Report: Anders Nilsson could return to the NHL

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Goaltender Anders Nilsson, who left the New York Islanders as a restricted free agent to sign with Ak Bars Kazan of the KHL, could be headed back to North America.

According to Igor Eronko, Nilsson refused to sign an extension with the KHL club.

The Chicago Blackhawks own Nilsson’s rights after the Islanders dealt him as part of the Nick Leddy trade in October.

In 38 regular season KHL games, Nilsson posted a 20-9-8 record to go along with a 1.71 G.A.A. and a .936 save percentage.

The 25-year-old left the Islanders following the 2013-14 season after New York refused to meet his demands of a one-year contract.

Nilsson was not interested in spending another year in the American Hockey League.

“I have done for three years in the AHL and I do not think it would be good for my development to play a fourth year in the AHL,” Nilsson in April 2014. “That’s what I’ve said to them, since we have not started to go into contract negotiations.”

Nilsson appeared in 23 games for the Islanders over two seasons posting a 9-9-2 record to go along with a 3.05 G.A.A. and a .898 percentage.

‘Five or six teams have called’ on Sens goalies, says Murray

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In the wake of signing Andrew Hammond to a three-year deal — creating a three-headed goalie monster in the process — Ottawa GM Bryan Murray acknowledged on Monday that he’s already fielding calls for Robin Lehner and Craig Anderson.

“Five or six teams have called and there has been some discussion and there will continue to be,” Murray said, per the Ottawa Sun. “We’ll see what comes of it.”

Technically speaking, Ottawa has a four-headed goalie monster, having signed Boston University standout Matt O’Connor earlier this month, though O’Connor is expected to spend next season in AHL Binghamton. Regardless, Murray still needs to figure out what to do with Anderson, 33, who’s signed through 2018 at $4.2 million per and Lehner, 23, who has two more years left at $2.25M per.

It’s no surprise Murray’s already working the phones. This summer’s goalie market could have plenty of NHL-caliber netminders available with the likes of Antti Niemi, Karri Ramo, Michal Neuvirth and Thomas Greiss all possibly going unrestricted. The trade market could be flush as well; Vancouver has floated the idea of flipping Eddie Lack and there appears to be interest in Kings backup Martin Jones.

Agent: No active talks between Greiss and Pens, but ‘neither side has closed the door’

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There could be a new backup goalie in Pittsburgh next season, though it’s still a bit early to rule out Thomas Greiss’ return.

“We’ve spoken and neither side has closed the door but we’re not actively negotiating at this time either,” Greiss’ agent, Ray Petkau, told PHT via email on Monday. “We’ll speak again before July 1st.”

Greiss, 29, arrived in Pittsburgh last summer with a fair bit of intrigue. After going 10-8-5 with a .920 save percentage as Mike Smith’s No. 2 in Arizona, some thought Greiss could be in the mix for the Pens’ starting gig, given 1) Marc-Andre Fleury was going into the last year of his deal, and 2) the organization was in the midst of a overhaul, having already fired head coach Dan Bylsma and GM Ray Shero.

The push never seemed to materialize, though.

Fleury signed a four-year, $23 million extension just one month into the season and proceeded to carry a big workload, finishing tied for seventh in the league with 64 starts. Griess, meanwhile, started just 18 times (9-6-3, 2.59 GAA, .908 save percentage), got the mumps and played just a handful of times down the stretch.

It’ll be interesting to see what Pittsburgh does in goal behind Fleury next year. Matt Murray, the 21-year-old prospect that racked up a bunch of AHL awards this season (including rookie of the year and top goalie) could be promoted, though the organization’s developmental strategy probably calls for Murray playing a bunch of games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, rather than sitting behind Fleury.

That means Jeff Zatkoff, who split time with Murray in the American League last year, could end up being the guy. He’s under contract for one more year and has experience as Fleury’s backup, a role he filled during the 2013-14 campaign, when he played 20 games.

As for Greiss, he could test free agent waters for the second summer in a row, in a goalie market that’ll likely feature Antti Niemi, Karri Ramo and Michal Neuvirth, among others.

Hamburglar sticks: Sens ink Hammond to three-year, $4.05M extension

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The Hamburglar has been rewarded.

On Wednesday, Ottawa announced that it re-upped with Andrew Hammond — aka “The Hamburglar” — on a three-year, $4.05 million contract, one that carries an average annual cap hit of $1.35M.

The annual salary breakdown:

Hammond, 27, was one of the NHL’s most unlikely success stories this year, if not the most unlikely. Never a star at the NCAA or AHL level, he came out of nowhere to go on a remarkable run — 20-1-2 down the stretch — to help the Sens rally for a playoff spot.

Hammond finished the year with a .941 save percentage and 1.79 GAA, and was Ottawa’s starter heading into its opening-round series against the Habs. But he ceded his starting position to Craig Anderson after two tough outings and, in light of that, it’ll be interesting to see how the Sens’ goalie situation plays out next year and beyond.

Anderson, 33, is signed through 2018 at $4.2 million per while Robin Lehner — who, after suffering a concussion in February, opened the door for Hammond to play — has two more years left at $2.225M per.

(As pointed out by sharp commenter dsawaia29, Ottawa also inked college free agent goalie Matt O’Connor out of Boston University.)

Sens GM Bryan Murray said he’ll look to deal one of his two netminders once Hammond was signed, so it’ll be interesting to see who’s on the move this summer as the available goalie market just got another experienced addition, to go along with Antti Niemi, Karri Ramo, Michal Neuvirth and, quite possibly, Eddie Lack.

Related: If Anderson is available, should the Oilers be interested?

No talks between Isles and Neuvirth, who’s ‘ready to be the No. 1 goalie’

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Sounds like New York Islanders backup netminder Michal Neuvirth is ready to test the free agent goalie market.

“We haven’t heard from the Islanders,” Neuvirth’s agent, Patrik Stefan, told PHT via email. “And Michal is ready to be the number one goalie.”

Neuvirth, 27, was sent to the Islanders from Buffalo at the deadline and played in just a handful of games — five regular-season (1-3-1, 2.94 GAA, .881 save percentage) and one in the playoffs, an 11-minute relief appearance of Jaroslav Halak during an opening-round playoff loss to Washington.

In Buffalo, Neuvirth showed flashes of a guy that could be a No. 1, especially in the weeks leading up to his trade. The Czech netminder posted a .938 save percentage in February and, overall, had a .918 in 27 games — pretty good, considering the Sabres were the NHL’s worst team this year.

Assuming he goes to market, Neuvirth will have a few things going for him. One, he’s relatively young, having just turned 27 in March. Two, he has a fair bit of experience — over 160 regular-season contests, and 10 in the playoffs. Three, he could be affordable, having just wrapped a two-year, $5 million deal with a $2.5M average annual cap hit.

But there are a number of other potential goalies primed to hit the market. Calgary could move on from Karri Ramo, and Vancouver has hinted that Eddie Lack may be available for trade. Antti Niemi may not be re-signed by San Jose and there is the possibility that Minnesota can’t come to terms with Vezina finalist Devan Dubnyk, who goes unrestricted on July 1.