Early contender for quote of the day, courtesy Sabres GM Tim Murray:
This morning, Buffalo acquired Robin Lehner and David Legwand from Ottawa, in return for the 21st pick in today’s draft.
In February, Murray swung a blockbuster trade for Evander Kane. Part of that deal included the 25th pick in today’s draft going to Winnipeg.
And, of course, the Sabres are expected in a few hours to draft Jack Eichel with the second overall pick.
Related: Day after voicing disappointment with No. 2 pick, Murray praises Eichel
Check PHT every day until June 30 for a new pending unrestricted free agent of the day. Today’s UFA of the Day is…
He won a Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks, and he was a Vezina finalist with the Sharks. So his agent does have a good story to sell.
“I have to think he’s going to be one of the most sought-after goalies on the market,” Markus Lehto told ESPN.com.
But Niemi, 31, is also coming off a couple of so-so seasons in San Jose. His save percentage was .913 in 2013-14 and .914 in 2014-15, when the league average was .915.
While the Sharks have not ruled out bringing Niemi back, and Niemi has not “closed the door” on the Sharks, most expect him to move on.
Niemi’s future is likely to be determined in part by the trade market. Younger goalies like Cam Talbot, Robin Lehner, and Eddie Lack could all be dealt by July 1. Once the dust clears there, it’ll be easier to nail down his options.
Other UFA goalies include Devan Dubnyk, Karri Ramo, Michal Neuvirth, and Jhonas Enroth.
If Dubnyk somehow fails to reach a deal with the Wild, the market will become further convoluted.
Click here for more UFAs.
The Ottawa Senators announced that they have signed Mika Zibanejad to a two-year, $5.25 million contract extension and Mark Stone to a three-year, $10.5 million contract.
Zibanejad will earn $2 million next season and $3.25 million in 2016-17. He was eligible to become a restricted free agent after completing his entry-level deal.
The 22-year-old forward was taken by Ottawa with the sixth overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft and made his debut that year. However, it’s been over the last three seasons that he’s established himself at the NHL level with 99 points in 191 games. In 2014-15, he set career-highs with 20 goals and 26 assists in 80 contests.
Stone, 23, was also coming off of his entry-level contract. He will make $2.25 million in 2015-16, $3.75 million the following campaign, and $4.5 million in 2017-18.
He slipped all the way to the sixth round of the 2010 draft, but he went from recording 28 points in 39 WHL games in his draft year to 106 points with the Brandon Wheat Kings in 2010-11. That was an early indication that Ottawa had gotten a steal as after spending a couple years bouncing between the AHL and NHL, Stone firmly established himself last season with 26 goals and 64 points in 80 contests.
He was a finalist for the Calder Trophy, although it ultimately went to defenseman Aaron Ekblad.
The Senators have already done a lot of the heavy lifting expected of them this summer, but they still need to re-sign restricted free agents Alex Chiasson and Mike Hoffman.