Ryan Dadoun

2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Six
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Report: Brent Seabrook closing in on long-term deal

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Brent Seabrook has been a key component to the Chicago Blackhawks’ three Stanley Cup championships over the last six campaigns, but he’s scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. His contract uncertainty might soon be a thing of the past though.

Seabrook and Chicago are closing in on a long-term extension, per the Chicago Tribune’s Chris Kuc. Of course, the big question is what kind of price tag that deal will come with.

The 30-year-old blueliner is completing a five-year, $29 million contract that consequently comes with a $5.8 million annual cap hit and given his resume, he has a lot of leverage given the demand there would be for his services on the open market. Would it be unrealistic under these circumstances to assume that his deal would be much different from the six-year, $40.5 million pack that Calgary recently signed with 31-year-old Mark Giordano?

Of course, it’s not a perfect comparison. Giordano is the Flames’ captain, gets more ice time than Seabrook and for the last two seasons he has put up better offensive numbers. Giordano has also finished in the top-10 in Norris Trophy voting in back-to-back campaigns while Seabrook has never finished higher than 13th. However, Seabrook’s success in the playoffs has to count for quite a bit.

If Seabrook signs a long-term deal than he’ll join Duncan Keith and Niklas Hjalmarsson as Chicago blueliners locked up until at least 2018-19.

Daniel Alfredsson returns to Sens as senior advisor

Daniel Alfredsson
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Daniel Alfredsson is returning to the Ottawa Senators and this time it will be as a senior advisor of hockey operations.

“I am excited for our fans and our team that Daniel has agreed to begin the second part of his storied hockey career right where he belongs – with the Senators. Daniel has been an exceptional part of our team’s history. He was a tremendous leader on the ice and equally in our community. I very much want him to continue to be part of our hockey club and our city,” said team owner Eugene Melnyk, per the team’s website. “Bringing the Stanley Cup to Ottawa has always been my focus, now more than ever. I believe Daniel’s experience and track record as one of the elite players in our league will bring us closer to that goal.”

Alfredsson will be involved with a number of aspects of the franchise including scouting and player development.

He served as the Senators’ captain for 13 seasons and played in 1,246 career contests with Ottawa and the Detroit Red Wings. Although his final game played was with Detroit, he returned to Ottawa when it came time for him to formally announce his retirement on Dec. 4, 2014.

“Retiring from the game but having this chance to remain part of the hockey world, especially in Ottawa, is very special,” Alfredsson said. “The Senators have an outstanding hockey operations department and coaching staff. They have built a fast, highly skilled team along with a solid roster of young prospects. I believe my experience as a player can help provide a boost to this group and allow us to keep the momentum from last year’s exciting season.”

Rangers confirm Zuccarello (skull fracture) ready to start season

Mats Zuccarello
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Mats Zuccarello was temporarily unable to speak after being struck in the head by a shot from teammate Ryan McDonagh on April 24, but it sounds like he’s managed to put that serious incident behind him.

Rangers coach Alain Vigneault “for sure” expects Zuccarello, who suffered a brain contusion and small skull fracture, to play in the team’s opener on Oct. 7, per The Record.

Zuccarello won’t be able to undergo his on-ice testing this week, but that’s because of a shot he had related to his foot and not due to anything stemming from his head injury. Defensemen Marc Staal (ankle), Dan Girardi (ankle), and Ryan McDonagh (foot) have also had their testing pushed back until next week for precautionary reasons.

The 28-year-old forward is starting a four-year, $18 million contract. He had 15 goals and 49 points in 78 contests last season and led the team in scoring in 2013-14.

Daly: NHL supports decision for Kane to attend ‘Hawks camp

Patrick Kane
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The Chicago Blackhawks has drawn criticism for their handling of the Patrick Kane situation, but when it comes to the decision to let him attend training camp, the NHL stands by them.

“We have been in close contact with the Blackhawks’ organization over the last seven days and given the circumstances as they exist now, we are supportive of the organization’s decision,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said, per TVA Sports’ Renaud Lavoie.

Until today, Kane hadn’t spoken publicly since he became the subject of a police investigation. He expressed his innocence during a press conference this afternoon, but declined to answer questions from reporters.

The handling of the press conference led to accusations of the organization being tone deaf.

Related – Report: Tenuous talks of resolution in Kane case

Surveyed NHLers expect big season from Kessel

Toronto Maple Leafs v Columbus Blue Jackets
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Phil Kessel will score at least 40 goals in 2015-16.

That’s the opinion of 13 NHL players among the 17 that participated in that survey question for USA Today.

While Kessel finished with 25 goals during the Toronto Maple Leafs’ rough 2014-15 campaign, no player questioned felt he would finish with less than 30 goals now that he can count on getting regular minutes with Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin in Pittsburgh. With Crosby being the more likely of the two linemates for Kessel, more than half of those asked also named Crosby as the favorite to win the Art Ross Trophy. John Tavares was a distant second.

It’s not hard to see why fans and NHLers alike are optimistic about Kessel’s future with the Penguins. It’s not just the fact that he’ll be able to play alongside Crosby; it’s also that he managed to be one of the league’s most prolific goal scorers for much of his run with the Toronto Maple Leafs despite never having a top-tier center to work with. If he could score 37 goals in each of the 2011-12 and 2013-14 campaigns while playing primarily with Tyler Bozak, then what will Kessel be capable of after getting an upgrade as substantial as the one he just got?

USA Today also surveyed a total of 35 players on a variety of other questions with one of the highlights being the results for: “Name one sleeper team that is better than people realize.”

While Connor McDavid‘s Edmonton Oilers and Jack Eichel‘s Buffalo Sabres tied for second place with five points each, the Columbus Blue Jackets won with eight votes.

Related: Malkin: Kessel ‘can score 50 goals’ with Crosby