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Saad to Blues, Perry to Lightning: Recent champs add winners

Saad to Blues, Perry to Lightning: Recent champs add winners

The St. Louis Blues have signed forward Brandon Saad to a five-year,  $22.5 million contractBy STEPHEN WHYNO AP Hockey WriterJuly 29, 2021, 10:07 PM• 3 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleThe St. Louis Blues inked Brandon Saad to a five-year contract and the Tampa Bay Lightning signed Corey Perry for two years Thursday as the two recent Stanley Cup champions brought in more winning experience on the second day of free agency.The 28-year-old Saad spent last season with Colorado, putting up 24 points during the regular season and scoring seven goals in 10 playoff games. The winger counts $4.5 million against the salary cap on his new $22.5 million deal signed Thursday. Saad won the Cup with Chicago in 2013 and 2015 and is heading to his fifth NHL organization.Perry signed a $2 million, two-year deal with Tampa Bay that counts $1 million against the salary cap annual. General manager Julien BriseBois expected to be done making moves Wednesday but said, “If something falls onto our lap that makes sense and improves our team and we can find a way to squeeze it in, we’re certainly open to exploring that.”This certainly qualifies.The 36-year-old Perry, who won the Cup with Anaheim in 2007, is joining the Lightning after losing to them in the final each of the past two seasons. Perry was with Dallas in 2020 and Montreal this past season.He brings more grit to the Lightning, who lost forward Barclay Goodrow and Blake Coleman and defenseman David Savard in free agency and center Yanni Gourde in the expansion draft. BriseBois showed in signing free agents Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Zach Bogosian the desire to replenish some of that lost toughness.″(Perry) brings with him a wealth of big game experience to the Lightning,” BriseBois said.Saad and Perry each hoisted the Cup early on in their careers, and the chance to win again factored into their decisions this time around.“Once you get a taste of it, that’s something that there’s no better feeling,” Saad said. “When it comes down to it, I wanted to go somewhere where you have a chance of winning and you’re going to have a successful team. The Blues fit that mold.”The Stars are trying to get over the hump and win the franchise’s first championship since 1999 and are taking steps in free agency with that goal in mind. Dallas signed big defenseman Jani Hakanpaa to a $4.5 million, three-year deal and forward Michael Raffl to a $1.1 million, one-year contract.Another Cup contender, the Colorado Avalanche, signed forward Darren Helm on a $1 million, one-year contract. Minnesota added defenseman Jon Merrill, a teammate of Perry’s with Montreal, on a one-year deal worth $850,000. And the New York Rangers agreed to terms with 21-year-old restricted free agent forward Filip Chytil on a two-year contract.But the action is not over yet. The Buffalo Sabres are still in talks with other teams about trading captain Jack Eichel. GM Kevyn Adams said the team has to make the right deal at the right time but made no secret Eichel is very much in play.“We’re open on all our players, as I’ve said over and over again, and Jack in particular,” he said. “We’re not in a position where we feel that we’re just going to do something to do it. That doesn’t make any sense. But those conversations are continuing.”———AP Hockey Writer John Wawrow in Buffalo, New York, contributed to this report.———Follow AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno———More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

AP source: Corey Perry agrees to 2-year deal with Lightning

AP source: Corey Perry agrees to 2-year deal with Lightning

A person with knowledge of the deal tells The Associated Press that veteran forward Corey Perry has agreed to a $1 million, two-year contract with the back-to-back champion Tampa Bay LightningBy STEPHEN WHYNO AP Hockey WriterJuly 29, 2021, 5:34 PM• 1 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleVeteran forward Corey Perry has agreed to a $1 million, two-year contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning, according to a person with knowledge of the deal.The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Thursday because it had not been announced.Perry faced the Lightning in the final each of the past two seasons. He was with the Dallas Stars in 2020 and the Montreal Canadiens this year.He has played 16 years in the NHL, his first 14 with Anaheim. He won the Cup with the Ducks in 2007.Born in Canada, Perry brings more grit to the Lightning lineup after they lost Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow in free agency.———Follow AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno———More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

Capitals re-sign Alex Ovechkin to $47.5M, 5-year contract

Capitals re-sign Alex Ovechkin to $47.5M, 5-year contract

Alex Ovechkin has re-signed with the Washington Capitals for $47.5 million over five yearsBy STEPHEN WHYNO AP Hockey WriterJuly 27, 2021, 6:14 PM• 3 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleAlex Ovechkin broke the news that he’s staying with the Washington Capitals in true Ovi fashion with five exclamation points.Five more years and a chance to chase Wayne Gretzky’s NHL goal-scoring record.Ovechkin re-signed Tuesday with the only NHL team he has ever played for, inking a $47.5 million, five-year deal. The superstar Russian winger who captained the Capitals to their only Stanley Cup championship in franchise history is now under contract through the 2025-26 season.“I’M BACK DC !!!!!” Ovechkin tweeted with a picture of him holding up the signed contract surrounded by his family.Ovechkin, who turns 36 in October, ranks fifth on the career goals list, 164 back of Gretzky’s record of 894 that was long considered unbreakable. Ovechkin would need to average almost 33 goals a season to catch Gretzky during this contract, which expires when he’s on the verge of his 41st birthday.“Alex is the face of our franchise and is committed to this organization and this city,” general manager Brian MacLellan said in a statement. “Alex embodies what our franchise is all about, and we’re thrilled that he will continue his career in the Caps uniform for the next five years.”Ovechkin signed for one more season than most were expecting, extending him past longtime running mate Nicklas Backstrom’s contract that runs through 2024-25. The salary cap hit of $9.5 million — just below Ovechkin’s annual number during his $124 million, 13-year contract that’s expiring — allows MacLellan to keep a playoff- and Cup-contending core around him.“Alex is a world-class athlete who will forever be regarded not only for leading the team to achieve our ultimate goal of winning the Stanley Cup but also for inspiring the next generation of fans and youth players,” owner Ted Leonsis said. “Not only is he committed to the franchise but also to the community, and we look forward to seeing him in the Capitals uniform for years to come.”Washington selected Ovechkin first overall in 2004, and since he made his debut in 2005, the Moscow native has scored 244 more goals than the next-closest player, Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby. His 1,320 points are second to Crosby, a longtime rival Ovechkin has been connected with since they broke into the league together.Re-signing Ovechkin was one part of the Capitals’ offseason puzzle. The Capitals held off signing Ovechkin to a new deal until after the Seattle expansion draft so they could protect another player.After losing goaltender Vitek Vanecek to the expansion Kraken, they unloaded salary Monday night by trading defenseman Brenden Dillon to Winnipeg for 2022 and 2023 second-round picks. They have less than $5 million in cap space and still need to sign restricted free agent goalie Ilya Samsonov to a new contract and add a backup.———Follow AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno———More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

Flyers trade Voracek to Blue Jackets on busy Day 2 of draft

Flyers trade Voracek to Blue Jackets on busy Day 2 of draft

A familiar bearded face is going back to Columbus, and the Blue Jackets’ longest tenured player is off to Philadelphia.The player the Flyers got back? Well, Cam Atkinson is already in love with Philly’s favorite, familiar orange-bearded face.The Flyers sent Jakub Voracek to the Blue Jackets for Atkinson on Saturday, the first major trade on the second day of the NHL draft. The moves are expected to keep on coming during a busy offseason.Atkinson wasted no time showing his allegiance to his new team, wearing a Gritty T-shirt on a video call only 30 minutes after the undersized winger with scoring pop was shipped to the Flyers. The shirt is his wife’s — a gift from best friend and former Flyers forward Scott Hartnell.“Everything is all aligned perfectly,” Atkinson said. “We’re ready for this. Couldn’t be more excited.”Voracek, who turns 32 in August, returns to the team that drafted him in 2007 after a much-needed split with the Flyers, with whom he spent the past 10 seasons and put up 604 points in 727 regular-season games. After the trade, he posted to Twitter a link to Warren Zevon’s song “Keep Me in Your Heart” and called it a bittersweet development.“The Flyers decided to go this way,” Voracek said on a video call with reporters. “I kind of had a feeling if something’s going to pop up for them that I’m going to get traded and I was open to it. I know how it works.”Atkinson did not ask for a trade but feels like this could not have worked out any better for him. He leaves the only NHL organization he has ever been with after scoring 213 goals in 627 games with the Blue Jackets and never getting past the second round of the playoffs.“It gets to a point where losing isn’t fun,” Atkinson said. “Who knows how the Blue Jackets are going to do this year? It’s pretty obvious what they’re trying to do right now. To see all my best buddies leave, that was tough to say the least.”Columbus has traded Atkinson, Seth Jones, David Savard and former captain Nick Foligno over the past four months. Columbus general manager Jarmo Kekalainen called it a significant trade to add “a powerful, dynamic offensive player.“Adding a player like that comes at a cost,” Kekalainen said. “I want to thank Cam Atkinson for his many contributions to the Blue Jackets and Columbus community over the past 10 years.”It’s Philadelphia’s second major trade in two days after acquiring defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen from Buffalo for the No. 14 pick this year and a 2023 second-rounder. After taking on Ristolainen’s big contract, GM Chuck Fletcher saved more than $2 million in cap space by swapping Voracek for Atkinson.The Sabres continued their organizational fire sale by trading disgruntled forward Sam Reinhart to Florida for goaltending prospect Devon Levi and the Panthers’ 2022 first-round pick. Reinhart is a five-time 20-goal-scorer and has totaled 134 goals and 295 points in 454 games — all in the regular season since Buffalo hasn’t made the playoffs in his seven-year career.Reinhart, a 26-year-old restricted free agent, will get a chance for a fresh start with a playoff contender.“Sam has established himself as one of the best playmaking scorers in the league, and we are thrilled to be able to add him to our Panthers lineup,” Panthers GM Bill Zito said. “His competitiveness and hunger to succeed will fit seamlessly with the culture we are building here in South Florida.”And Sabres GM Kevyn Adams might not yet be done dealing. Captain Jack Eichel is also on the trade block in Adams’ bid to start fresh by overhauling a team that finished last in the standings for the fourth time in eight years and in the midst of an NHL record-matching 10-year playoff drought.Before the second day of the draft got underway, the Colorado Avalanche signed top defenseman Cale Makar to a $54 million, six-year contract that will count $9 million against the salary cap through the 2026-27 season.His deal comes on the heels of Chicago acquiring Jones from Columbus and extending the star defenseman for $76 million over eight seasons and Dallas inking Miro Heiskanen to a $67.6 million, eight-year contract.Makar was a point-a-game player last season, his second in the NHL, and the 22-year-old has 94 points in his first 101 regular-season games. He’s set to make $8 million next season, $9 million in the second year, then $11 million, $10.6 million, $8.7 million and $6.7 million as part of a contract that takes into account the expected rise of the salary cap.“We wanted something that would work and be realistic, as well,” Makar said. “I know this is a team that has the potential to win and win now, and obviously you don’t want to kind of get in the way of any of that.”While the second round was going on, the New York Rangers completed a buyout of defenseman Tony DeAngelo and Edmonton completed a $4.4 million, two-year deal with 39-year-old goaltender Mike Smith.”We have some unfinished business to do,” Smith said. “I really want to do everything I can to help this team win a Stanley Cup in Edmonton.”———AP Sports Writer Dan Gelston and AP Hockey Writer John Wawrow contributed.———Follow AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno———More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

Blackhawks acquire Seth Jones, agree on $76M, 8-year deal

Blackhawks acquire Seth Jones, agree on $76M, 8-year deal

SECAUCUS, N.J. — Seth Jones is now with the Chicago Blackhawks and could become the organization’s cornerstone on the blue line.Chicago acquired the star defenseman from the Columbus Blue Jackets in a blockbuster trade Friday just before the NHL draft began. The Blackhawks got Jones and the 32nd pick in the draft and a 2022 sixth-rounder from the Blue Jackets for 20-year-old defenseman Adam Boqvist, the 12th and 44th picks in the draft and a 2022 first-rounder.“Thrilled to be able to add someone like Seth Jones to our team,” general manager Stan Bowman said on a video call after the first round. “He’s an impact defenseman that we’ve been searching for for quite some time, and to finally be able to add him to our group here is a huge move for the whole group. I think it changes the complexion of our defense in particular but our team in general.”And this isn’t a one-year move. Jones agreed to terms on a $76 million, eight-year extension that carries a $9.5 million annual salary cap hit, according to a person with knowledge of the deal. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the extension cannot be signed until next week.Bowman said the Blackhawks have been plotting their cap situation and stockpiling assets to make this kind of move. Chicago’s rebuild just got a jumpstart.“You’re always looking for opportunities to try to accelerate your team’s progression,” Bowman said. “We certainly had to include a young player in Adam Boqvist and a draft pick, as well — a couple draft picks. But there are so few opportunities to add a player of this caliber that you have to take advantage of it when they come around.”The Blackhawks acquired Seth’s brother, Caleb, last week in a trade that sent Duncan Keith to Edmonton. Caleb Jones could be a part of Chicago’s future, but Seth is expected to be the No. 1 defenseman for years to come.Jones skated more than 25 minutes a game last season and recorded 28 points in 56 games. He has 286 points in 580 regular-season NHL games.Bowman called Jones “one of the few players that can do everything.””He’s got all the attributes that you look for in the modern defenseman with his skating, his size, his defensive ability,” he said. “He’s got the size and the skating as well as the ability to play those tough minutes against top players in every situation from the power play to the penalty kill. He’s the guy you want on the ice with a minute to go when you’re protecting a lead as well as when you’re down a goal. Those are tough to find.”The trade was the fourth and biggest of the day, which also included Arizona pulling off a blockbuster by sending captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson and forward Conor Garland to Vancouver for the No. 9 selection, a 2022 second-round pick, 2023 seventh-rounder and three veteran forwards.The St. Louis Blues also acquired high-scoring forward Pavel Buchnevich from the New York Rangers for Sammy Blais and a 2022 second-round pick.“He’s going to touch all aspects of our game and he’s at a good age,” Blues GM Doug Armstrong said of the 26-year-old Buchnevich, who is a restricted free agent. “As we continue to retool this roster, I think he’s a good piece for us.”Earlier in the day, the Philadelphia Flyers traded the 14th pick and a 2023 second-rounder to the Buffalo Sabres for big defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen.“He’s a player we’ve been looking at the last three years,” Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said of Ristolainen. “He can shoot the puck, he can skate, he’s big and strong.”While the Flyers paid a hefty price for a sought-after player in Ristolainen who has one year left on his contract, the Canucks acquired a defenseman in Ekman-Larsson who’s signed for six more years at a salary-cap hit of $8.25 million. Garland is a restricted free agent in need of a new deal, and Arizona had been shopping him and Ekman-Larsson for some time.“(Ekman-Larsson) is a tremendous player and person, and we wish him and Conor the best of luck in the future,” Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong said. “We are very pleased to acquire the ninth overall draft choice in this year’s NHL draft along with Loui, Antoine and Jay.”Arizona is retaining a portion of Ekman-Larsson’s salary and took on Antoine Roussel, Jay Beagle and Loui Eriksson — all set to be free agents after next season — to add another draft pick. The Coyotes forfeited their first-round pick this year, 11th overall, for testing players in violation of NHL combine policy.After a handful of trades Thursday when the roster freeze was lifted, Philadelphia and Buffalo kicked off the movement Friday with the trade of Ristolainen, who said he “knew something might happen this offseason, this weekend.”Not so much for Buchnevich, who was fourth in scoring for the Rangers and looked like a piece of their young core. But new president and general manager Chris Drury dealt Buchnevich to St. Louis to add a second Stanley Cup champion in a week after trading for gritty forward Barclay Goodrow, who won back-to-back with Tampa Bay.“There’s only so much cap space to go around; there’s only so much ice time to go around,” Drury said. “I feel very good with our depth at winger.”On the signing front, the Boston Bruins locked up Taylor Hall with a $24 million, four-year contract. Hall will count $6 million against the salary cap through the 2024-25 season. Buffalo dealt Hall to Boston at the trade deadline and he fit in perfectly as a complementary forward on the second line.Also, the Montreal Canadiens said goalie Carey Price had knee surgery and is expected to be out 10-12 weeks. The team expects Price, who went unselected by Seattle in the expansion draft more because of his contract than his uncertain injury status, to be ready for the start of the regular season in mid-October.———AP Hockey Writer John Wawrow and AP Sports Writers Jay Cohen and Dan Gelston contributed to this report.———Follow AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno———More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

NHL roster freeze lifts, flat cap prompts money-saving moves

NHL roster freeze lifts, flat cap prompts money-saving moves

NHL teams wasted little time making moves once the roster freeze for the Seattle expansion draft was liftedBy STEPHEN WHYNO AP Hockey WriterJuly 22, 2021, 9:22 PM• 3 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleCarolina traded its playoff starting goaltender to Detroit to avoid arbitration. Philadelphia sent a high draft pick to Arizona to take on a pricey defenseman. The New York Rangers gave a back-to-back Stanley Cup winner a contract reigning champion Tampa Bay never could have afforded.The moves made Thursday when the NHL’s roster freeze for the Seattle expansion draft lifted were all consequences of the salary cap remaining flat at $81.5 million because of pandemic-related revenue losses.“It’s a tough environment out there right now,” Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said. “It’s tough to move money.”The Hurricanes dealt rookie goalie Alex Nedeljkovic to the Red Wings for the No. 94 pick in the draft this weekend and the rights to pending free agent netminder Jonathan Bernier. Detroit signed Nedeljkovic to a $6 million, two-year contract — just under what the 25-year-old might have been awarded in an arbitration hearing.”It’s very, very valuable to have cap space,” Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman said. “Cap space gives you the opportunity to do things and go in a lot of different directions, whether it’s make trades to simply improve your team, sign free agents, or in this era bring on players and get assets from teams that need to create cap space.”Nedeljkovic, who had a 2.01 goals-against average and .928 save percentage last season, gives the rebuilding Red Wings the young presence in goal they’ve been looking for. The Hurricanes can turn their attention to re-signing Petr Mrazek or finding help elsewhere.The Flyers can now go free agent shopping when the market opens next Wednesday after paying the price of 2022 second- and seventh-round picks to dump defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere and his contract with the Coyotes. He counts $4.5 million against the cap for the next two seasons, which doesn’t work for Philadelphia after acquiring top-pairing defender Ryan Ellis from Nashville.”Our reality was pretty simple,” Fletcher said. “We made the move we had to make.”Gostisbehere, 28, could turn into a useful asset for the Coyotes either at the 2021 or 2022 trade deadline. GM Bill Armstrong said Gostisbehere “will be a solid addition to our blueline this season and will be a key power-play player for us.”Forward Barclay Goodrow was a key penalty killer and grinder for Tampa Bay, playing a crucial role in winning back-to-back championships. The cap-strapped Lightning last weekend traded his rights to the Rangers, who on Thursday agreed to terms with Goodrow on a $21.6 million, six-year deal.Among other moves, the Seattle Kraken traded forward Tyler Pitlick to Calgary for a 2022 fourth-round pick one day after taking Pitlick from the Coyotes in the expansion draft.Of course, the cap moves won’t end for a while. Pittsburgh all but gave forward Jared McCann away to Toronto last weekend while hoping to shed another contract in the expansion draft, and the Penguins became cap compliant when Seattle also took Brandon Tanev off their hands.“Cap space is really, really tough,” Fletcher said. “For the foreseeable future, the next two, three years, it’s not going to improve all that much and everybody’s pretty careful.”———AP Hockey Writer John Wawrow contributed.———Follow AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno———More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

Blackhawks GM Bowman pledges to cooperate with investigation

Blackhawks GM Bowman pledges to cooperate with investigation

Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman has pledged to cooperate with an investigation into allegations that an assistant coach sexually assaulted two players in 2010By STEPHEN WHYNO AP Hockey WriterJuly 22, 2021, 6:31 PM• 3 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleChicago Blackhawks executive Stan Bowman pledged Thursday to cooperate with an investigation into allegations that an assistant coach sexually assaulted two players in 2010.The team’s president of hockey operations and general manager refused to answer a question about a meeting concerning the allegations 11 years ago that he was reported to be part of. Bowman cited ongoing litigation —the Blackhawks face two lawsuits — as well as the investigation being run by a formal federal prosecutor.“The review itself is something that I do plan to participate in and I’m going to give it my full cooperation,” Bowman said. “We have some experts that we brought in. From my understanding these are well-respected people in the legal community, and I intend to fully cooperate with them.”Bowman has been with Chicago since 2005 and been GM since 2009. The team won the Stanley Cup in 2010, 2013 and 2016 with him in charge of hockey decisions.His video news conference prior to the NHL draft was Bowman’s first media availability since the allegations were first reported. Bowman opened by saying the team does not condone sexual assault or harassment.“We take this very seriously,” Bowman said when asked about the situation. “I take this very seriously. But we have to let the process play itself out. That’s where things are today. We’re going to let this play itself out.”Longtime Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville, now with Florida, said recently he reached out to the organization to say he “will support and participate in the independent review.”The investigation into one of the NHL’s most high-profile franchises came after the two lawsuits were filed. The first alleges sexual assault by former assistant coach Bradley Aldrich during the team’s run to the 2010 Stanley Cup title, and the second was filed by a former student whom Aldrich was convicted of assaulting in Michigan.The unidentified former Blackhawks player said Aldrich assaulted him, and that the team did nothing after he informed an employee. The lawsuit, filed on May 7 in Cook County Circuit Court, alleges Aldrich also assaulted another unidentified Blackhawks player. The former player who sued and is seeking more than $150,000 in damages.According to TSN, two Blackhawks players told then-skills coach Paul Vincent in May 2010 of inappropriate behavior by Aldrich. Vincent said he asked mental skills coach James Gary to follow up with the players and management.Vincent was called into a meeting with Bowman, then-team President John McDonough, hockey executive Al MacIsaac and Gary the next day, according to TSN, which reported he said he asked the team to report the allegations to Chicago police, and the request was denied.Vincent has said he stands by everything he said to TSN.———More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

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