Capitals trade Marcus Johansson to Devils


More breaking news from the Washington Capitals tonight.

After signing Evgeny Kuznetsov to a long-term contract on Sunday, the Capitals then traded Marcus Johansson to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for a second-round pick (previously belonging to Florida) and third-round pick (previously belonging to Toronto) in the 2018 NHL Draft.

After signing Kuznetsov — eight years, $62.4 million — the Capitals were right up against the salary cap, with only about $4.65 million in space and still needing to get Andre Burakovsky, a restricted free agent, under contract for next season.

Trading the 26-year-old Johansson frees up about $4.583 million in cap space. He was entering the second year of his three-year, $13.75 million contract. It also takes a very productive player from that roster.

Johansson scored 24 goals and 58 points — both single-season career highs — in the 2016-17 campaign.

After acquiring Taylor Hall last summer, the Devils could still use the help offensively. They were ranked 28th in the league, with only 2.20 goals-for per game. Sliding up the order courtesy the draft lottery and selecting Nico Hischier first overall should also help remedy that.

The Devils are going to give him a chance to make the team right away in the fall.

Capitals sign Kuznetsov to eight-year, $62.4 million deal


The Washington Capitals have announced a long-term contract for Evgeny Kuznetsov.

The Capitals have signed Kuznetsov, a restricted free agent, to an eight-year, $62.4 million extension.

As expected, that represents a substantial raise from the two-year deal, with an NHL salary of $3.4 million this past season, that recently expired.

“Evgeny is a premier center in the NHL and we are pleased that he will remain in Washington for at least the next eight years,” said general manager Brian MacLellan in a statement.

“It is difficult to find a player of his caliber, who is in his prime and makes his teammates better. Evgeny plays with a tremendous skill, speed and tenacity needed to win in the NHL.”

Now 25 years old, Kuznetsov’s total production dropped in 2016-17, as he scored 19 goals and 59 points in 82 games. But he has also shown to have a very high ceiling, scoring 20 goals and 77 points the previous campaign — just his second full season in the league.

He did have a strong, productive playoff with 10 points in 13 games, before the Capitals were ousted in the second round by Pittsburgh. Despite losing to the rival Penguins, Kuznetsov had a good series with seven points.

Per CapFriendly, the Capitals now have about $4.65 million in cap space — with about $70.3 million already committed to only 15 players for next season. Andre Burakovsky, a restricted free agent, is still in need of a new deal. The task now falls to MacLellan to try to figure out a way to gain more cap flexibility.

MacLellan, in May, called Alex Ovechkin “a big part of our franchise” but also didn’t completely rule out the possibility of a trade involving the prolific scorer and Capitals star — provided it was a “legitimate hockey deal.” He has four years remaining on his current deal, with a $9.538 million cap hit.

Today’s signing is the latest for the Capitals, who have already committed large sums of money to Dmitry Orlov (click here) and T.J. Oshie (click here).

Ducks sign d-man Oleksy to two-year, one-way deal

1 Comment

The Anaheim Ducks made headlines yesterday by signing Cam Fowler to an eight-year extension. On Sunday, they added depth to their blue line by inking Steve Olesky.

Per the Ducks, it’s a two-year, one-way deal for the 31-year-old Oleksy, who joins Anaheim after spending last season in the Pittsburgh Penguins organization.

Olesky spent the majority of the season in the American Hockey League, but played 11 games in Pittsburgh last season, with one assist.

He had previously spent time with the Washington Capitals, playing a total of 62 games for them over three seasons.

The Ducks also signed center Derek Grant to a one-year, one-way contract, and forwards Mike Liambas and Scott Sabourin to one-year, two-way contracts.

Maple Leafs sign Patrick Marleau to three-year deal, $6.25 million AAV


Patrick Marleau‘s time with the San Jose Sharks is over.

Taken second overall by San Jose in 1997, and after almost 1,500 regular season games with the Sharks, Marleau went to free agency yesterday. On Sunday, he signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs for three years.

Per the Maple Leafs, the annual average value is $6.25 million. According to Chris Johnston of Sportsnet, this contract includes a full no-movement clause. That seems like quite a price to pay for a player approaching his 38th birthday.

Marleau will celebrate that birthday in September. He joins a young and skilled Toronto team that has accelerated its rebuilding process with the selection of Auston Matthews first overall a year ago and a playoff appearance this April.

Marleau will be reunited with Mike Babcock, who coached Marleau and Team Canada to Olympic gold medals in 2010 and 2014.

It was reported earlier this week that the Sharks offered Marleau a two-year contract. In a game that emphasizes the importance of youth and speed, it should be noted that, despite his age, Marleau has remained productive in each of the last two seasons. He scored 27 goals in 2016-17, with 46 points.

“I think I’ve worn out a few carpets pacing around the house trying to make this decision over the last couple days,” said Marleau, per CSN Bay Area.

“But, I’m extremely excited and happy to be a part of the Maple Leafs organization. It’s definitely an honor to be able to call myself a Maple Leaf, obviously being a Canadian-born player. This decision took me quite awhile to come to, but I’ve made it, and I’m happy with it. I can’t wait to get started.”

As noted by CapFriendly, this deal puts the Maple Leafs — at least for right now — over the $75 million cap ceiling by a little less than $2.5 million. There is time, however, to remedy that situation.

Marleau scored 508 goals and 1,082 points in his long tenure with San Jose. However, as good as the Sharks have been over the years in the regular season, a championship has ultimately eluded that squad, which has endured its share of playoff disappointments.

The closest Marleau came to a Stanley Cup with the Sharks was in 2016, when San Jose lost to Pittsburgh in six games.

Flames sign former Oilers tough guy Gazdic to one-year, two-way deal


Luke Gazdic has now gone to the other side of the Battle of Alberta.

The 27-year-old forward signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Calgary Flames in a deal announced on Sunday.

Gazdic, known more for his pugilistic abilities, spent three seasons with the Edmonton Oilers, appearing in 67 games in 2013-14. He had only two goals and four points, and 127 penalty minutes.

That campaign also included a fight with Kevin Westgarth, who was knocked to the ice and didn’t return after going through concussion protocol.

Gazdic spent last season in the New Jersey Devils organization, splitting time between the NHL club and its AHL affiliate in Albany. He played 11 games with New Jersey, failing to record a point while posting 12 penalty minutes.