Mike Halford

Nikita Nesterov
AP

Nesterov to replace Voynov on Russia’s World Cup team

1 Comment

Earlier today, we passed along word that the Russian hockey federation acknowledged d-man Slava Voynov wouldn’t be eligible to compete in the upcoming World Cup of Hockey.

And now, the Russians have named Voynov’s replacement.

Nikita Nesterov, the 23-year-old Tampa Bay blueliner, has been added to the roster, the Russian federation announced on Monday. He had three goals and six assists in 57 games last season, and was named to the Russian squad ahead of the likes of Fedor Tyutin and Nikita Zadorov.

Nesterov has represented Russian internationally on several occasions, though only at the U18 and World Junior level. He helped his country capture a pair of medals — silver and bronze — at the ’12 and ’13 WJC.

As for the guy he’s replacing… well, this essentially puts an end to what could’ve been a contentious inclusion.

In late May, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman made it clear that Voynov was still suspended by the league — stemming from his arrest on felony domestic violence charges in October 2014 — and because of that, would not be allowed to play in the World Cup.

But the Russians had argued that the NHL had no right to hold him out of the international tournament.

Voynov played last season for SKA Saint Petersburg in the KHL. He had nine assists in 28 games, including the playoffs.

It should be noted the Russian team will have a pretty distinctive Lightning influence this fall, as Nesterov joins Bolts teammates Nikita Kucherov, Vladislav Namestnikov and Andrei Vasilevskiy on the roster.

Brassard ‘a better hockey player at this point in time’ than Zibanejad, says Sens GM

TAMPA, FL - MAY 26:  Derick Brassard #16 of the New York Rangers celebrates after scoring a goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the third period in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena on May 26, 2015 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)
Getty
10 Comments

For Ottawa, today’s Mika Zibanejad-for-Derick Brassard trade was all about one thing:

The present.

“We felt Mika has great potential down the road, but we felt with Derick we were getting someone that was more proven, and a better hockey player at this point in time,” Sens GM Pierre Dorion said on Monday’s conference call. “Our ultimate goal is to make the playoffs again, and we feel Derick’s going to help us make the playoffs.”

Dorion’s remarks only confirmed what was pretty obvious — Ottawa is aggressively pursuing the postseason after missing last year.

That message was made loud and clear with a major hockey operations overhaul to begin the summer. Dorion replaced longtime GM Bryan Murray, Guy Boucher replaced head coach Dave Cameron, and former Stanley Cup winning bench boss Marc Crawford was brought in as Boucher’s assistant.

Now, the changes are happening with the on-ice product.

Brassard, who played under Boucher in junior, should provide an immediate upgrade. While the Sens did mortgage some of their future with this deal — Zibanejad is five years younger, and on a club-controlled contract — Brassard had 27 goals and 31 assists in 80 games last season, and will make a pretty solid, albeit unspectacular, one-two punch at center with Kyle Turris.

Dorion has already envisioned who Brassard might be skating alongside.

“He’s the left-handed center that we’ve coveted for a few years,” Dorion said of Brassard. “Left-handed centers will make it easier to get the puck to our right wingers, and we have two pretty good ones in Mark Stone and Bobby Ryan.”

On paper, the Senators — who finished nine points out of the playoffs last season — now boast a fairly impressive forward group highlighted by Turris, Brassard, Stone, Ryan and unsigned RFA forward Mike Hoffman, who is scheduled for arbitration.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau is coming off a breakout campaign, and there’s hope former first-rounders Matt Puempel and Curtis Lazar can reach the next level.

But if the Sens are going to make the playoffs next year, one thing is certain — special teams, which were horrendous all season long, are going to have to improve.

In that light, it’ll be interesting to see how big an impact Brassard can make. He didn’t kill penalties in New York, but was a mainstay on the club’s power play, and finished tied for the team lead in PP points.

“He’s someone that plays a complete game,” Dorion said. “We just feel that we got a really good player here.”

Isles re-sign Quine — two years, $1.225 million

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 24:  Alan Quine #10 of the New York Islanders skates against the Florida Panthers in Game Six of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Barclays Center on April 24, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Islanders won the game 2-1 in double overtime to win the series four games to two.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Getty
1 Comment

The New York Islanders have agreed to terms with forward Alan Quine — a two-year, $1.225 million deal with a $612,500 average annual cap hit.

The deal was first announced by the Isles, with Newsday providing the financial details.

Quine, 23, was a fifth-round pick in 2013 that’s spent the majority of his career in the minors. He made his NHL debut this past regular season, appearing in just two games, but was a notable contributor during the playoffs, scoring a goal and five points in 10 games.

The former OHL standout notched the biggest goal of his career in the Isles’ opening-round playoff victory over Florida, scoring the double-OT winner in Game 5.

Looking ahead, Quine should be in line for some extended minutes next year in Brooklyn. Up front, the Isles lost the likes of Kyle Okposo, Frans Nielsen and Matt Martin in free agency, though they did land one of the market’s biggest prizes in Andrew Ladd.

Report: B’s re-sign Colin Miller, Joe Morrow

Tampa Bay Lightning's Valtteri Filppula (51) and Boston Bruins' Colin Miller (48) battle for the puck during the third period of an NHL hockey game in Boston, Monday, Oct. 12, 2015. The Lightning won 6-3. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
AP
7 Comments

Colin Miller will be sticking around Boston for the foreseeable future — on Wednesday, the B’s signed him to a two-year, $2 million extension with a $1M average annual cap hit, per TVA.

Miller, 23, made his NHL debut last season, appearing in 42 games all told. He showed some decent offensive upside, with 16 points, while averaging just under 16 minutes per night.

A former fifth-round pick of Los Angeles, Miller was part of the deal that saw he and Martin Jones go to Boston in exchange for Milan Lucic. While he’s always been a talented offensive defenseman, there are concerns about Miller’s defensive awareness.

In related news, it sounds like Boston has also agreed with another young defenseman, Joe Morrow.

Per General Fanager, Morrow is back on a one-year deal worth $800,000. A former first-round pick, Morrow had his most extensive NHL experience last year, scoring seven points in 33 games for the B’s. Like Miller, Morrow is also 23 and like Miller, he’s yet to really establish himself at the big league level.

With these two inked, Boston now has seven d-men under contract for next season: Miller, Morrow, Zdeno Chara, Torey Krug, Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller and John Michael-Liles.

GM Don Sweeney bought out Dennis Seidenberg last month, which should free up some minutes for Miller and Morrow to battle over, though that can’t be considered a successful offseason. Sweeney has been outspoken about trying to upgrade the blueline but, as of now, he’s got a near identical group to the one that finished last season.

Related: The Bruins still haven’t added that ‘transitional’ defenseman they wanted

Canucks re-sign Bachman, a goalie to expose in expansion draft

VANCOUVER, BC - OCTOBER 10: Goalie Richard Bachman #32 of the Vancouver Canucks makes a save during the pre-game warm up prior to the start of NHL action against the Calgary Flames on October 10, 2015 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
Getty
1 Comment

Vancouver inked journeyman third-stringer Richard Bachman to a one-year extension on Wednesday, locking up the veteran through 2018.

On its own, the signing isn’t huge news.

Bachman, 28, has bounced around over the last few years, appearing in 32 games with the Stars, Oilers and Canucks. He’s spent most of his time in the AHL, and that looks to continue next season with Ryan Miller and Jacob Markstrom manning Vancouver’s net.

That said, the Bachman signing does have significance for the Canucks.

From The Province:

Under the NHL’s expansion draft rules, every team is required to have two forwards, one defenceman and one goalie available for selection.

Last week, the team signed Jacob Markstrom to a three-year extension, leaving him and the draft-exempt Thatcher Demko as the only goalies under contract heading into 2017-18.

As things stood, Markstrom would have had to be exposed for the draft which will stock the new Las Vegas squad.

So Bachman, who had one year left on his current contract, will fill the “you’re getting exposed” role, though that won’t be only thing he does. He played quite a bit for AHL Utica last season — 35 games — and will probably do the same this year while mentoring Demko.

The real question now is, who backs up Markstrom after next season? Miller is a pending UFA, Bachman has never proven to be a reliable No. 2 and it would be asking a lot of Demko to make the leap after just one year of pro hockey.