Author: Ryan Dadoun

Dominik Uher

Penguins, Uher agree to one-year extension


Dominik Uher will get a chance to crack the Pittsburgh Penguins’ roster again after signing a one-year, two-way deal, per the Penguins’ website.

He’ll come with a $575,000 annual cap hit if he plays in the NHL.

Taken with the 144th overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, the 22-year-old forward has spent the bulk of the last three campaigns with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. However, he did make his NHL debut on Dec. 23 and played again on Dec. 29. He was credited with two hits and one blocked shot while averaging 6:27 minutes of ice time per contest.

He also recorded 13 goals, 26 points, and 60 penalty minutes in 72 AHL contests in 2014-15. In total he has 57 points and 187 penalty minutes in 193 career AHL games.

Islanders sign former top prospect Leblanc after Ducks don’t qualify him

Louis Leblanc, Joey Hishon, Calvin Pickard

Louis Leblanc was taken by the Montreal Canadiens with the 18th overall pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, but little has gone right for him since. He’ll get another shot though after signing a one-year, two-way deal with the New York Islanders, per the team’s website.

Prior to being drafted, the Quebec-native had 26 goals, 58 points, and 100 penalty minutes in 51 contests with the QMJHL’s Montreal Juniors.

He had five goals and 10 points in 50 career NHL games with Montreal over the course of his three-year, entry-level contract, but 42 of those contests were played during 2011-12. When his opening deal with the Canadiens expired they decided to trade him to the Anaheim Ducks for nothing more than a conditional pick. Montreal would have received a 2015 fifth round selection if Leblanc had participated in at least 15 games with Anaheim, but the 24-year-old forward spent the full campaign in the minors where he recorded 14 goals and 11 assists in 71 contests with AHL Norfolk.

The Ducks decided not to present him with a qualifying offer after that, which is what allowed him to become an unrestricted free agent.

Capitals still might add a third-line center

Brian MacLellan

With Eric Fehr an unrestricted free agent and Nicklas Backstrom’s availability for the start of the season “up in the air” after undergoing arthroscopic hip surgery, the Washington Capitals’ situation at center is far from certain.

Washington has stated that Evgeny Kuznetsov will serve as the number two center and when Backstrom is healthy, he is the clear number one, but that still leaves the third line role undetermined.

“I think we’re going to let it play out,” Capitals GM Brian MacLellan told the Washington Post. “We could address it internally, the third-line center spot, and also depending on how the contract situation plays itself out, there’s a couple options in the free agency market that we see, and we’ll explore the trade market up until training camp. There might be something in that venue.”

Andre Burakovsky, 20, is among their internal options, but they also have veteran alternatives like 29-year-old Jay Beagle.

If they do decide to sign a center to help fill the void, then their options include Stephen Weiss, Matt Cullen, Derek Roy and, of course, Fehr.

Washington does have some cap considerations though. They have a little more than $10 million in space, but still have to re-sign restricted free agents Marcus Johansson and Braden Holtby, per General Fanager.

Devils re-sign ’12 first-rounder Matteau

Stefan Matteau

While the jury’s still out on Stefan Matteau after his entry-level contract, his new two-year deal announced by the Devils will cover key seasons that might go a long way towards determining what kind of career he has.

His contract comes with a $612,500 annual cap hit, according to The Record’s Tom Gulitti.

The 21-year-old was taken with the 29th overall pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Known more for his physical game than offensive prowess, he has gone on to record 25 goals, 53 points, and 106 penalty minutes in 128 AHL contests over the last two seasons.

He also has two goals and four points in 24 career games with New Jersey, including a goal in seven contests last season. His lone 2014-15 marker with the Devils is a good example of the type of play New Jersey is hoping from him going forward:

“He has to use his size and strength. He’s a big boy,” Devils president Lou Lamoriello told at the time. “He has to get in the corners. He has to finish checks and go to the front of the net.

“He’s not a finesse player, nor will he be, but he has skills.”

Report: Bryzgalov mulling retirement

Ilya Bryzgalov

One of the most interesting personalities of recent memory might be at the end of his playing career.

While helping young goalies at a summer camp, Ilya Bryzgalov told HC Lada of the KHL’s official website that he might decide to retire in the next month and a half.

His plan for now is to return to Philadelphia to be with his family. He doesn’t see himself signing with a KHL team, but he didn’t want to rule it out either.

In the end, we could see things play out similarly to how they did last season when he entered the campaign without a contract and wasn’t actively looking for an NHL gig, but ultimately chose to return when the Ducks approached him. Of course, it also wouldn’t be surprising if history didn’t repeat itself given that he posted a 4.19 GAA and .847 save percentage in eight contests with Anaheim. He decided to return to his family after the Ducks sent him to the minors in February.

It’s also worth noting that regardless of what he decides, he will be collecting paychecks from Philadelphia through 2027 due to his buyout in 2013.

If this proves to be the end of his career then he’ll be retiring with a 221-162-54 record, 2.58 GAA, and .912 save percentage in 465 career games with Anaheim, the Coyotes, Flyers, Edmonton Oilers, and Minnesota Wild.

(H/T Puck Daddy)