Ryan Dadoun

After big weekend, Chiarelli ‘pretty good’ with where Oilers stand


Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Despite not making the playoffs since 2006, the Oilers are upbeat this summer.

It’s certainly not a new sentiment, but perhaps this weekend signaled the end of Groundhog Day in Edmonton. After all they added top defensive prospect Griffin Reinhart, goaltender Cam Talbot, and, of course, Connor McDavid.

It doesn’t plug all the holes Edmonton has as the team’s defense and goaltending are still significant question marks at this stage despite the promising additions made. Still, it’s a big infusion of new talent and as a result Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli feels less pressure to make a splash during the free agent period.

“I’m actually pretty good with where we’re at now, so if we can’t get those things, I’m OK,” Chiarelli told Edmonton Journal.

It will be interesting to see if the Oilers have a bit of an easier time luring free agents this summer. The optimism that comes with getting McDavid combined with the team’s new look from a management level might lead to them being viewed in a different light.

Regardless of what they do between now and start of the regular season though, Edmonton will have a lot to prove going into the 2015-16 campaign. The young core can’t be expected to turn the team into a powerhouse over night, but it will be up to the Oilers to provide evidence that this is truly the start of a new era.

Preds GM Poile undecided about Stalberg after waiving him

Viktor Stalberg
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It seems very likely that forward Viktor Stalberg has played in his last game with the Nashville Predators given that he was waived on Wednesday.

Nothing is set in stone yet though.

“We’re talking to a couple teams about possibly making a trade,” Poile told the Tennessean. “Thought that if that was going to happen, it might have happened (Saturday) … there’s also the possibility that we could buy him out.”

Stalberg has two seasons remaining on his four-year, $12 million contract and given that he’s already cleared waivers, Nashville would presumably need to sweeten the pot in order to move him. A buyout would cost them roughly $4.7 million against the cap over the next four seasons, so the Predators should be motivated sellers.

One potential trading partner could be the Toronto Maple Leafs, per TVA Sports’ Renaud Lavoie.

When Nashville signed Stalberg, it was with the hopes that he could bolster their offense while playing a bigger role than he had been in Chicago. Instead, Stalberg averaged just 12:35 minutes per game in 2013-14 and spent part of the 2014-15 campaign in the minors.

Report: Bruins ‘significant contract offer’ to Hamilton was six-years, $33 million

Dougie Hamilton

After trading defenseman Dougie Hamilton to the Calgary Flames, Bruins GM Don Sweeney insisted he made the restricted free agent a “very significant contract offer.” Now we might be able to put a number to that statement.

Boston offered the 22-year-old defenseman a six-year, $33 million contract, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman. Hamilton then countered with an offer that was around $2 million per year higher.

That’s obviously a big gap, but as Friedman noted:

Sometimes, we get caught up in initial proposals. Any good negotiator will tell you to exaggerate your opening position.

All the same, this is in contrast to an earlier report that claimed Hamilton was seeking $5.5 million annually. If that was instead Boston’s opening position and it was rejected, then it becomes a bit more apparent as to why the Bruins felt the need to move him given the team’s cap situation. It also offers insight as to what it might cost Calgary to lock him up.

All the same, losing Hamilton could prove to be a serious blow to the Bruins next season, especially given that Zdeno Chara will turn 39 years old before the 2015-16 campaign is over.

Related: Trade: Busy Bruins send Lucic to Kings

Even after flurry of trades, goalie market is far from settled

Antti Niemi

There were seven different trades over the course of Friday and Saturday that involved a goaltender, but even after that there are teams that still need to address their situation between the pipes. With the free agent period just around the corner and the trade market now in full swing, the pieces are likely to continue to fall into place rapidly. While we have a breather though, let’s take a look at where we stand.

Has Dallas addressed its goaltending needs?

Kari Lehtonen failed to live up to expectations last season so the Dallas Stars would naturally like to hedge their bets going forward. They’ve already taken a step towards that end by acquiring the rights to Antti Niemi from San Jose, but it remains to be seen if they can sign the netminder before he become an unrestricted free agent.

If they do sign Niemi, that might not settle their goaltending situation. He has spent the better part of his career serving as a starter and while his last two seasons haven’t been amazing, it’s likely that he’ll expect a significantly bigger salary than your typical backup. Which isn’t an issue by itself, but Dallas is still tied to Lehtonen for another three seasons at $5.9 million in cap space annually. That means Dallas will be dedicating a lot of its cap to goaltending and that’s something that may complicate matters for the squad unless it’s addressed.

What’s next for San Jose?

Meanwhile, San Jose still needs someone to work with Alex Stalock. The 27-year-old netminder had a 2.62 GAA and .902 save percentage in 22 games last season, so ideally the Sharks will want someone that can at least seriously challenge him for the starting job.

There are some noteworthy pending UFAs out there including Viktor Fasth, Karri Ramo, and Michal Neuvirth, but it’s also possible San Jose will make another trade.

“We’ve been exploring things for quite awhile, a lot of it in the trade market obviously,” Sharks GM Doug Wilson told CSN Bay Area. “As we’ve looked at it, we think there’s probably more goalies than there are teams. There’s more people that are available or could be available in discussions than you guys probably hear about.”

Who will be Steve Mason’s backup in Philadelphia?

With Ray Emery’s contract set to expire, the Flyers are in the market for a backup goaltender. They didn’t want to take part in the flurry of goaltending trades though.

“I didn’t want to give up an asset for a backup, quite honestly,” Flyers GM Ron Hextall told CSN Philly. “Did I talk to anybody? People called and I found out the prices.”

With that in mind, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Philadelphia find its number two netminder on the free agent market.

Anaheim has created something of a logjam

When the Anaheim Ducks acquired Anton Khudobin from Carolina, it led some to naturally wonder if 21-year-old goaltender John Gibson was on the block. Ducks GM Bob Murray’s response was not family friendly, but the short version of his answer is: No.

So we can only assume that this issue won’t be addressed this summer, which makes it unique among the goaltending situations discussed here. Even still, it is awkward as this likely means that Gibson will be expected to spend the 2015-16 campaign in the minors after posting a decent 2.60 GAA and .914 save percentage in 23 games with Anaheim last season. This might just be a short-term setback for him though as Khudobin only has a year left on his contract before he can test the unrestricted free agent market.

Lightning sign forwards Marchessault, Hart

Jonathan Marchessault

The Tampa Bay Lightning announced that they have signed forwards Jonathan Marchessault and Brian Hart.

Marchessault, 24, has agreed to a one-year, two-way contract. He spent the bulk of the 2014-15 campaign in the AHL where he scored 24 goals and 67 points in 68 contests. However, he was also used twice during Tampa Bay’s playoff run and averaged 11:27 minutes per game during that stretch. Prior to that, he scored his first career NHL goal on April 11 against Boston.

Hart is turning pro now that he’s armed with a three-year, entry-level contract. The 21-year-old spent the last three campaigns with Harvard, scoring 18 goals and 50 points in 98 career NCAA games.

Tampa Bay originally selected him with the 53rd overall 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

The Lightning have no shortage of restricted free agents that still need to be addressed, including Vladislav Namestnikov, Mark Barberio, and Andrej Sustr.