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.