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Blackhawks sign Gustafsson; Kings avoid arbitration with Gravel

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A couple of 25-year-old defensemen signed contract extensions today.

First in Chicago, where Erik Gustafsson has re-upped for a year. No financial details were released by the club.

Gustafsson has not played for the Blackhawks since the 2015-16 season.

From the press release:

Gustafsson, 25, registered a team-high 25 assists and led club blueliners with 30 points in 68 games with the American Hockey League’s Rockford IceHogs during the 2016-17 regular season. He also led the team with 185 shots and ranked second with 14 power-play points (1G, 13A). The Nynashamn, Sweden, native has posted 41 points (8G, 33A) in 95 regular-season games with the IceHogs over the past two seasons.

Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, the Kings avoided an arbitration hearing with Kevin Gravel, who got a one-year, two-way contract extension.

From the press release:

The 25-year-old (born March 6, 1992) 6-4, 212-pound native of Kingsford, Michigan appeared in 49 games last season with the Kings, posting seven points (1-6=7), a plus-3 rating and six penalty minutes.

He registered his first NHL point on Nov. 8 against the Toronto Maple Leafs, and scored his first NHL goal on Feb. 23 against the Boston Bruins.

Gravel’s deal is worth $650,000 at the NHL level.

Enroth signs in KHL with Dinamo Minsk

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After a disappointing season that started in Toronto, Jhonas Enroth is off to the KHL.

The 29-year-old goalie has signed a one-year deal to play for Dinamo Minsk.

Last season, Enroth was signed to be the Maple Leafs’ backup. But he got off to a tough start and ended up in the minors. Eventually, he was traded to the Ducks and played for their AHL affiliate in San Diego.

Enroth had joined the Leafs after a solid year in Los Angeles as the Kings’ backup; however, he didn’t enjoy how little he played behind Jonathan Quick.

“If you sign a guy for $1.2 million,” he said,  “you’re not going to play him 13 games, in my opinion.”

Related: Who’s still left? Here are 10 notable UFAs

Kings hire Pierre Turgeon as ‘offensive coordinator’ assistant coach

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Over the past four years the Los Angeles Kings have been one of the worst offensive teams in hockey, finishing higher than 20th in goals scored just one time during that stretch. Overall, their 2.55 goals per game average during that stretch placed them 23rd in the NHL, pretty far below the league average.

They seem to be trying to change that under new coach John Stevens even if the roster is staying mostly the same.

On Monday the team announced the hiring of Pierre Turgeon as an assistant to help round out their coaching staff, and he will join the team with a very specific role: Offensive coordinator.

“We are thrilled to bring Pierre Turgeon aboard to join John Stevens and our coaching staff. For the first time in LA Kings history we will have one coach strictly dedicated to an ‘Offensive Coordinator’ role,” said Kings team president Luc Robitaille in a statement released by the team.

This will be Turgeon’s first coaching job in the NHL.

No matter what Turgeon’s role is or how good he may be at it the key for the Kings will still be the talent on the ice, and there is still some there with Anze Kopitar, Tyler Toffolli, Tanner Pearson, and Jeff Carter in their top-six. It will be interesting to see if there is more potential for the team offensively in a different system. Darryl Sutter’s Kings teams were all about defense and suffocating the oppositions offensive attack, and while it certainly helped them shut teams down, it did very little to create offense at the other end of the ice.

Turgeon was an outstanding offensive player during his NHL career, scoring 515 goals and 812 assists in 1,294 games with the Buffalo Sabres, St. Louis Blues, New York Islanders, Dallas Stars, Montreal Canadiens and Colorado Avalanche.

“Pierre had great success as a player and has a tremendous hockey background on the whole. He is a person who brings a lot of energy, passion and insight to the job along with a great deal of enthusiasm about the game,” Stevens said in the Kings’ team statement.

“We look forward to him adding to our team, and to our staff, a real team perspective from a person who was a high-end player, especially in the offensive zone. We have talked a lot during the process of building a coaching staff regarding the qualities of the people we wanted to bring aboard. We feel strongly that Pierre will help compliment myself, Dave Lowry, Don Nachbaur and Bill Ranford and we are together looking forward to the start of the season.”

So far this offseason the biggest addition the Kings have made to their roster has been the signing of Mike Cammalleri after he scored 10 goals and 31 total points in 61 games for the New Jersey Devils a season ago. It will be Cammalleri’s second time with the team.

Kings re-sign Shore — one year, $925,000

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After entrenching himself in the L.A. lineup over the last two years, Nick Shore is back for another.

Shore, 24, has signed a one-year, $925,000 extension with the Kings, the club announced on Thursday. That AAV is up from the $600,000 he made on his last contract, which was a two-year deal.

Taken by L.A. in the third round of the 2011 draft, Shore set career highs in games played (70), goals (six) and points (17) last season. The former Denver University standout worked his way into the Kings lineup after a couple of successful seasons at the AHL level, including the ’14-15 campaign in which he scored 42 points in 38 games.

Shore largely manned the bottom-six center spots last season, to mixed reviews. It’s believed L.A. was looking for additional center depth this offseason and, not coincidentally, was rumored to be chasing Joe Thornton before Thornton re-upped in San Jose.

Key players from Penguins, Sabres, Lightning headline salary arbitration list

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The NHLPA released a list of players who are filing for salary arbitration during this off-season on Wednesday.

It’s important to note that arbitration hearings rarely happen, and with good reason, as they can be harsh situations that may lead to hard feelings between a player and his team. Hearings take place July 20-Aug. 2, with a 48-hour window for verdicts to be made.

Also, the deadline for club-elected salary arbitration is set for tomorrow (July 6) at 5 p.m. ET.

Another key note: offer sheets are not an option for players who file for arbitration. Now, onto the list, which began with 30 players and is now down to 28:

TORONTO (July 5, 2017) – Thirty players have elected Salary Arbitration:

Arizona Coyotes

Jordan Martinook

Boston Bruins

Ryan Spooner

Buffalo Sabres

Nathan Beaulieu

Johan Larsson

Robin Lehner

Calgary Flames

Micheal Ferland

Colorado Avalanche

Matt Nieto

Detroit Red Wings

Tomas Tatar

Edmonton Oilers

Joey LaLeggia

Los Angeles Kings

Kevin Gravel

Minnesota Wild

Mikael Granlund

Nino Niederreiter

Montreal Canadiens

Alex Galchenyuk (signed for three years; more on that here)

Nashville Predators

Viktor Arvidsson

Marek Mazanec

Austin Watson

New York Islanders

Calvin de Haan

New York Rangers

Jesper Fast (signed, read about the deal here)

Mika Zibanejad

Ottawa Senators

Ryan Dzingel

Jean-Gabriel Pageau

Pittsburgh Penguins

Brian Dumoulin

Conor Sheary

St. Louis Blues

Colton Parayko

Tampa Bay Lightning

Tyler Johnson

Ondrej Palat

Vancouver Canucks

Reid Boucher

Michael Chaput

Vegas Golden Knights

Nate Schmidt

Winnipeg Jets

Connor Hellebuyck