Getting over the salary cap floor seemed like a foregone conclusion for the Anaheim Ducks, but it looks like they’ll cement that thought before the first day of free agency ends.
The Ducks signed veteran forward Shawn Horcoff to a one-year, $1.75 million contract, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger. That would put them about $100K above the floor, at least by General Fanager’s numbers.
Again, Anaheim will end up well above that mark regardless. They still need to ink recently acquired forward Carl Hagelin and breakout scorer Jakob Silfverberg (both RFAs) to what could be pricey deals.
This is the latest move in a busy week for Ducks GM Bob Murray, who allowed Matt Beleskey and Francois Beauchemin to walk via free agency and traded for Kevin Bieksa and Anton Khudobin.
Horcoff, 36, just ended a hefty deal that paid him $5.5 million per year cap-hit wise (his salary was more manageable at $3 million in 2014-15). The former Edmonton Oilers captain saw 13:01 time on ice with the Dallas Stars, generating 29 points in 76 games.
The Ducks likely have plenty of intel on the character player considering his time in the West. Anaheim likely hopes that Horcoff could provide a veteran presence (and maybe a few timely goals) to a roster hoping to take that extra step in 2015-16.
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
Not long after announcing they’d re-signed Yannick Weber, the Vancouver Canucks announced they’d signed d-man Matt Bartkowski (one year, $1.75 million), too.
Bartkowski, 27, played 131 games for the Bruins from 2011-15, scoring no goals with 24 assists. For much of that time, Canucks GM Jim Benning was with the Boston organization, so there’s some familiarity there.
The addition of Bartkowski gives the Canucks six NHL d-men under contract for 2015-16, plus Frank Corrado and Adam Clendening are expected to push for spots on the roster.
Alex Edler — Chris Tanev
Dan Hamhuis — Yannick Weber
Luca Sbisa — Frank Corrado
Matt Bartkowski — Adam Clendening
Related: Canucks have a puzzle to solve on the blue line
Don Maloney is a busy man.
Having already inked former Canucks center Brad Richardson to a three-year deal, the Coyotes GM set about getting to the salary cap floor by adding a trio of veterans — forward Steve Downie (formerly of Pittsburgh), defenseman Zbynek Michalek (formerly of St. Louis) and goalie Anders Lindback (formerly of Buffalo).
The Michalek move — $6.4 million total, $3.2M average annual cap hit — is interesting, as the Coyotes dealt him to St. Louis at the deadline and promptly brought him back.
Lindback will presumably serve as Mike Smith’s backup next season and Downie… well, he’s now onto his fifth NHL team in eight years, having already spent time in Philly, Tampa Bay, Colorado and Pittsburgh.
The Colorado Avalanche have signed veteran defenseman François Beauchemin to a three-year deal with a $4.5 million cap hit, according to Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports.
Beauchemin, 35, did not re-sign with Anaheim; the Ducks essentially filled his spot by trading for Kevin Bieksa.
In Colorado, the hope will be that Beauchemin can provide a steadying presence on a team that struggled defensively last season.
At 35 years old, Beauchemin is no youngster. However, he still managed to average 22:45 of ice time in 2014-15.
“He’s the voice,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said of Beauchemin during the playoffs. “Everybody else is so young. [He] is the voice back there. You can hear him talking all the time.”