The Vancouver Canucks have given up on Zack Kassian. The Montreal Canadiens will give him a chance.
Kassian was traded to the Habs today, along with a fifth-round pick in 2016. The 24-year-old winger, who came to Vancouver in the 2012 Cody Hodgson swap, never turned into the power forward the Canucks envisioned he could be. His stint with the club was a controversial one, marked by suspensions, punitive AHL demotions, and the odd hot streak. Some felt he was never given enough of an opportunity; others disagreed.
“I need to find consistency,” Kassian told TSN. “This summer, I’m really taking strides forward. I want to have a big year. I’ve matured a lot as a person and a player.”
Heading to the Canucks is gritty forward Brandon Prust. Prust is 31 years old. He’s signed for one more year at $2.5 million, after which he can become an unrestricted free agent.
In an odd twist, Hodgson has reportedly signed a one-year deal with the Predators, who will hope to rejuvenate a career that went south in Buffalo. The 25-year-old center was just bought out by the Sabres. In Nashville, the top two centers, Mike Ribeiro and Mike Fisher, are each 35 years old, so rolling the dice on Hodgson makes sense.
Related: Ribeiro re-signs with Preds — two years, $7 million
From TSN’s Aaron Ward:
After being bought out by Arizona, Ribeiro bounced back with a productive “last chance” season for the Preds. The 35-year-old had 15 goals and 47 assists while playing mostly on a top line with Filip Forsberg and James Neal.
The Preds wanted Ribeiro back, despite the civil lawsuit filed by his former nanny, who claims that he sexually assaulted her in 2012.
“Last year before we signed Mike, we talked to he and his family a lot about his past and I guess you could say his plan and his commitment for moving forward for both on and off the ice,” GM David Poile said. “As it turned out, I think Mike was a good teammate and he was a productive player. I don’t think anybody would argue with that. I think he was great among his teammates, and his wife and he were excellent in the community.”
Hockey wise, the Preds may be in tough to win a Stanley Cup with a pair of 35-year-olds, Ribeiro and Mike Fisher, as their top centers. But Ribeiro and Fisher are only signed through 2016-17, so there’s flexibility to improve at the position.
The Nashville Predators have re-signed center Mike Fisher to a two-year contract extension with a cap hit of $4.4 million, the club announced this morning.
Fisher just turned 35. He had 19 goals and 20 assists in 59 games this past season.
“Mike Fisher is a player and person anyone would want in their organization,” GM David Poile said. “He is a smart, two-way player who contributes on special teams and is solid in the face-off circle, as well as a member of our leadership group, a respected voice in the dressing room and an integral part of the Nashville community.”
Now that Fisher is signed, attention will turn to pending UFA Mike Ribeiro, who had 62 points as the Preds’ first-line center last season.
Yesterday, it was reported that Ribeiro would be talking to other teams as part of the free-agent interview process.
Nearly two weeks ago the agent for Mike Fisher told the Tennessean that a two-year deal with the Preds would work best for his client. However, there is still no deal between the two sides, which is “mildly surprising” as ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun writes.
Fisher’s two-year, $8.4 million deal is set to expire next month making him an unrestricted free agent.
The 35-year-old has expressed his desire to remain in Nashville.
So what’s the hold up?
It appears the two sides are struggling to agree on the value of a new deal.
“We’ve talked, and we talked as recently as Monday of this week, and we continue to have a very healthy dialogue,” Fisher’s agent, Todd Reynolds said. “It’s clear that it’s everyone’s goal is for Fish to stay there. It’s just that we have a little differing opinion on where the market is on him. And that’s nothing new in our business.”
Fisher scored 19 goals and 39 points in 59 games after missing the start of the season recovering from a ruptured Achilles.
Teams can begin talking to other team’s free agents on June 25.
The Nashville Predators and pending unrestricted free agent Mike Fisher have been negotiating on a new deal since as early as January and it appears things could get done shortly.
“I think it’s going to probably end up at two (years),” Fisher’s agent Todd Reynolds told The Tennessean’s Adam Vingan. “I don’t know that for certain, but I think that’s probably the right number for everyone involved.”
Fisher has spent the parts of the past five seasons with the Preds.
His two-year, $8.4 million contract is set to expire next month.
“I love the city and I love the guys here in the organization,” Fisher said in February. “It’s been great. Hopefully the business part of things will take care of itself, but I definitely want to be part of it for sure.”
After missing 21 games due to a ruptured Achilles, he returned to score 19 goals and 39 points in 59 games during the 2014-15 season.
“We’re making progress,” Reynolds said. “Everyone wants the same thing, and we’re just trying to come to an agreement on what that ultimately looks like.”