Buffalo Sabres

Kassian traded to Habs for Prust; Hodgson signs with Preds

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The Vancouver Canucks have given up on Zack Kassian. The Montreal Canadiens will give him a chance.

Kassian was traded to the Habs today, along with a fifth-round pick in 2016. The 24-year-old winger, who came to Vancouver in the 2012 Cody Hodgson swap, never turned into the power forward the Canucks envisioned he could be. His stint with the club was a controversial one, marked by suspensions, punitive AHL demotions, and the odd hot streak. Some felt he was never given enough of an opportunity; others disagreed.

“I need to find consistency,” Kassian told TSN. “This summer, I’m really taking strides forward. I want to have a big year. I’ve matured a lot as a person and a player.”

Heading to the Canucks is gritty forward Brandon Prust. Prust is 31 years old. He’s signed for one more year at $2.5 million, after which he can become an unrestricted free agent.

In an odd twist, Hodgson has reportedly signed a one-year deal with the Predators, who will hope to rejuvenate a career that went south in Buffalo. The 25-year-old center was just bought out by the Sabres. In Nashville, the top two centers, Mike Ribeiro and Mike Fisher, are each 35 years old, so rolling the dice on Hodgson makes sense.

Related: Ribeiro re-signs with Preds — two years, $7 million

Coyotes stay busy, ink Downie, Michalek and Lindback

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Don Maloney is a busy man.

Having already inked former Canucks center Brad Richardson to a three-year deal, the Coyotes GM set about getting to the salary cap floor by adding a trio of veterans — forward Steve Downie (formerly of Pittsburgh), defenseman Zbynek Michalek (formerly of St. Louis) and goalie Anders Lindback (formerly of Buffalo).

The details:

The Michalek move — $6.4 million total, $3.2M average annual cap hit — is interesting, as the Coyotes dealt him to St. Louis at the deadline and promptly brought him back.

Lindback will presumably serve as Mike Smith’s backup next season and Downie… well, he’s now onto his fifth NHL team in eight years, having already spent time in Philly, Tampa Bay, Colorado and Pittsburgh.

Neely was ‘surprised’ that Hamilton didn’t want to sign with Bruins

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Yesterday, Dougie Hamilton didn’t want to talk about his reasons for wanting out of Boston.

“For me, I’m just going to keep on saying how excited I am to be a Flame and looking forward to the future and everything,” he said. “What’s in the past is in the past and I think I’m just looking forward to being a Flame to moving to Calgary and seeing the city and the fans.”

But it’s clear he no longer wanted to be a Bruin.

It’s been speculated that the 22-year-old defenseman didn’t get along with coach Claude Julien. There was also talk at the draft in Florida that he felt bullied by Boston’s veteran players. And that may mesh with the report that Hamilton wasn’t the most popular figure in the Bruins’ room.

The whole thing is somewhat reminiscent of Evander Kane’s departure from Winnipeg, minus the clothes in the shower.

Whatever led to Hamilton’s unwillingness to sign long-term with the Bruins, it took club president Cam Neely by surprise.

“I really didn’t get any indications of anything negative in exit meetings,” Neely told the Boston Globe. “So I was surprised.”

Neely told the newspaper that the Bruins made three separate offers — one for four years, another for five, and a third for six. The salary, according to Neely, was not far off what Hamilton agreed to be paid in Calgary.

“We wanted Dougie,” Neely said.

But he didn’t want them.

Related: Sweeney explains Hamilton trade: ‘We extended Dougie a very significant contract offer’

Hodgson, Stalberg placed on unconditional waivers

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Cody Hodgson and Viktor Stalberg have been placed on unconditional waivers for the purpose of a buyout.

According to Capfriendly.com, Hodgson’s buyout will cost the Sabres $6.3 million over the next eight years. Hodgson will count against Buffalo’s cap until the 2022-23 season. His buyout will carry a cap hit of $1.041 million during the 2014-15 season and will cost the Sabres $791,667 in each of the final four seasons.

Hodgson has four years remaining on his six-year, $25.5 million deal, which carries a cap hit of $4.25 million.

The 25-year-old scored six goals and seven assists to go along with a minus-28 rating in 78 games last season.

He is one season removed from a career-high 20-goal, 44-point campaign.

Stalberg appeared in 25 games with the Preds during the 2014-15 season scoring two goals and eight assists. The 29-year-old added 11 goals and six assists in 20 American Hockey League games with the Milwaukee Admirals.

He has two seasons remaining on his four-year, $12 million deal with a cap hit of $3 million.

Per Capfriendly.com, the buyout will cost Nashville $4.7 million over the next four years. Stalberg will account for $666,667 against the cap in each of the next two seasons. He will have a cap hit of $1.2 million each of the final two seasons of the buyout.

Related: Buyouts loom as Richards, Parenteau and Fistric clear unconditional waivers

UFA of the Day: Chris Stewart

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Check PHT every day until June 30 for a new pending unrestricted free agent of the day. Today’s UFA of the Day is…

Chris Stewart

After mid-season trades in each of the last two seasons, Chris Stewart appears to have found a fit in Minnesota.

The 27-year-old was dealt to the Wild by the Buffalo Sabres on March 2 and appeared in 20 regular season games for Minny scoring three goals and eight assists to go along with 25 penalty minutes and a plus-4 rating.

He added two assists in eight playoff games.

Stewart’s two-year, $8.3 million deal is set to expire on Wednesday making him an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career. However, he doesn’t seem too interested in testing the market.

“Hopefully there’s an opportunity for me to come back here,” Stewart said during the Wild’s locker clean out day in May. “Me and the family both enjoyed our time here. Thought the fit was perfect. It’s a good group of guys here. I think the future’s definitely bright here.”

The Wild currently have nine forwards under contract for the 2015-16 season with around $7.9 million of cap space to play with, according to Generalfanager.com.

Stewart had 28 goals in back-to-back seasons in 2009-10 and 2010-11, but since then has scored more than 15 goals just once (18 in 2012-13).

Just how much Stewart enjoyed his time in Minnesota will be known in the coming days.

The 6-foot-2, 228-pound forward, who was originally a first-round selection of the Colorado Avalanche in 2006 (18th overall), will likely need to give the Wild a “hometown” discount in order to remain in Minny.

Click here for more UFAs.