Saturday featured quite a few instances in which teams cut their training camp rosters down to size, and the Chicago Blackhawks were no exception.
The standout name was Jan Hejda, who was released from professional tryout contract. Forward Tanner Kero also couldn’t make the grade, yet he’ll just go the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs.
Hejda, 37, enjoyed a better outlook when he initially received that PTO back on Sept. 12.
Since then, Chicago bolstered its lineup with full contracts (re-signing Michal Rozsival) and added a PTO defenseman with arguably more in the tank in Lubomir Visnovsky.
At his advanced age, it’s anyone’s guess if Hejda lands with another NHL team or if he’ll need to settle for a job in the AHL or overseas.
If nothing else, the thick resume he brought to Chicago helps his chances of finding work somewhere else.
As CSNChicago.com’s Tracey Myers notes, the Blackhawks’ training camp roster is now down to 36 players.
According to Mike Chambers of The Denver Post, the Avs’ top priority heading into free agency is to add left-handed shooting defensemen.
Chambers previously reported the club is unlikely to re-sign pending unrestricted free agent defensemen Jan Hejda or Ryan Wilson. Both are left shots.
“As a coach, yes, we’d like to have somebody to play with EJ (inaudible) and Tyson. Obviously, we have (Nick) Holden and (Brad) Stuart, who are left shots, but we’d like to add a defenseman in the top four,” Patrick Roy said. “I think it will help our team tremendously.”
According to Generalfanager.com, there are currently 60 left shot blue liners set to hit the open market on July 1.
Chambers suggests the Avs will focus on Andrej Sekera, Christian Ehrhoff, Matt Irwin, Johnny Oduya and Paul Martin. Sekera is the Avs’ top target, according to Chambers.
The 29-year-old split the 2014-15 season between the Carolina Hurricanes and L.A. Kings scoring three goals and 23 points in 73 games while averaging nearly 22 minutes a night in ice time.
Kings’ GM Dean Lombardi said the team was in negotiations with Sekera last month and believes the blue liner wants to remain in Los Angeles.
Colorado could have as much as $13 million to play with in free agency.
“It’s definitely and exciting time for everybody — stressful as well,” GM Joe Sakic said of free agency. “We’ve got guys that we’re looking to see what we can do about adding to our lineup and see if something fits. It’s a two-way street. You can like somebody but they have to … players pick where they want to go. We have guys in mind that we’d like to come on board and help us win … We’re working and things keep coming up.”
The Colorado Avalanche aren’t in a hurry to trade forward Ryan O’Reilly, but Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports the club is listening to offers.
With the Avs unlikely to re-sign Jan Hejda and prospect Stefan Elliott falling out of favor with the club, Colorado is looking for blue liners in return for O’Reilly.
This isn’t the first time O’Reilly’s name has been involved in trade rumors.
Back in December reports that O’Reilly was on the trading block surfaced. Then in January the Avs reportedly “put out feelers” to gauge interest in O’Reilly.
At the trade deadline, when the Avs were unable to find a suitor for O’Reilly, GM Joe Sakic said the club hoped to re-sign the forward.
The 24-year-old scored 17 goals and 55 points in 82 games during the 2014-15 season to go along with a minus-5 rating.
O’Reilly is set to make $6.2 million in the final year of his two-year, $12 million contract and will become an unrestricted free agent in July 2016.
With six defensemen already under contract for the 2015-16 season the Colorado Avalanche are unlikely to re-sign Jan Hejda or Ryan Wilson according to Mike Chambers of The Denver Post.
Both blue liners are set to become unrestricted free agents on July 1.
Hejda had a goal and 12 assists to go along with a minus-12 rating during the 2014-15 season. The 36-year-old made $3.25 million in the final year of his four-year, $13 million deal.
Wilson’s three-year, $6.75 million deal expires next month. The 28-year-old appeared in just three games with the Avalanche in 2014-15 prior to undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery in November. Over the past three seasons Wilson has appeared in just 43 games with Colorado and one game with the Lake Erie Monsters of the American Hockey League.
The future of Stefan Elliott is also uncertain.
Chambers reports the defenseman has fallen out of favor with the Avs.
Elliott is a pending restricted free agent as his one-year, $850,000 deal is set to expire on July 1.
The 24-year-old appeared in five games for the Avs in 2014-15 season registering a minus-2 rating and two penalty minutes. Elliott also appeared in 64 AHL games with the Lake Erie Monsters where he had 19 goals and 40 points to go along with 22 penalty minutes and a minus-9 rating.
Jaromir Jagr will play for the Czech Republic at next month’s World Hockey Championship.
It was nearly a year ago that Jagr announced his retirement from international competition.
The 43-year-old played in 77 NHL games this season with the New Jersey Devils and Flordia Panthers scoring 17 goals and 47 points.
Jagr signed a one-year extension with the Panthers two weeks ago.
Joining Jagr on the Czech national team will be Colorado Avalanche defenseman Jan Hejda and Canes’ blue liner Michal Jordan.
Winnipeg Jets’ goaltender Ondrej Pavelec will also represent the Czech Republic at the tournament, which runs through May 17.