The Boston Bruins have added some depth on defense, in the form of Matt Irwin.
Irwin, 27, signed a one-year, $800,000 deal with the Bruins on Friday, the club announced. He arrives in Boston having played 53 games for the Sharks last year, racking up an impressive eight goals — trailing only Brent Burns and Marc-Edouard Vlasic among San Jose d-men — and 19 points, while averaging 17:01 TOI per night.
An undrafted free agent out of UMass Amherst, Irwin has spent his entire professional career with the Sharks organization. He had two very solid years to start his tenure — during the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign, he had 12 points in 38 games as a rookie; in ’13-14, he scored a career-high 20 points.
Last year, though, seemed to be something of a setback. Injuries and healthy scratches kept him from playing as big a role on the Sharks’ defense, and GM Doug Wilson allowed Irwin to walk in free agency.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns loves animals and has pet reptiles at home, in part because with his travel schedule a cat or dog isn’t as feasible. Speaking of cats though: “I’d have a tiger if my wife would let me, but she kiboshed that.” (Sportsnet)
It might seem weird for Sam Bennett to be participating in the Calgary Flames’ development camp after his strong showing in the 2015 playoffs, but he sees the benefit in it. (Calgary Sun)
Jack Eichel is naturally dominating the headlines at the Sabres’ development camp, but Buffalo has another big prospect there in fellow second overall pick Sam Reinhart. (Buffalo News)
James Duthie will have a role in Goon: Last of The Enforcers:
Retired defenseman Jay Leach is joining the AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins as an assistant coach. (Penguins.nhl.com)
After Philadelphia selected three goaltenders in the 2015 draft, Anthony Stolarz realizes he has to elevate his game. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
The San Jose Sharks have scored one of the biggest UFA defenseman prizes, inking former Pittsburgh blueliner Paul Martin to a four-year deal.
UPDATE: Per CSN Bay Area’s Kevin Kurz, it’s a $4.85 million average annual cap hit — $19.4 million total. It makes Martin the team’s second highest-paid defenseman, behind Brent Burns.
Martin, 34, has spent the last five seasons in Pittsburgh and further established his reputation as a solid, all-around veteran defenseman. After an injury-filled ’13-14 campaign he rebounded nicely last year, scoring 20 points in 74 games while averaging 22:47 per night — and in the playoffs, with the Penguins’ defense decimated by various ailments, Martin averaged a whopping 24:36.
In San Jose, he’ll add to a defense that already included Burns, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Justin Braun and Brenden Dillon, who recently inked a five-year pact with an average annual cap hit of $3.27 million. On paper, it’s a good defensive unit with nice depth that should help with new head coach Peter DeBoer’s prediction of a “big bounce-back” season in San Jose.
Agent Jarrett Bousquet has revealed that the San Jose Sharks have inked a five-year deal with his client, Brenden Dillon.
The financial terms of the deal weren’t immediately known, but he’s coming off of a one-year, $1.25 million deal.
Update: Dillon’s contract is worth roughly $15.9 million per CSN Bay Area’s Kevin Kurz.
The 24-year-old defenseman had 10 points and 77 penalty minutes in 80 games with the Stars and Sharks in 2014-15. He also averaged 19:34 minutes per contest. He started the season with Dallas but was moved in November in exchange for Jason Demers and a 2016 third-round pick.
Although he was never drafted, Dillon signed an entry-level contract with Dallas in 2011 and became a regular with the team during the lockout shortened 2013 campaign, so he’s already a veteran of 209 contests.
Dillon is projected to join Brent Burns, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Justin Braun, and Mirco Mueller on the blueline next season, leaving the door open for the Sharks to acquire another defenseman via the trade or free agent market to round out their top-six.
Related: Report: San Jose interested in acquiring Bieksa
There’s a lot of hardware handed out during the league’s award ceremony and while some of the awards don’t capture as many headlines, they recognize important aspects and ideals of the NHL.
The King Clancy Trophy for example honors players who exemplifies leadership and makes humanitarian contributions. This year it was given to Henrik Zetterberg, who captained the Red Wings to their 24th consecutive playoff berth. Off the ice, Zetterberg has dedicated himself to his charitable efforts, both in Detroit and internationally. One example is Chige Primary School, which he and his wife built. It allows 225 children in Kemba to get an education and its success led to the construction of the Belta Telo Middle School for 700 students.
Mark Messier’s award similarly honors leadership and this year it was presented to Chicago’s Jonathan Toews. The Blackhawks captain is just 27 years old, but under his leadership Chicago has won the Stanley Cup three times in the last six years.
The NHL Foundation Player Award, which Zetterberg has also won in the past, highlights players who go above and beyond in their charitable efforts. This year it honored Sharks defenseman Brent Burns and presented him with $25,000 to donate to the charities of his choice. Burns is splitting the money between Defending the Blue Line, which provides things like hockey equipment and game tickets to the children of military families, and Folds of Honor, which gives educational scholarships to family members of military personnel that have been injured or killed in the line of duty.