Columbus locked in one of its hardest-working forwards on Thursday, agreeing to a three-year, $6.6 million extension with left winger Matt Calvert.
Calvert, 25, will carry an average annual cap hit of $2.2 million on his new deal, a nice bump from the $987,500 he made on his previous one. The former WHL Brandon product earned his latest contract following a solid ’14-15 campaign, during which he scored a career-high 13 goals and 11 points in his final 18 games of the year.
“Matt Calvert is a heart and soul player, who works hard on and off the ice and is a relentless competitor at both ends of the rink,” Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen said in a release. “He’s been an important contributor to our team and we are excited that he will continue to be a part of our organization moving forward.”
The Calvert extension is the latest in what’s been a busy summer for Kekalainen. Last week, he pulled off the Brandon Saad blockbuster trade — then inked Saad to a six-year, $36 million extension. Kekalainen also inked former Bruins forward Gregory Campbell in free agency, re-signed d-men Justin Falk and Cody Goloubef, and goalie Curtis McElhinney.
With many predicting the Vancouver Canucks will be hard-pressed to get back to the playoffs next season, will defenseman Dan Hamhuis and winger Radim Vrbata be up for grabs at the 2016 trade deadline?
As of today, it’s certainly possible. GM Jim Benning has confirmed that both veterans — the former a 2014 Olympic gold-medal winner with Team Canada, the latter an NHL all-star last year — will enter next season as pending unrestricted free agents.
“We’re going to go into the season and see how it goes,” Benning said, per The Province. “We’ve touched base with their agents a little, but we’ll see how it plays out.”
The Canucks have other pending UFAs — Yannick Weber, Brandon Prust, and Matt Bartkowski — that could fetch them draft picks or prospects at the deadline. Alex Burrows, Chris Higgins, Jannik Hansen, and Nick Bonino could all theoretically be moved too. Such is the outlook in Vancouver that some are wondering if the Sedins should be traded.
As Benning said, it will all depend on “how it plays out.”
Prior to last season, Matt Beleskey had never scored more than 11 goals in a single NHL season.
For financial reasons, he picked a great year to double that output when he potted 22 in 2014-15 for Anaheim.
Beleskey cashed in as an unrestricted free agent with a five-year, $19 million deal with the Bruins.
How does he explain his career year?
“Coach Bruce Boudreau put me in good situations,” Beleskey said, per NHL.com. “I played on the power play. I played a lot with Ryan Kesler, who works extremely hard and he’s a great player to work with and play with. And I think I took some confidence strides in my game. I knew it was time that I needed to be more than just a grinder that’s going to help out and be a guy that’s able to lead in situations. And I think I took those steps.”
Now the pressure’s on to keep it up. Especially after the Bruins traded away Milan Lucic, a guy who scored 139 goals during his time in Boston. Not to mention all the hits he delivered.
With Lucic in Los Angeles, and after GM Don Sweeney had vowed to return the B’s to their aggressive ways, Beleskey sees Boston as a good fit.
“The big, bad Bruins play that physical style, and they’ve always been a team that I’ve liked watching,” Beleskey said, per CSN New England.
“They’ve always been a team I’ve been drawn to.”
Related: Bruins sign Beleskey for five years, despite some warning signs