Brandon Gormley

AP

Ex-Avs, Coyotes defenseman Elliott signs in KHL

Stefan Elliott, the 49th pick in 2009 that appeared in nearly 100 NHL contests, is trying his luck overseas.

On Thursday, KHL club AK Bars Kazan announced it had signed Elliott for the upcoming campaign.

Once considered a promising blueline prospect, Elliott, 25, split last season between Arizona and Nashville, appearing in 21 games at the big league level. He also spent a fair chunk of time in the American League, scoring 19 points in 35 games.

Originally drafted by Colorado, Elliott played 63 contests for the Avs over the course of four years. He was never able to break through and become a regular on defense, this despite having a pretty good rookie campaign in ’11-12 under then-head coach Joe Sacco (13 points in 39 games).

The Avalanche eventually cut ties with Elliott at the start of last year, trading him to the Coyotes in exchange for Brandon Gormley. Arizona then flipped Elliott to Nashville for Victory Bartley in January.

Devils bolster defense, ink Quincey to one-year, $1.25M deal

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New Jersey needed some blueline depth after this summer’s blockbuster Adam Larsson-for-Taylor Hall trade and now, they’ve addressed it.

On Wednesday, GM Ray Shero announced the club signed veteran defenseman Kyle Quincey to a one-year, $1.25 million deal.

Quincey, 31, spent the last four seasons in Detroit, emerging as a regular fixture on defense — but ’15-16 was hardly a positive campaign.

He missed 35 games with a serious ankle injury and, upon his return, never seemed to find his way into head coach Jeff Blashill’s good graces.

Blashill even scratched Quincey in Game 3 of Detroit’s opening-round playoff loss to Tampa, and didn’t provide a reason why — a pretty bold move for a player that, in ’13-14, appeared in all 82 games for the Red Wings, averaging nearly 21 minutes per night.

Overall, this move seems like a pretty reasonable gamble from the Devils. Quincey has his flaws, but the term is short and the money is relatively low.

(Especially considering Quincey’s coming off a two-year, $8.5 million deal that paid $4.25M annually.)

Shero could end up getting a nice return on his investment. Quincey projects  to challenge for top-four minutes in New Jersey, looking to break into a group that features the likes of Andy Greene, Damon Severson, John Moore and Ben Lovejoy.

Jon Merrill, Steve Santini and Brandon Gormley are also in that mix, though likely to be challenging for spots on the bottom pair.

Defense is now the Devils’ most glaring issue

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From here, trading away Adam Larsson to acquire legit star Taylor Hall is a slam-dunk, and a backboard-shattering one in that.

Even so, there’s little sense denying the notion that the New Jersey Devils face more uncertainty on defense after trading away one of their most important defensemen.

Take a look at a guess at what the team’s seven defensemen might be, in no particular order:

Andy Greene, Ben Lovejoy, Damon SeversonJohn Moore, Jon Merrill, Steven Santini and Brandon Gormley.

That’s … not an imposing group on paper.

All About the Jersey points out that the Devils were the second-worst team in the NHL at 5-on-5 in Corsi last season, a sometimes unthinkable plight for a team with such a tight-trapping reputation. And those issues came with Larsson.

This post really paints a dismal picture:

As defensive corps go, that one is… pretty underwhelming. Beyond Andy Greene, there are an awful lot of question marks in that bunch and a few players who we know are probably third-pairing level at best. There are probably four players total in that group (Greene, Severson, Lovejoy, Moore) I’m comfortable saying are NHLers right now for sure, which is certainly not ideal.

Greene probably does deserve more recognition as a quality defenseman and it’s also true that the Devils have a knack for manufacturing NHL defensemen, however.

It also must be noted that some of the Devils’ possession troubles can be blamed on a weak offense that added Taylor Hall this summer.

Damon Severson may be called upon to limit the damage.

Hockey Buzz’s Todd Cordell notes that while Larsson + Andy Greene served as a pairing that was better at limiting opponents’ shots, Severson and Greene created better offense and that such a combination might yield better results for the Devils overall.

Severson is targeted as a make-or-break guy in at least two other Devils-centric outlets, too.

John Hynes faces the challenge of putting things together to try to at least compete for a playoff spot. If this defense is any indication, they might need to ask a lot from Cory Schneider and an improved group of forwards.

All-Star John Scott traded to Montreal

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It’s not everyday an All-Star is traded in the NHL.

But that’s exactly what happened today, when the Arizona Coyotes sent big John Scott to the Montreal Canadiens as part of a three-team deal that also involved the Nashville Predators.

The Canadiens, in addition to getting Scott, received 27-year-old defenseman Victor Bartley.

The Coyotes got 23-year-old defenseman Jarred Tinordi, plus minor-league forward Stefan Fournier.

The Predators got 24-year-old defenseman Stefan Elliott.

Obviously, Scott is the most recognizable name in the transaction. We all know he was voted an All-Star Game captain by the fans. We all know why that was done. The fans thought it would be funny. Because John Scott.

It’s not clear if Scott will still participate in the All-Star Game. He’s not a Coyote anymore, and he’s not in the Pacific Division.

But from a pure hockey perspective, this deal is more about the other players. Elliott cleared waivers prior to the trade today and was assigned to the AHL. The Habs had been reluctant to expose Tinordi to waivers, lest they lose him for nothing. He’s only appeared in three games for Montreal this season, plus a conditioning stint in the minors.

The hope for the Coyotes will be that Tinordi can develop into the kind of player the Habs thought he would when they drafted him 22nd overall in 2010.

Elliott was a second-round pick in 2009 who had 40 points in 64 games last season for AHL Lake Erie. The Coyotes acquired him this summer from Colorado in exchange for Brandon Gormley.

Bartley was in the AHL when the trade went down, a victim of the Predators’ deep defense. Both him and Scott are expected to start with Montreal’s minor-league affiliate in St. John’s.

Update: Bartley has actually been recalled by the Habs:

Also, don’t count on Scott playing in the All-Star Game:

Arizona waives Elliott, Edmonton waives Klinkhammer

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Yesterday, the Coyotes and Oilers added players to their rosters in the form of Kevin Connauton (claimed off waivers) and Zack Kassian (recalled from AHL Bakersfield).

Today, both clubs made room for said players.

Arizona has played d-man Stefan Elliott on waivers, and Edmonton has waived forward Rob Klinkhammer, per TSN.

Elliott, acquired this summer from Colorado in exchange for Brandon Gormley — who, ironically enough, also recently was exposed to waivers — has appeared in 19 games for the Coyotes this season, scoring six points.

The former second-round pick, who turns 25 this month, has struggled to find his niche at the NHL level and has appeared in just 82 games over the last five years.

It’s feasible someone could take a flier on Elliott, who is a right-handed shot with some offensive upside. What’s more, he carries a relatively low cap hit ($650,000).

As for Klinkhammer, he was put on waivers after scoring one goal in 13 games with Edmonton this season.

A well-traveled journeyman — he’s spent time with the Oilers, Coyotes, Blackhawks, Senators and Penguins — Klinkhammer, 29, is a veteran of nearly 200 NHL contests, and could be picked up by a club looking for forward depth on the cheap.

He’s on a one-year, $725,000 deal.