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Sweden shuts out rival Finland in King Henrik’s return


The rivalry between Sweden and Finland was subdued at times when the two nations met Tuesday in the World Cup of Hockey.

There was the odd outburst here or there. But emotions were kept in check.

Speaking of being kept in check: Sweden held on to defeat Finland by a final score of 2-0, dealing a devastating blow to their neighbors’ hopes of a World Cup semifinal berth.

Through two round robin games, the Finns have been held to one goal. In their latest defeat, they ran into a healthier Henrik Lundqvist, who was sensational in a 36-save shutout effort after recovering from the flu.

Patrik Laine had five shots on goal for Finland, and couldn’t beat Lundqvist. Late in the game, with the goalie pulled, Laine whiffed on a one-timer attempt, as his stick busted apart.

Just one of those days for the talented forward.

More importantly, Finland is 0-2. Sweden moves to 2-0. Team North America and Team Russia are 1-1. All four teams each have one game remaining in their respective schedules before the next round begins.

Sweden didn’t need much scoring. Not this time, anyway.

The big goal came from defenseman Anton Stralman, as he pinched down from the blue line and eventually tapped in a perfect pass from Henrik Sedin after he and twin brother Daniel went to work with the puck, as they typically do, down below Finland’s goal line.

Sweden now faces Team North America on Wednesday with a chance to go a perfect 3-0 in the round robin. Finland plays Russia on Thursday.

If World Cup exhibition is an indication, Sedin twins and Eriksson could ignite Canucks power play

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The Vancouver Canucks have yet to play a game of any kind this season.

But the trio of Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin and Loui Eriksson, who have played together at previous international events, should provide the Canucks with at least some excitement, especially for the power play, as training camp approaches.

The Canucks, in need of goal scoring and improvement to their power play, signed Eriksson to a six-year, $36 million contract on the first day of free agency. The plan, it’s expected, is for the left-shooting Eriksson to play on the top line with the Sedin twins.

(Mind you, Radim Vrbata was brought in as a free agent signing two years ago for the same reason, but he was eventually moved off that line.)

So far in the World Cup of Hockey pre-tournament games, the trio has been productive for Sweden, albeit in a small sample size as far as this competition goes.

Eriksson scored twice in Saturday’s game against Finland, as Sweden earned a 6-3 win over their neighboring rivals. Henrik Sedin assisted on both goals and Daniel Sedin had a helper as well. Both Eriksson goals came on the power play, including a five-on-three.


In both cases, Eriksson, who now has three goals in two pre-tournament games, was stationed in front of the net, and the Sedins — Henrik on the first goal and Daniel on the second — set him up.

“They are such smart players,” said Eriksson, as per in July.

“It was easy for me when I first played with them to get chemistry because we kind of play the same way. We like to give the puck and get it back from each other. Maybe the first couple games was a learning process to see how they played and how they were thinking, and we seemed to match really well when we played together in those games, especially in the 2013 World Championships when we won it. … Hopefully we can keep playing like we did during that time and we should have some good success.”

The Sedin twins will turn 36 years old later this month. They have two more years remaining on their respective contracts. Eriksson, who has twice hit 30-plus goals in a single season, including last season in Boston, is 31 years old. They’re not getting any younger.

But the Canucks were dismal when it came to overall goal scoring (29th in the NHL) and power play (27th in the NHL). They also acquired and signed defenseman Philip Larsen with the idea of giving him the opportunity to run the power play from the back end.

So far, so good for the Sedin twins and Eriksson in the World Cup. If that can translate into the NHL regular season, the Canucks should at the very least improve their power play. The Canucks certainly need it.

Whether the Canucks, as an entire team, will be good enough to make it back to the playoffs is another story for another day.

Sean Monahan cashes in, signs 7-year contract with Flames


Even though the Calgary Flames 2015-16 season turned out to be a pretty big disappointment, they still have a really impressive core of young talent with Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau, Sam Bennett, and Dougie Hamilton all in place, and all still age 23 or younger.

On Friday morning, they made sure to keep one of those players in place with a long-term contract extension.

The Flames announced that Monahan, a restricted free agent this summer, has signed a seven-year contract with the team.

The team did not release the financial terms of the deal but Elliotte Friedman reports it is similar to the long-term deal Nathan MacKinnon signed with the Colorado Avalanche earlier this summer and is somewhere in the  $6.3 million per year neighborhood.

Over the past two years Monahan, the No. 6 overall pick in 2013, has taken a huge step in his development and has become one of the most productive forwards in the league, recording at least 27 goals and 62 points in each of the past two seasons.

For a player that is just now entering his age 22 season that is pretty remarkable production, and is similar to what Filip Forsberg has done with the Nashville Predators over the same time period. And as we noted there when talking about Forsberg’s potential production for this season, players that produce at that level at that young of an age tend to go on to be superstar level players.

Whether or not Monahan does that remains to be seen, but he has had a fantastic start to his career and the Flames now have him locked in for the next seven years on a contract that could prove to be a great deal under the salary cap if he continues on his current path.

Now that Monahan’s deal is completed, the next move for the Flames is to get Gaudreau signed (likely to a similar deal) as he is also a restricted free agent at the moment.

Flames say there’s still ‘no real update’ on contract talks with RFA forwards Monahan, Gaudreau

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NHL training camps open in September and although most teams have done the bulk of their off-season tweaking, there’s still at least one team that has some serious work to do.

The Calgary Flames are still working on signing forwards Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan to contract extensions. Both players are currently restricted free agents.

“No real update there,” said general manager Brad Treliving, per the Calgary Herald.  “We’ll continue to work away at it.”

The Flames have just under $15 million in cap space remaining, according to General Fanager. There’s a good chance both RFA forwards will take a deep bite into those remaining dollars.

Monahan already said he’d be willing to take less money to get a deal done, but that doesn’t mean he’ll come cheap. The 21-year-old scored 58 goals and 125 points in 162 games over the last two seasons.

As for Gaudreau, he’ll cost a pretty penny as well. The 22-year-old is coming off a season in which he scored 30 goals and 78 points in 79 games.

Here’s an excerpt from the Herald regarding these two players:

With 11 weeks until the regular season begins, here is what we know:

• Both players are restricted free agents and received qualifying offers from the Flames earlier this month. Talks are ongoing.

• Both are expected to receive whopping raises.

• Both are seeking long-term contracts, expressing that they’d like to play together for the foreseeable future.

• Both could be getting paid in the neighbourhood of between $6-million and $7.5-million for between six and eight years (if you use the com parables of Vladimir Tarasenko, Filip Forsberg, Seth Jones, Aleksander Barkov, and Nathan MacKinnon).

Thankfully for Calgary, they’ve done a decent job of managing their roster and the cap. Gaudreau and Monahan are the only two players on the roster that still need new contracts. The rest of the team is locked up for at least one more year.

Report: Rangers’ Kreider asks for $4.75 million in arbitration


The next big moves for the New York Rangers this summer are going to be dealing with restricted free agent forwards Chris Kreider and Kevin Hayes. They both have arbitration hearings scheduled over the next week.

Kreider is first up on Friday, and on Wednesday we found out what the two sides are looking for going into it.

According to Larry Brooks of the New York Post, as well as NHL analyst Aaron Ward, Kreider submitted an ask of $4.75 million, while the Rangers countered with an offer of $3.2 million.

Assuming the two sides don’t reach a new deal before Friday and the case goes to arbitration it is likely that the number will fall right in the middle of those two figures, which would be somewhere in the neighborhood of around $4 million.

Kreider is coming off of a two-year contract that paid him $2.457 million per season. He scored 21 goals both seasons.

Kreider is still two years away from being eligible for unrestricted free agency, while Brooks reports the two sides are currently trying to negotiate a four-or five-year contract. Given his age and production, his value right now should probably be in the same neighborhood of Washington’s Marcus Johansson (who just signed a three-year, $13.75 million deal on Wednesday) and New Jersey’s Kyle Palmeiri (he signed a five-year deal worth $4.65 million per season earlier this summer).

Following the trade of Derrick Brassard earlier this week to the Ottawa Senators, the Rangers should have more than enough cap space to get Kreider and Hayes signed and still remain well under the NHL’s salary cap for the season.

The risk the Rangers would run is the same any other team has when it comes to a short-term contract with a young player just starting to enter what should be his peak years like Kreider currently is. If it gets to arbitration and he only ends up with a one-year deal, there is the chance he could come back with a breakthrough the season that significantly drives up his price.

According to Brooks, the the gap between Kreider’s ask on a long-term deal and the Rangers’ offer is $500,000 per year, which should be relatively easy to close.

No matter what the Rangers do with Kreider they are still going to be in a bit of a tough spot in the near future. Even though they have enough salary cap space in the short-term to keep everybody, it is still a team that has some flaws that need addressed.

Without making another major move they may not be able to adequately address them.