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Wild add Hall of Famer Scott Stevens to coaching staff


New Wild bench boss Bruce Boudreau has added a Hall of Famer to his staff.

Minnesota announced that they have hired Scott Stevens to serve as an assistant coach. He’s filling one of the vacancies left by the departures of Rick Wilson and Darryl Sydor.

Stevens participated in 1,635 regular season games and the retired defenseman had 196 goals and 908 points over that span. He won three championships with the New Jersey Devils and was the 2000 Conn Smythe Trophy winner.

More recently he served as an assistant coach with the Devils from 2012-14 and the team’s co-coach alongside Adam Oates for part of the 2014-15 campaign. After that experiment ended Stevens wasn’t retained as an assistant coach.

Boudreau is getting ready for his first season with the Wild after Anaheim fired him following its first round exit. He has a 409-192-80 regular season record between Washington and Anaheim, but he hasn’t guided an NHL team to a championship.


With an aging core, the Wild could be Boudreau’s biggest challenge yet

Boudreau wants Wild to play ‘fast and physical’

Lightning hire ex-Columbus coach Richards as assistant

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The Lightning are adding some more coaching experience to Jon Cooper’s staff.

Tampa Bay announced that Todd Richards has been hired as an assistant coach. He’s replacing Steve Thomas, whose contract wasn’t renewed.

Richards has 424 games worth of experience as an NHL head coach between his stints with the Minnesota Wild and Blue Jackets. His tenure with Columbus ended on Oct. 21 after the team got off to a 0-7-0 start. Over his career, Richards has a 204-183-37 record.

One area where he might be of particular use is with the man advantage. As the Tampa Bay Times’ Joe Smith noted, Columbus ranked fifth in the league in 2014-15 with a 21.7% power-play conversion rate while the Lightning were 28th in 2015-16.

Richards was believed to be on the Red Wings’ radar as well for their vacant assistant coaching job. Detroit also got permission to talk to ex-Senators coach Dave Cameron, so perhaps Richards going to Tampa Bay will lead to Cameron signing with Detroit in the near future.

Kings lock up Brayden McNabb for two more years

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The Los Angeles Kings have an interesting summer ahead of them, but before tackling the bigger questions they got one significant task off their plate by signing defenseman Brayden McNabb to a two-year extension, per the Kings’ PR Twitter feed.

McNabb was eligible to become a restricted free agent after completing his two-year, $1.3 million contract. His new contract will come with an annual cap hit in the $1.7-1.75 million range, according to LA Kings Insiders’ Jon Rosen.

The 25-year-old blueliner primarily played with Drew Doughty at even strength over the course of the 2015-16 campaign, but to call him a first-pairing defenseman would be a bit misleading. McNabb certainly saw his role increase substantially in 2015-16 when compared to the previous season, but he ranked fourth among Kings defensemen in terms of minutes per game with 18:48. It’s worth adding that McNabb was used considerably more in the first half of 2015-16, but he saw his role decline significantly as the season progressed, in part due to the acquisitions of Luke Schenn and Rob Scuderi.

McNabb was also limited to 14 points, down from 24 in 2014-15, but the 6-foot-4, 216-pound defender utilized his size by being a physical presence. Although sometimes he was aggressive to a fault as his 92 penalty minutes demonstrates.

This can ultimately be seen as a bridge contract and if he continues to develop he might be in line for a much bigger payday once this deal is done.

The Kings now have five defensemen signed to one-way contracts and two more blueliners — Schenn and Jamie McBain — that are eligible to become unrestricted free agents. Los Angeles is also facing the possibility that it might lose Milan Lucic if he tests the open market.

DeBoer shares story of when he got to meet Muhammad Ali at prom

To say San Jose Sharks coach Peter DeBoer has a lot on his plate right now would feel like an understatement, but in light of the passing of Muhammad Ali there was another thing on his mind. After answering the presses questions on Saturday, he offered, without prompting, a story from his youth.

“I know that’s the last question, but I just want to end with a quick thing on Muhammad Ali,” DeBoer said. “Lost a great person. The reason I want to speak about him, I’m not a collector of sports memorabilia, but I have three things in my basement. I have a Wayne Gretzky stick, a Bobby Orr print, a Mike Weir Masters print, and I have a Koran signed by Muhammad Ali.

“I wouldn’t normally share this with you, but I think considering the circumstances today. I got it 30 years ago. I was at my prom at the Royal Connaught Hotel in Hamilton. I was a 17-year-old kid. Had my tux on. I was in the lobby. Muhammad Ali walked in with his entourage. He was there for some type of appearance.

“I asked one of the entourage if I could meet him with my friends. He said to give him a minute. He came back to me and he said, Muhammad Ali is up in this room. Meet him up in his room in five minutes.

“Me and three or four of my buddies went up to the room. He got out a Koran for each of us. He wasn’t preaching or trying to convert us, he just personalized each one for us, asked us some questions about what we were doing.

“It was an unbelievable life experience for me. I think, considering the circumstances, how this guy transcended not just boxing and sport, but how many people he’s touched, it’s an appropriate story to tell. I know you guys have the time, too, to listen (laughter).”

The mourning of Muhammad Ali extends far beyond the boxing world and DeBoer isn’t the only member of the NHL community paying tribute to him. Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said Ali “might be one of the most impactful athletes in this past century” and forward Bryan Rust noted “seeing the legacy that he built for himself” is “one of those things you can learn from.” You can read more of the praise he’s received from teams and players here.

UFA of the Day: James Reimer

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Every day until June 30, we’ll write about a pending unrestricted free agent. Today’s UFA of the Day is…

James Reimer

The 28-year-old goaltender’s career has been one of big ups and downs, but he’s set to enter the free agent market on a high note. After two disappointing campaigns, Reimer was one of the few silver linings on an otherwise dreary 2015-16 Maple Leafs until Toronto dealt him to the Sharks on Feb. 27. That move gave Reimer an opportunity to show what he could do with a strong team in front of him.

Reimer posted a 1.62 GAA and .938 save percentage in his eight regular season starts with San Jose and at one time his presence seemed to spark a goaltending controversy after Sharks coach Peter DeBoer refused to name his starter for the playoffs on March 25. Of course, ultimately the Sharks did stick with Martin Jones and that’s worked out for them, but the fact that Reimer could come in at the 11th hour and threaten a goaltender that was having a good season speaks to Reimer’s own success during his stint.

Once the Stanley Cup Final ends, Reimer will have completed a two-year, $4.6 million contract and find himself eligible to test the unrestricted free agent market for the first time. While his inconsistent history makes him something of a gamble, he’s still likely to get a significant raise this summer and that might price him out of San Jose, which is paying Martin Jones $3 million annually through 2017-18 and will want to factor in the distinct possibility that Jones will expect a big payday after his current contract plays out.

One possible destination for Reimer would be Calgary as the Flames’ goalie situation was a problem in 2015-16 and of the four netminders they used at the NHL level, only Joni Ortio is still under their control as a restricted free agent. Plus Brian Burke is the team president and was a supporter of Reimer when they were both a part of the Maple Leafs’ organization. Perhaps they’ll be working together again in 2016-17.

Click here for all our 2016 UFA profiles.