With the start of the free agent period less than 48 hours away, teams had to either present qualifying offers to their restricted free agents or allow them to enter the UFA market. While most RFAs will receive them, every year there are some noteworthy players that teams choose to concede the rights to.
This year Carolina Hurricanes forward Riley Nash and Vancouver Canucks defenseman Yannick Weber are among those that top that list.
Nash was taken with the 21st overall pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft by the Edmonton Oilers. Rather than sign him though, Edmonton traded his rights to Carolina in 2010. Since then the 26-year-old forward has registered 22 goals and 37 assists in 178 contests, including 25 points in 68 games in 2014-15.
Hurricanes GM Ron Francis hasn’t ruled out the possibility of re-signing Nash despite the fact that he’s allowing Nash to enter the open market, per the Raleigh News & Observer’s Chip Alexander.
Weber, 26, is the veteran of 229 NHL contests. He had 11 goals and 21 points while averaging 17:11 minutes in 65 contests in 2014-15. Vancouver’s decision to give up its exclusive rights to Weber is eyebrow raising.
Similarly to the case with Nash though, Vancouver might still end up signing him. It sounds like the Canucks’ primary concern was what he might have gotten via arbitration, per Sportsnet’s Dan Murphy. Still, Weber has been given control over his situation so Vancouver will have to see what he does with it.
Some other noteworthy players that will be allowed to test the open market include Colorado’s Jordan Caron, Columbus’ Dana Tyrell, Edmonton’s Keith Aulie, and Winnipeg’s Keaton Ellerby.
With the 2015 trade deadline rapidly approaching, it’s no surprise that NHL teams are using waivers to open up space (and occasionally grab low-risk players). Let’s take a quick look at recent announcements in that regard.
Claimed: The Toronto Maple Leafs claimed defenseman Tim Erixon (pictured) off of waivers. The Calgary Flames grabbed Dave Schlemko.
A little more on Erixon:
Here’s some added perspective on why the Flames made their move:
Cleared: Philadelphia Flyers goalie Rob Zepp, Washington Capitals tough guy Aaron Volpatti and Brandon McMillan of the Vancouver Canucks all cleared waivers.
Waived: Anaheim Ducks forward Rene Bourque headlines the latest batch of players who’ve been waived. Also on the list: Craig Cunningham (Boston Bruins), Keith Aulie (Edmonton Oilers), Paul Carey (Colorado Avalanche) and Tye McGinn (San Jose Sharks).
HNIC’s Elliotte Friedman lays out a few roster details after the trade deadline:
The Tampa Bay Lightning acquired forwards Carter Ashton and David Broll from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for a conditional seventh round pick at the 2016 NHL Draft.
The deal frees up two contract spots for the Leafs, who were at the maximum of 50.
Ashton appeared in seven games for the Leafs this season registering a minus-3 rating. The 23-year-old was also suspended 20 games earlier this season after testing positive for a banned substance.
Originally a first-round pick (29th overall) of the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2009, Ashton was dealt to the Leafs in February 2012 for defenseman Keith Aulie.
In 12 American Hockey League games this season, Ashton has four goals and eight points with the Toronto Marlies.
Broll has split this season between the Marlies and the ECHL’s Orlando Solar Bears. The 22-year-old appeared in five NHL games with the Leafs last season registering an assist.
Both players will likely report to the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL.
The Edmonton Oilers acquired Nikita Nikitin over the summer in an effort to bolster the team’s defense during a period of cautious optimism. That optimism, at least as far as this season is concerned, has long since evaporated and while Edmonton has been somewhat better lately, the Oilers will face challenges in their attempts to avoid limping to the finish line.
Nikita Nikitin will miss a significant amount of time due to a shoulder injury. A more specific timetable hasn’t been provided, but given that we’re at the end of January, questions are being raised as to whether the 28-year-old defenseman will play again this season, per the Edmonton Journal.
His absence might be just be an early chapter in the depletion of the Oilers as they’ve settled into a seller role as we approach the trade deadline. Edmonton already got an early start by trading David Perron to Pittsburgh for Rob Klinkhammer and a 2015 first-round pick. Defenseman Jeff Petry might also be dealt in the coming weeks and there’s always the possibility that the Oilers will make a bolder move.
The Oilers have a 13-27-9 record, which still puts them four points ahead of the plummeting Buffalo Sabres. Edmonton will play eight of its next nine games on the road, starting with tonight’s contest against Calgary.
Keith Aulie will take Nikitin’s place alongside Mark Fayne.
Edmonton Oilers’ defenseman Keith Aulie has been suspeneded two games as a result of his hit on Calgary Flames’ forward Matt Stajan Wednesday.
Aulie was assessed a major penalty for interference and a game misconduct during the first period of the Oilers’ 4-3 overtime loss.
Stajan remained in the game but was limited to just seven mintues.
It is the first suspension of Aulie’s career. He will forfeit $8,602.16 in salary during the suspension.