Toronto Maple Leafs

Leafs sign Marincin to a one-year deal

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The Toronto Maple Leafs have locked up restricted free agent defenseman Martin Marincin to a one-year deal.

According to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston, it’s a one-way contract worth $700,000.

The 23-year-old’s three-year, entry-level deal expired last week.

Marincin was acquired by the Leafs from the Oilers at the NHL Draft in exchange for Brad Ross and a 2015 fourth-round draft pick.

Marincin has appeared in 85 NHL games with the Oilers scoring one goal and 10 assists.

The 6-foot-4, 203-pound blue liner was originally a second round pick (46th overall) by the Oilers at the 2010 NHL Draft.

With Marincin signed, the lone RFA on the Leafs roster is goaltender Jonathan Bernier.

Pens ink blueliner Dumoulin to two-year, $1.6M extension

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Pittsburgh locked up RFA defenseman Brian Dumoulin on Thursday, signing the 23-year-old to a two-year, $1.6 million extension.

Dumoulin, acquired in the Jordan-Staal-to-Carolina trade three years ago, will carry an average annual cap hit of $800,000 with the new deal.

A former standout at Boston College, Dumoulin was taken 51st overall by the Hurricanes in ’09 and has appeared in 14 games with Pittsburgh over the last two seasons. He did take a leap forward late last year, however, suiting up for all five games of the Penguins’ opening-round playoff loss to the Rangers, in which he averaged 14:06 TOI per game.

Based on current roster projections, he’ll be battling for a spot in Pittsburgh’s top six next year with the likes of Derrick Pouliot and Tim Erixon.

PHT Morning Skate: Eddie Lack pays tribute to former teammate on new mask

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Last spring when Eddie Lack was looking for help designing his new mask, Roberto Luongo tweeted the 27-year-old with his own design suggestion. Now with the Carolina Hurricanes, Lack decided to pay tribute to his former Vancouver Canucks teammate by putting Luongo’s face on his mask.

Applying for an NHL expansion franchise will cost interested groups $10 million, which includes $2 million that’s non-refundable. (Seattle Times)

Pittsburgh’s bid to host the 2018 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship got support from U.S. Sen. Bob Casey on Wednesday. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

Defenseman Kevin Lohan, the younger cousin of actress Lindsay Lohan, is at Washington Capitals development camp. (CSNWashington.com)

Jack Eichel shows off his hands at Sabres’ development camp (Bar Down)

Former NHLer Colby Armstrong says it was frustrating playing with Phil Kessel in Toronto. (Sportsnet)

Canucks’ prospect Thatcher Demko feels ‘better than new’ after hip surgery. (Metro News)

Hurricanes’ prospect Sergey Tolchinsky scored an amazing breakaway goal at Carolina’s development camp. (Bar Down)

John Schiavo had quite the goal during a shootout at New York Islanders development camp on Wednesday night.

Big money: Tarasenko signs eight-year, $60 million extension with Blues

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The St. Louis Blues have signed forward Vladimir Tarasenko to an eight-year, $60 million contract.

With a cap hit of $7.5 million, the deal makes Tarasenko the highest-paid player on the Blues.

One of the league’s top young stars, the 23-year-old had 37 goals in 2014-15, fewer than only four others in the NHL. He added six more goals in six playoff games.

The Blues drafted Tarasenko 16th overall in 2010.

As far as recent comparables go, it’s not easy to come up with many, given Tarasenko was a restricted free agent coming off his entry-level deal. Brandon Saad just signed a six-year, $36 million deal with Columbus, but his production pales next to Tarasenko’s.

Elite scoring wingers-wise, Phil Kessel is on an eight-year deal with an $8 million cap hit (shared now by both the Leafs and Penguins), while Corey Perry is also on an eight-year deal, with an $8.625 million cap hit.

Kessel, 27, and Perry, 30, each have a longer track record, but Tarasenko is considerably younger. And, of course, Kessel and Perry signed those deals as pending unrestricted free agents, which gave them more leverage in negotiations.

Babcock expects Kadri to be ‘an elite player’

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Expectations for Nazem Kadri have always been high. When you’re a seventh overall draft pick, that’s going to be the case.

But with Phil Kessel gone and Tyler Bozak potentially out the door next, new coach Mike Babcock expects the 24-year-old Maple Leafs center — armed with a one-year, prove-it contract —  to take his game to another level next season.

“I expect him to be an elite player,” Babcock said of Kadri, per the Toronto Star.

“He gets to come in and have a heck of a year and put the screws to us. Why wouldn’t he? If I’m him, I’m going to have the best year of my career because I’m training the way I should and living the way I should, then why wouldn’t I have a short-term deal?”

Kadri finished 2014-15 with 18 goals and 21 assists in 73 games. While those numbers don’t exactly scream “elite player,” it should be noted he played mostly with Daniel Winnik and Mike Santorelli.

With that in mind, it’ll be interesting to see if Babcock gives Kadri more time with James van Riemsdyk, who skated almost exclusively with Kessel and Bozak on Toronto’s much-maligned first line.

Related: Leafs sign Matthias — one year, $2.3 million