Chris Wagner

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Bruins sign Coyle, Wagner to long-term contract extensions

The Boston Bruins announced a pair of long-term contract extensions on Wednesday, signing forwards Charlie Coyle and Chris Wagner to multi-year deals.

Coyle’s deal is a six-year contract that will pay him a total of $31.5 million ($5.2 million salary cap hit), while Wagner’s is a three-year contract that is worth just a little more than $4 million ($1.35 million salary cap hit).

Both players joined the Bruins a year ago, with Wagner signing as a free agent and Coyle being acquired just before the trade deadline from the Minnesota Wild. They were both eligible for unrestricted free agency this summer.

Coyle’s deal is the big one, not only due to the term and the financial investment, but because he plays the biggest role out of the two. When the Bruins acquired him it was with the hope that he could bring some balance to their lineup and take some of the scoring pressure off of the top-line, giving the team a desperately needed secondary scoring option. After a slow start down the stretch run of the regular season, he erupted in the playoffs with nine goals as the Bruins reached Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. So far this season he has five goals and 14 total points in the Bruins first 24 games.

He is never going to be a big-time point producer, but with David Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron, and Brad Marchand driving the offense in Boston they don’t really need him to be. If he can give them close to 20 goals and keep playing the strong all-around game he has since joining the Bruins he is going to be an outstanding complementary player to their stars. A six-year contract for a 27-year-old that isn’t a top-line player definitely carries some risk in the future, and those are the types of deal that can easily backfire down the line, but with the Bruins getting their big-three on such team-friendly deals a small overpay for a player like Coyle would not crush them.

Wagner had a career year for the Bruins in his debut season with the team, scoring 12 goals and 19 total points in 76 games. So far this season he has one goal and four assists in 23 games.

More Bruins: Can anyone catch David Pastrnak in goal scoring race?

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Chronically ill 4th-grader signs with college hockey team

AP
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WELLESLEY, Mass. — A Massachusetts college’s newest varsity athlete is a 10-year-old chronically ill boy recruited more for his spirit than his slap shot.

The Babson College men’s ice hockey team in Wellesley welcomed Walpole fourth-grader Coleman Walsh to the squad Tuesday. The induction was organized by Team IMPACT, a national nonprofit that connects colleges with youngsters dealing with debilitating or life-threatening illnesses.

Since birth, Coleman has been fighting Williams syndrome, a developmental disorder.

Coleman signed a letter of intent with Babson. He put on skates and a jersey before taking to the ice. He’ll be able to attend practices, games and other events.

Anaheim Ducks player Chris Wagner is from Walpole and wished Coleman luck this season in a video message.

Team IMPACT says it has paired more than 1,200 children with 450-plus U.S. colleges.

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It’s Anaheim Ducks Day at PHT

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Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The Anaheim Ducks.

It’s becoming an all too familiar story for fans of the Anaheim Ducks: solid regular season followed by disappointment in the playoffs.

For a third consecutive season, Anaheim finished the regular season as the top seed in the Pacific Division. And for a second consecutive year, the Ducks owned the best record in the Western Conference (51-24-7).

However, just like they did during the 2014 playoffs, the Ducks fell to the eventual Stanley Cup champions, losing in seven games to the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Ducks did make some strides – they hadn’t been to the conference final since winning the franchise’s only Stanley Cup in 2007.

Newcomer Ryan Kesler gave the Ducks a nice 1-2 punch down the middle. The 30-year-old finished third in team scoring behind Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry with 20 goals and 47 points in 81 games.

Anaheim also got career years out of forwards Jakob Silfverberg, Patrick Maroon and defenseman Sami Vatanen.

Matt Beleskey, who has since signed with the Boston Bruins, added a career-high 22 goals for a Ducks team, which finished 11th in the league in goals-for per-game (2.78).

In goal, Frederik Andersen shouldered the load going 35-12-5 with a 2.38 G.A.A and a .914 save percentage while making 54 appearances in his second NHL season. His 35 wins were good for eighth in the league.

John Gibson also made 23 appearances in the Ducks’ crease going 13-8-0 to go along with a 2.60 G.A.A. and a .914 save percentage. The 22-year-old struggled last season battling with injuries and inconsistencies.

Off-season recap

The Ducks are clearly in a win-now mode.

GM Bob Murray added a veteran presence on the team’s blue line by acquiring Kevin Bieksa from the Vancouver Canucks.

Up front, the Ducks acquired Carl Hagelin and signed free agents Shawn Horcoff and Chris Stewart.

In goal, Murray acquired Anton Khudobin in a trade with the Carolina Hurricanes to challenge Andersen and Gibson.

With the likes of Jiri Sekac, Rickard Rakell and Chris Wagner up front, and Simon Despres, Hampus Lindholm and Vatanen on the blue line all due contract extensions after next season it’s unlikely Murray can keep his young nucleus together.

Both Andersen and Gibson will also require new deals as well while Khudobin is an unrestricted free agent after this season.

Anaheim’s time to win is now before Murray and his staff begins the process of creatively re-tooling the club next summer.

Ducks bring back O’Brien, sign Sgarbossa and Wagner

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The Anaheim Ducks reached multiple one-year deals on Thursday, inking Shane O’Brien, Michael Sgarbossa and Chris Wagner.

O’Brien, 31, is an interesting case, as the Ducks drafted him with the 250th pick of the 2003 NHL Draft. O’Brien only ended up playing 62 games for the Ducks in 2006-07, beginning a journeyman career that included nine games with the Florida Panthers in 2014-15.

His career stats should tell the story of his role with the Ducks, when he’d manage to play beyond the AHL level: 92 points and 916 PIM in 537 career NHL games.

Wagner, 24, was the 122nd pick of the 2010 NHL Draft. He played in nine games with the Ducks in 2014-15, but failed to score a point. He’d likely provide injury insurance.

Sgarbossa, 22, has appeared in nine NHL games, with three of those contests coming with Colorado in 2014-15.

Boudreau, Ducks considering lineup changes ahead of Game 5

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With the Anaheim Ducks dropping Game 4 5-4 in double-overtime on Saturday night coach Bruce Boudreau admitted he’s considering possible lineup changes for Game 5 tonight at the Honda Center.

“We’re mulling it over,” Boudreau said on Sunday. “I mean, (Chris) Wagner is an energy guy that would do good in a series like this. (Tomas) Fleischmann is a good veteran that we’ve had a great record when he’s in the lineup.”

Wagner has not played since Game 2 of the Ducks’ first round series against the Winnipeg Jets. The 23-year-old rookie has averaged 5:33 in time on ice in these playoffs. Wagner appeared in nine regular season games with the Ducks registering a minus-2 rating while averaging 8:47 in ice time.

Fleischmann, who was acquired by the Ducks from the Florida Panthers in February, has not played since Game 5 of Anaheim’s second round series against the Calgary Flames. In four postseason games this spring the 31-year-old has one assist while averaging just over 10 minutes of ice time.

Boudreau is even considering changes to his blue line.

According to Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times, it could mean an appearance from James Wisniewski who has yet to play this postseason.

Wisniewski, who was acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets at the trade deadline, appeared in 13 games for the Ducks following the trade registering five assists and a minus-3 rating while averaging over 20 minutes in ice time.

“Even on defense, we’re thinking, Okay, is this the time? But we don’t want to make anything rash,” Boudreau said. “We’ll meet again tomorrow morning. I told the guys to all sleep on it.

“Except for three goals in the third period, defensively our team has been pretty darn good in the playoffs. So, I mean, it’s not a time to panic, it’s a time to believe.”

Puck drop tonight is at 9 p.m. ET on NBCSN.