Colorado Avalanche

Avs grab Grigorenko for one year

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The Colorado Avalanche signed Mikhail Grigorenko – a significant part of the Ryan O’Reilly trade – to a one-year contract on Thursday.

This isn’t official, but word from Bleacher Report’s Adrian Dater is that the contract is one-way and worth $675K.

As you may remember, the Buffalo Sabres weren’t pleased that Grigorenko insisted on a one-way deal, so that factor is pretty significant. The 21-year-old was part of a trade package that also sent the 31st pick of the 2015 NHL Draft, Nikita Zadorov and J.T. Compher from Buffalo to Colorado.

The 12th pick of the 2012 NHL Draft endured a bumpy start with the Buffalo organization, as he struggled at the NHL level with the Sabres but put up often-impressive numbers in the QMJHL and AHL over the years.

Grigorenko probably needed a fresh start, and Colorado could very well be a nice fit for the Russian. His development will likely play a key role in how that trade his viewed a few years down the line.

Sabres, Varone avoid arbitration with one-year, $600K deal

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Just over a week after filing for arbitration, Phil Varone has avoided the hearing by agreeing to a one-year, $600,000 deal with the Sabres.

The contract is of the two-way variety.

Varone, 24, split last season between the Sabres and their AHL affiliate in Rochester, appearing in a career-high 28 NHL games while scoring five points. With the Amerks, he had 15 goals and 44 points in 55 games — and it was the AHL part of his contract that led to the original arbitration filing, per the Buffalo News:

Varone had a pro-rated NHL salary of $595,000 last season and made $62,500 in the AHL. The Sabres tendered him his NHL qualifying offer by last week’s deadline, which would push his NHL salary into the $655,000 range. He’s likely looking for a much bigger salary for the AHL portion of his deal, given the large minor-league salaries the Sabres handed out last week in free agency.

Buffalo will be paying former Utica Comets captain Cal O’Reilly $700,000 next season to play in the AHL, while defenseman Matt Donovan would make $400,000 with the Amerks, defenseman Bobby Sanguinetti would make $300,000 and forward Jason Akeson would be at $250,000.

Varone will be in tough for minutes with Buffalo next season. The team will be dramatically different at center, with Ryan O’Reilly as the new No. 1 and both Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart looking to crack the roster and be full-time contributors.

GM Tim Murray also added some depth in veteran David Legwand, acquired from Ottawa in the Robin Lehner deal.

Ryan O’Reilly charged with impaired driving, failing to remain at scene (Updated)

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Newly acquired Buffalo Sabres center Ryan O’Reilly has been charged with impaired driving and leaving the scene following an incident at a Tim Horton’s restaurant, according to Ontario’s AM 980 Radio.

More:

OPP [Ontario Provincial Police] announced Monday that O’Reilly, 24, from Bluewater, Ont., had been charged with driving a motor vehicle while ability impaired (alcohol) and care or control over 80 mgs.

He was also charged under the Highway Traffic Act with failing to remain at the scene.

According to Middlesex County OPP, a green Chevrolet pickup struck struck a commercial building on Richmond St. last Thursday morning (July 9) just after 4:00am. An employee of the Lucan Tim Hortons confirmed to AM980 that there had been a motor vehicle incident, but was unaware of the driver’s identity.

After the collision, police say a suspect drove the vehicle southbound on Saintsbury Line, before abandoning it and traveling by foot with another, unnamed, male occupant.

The OPP report says the individuals were later found, with police determining the driver had been drinking alcohol.

The Buffalo News has also since reported the incident.

Two weeks ago, O’Reilly signed a seven-year, $52.5 million deal with the Sabres, after he was acquired from Colorado at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. O’Reilly’s Twitter account appears to be have been deactivated; in a screengrab obtained by News 980, O’Reilly posted an image of a green 1951 Chevrolet truck back in May with the caption “Got my new truck.”

Update: On what appears to be O’Reilly’s Instagram account, the same image appears (Note: PHT has blanked out the comments due to profanity.)

source:

O’Reilly is slated to appear in a London, Ont. court on Aug. 20 to answer charges.

PHT has reached out to the NHL and NHLPA for comment.

UPDATE: The Sabres have released the following statement…

“We are aware of the reports regarding the incident involving Ryan O’Reilly last week. We are currently in the process of gathering more information and will have no further comment until we have spoken with all the parties involved.”

Denver-bound? Avs sign 10th overall pick Rantanen

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One of the most NHL-ready prospects from this year’s draft has signed on dotted line.

Mikko Rantanen, taken 10th overall by Colorado, inked his three-year, entry-level deal on Monday, the club announced.

“Mikko is a versatile forward who brings size, skill and a high compete level,” Avs GM Joe Sakic said in a release. “We saw him at our development camp last week and are now eager to see how he does at our training camp in September.”

Rantanen, 18, was the top-rated European prospect in this year’s draft thanks in large part to his size — 6-foot-4, 211 pounds — and how well he played at the professional level in Finland. Rantanen scored 28 points in 56 games for SM-liiga outfit TPS Turku this season, serving as an alternate captain even though he only turned 18 in October.

As such, the focus now turns to what he can do in Denver.

While Colorado has decent depth up front, the team has never been shy about putting young draftees straight to the NHL — Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon all made the team coming out of their first training camps.

Prior to getting picked by Colorado, Rantanen told reporters he was ready to play in the NHL next season.

Report: Rangers haven’t submitted opening proposal to Stepan yet

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It’s anyone’s guess if the New York Rangers will stop Derek Stepan from reaching salary arbitration, but as of this moment, it doesn’t sound like much is happening yet.

The New York Post’s Larry Brooks reports that “the parties haven’t quite even reached the preliminary stages of negotiating” as a potential arbitration hearing looms on July 27. Going further, the Rangers haven’t even offered an opening proposal for a long-term deal, according to Brooks.

Yikes, right?

OK, Rangers fans, compose yourselves.

Yes, it seems a little dicey that the two sides reportedly haven’t done much, if anything. Stepan, 25, has a strong argument for a hearty deal – Brooks believes that a contract carrying a $6.5 million cap hit would merely get the ball rolling – but the Rangers hold some leverage in his RFA status.

General Fanager places the Rangers’ cap space at about $10.2 million at the moment, yet the Rangers have other situations to address with RFAs, as J.T. Miller, Emerson Etem and Jesper Fast all need new contracts. There are also some situations to consider for 2016-17, as Kevin Hayes and Chris Kreider rank among the most noteworthy players currently on expiring deals.

Even with that tight squeeze, note that a lot can happen in two weeks, and deals often get hammered out within breathing distance of these hearings.

The outlook just doesn’t seem particularly rosy right now, at least if this report is accurate.

Related: Ryan O’Reilly’s big deal might not be helping matters.