barclays, when the New York Islanders — currently holding the first of two wild card spots in the Eastern Conference — take on Metropolitan Division rival Philly.

    The Flyers are in the thick of that wild card chase, sitting three points back of Detroit for the final wild card spot, and five back of the Isles.

    What’s more, both New York and Philly have similar circumstances in goal.

    For Steve Mason and Thomas Greiss, tonight’s duties — and duties for the foreseeable future — are all on them. The Flyers are without Michal Neuvirth for the next three weeks with a lower-body ailment, while the Isles are going to be without Jaroslav Halak until playoff time, as he’s dealing with a groin issue.

    Mason and the Flyers are looking to bounce back from a rough 4-1 loss to the streaking Penguins on Saturday. Mason wasn’t at fault for the defeat — he made 31 saves on 34 shots, while his teammates only fired 17 pucks on Marc-Andre Fleury — but he’ll certainly want to cut down his goals-against, as he’s allowed at least three in each of his last three starts.

    Greiss and the Isles, meanwhile, just want a win.

    They’ve lost five of their last six, a stretch that has seen them fall into wild card territory. Like Mason, Greiss can’t be faulted for the defeats — he’s had a solid, if unspectacular, .918 save percentage over his last five outings — but he has to be concerned about the lack of offensive support. The Isles have scored just seven times in their last five games, which included a 3-0 shutout loss in Dallas over the weekend.


    Roberto Luongo gets the night off in New York, as Al Montoya will start for the Panthers. The Rangers will go with their No. 1, Henrik Lundqvist.

    Jonas Hiller starts for the first time in eight games when Calgary takes on the Leafs in Toronto. He’ll be up against Jonathan Bernier.

    — No word yet on who starts for L.A. in Nashville tonight. Looks like the Preds are going with Pekka Rinne.

    Detroit re-signs Tangradi: two years, $1.25 million

    NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 25:  Eric Tangradi #49 of the Detroit Red Wings skates in his first game with the team against the New York Islanders at the Barclays Center on January 25, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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    The Red Wings re-upped with one of their top AHL farmhands on Monday, signing Eric Tangradi to a two-year, two-way extension.

    Per TSN, it’s a $1.25 million deal, one that carries a $625,000 cap hit at the NHL level.

    The deal comes with Tangradi enjoying perhaps his finest professional campaign. The 27-year-old has posted a career-high 24 goals and 49 points in 60 games with AHL Grand Rapids, and sits second on the Griffins in scoring.

    Signed by Detroit last summer, Tangradi has appeared in one game for the Red Wings this year.

    It’ll be interesting to see if OHL Belleville standout can work his way up to more consistent NHL appearances in Detroit.

    A veteran of nearly 150 career big-league contests, his best campaign came with the Jets in ’13-14, when he scored six points in 55 games.

    Jets’ Perreault diagnosed with concussion after crash into boards

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    Winnipeg forward Mathieu Perreault has been diagnosed with a concussion following a nasty collision into the boards during Sunday’s loss to Anaheim, per Jets head coach Paul Maurice.

    Perreault was hurt midway through the second period, when he lost his balance and slid back-first into the side boards. The 28-year-old remained on the ice for a lengthy period of time before exiting.

    He didn’t return to the contest.

    It remains to be seen if Perreault will return to action this season. The Jets have nothing to play for — at least standings-wise — and only have 10 games remaining.

    This is a tough development for Perreault, however. He was on pace to set a career-best in points (was 43, has 41 this year) and already posted a career high in games played, with 71.