PHT’s 2014 free agent frenzy tracker

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Welcome to Thunderdome! Or, as us in the hockey biz like to call it, July 1.

Throughout today, PHT will bring you up-to-the-minute news covering all the signings and trades that go down across the NHL. And — because we know you don’t wanna go looking all over the place for what’s happened — we’ve created this here handy tracker to keep tabs on all the action.

Enjoy the day…

Tuesday, July 1

New York Islanders sign Harry Zolnierczyk: for one year, $600,000 (link); they also sign Cory Conacher to an identical one-year, $600,000 deal (link)

Detroit Red Wings re-sign D Kyle Quincey for two years, $8.5 million (link)

Anaheim Ducks sign G Jason LaBarbera for one year, $750,000 (link)

New York Islanders signed F Jack Skille to a two-way deal (link)

Tampa Bay signs G Evgeni Nabokov: one year, $1.55 million (link)

Pittsburgh re-signs C Marcel Goc: one year, $1.2 million (link)

Florida signs D Willie Mitchell: two years, $8.5 million (link)

Philadelphia Flyers signed F Blair Jones to a two-way deal (link)

New Jersey re-signs F Stephen Gionta: two years, $1.7 million (link)

Dallas signs F Patrick Eaves: one year, $600,000 (link)

Washington signs D Matt Niskanen: seven years, $40 million (link)

Chicago signs C Brad Richards: one year, $2 million (link)

Phoenix signs G Devan Dubnyk: one year, $800,000 (link)

Philadelphia signs G Ray Emery (one year, $1M) and G Robb Zepp (link)

Buffalo signs D Andrej Meszaros: one year, $4.125 million (link)

Calgary signs D Deryk Engelland: three years, $8.7 million (link)

Tampa Bay signs F Mike Blunden: one year, $600,000 (link)

New Jersey signs G Scott Clemmensen: one year, $ N/A (link)

Detroit signs F Kevin Porter (link)

Buffalo signs F Cody McCormick: three years, $4.5 million (link)

Carolina re-signs F Jiri Tlusty: one year, $2.95 million (link)

Tampa Bay signs D Anton Stralman: five years, $22.5 million (link)

Columbus trades Matt Frattin to Toronto for Jerry D’Amigo (link)

Buffalo re-signs F Marcus Foligno: two years, $3.75 million (link)

Colorado signs RW Jarome Iginla: three years, $16 million (link)

New Jersey re-signs F Steve Bernier: one year, $600,000 (link)

Buffalo signs LW Matt Moulson: four years, $25 million (link)

Toronto signs F Leo Komarkov: four years, $11.8 million (link)

Chicago re-signs C Peter Regin: one year, $650,000 (link)

Colorado signs D Zach Redmond: two years, $1.5 million (link)

New Jersey signs F Martin Havlat: one year, $1.5 million (link)

Florida signs C Derek McKenzie: three years, $3.9 million (link)

Minnesota signs Thomas Vanek: three years, $19.5 million (link)

New York Rangers re-sign Dominic Moore (two years, $3M), sign Tanner Glass (three years, $4.35M) (link)

Toronto signs D Stephane Robidas: three years, $9 million (link)

Florida signs RW Shawn Thornton: two years, $2.4 million (link)

Colorado signs D Bruno Gervais: one year, $650,000 (link)

Florida signs G Al Montoya: two years, $2.1 million (link)

Calgary signs G Jonas Hiller: two years, $9 million (link)

Pittsburgh signs G Thomas Greiss: one year, $1 million (link)

Dallas signs G Anders Lindback: one year, $ N/A (link)

Colorado re-signs D Nick Holden: three years, $4.95 million (link)

New York Islanders sign T.J. Brennan: one year, $600,000 (link)

Buffalo signs F Brian Gionta: three years, $12.75 million (link)

Winnipeg signs C Mathieu Perreault: three years, $9 million (link)

Montreal signs D Mike Weaver: one year, $1.75 million (link)

Washington signs D Brooks Orpik: five years, $27.5 million (link)

Carolina signs C Brad Malone: two years, $1.3 million (link)

Montreal signs D Tom Gilbert: two years, $5.6 million (link)

Dallas signs LW Ales Hemsky: three years, $12 million (link)

Phoenix signs F Joe Vitale: three years, $3.3 million (link)

Vancouver signs G Ryan Miller: three years, $18 million (link)

San Jose trades D Brad Stuart to Colorado for picks (link)

Pittsburgh signs F Blake Comeau: one year, $700,000 (link)

Vancouver signs D Bobby Sanguinetti: one year, $600,000 (link)

Anaheim signs D Clayton Stoner: four years, $13 million (link)

Calgary signs F Mason Raymond: three years, $9.5 million (link)

Florida signs C Dave Bolland: five years, $27.5 million (link)

New Jersey Devils sign LW Mike Cammalleri: five years, $25 million (link)

New York Rangers sign D Dan Boyle: two years, $9 million (link)

Colorado sign LW Jesse Winchester: two years, $1.8 million (link)

Florida signs LW Jussi Jokinen: four years, $16 million (link)

Washington signs G Justin Peters: two years, $1.9 million (link)

Tampa Bay signs F Brian Boyle: three years, $6 million (link)

Edmonton signs D Keith Aulie: one year, $800,000 (link)

Montreal trades D Josh Gorges to Buffalo for ’16 2nd-round pick (link)

St. Louis signs C Paul Stastny: four years, $28 million (link)

Ottawa re-signs F Milan Michalek: three years, $12 million (link)

New York Islanders sign G Chad Johnson: two years, $2.6 million (link)

St. Louis signs C Jori Lehtera: two years, $5.5M (link)

Edmonton signs F Benoit Pouliot (five years, $20M) and D Mark Fayne (four years, $14.5 million) (link)

Pittsburgh signs D Christian Ehrhoff: one year, $4M (link)

Montreal signs C Manny Malhotra: one year, $850,000 (link)

Ottawa trades Jason Spezza to Dallas for Alex Chiasson, Alex Guptill, Nicholas Paul, 2015 2nd-round pick (link)

Columbus re-signs D Frederic St. Denis: one year, $550,000 (link)

Vancouver re-signs F Mike Zalewski: two years, $1.85M (link)

Detroit re-signs C Riley Sheahan: two years, $1.9M (link)

 

The Buzzer: Elvis, Ovechkin, and others who rocked

Elvis Ovechkin three stars pht buzzer
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Three Stars beyond Elvis and Ovechkin

1. Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks

Chicago blowing out Toronto will lead to some hand-wringing, no doubt. Yet, as much as that was on a tough night for Frederik Andersen, give the Blackhawks some credit. Toews topped all in that game with an outstanding four-point performance (two goals and two assists).

Saturday continued what’s been one heck of a month for Toews. The Blackhawks captained pushed his January total to 15 points (5G, 10A). Toews reached that total in just eight games, scoring at least one point in seven contests.

Scratch that. Toews has been on fire for a while now. He started off ice-cold with only two points in 11 October games. Toews took off after that, and has generated an impressive 41 points in his past 28 contests.

Underrated rookie Dominik Kubalik contributed to Chicago’s win, too, with three points (2G, 1A).

2. Riley Sheahan, Edmonton Oilers

Sheahan scoffs at Toews’ slow start. The journeyman forward failed to score a point in 12 October games, and managed one in 11 November contests. Sheahan went and matched his December points total (four in 14 GP) in one contest on Saturday.

That’s right, he generated four points, scoring an empty-netter plus three assists. Connor McDavid dominated in his own right with two goals, but Sheahan helped the Oilers rout the Coyotes. Josh Archibald generated three points (1G, 2A) as well.

This just in: the Oilers have a lot of “that guy’s still around?” forwards. It’s honestly cool to see some of them have such a strong day, and maybe take a bit of the pressure off McDavid here and there.

3. Cam Atkinson, Columbus Blue Jackets

It’s as though Atkinson never missed any time. After scoring a goal and an assist in his first game in almost one month on Thursday, Atkinson generated three points (2G, 1A) on Saturday. This gives Atkinson seven points (4G, 3A) in his past four contests.

Others give Atkinson a run for his money, even beyond the next section. Jason Zucker (1G, 2A) and James van Riemsdyk (1G, 2A) both contributed to their respective teams’ blowouts. Atkinson’s extra goal gives him the edge.

OK, now let’s consider Elvis and Ovechkin

Saturday featured enough strong performances that it feels better to give these two a mention. After all, they already received their own posts. Yes, these two probably rank as the “real” third and fourth stars of Saturday, or higher, depending upon your personal taste.

Highlight of the Night

Marc-Andre Fleury is suffering through a tough season, big-picture wise. “The Flower” keeps adding to his resume of breathtaking saves, though:

Comic relief

Jamie Benn provides us with a reason to laugh. At least those of us who aren’t immediately transported to our own memories of hilarious blunders.

That video summarizes the Stars’ night succinctly, as the Wild beat them 7-0.

Factoids

  • Ovechkin nabbed consecutive hat tricks to push his career goals total to 692. He passed Mario Lemieux (11th all-time, 690) and tied Steve Yzerman for ninth all-time (692). Mark Messier sits just two goals away at eighth with 694. Ovechkin also generated consecutive hat tricks for the third time in his career. In doing so, Ovechkin joined Joe Malone (four times) and Wayne Gretzky (three) as the only players to generate consecutive hat tricks three or more times, according to NHL PR. Again, this post delves deeper into Ovechkin’s latest accomplishments.
  • Ovechkin’s teammate John Carlson reached 60 points. Carlson managed the feat in just 49 games, getting to 60 faster than any Capitals defenseman; Mike Green held the previous mark with 60 by game 57. Opinion: Green deserved better treatment from hockey folks during his peak years.
  • Merzlikins authored the 18th instance of a rookie goalie getting a shutout of at least 41 saves, via NHL PR.
  • Cale Makar scored his 11th goal, setting a new record for goals by a rookie Avalanche defenseman.
  • Dominik Kubalik reached 20 goals in his 47th game. NHL PR points out that Kubalik ranks among sixth Blackhawks to reach 20 goals in 50 games or less.

Scores

WSH 6 – NYI 4
COL 5 – STL 3
EDM 7 – ARI 3
OTT 5 – CGY 2
CHI 6 – TOR 2
MTL 5 – VGK 4 (SO)
FLA 4 – DET 1
PHI 4 – LAK 1
CBJ 5 – NJD 0
NSH 2 – BUF 1
MIN 7 – DAL 0
VAN 4 – SJS 1

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Elvis thrives: Merzlikins is on fire for Blue Jackets

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Elvis Merzlikins advanced a bold goal lately: to be more than just a funny name. He is leaving opponents all shook  up absolutely red-hot for the Columbus Blue Jackets right now.

Elvis absolutely hound-dogged shut out the New Jersey Devils in Columbus’ 5-0 on Saturday, and that 41-save performance was far from his first standout evening. Merzlikins generated three shutouts in his last four games, allowing just two goals overall. The Blue Jackets won all four of those games.

(OK, this post includes enough cheesy Elvis jokes … arguably.)

During seven appearances between October and November, the 25-year-old goalie languished with sub-.900 save percentages. Since then, he’s started to take off.

Some “too perfect” moments for Elvis Merzlikins and the Blue Jackets

Maybe Merzlikins made a New Year’s Eve resolution to dominate? Perhaps it was because Elvis asked reporters to leave him alone? Merzlikins suffered only two losses since Dec. 31, winning eight of 10 games.

The lights-out play already makes the story endearing, but there are notes of the surreal. Consider a few facts about his hot streak:

“That’s what you like about him. He’s strong mentally,” Tortorella said after the Jan. 11 Vegas shutout, via Rob Mixer of First Ohio Battery. “He’s a piece of work as far as his personality, which I like. A lot of things have been thrown at him here…but he’s handled himself really well. I’m happy for him.”

  • Merzlikins ended up making it back-to-back shutouts, as he also blanked the Bruins with a 34-save shutout. His three shutouts have upped the ante each time: first 27 saves, then 34, then 41 against the Devils on Saturday.

Tortorella deserves ample credit for creating a cocoon for his goalies, of course.

Regardless, Merzlikins is playing a big role in helping the Blue Jackets stay in the East wild-card races. Here’s hoping that our jokes rise up the charts or we might just need to leave the building.

(Sorry. I’m so, so sorry.)

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Hat trick helps Ovechkin pass Lemieux, tie Yzerman for ninth on NHL goals list

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An historic week for Alex Ovechkin was capped off with a hat trick Saturday afternoon during a 6-4 win over the Islanders. His three goals pushes him past Mario Lemieux and into ninth place with 692, tying him with Steve Yzerman.

Ovechkin opened the scoring and then passed Mario Lemieux for 10th all-time in the third period as the Capitals mounted their comeback. He ended his day with an empty-netter to seal the win and tie Yzerman. The Islanders led 4-1 entering the third period.

Powered by two consecutive hat tricks, Ovechkin has eight goals in his last three games and 10 in his previous six.

That’s now three consecutive multi-goal games for Ovechkin, the first time he’s done that in his career. Earlier this week he not only passed Teemu Selanne for 11th on the all-time goals list but also hit the 30-goal mark for the 15th time in his career. He, along with Jaromir Jagr and Mike Gartner, are the only players to ever record 15 consecutive 30-goal seasons.

With three goals Saturday — the third time he’s recorded hat tricks in consecutive games — Ovechkin now has 34 on the season as he eyes a ninth 50-goal season. His hat trick was the 26th of his NHL career, tying him with Maurice Richard for eighth all-time.

Next in Ovechkin’s sights? Mark Messier, who finished with 694 goals in his career.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Stars’ Stephen Johns activated after missing almost 22 months

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Dallas Stars activated Stephen Johns before their game Saturday night in Minnesota, clearing the way for the defenseman’s first game in almost 22 months.

Forward Radek Faksa was placed on injured reserve to make room for Johns on the active roster.

Johns has been out since late in the 2017-18 season because of post-traumatic headaches. The Stars have said the condition isn’t related to concussions.

The 27-year-old Johns hasn’t played since March 29, 2018, at the Wild. It was the last of a career-high 75 games in his third NHL season. Johns missed the last five games that year before sitting out all of last season as headaches persisted.

He played two games on a conditioning assignment with the Texas Stars of the AHL before rejoining Dallas on Thursday.

The return of Johns could coincide with the Stars’ first game without defenseman Miro Heiskanen. The 20-year-old standout left Thursday’s loss to Buffalo with an upper-body injury.

Johns made his debut for Dallas late in the 2014-15 season and played in all 13 of the team’s playoff games as a rookie. He has 13 goals, 15 assists and 306 blocked shots in 150 career regular-season games.