David Jones

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Wild extend Zucker — two years, $4 million

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Despite a tough campaign, Jason Zucker has gotten a vote of confidence from Minnesota — and a nice raise to boot.

On Wednesday, the Wild inked Zucker to a two-year, $4 million extension, one that carries at $2M average annual cap hit. It’s a nice pay bump from the $900,250 he was making annually on his old deal, yet it comes after a season in what some considered to be a setback.

After scoring 21 goals in just 51 games two years ago, Zucker only found the back of the net 13 times. It was a tough season all-around. Zucker was made a healthy scratch by former head coach Mike Yeo, placed on IR with a concussion following a devastating hit from Michal Rozsival and, at the end of the year, got called out by interim bench boss John Torchetti.

“He has to have a way better year next year,” Torchetti said after the Wild’s season-ending loss to Dallas in the playoffs, per the Morning-News. “That’s the bottom line.”

It’s important to remember that Zucker is only 24 years old and, given his offensive abilities and skating prowess, could be a nice fit under new head coach Bruce Boudreau. There could be more opportunities at forward with the likes of Thomas Vanek, David Jones and Justin Fontaine either all gone or likely gone, though it still remains to be seen who GM Chuck Fletcher will bring in via free agency.

Flames parting ways with Hiller

AP
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No huge surprise here, but it is official — veteran goalie Jonas Hiller won’t be back with the Flames next season, per the Calgary Sun.

Hiller, 34, struggled mightily this season after a ’14-15 campaign in which he backstopped Calgary to the playoffs a year ago. He went 9-11-1 with a 3.51 GAA and .879 save percentage, getting sporadic playing time.

In the last of a two-year, $9 million deal, Hiller could be in tough finding NHL work next season. He was largely panned for his body of work this year and — following an ugly 8-3 loss to Anaheim, in which Hiller allowed three goals on five shots — head coach Bob Hartley offered a frank assessment.

“You give them a few freebies from the start, and you know it’s going to be a long game,” Hartley said, per Yahoo. “Our goalies had a tough night. Nothing to take away from the Ducks, but in order to beat them you need a few saves here and there.”

As for Calgary, moving on from Hiller figures to be part of a major overhaul in goal.

Karri Ramo, who suffered a torn ACL in February, said he’s spoken with management — “we’ll see which direction the organization is going to go,” he said — but, given he turns 30 in July and is coming off a major knee injury, he doesn’t look like a long-term option.

Niklas Backstrom, acquired in the David Jones trade, is gone, which leaves Joni Ortio to (presumably) battle with whomever the Flames acquire via trade, or free agency.

The club has been tied to San Jose’s James Reimer (pending UFA) and Anaheim’s Frederik Andersen (pending RFA). But it sounds as though Calgary’s options might expand beyond those two — in March, Flames GM Brad Treliving said the club will “cast a wide net” to find a goalie.

Wild pick up two huge points with shootout win over Sabres

Associated Press
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The Minnesota Wild managed to squeak out a 3-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres. It wasn’t always pretty, but in the end only the two points matter.

Everything was fine for the Wild in the first period. David Jones, who the team acquired from Calgary on Monday, opened the scoring just over two minutes into the game. Minnesota also outshot Buffalo 10-4 in the opening 20 minutes.

In the second frame, everything changed.  Buffalo really took it to Minnesota.

The Sabres got goals from Johan Larsson and Jack Eichel to jump ahead 2-1. The Wild didn’t get their first shot of the period until the midway mark of the frame. They were eventually outshot 13-5 in the middle period.

Thankfully for the Wild (and their playoff hopes), they were able to tie the game late in the third with a power play goal from their captain.

Jason Pominville added the shootout winner for the Wild.

The win gives Minnesota a tiny bit of breathing room in the Western Conference Wild Card picture.

Wild

 

Wild get David Jones from Flames, who take Niklas Backstrom’s contract

AP
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During TSN’s Trade Centre coverage, NBC’s Pierre McGuire expressed disappointment in the Minnesota Wild’s quite deadline work.

David Jones might not be enough to sway such an opinion from McGuire and others, but at least he’s something.

The Wild received Jones from the Calgary Flames, who will reportedly absorb the contract of goalie Niklas Backstrom (and get a sixth-rounder for their troubles), according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and Chris Johnston.

The Flames now have 10 picks in the 2016 NHL Draft.

Jones is having a quiet season for the Flames, with zero points in his last five games and just one goal since Jan. 16.

The Wild are looking at past successes in hopes of getting something out of him: he generated two 20+ goals during his Avalanche days and managed 14 last season for the Flames.

Nothing spectacular, yet Minnesota would gladly add some support scoring to its lineup as the Wild claw for a playoff spot.

Backstrom, 38, has not played since the 2014-15 season. His current cap hit is $3.42 million, likely easy to manage for a Calgary team that cleared out a lot of salary during this week.

PHT’s Trade Deadline Tracker

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Here’s the full list of deals made prior to the Monday, Feb. 29th 3 p.m. EST trade deadline..

Feb. 29

To Anaheim: Jamie McGinn
To Buffalo: conditional 3rd-round pick (link)

To Chicago: Tim Jackman, seventh-round pick
To Anaheim: Corey Tropp (link)

To Edmonton: Patrick Maroon
To Anaheim: Martin Gernat, fourth-round pick (link)

To Minnesota: David Jones
To Calgary: Niklas Backstrom, sixth-round pick (link)

To Nashville: Corey Potter
To Arizona: “Future considerations” (link)

To Pittsburgh: Dustin Jeffrey
To Arizona: Matia Marcantuoni (link)

To New York Islanders: Marc-Andre Cliche
To Colorado: Taylor Beck (link)

To Los Angeles: Brett Sutter
To Minnesota: Scott Sabourin (link)

To Montreal: Stefan Matteau
To New Jersey: Devante Smith-Pelly (link)

To Boston: Lee Stempniak
To New Jersey: ’17 2nd-round pick, ’16 4th-round pick (link)

To New York Islanders: Shane Prince, ’16 7th-round pick
To Ottawa: ’16 3rd-round pick (link)

To Boston: John-Michael Liles
To Carolina: Anthony Camara, 3rd-round pick, 5th-round pick (link)

To Anaheim: Brandon Pirri
To Florida: ’16 6th-round pick (link)

To Colorado: Eric Gelinas
To New Jersey: ’17 3rd-round pick (link)

To Dallas: Kris Russell
To Calgary: Jyrki Jokipakka, Brett Pollock, conditional 2nd-round pick (link)

To Colorado: Mikkel Boedker
To Arizona: Alex Tanguay, Conner Bleackley, Kyle Wood (link)

To Carolina: Dennis Robertson
To Chicago: Drew McIntyre (link)

To Arizona: Sergei Plotnikov
To Pittsburgh: Matthias Plachta, ’17 7th-round pick (link)

Feb. 28

To Washington: Daniel Winnik, ’16 5th-round pick
To Toronto: Brooks Laich, Connor Carrick, ’16 2nd-round pick (link)

To New York Rangers: Chris Brown
To Washington: Ryan Bourque (link)

To New York Rangers: Eric Staal
To Carolina: ’16 2nd-round pick, ’17 2nd-round pick, Aleksi Saarela (link)

To L.A.: Kris Versteeg
To Carolina: Valentin Zykov, 5th-round pick (link)

Feb. 27

To Buffalo: Alex Guptill, Eric O’Dell, Cole Schneider, Michael Sdao
To Ottawa: Jason Akeson, Phil Varone, Jerome Leduc (link)

To Pittsburgh: Justin Schultz
To Edmonton: ’16 3rd-round pick (link)

To Florida: Jakub Kindl
To Detroit: ’17 6th-round pick (link)

To Florida: Teddy Purcell
To Edmonton: 3rd-round pick (link)

To Florida: Jiri Hudler
To Calgary: ’16 2nd-round pick, ’18 4th-round pick (link)

To St. Louis: Anders Nilsson
To Edmonton: Niklas Lundstrom, ’16 5th-round pick (link)

To San Jose: James Reimer, Jeremy Morin
To Toronto: Alex Stalock, Ben Smith, ’18 4th-round pick (link)

Feb. 26

To Chicago: Dale Weise, Tomas Fleischmann
To Montreal: Philip Danault, ’18 2nd-round pick (link)

Feb. 25

To Chicago: Andrew Ladd, Matt Fraser, Jay Harrison
To Winnipeg: Mark Dano, ’16 1st-round pick, ’18 3rd-round pick (link)

Feb. 24

To Vancouver: Philip Larsen
To Edmonton: ’17th 5th-round pick (link)

Feb. 23

To Washington: Mike Weber
To Buffalo: ’17 3rd-round pick (link)

Feb. 22

To San Jose: Roman Polak, Nick Spaling
To Toronto: Raffi Torres, ’17 2nd-round pick, ’18 2nd-round pick (link)

To Vancouver: Markus Granlund
To Calgary: Hunter Shinkaruk (link)

Feb. 21

To Colorado: Shawn Matthias
To Toronto: Colin Smith, ’16 4th-round pick (link)