Tag:Buffalo Sabres
Posted on: August 13, 2011 4:34 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 1:54 pm
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Scott Hannan signs with Flames

By: Adam Gretz

Veteran defenseman Scott Hannan has finally found a team after nearly a month-and-a-half on the free agent market, signing a one-year deal with the Calgary Flames on Saturday.

The deal is worth $1 million, and helps add some physicallity to the Flames blue line that lost Robyn Regehr earlier this summer in a trade with Buffalo, and is currently made up of Jay Bouwmeester, Mark Giordano, Cory Sarich, Chris Butler and Anton Babchuk.

In 78 games last season with the Avalanche and Capitals, when he made $4.5 million, he finished with a goal and 10 assists. He was acquired by the Capitals mid-season to help solidify their blue line for a playoff run.

In a statement released by the team Hannan said he wanted to find a team that was committed to winning and could go deep into the playoffs, while general manager Jay Feaster was pleased to get him for such a reasonable salary cap number. Said Feaster, "He has demonstrated his commitment to our organization and his desire to be a part of our team by agreeing to a contract that enables us to fit him under the salary cap. We are very pleased to add him to the Flames family, and we look forward to his contributions to our success both on and off the ice."

Hannan, 32, isn't quite the player he was a few years ago with San Jose and Colorado when he regurlaly logged between 22 and 24 minutes per game, but he's still a steady player defensively and should be some solid depth for a Flames team that's trying to return to the postseason for the first time since the 2008-09 season. Along with missing the postseason two years in a row, missing last season by just a single point in the tight Western Conference, the Flames haven't advanced beyond the first round since they lost the Stanley Cup Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning back in 2003-04.

In 830 career games Hannan has scored 31 goals to go with 154 assists.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: August 3, 2011 10:24 am
 

Daily Skate: Latvia picks Nolan; Zherdev to KHL

By Brian Stubits

NOT KEEN ON KEENAN: Last week we told you that former NHL coach Mike Keenan was one of two finalists for head coach of Team Latvia. Turns out he was No. 2. Latvia announced Wednesday that it is hiring another Canadian and former NHL coach, tabbing ex-Sabres and Islanders boss Ted Nolan to lead the team.

NIKKI SKIPS: Earlier this week, colleague Adam Gretz addressed the issue of where would Nikolay Zherdev play next season, speculating it could be Winnipeg or possibly a jump to the KHL. Turns out it's the latter. The former Flyers forward will play next season with Atlant Mytishchi of the KHL, joining Alexei Kovalev on the team.

TOUGH WEEK: It hasn't been a kind few days to the Islanders. The future of the franchise was made cloudy with the resounding no vote on a new arena for the team. So when the team announced very early Wednesday morning they had re-signed forward Jon Sim, it shouldn't be bad, right? Not until the Isles tweet this a short while later: "Jon Sim has not been resigned. A glitch in Bridgeport's email sent a press release from last summer. We apologize for any confusion." Oops.

PERRON STILL OUT: From the department of news you never want to see, Blues forward David Perron isn't going to start training camp with his teammates as he is still dealing with concussion symptoms. He is expected to play at some point next season, Andy Strickland says the two sides just agreed Perron needs more time.

NUMBERS GAME: It's a very awkward situation with the Jets as far as the history of the franchise ... is the team playing under Thrashers history or Jets, who are now the Coyotes? Evander Kane already asked Bobby Hull about wearing his retired No. 9 Jets jersey and Bryan Little has run into the same issue with Dale Hawerchuk's No. 10. But instead of asking to wear it (Hawerchuk said it was no big deal) Little is just going to change numbers himself. (Via Puck Daddy)

BUFFALO ADDS TO STAFF: The Sabres added a coach to Lindy Ruff's bench, announcing the hire of Kevyn Adams as an assistant coach. He joined the staff in 2009 in a player development role.

PITTSBURGH SIGNS TOP PICK: The Penguins took care of some house cleaning by getting their top pick in this year's draft in the fold, signing defenseman Joseph Morrow to a three-year entry-level contract.

Avalanche OF CONFIDENCE: Erik Johnson is expecting a big season in Colorado (Via Denver Post). The defenseman is changing up his workout, trying to prepare for a great year. And he's talking the talk about it too, sending a message to Capitals fans. "It's not going to be a [high] pick [to the Caps in exchange for Semyon Varlamov]. It's going to end up being a great trade for us. People are saying we got the short end of the trade and they're happy because they think we're going to finish at the bottom of the league -- and we're not going to do that this year."

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: July 22, 2011 9:51 am
Edited on: July 22, 2011 10:08 am
 

Daily Skate: Trevor Gretzky signs with Cubs

By: Adam Gretz

GRETZKY SIGNS WITH CUBS: Trevor Gretzky, the son of hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky, reportedly signed with the Chicago Cubs on Thursday, according to the Toronto Sun. Gretzky, a first baseman who had committed to play college ball at San Diego State, was a seventh-round draft pick of the Cubs in the June draft. He had until Aug. 15 to sign with the Cubs.

BOOGAARD'S BROTHER FACES DRUG CHARGE: Aaron Boogaard was arrested Thursday on the suspicion prescription fraud/possession of presciprtion pills according to the Star Tribune. Boogaard is the brother of former Wild and Rangers forward Derek Boogaard, who died in May in an accidental drug overdose. Boogard's family issued a statement, saying the charges against Aaron have nothing to do with Derek's death and are part of a larger investigation. According to the report, the date of Aaron's crime is listed as May 13, which is the same day Derek was found dead in his apartment.

WALLACE SIGNS WITH Islanders: Forward Tim Wallace signed a one-year, two-way deal with the New York Islanders on Thursday. The 26-year-old forward spent the past five seasons in the Pittsburgh Penguins organization and finished with 20 goals and 17 assists playing in the American Hockey League with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins last year.

ENROTH SIGNS WITH Sabres: The Buffalo Sabres signed restricted free agent Jhonas Enroth to a two-year deal Thursday to serve as Ryan Miller's primary backup. Enroth split time last season with Patrick Lalime as Miller's backup. One of the smallest goalies in the NHL (listed at just 5-foot-10, 166 pounds), Enroth appeared in 14 games last season and recorded a 9-2-2 record to go with a .907 save percentage.

BOUILLON SUFFERS SETBACK: Predators defenseman Francis Bouillon, who appeared in just 44 games last season, suffered a setback in his recovery from a concussion, telling Richard Labbe of Cyberpresse (translated link) that he's still experiencing headaches and had to recently stop his training. As Dirk Hoag of On The Forecheck pointed out, this leaves the Predators defense with a lot of question marks because of Bouillon's setback, as well as the offseason moves that resulted in the loss of Shane O'Brien and Cody Franson.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: July 20, 2011 5:07 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2011 5:45 pm
 

Sabres reach record season ticket renewal rate

SabresFansBy: Adam Gretz

Buffalo Sabres fans are more than a little pumped up about their team's new owner, Terry Pegula, and it's already showing at the box office. Even more than usual.

The Sabres announced on Wednesday that the team reached a franchise record renewal rate of 99 percent for 2011-12 season tickets, and because of that, capped season ticket sales at 15,200. HSBC Arena, the home of the Sabres, has a capacity of 18,690 for hockey.

Pegula, a billionaire businessman and long-time Sabres fan, purchased the team back in February, almost immediately sending a burst of excitement through the entire fan base. That excitement has carried over to the offseason where Buffalo has been one of the most active teams this summer, spending millions on players.

Prior to the start of free agency the team acquired defenseman Robyn Regeher from the Calgary Flames, and then followed that up by signing Christian Ehrhoff and Ville Leino. Ehrhoff's deal is structured in a way that makes him one of the highest paid players in the NHL this upcoming season.

The Sabres have always been a hot ticket in Buffalo, routinely playing to near capacity crowds. But a 99 percent renewal rate? That's mighty impressive, and it's not hard to understand. They have a new owner that's one of them (Pegula was reportedly a season ticket holder for the Sabres prior to purchasing the team) and is spending big money in an effort to put the best possible team on the ice, even if some of the signings -- like the ones to Leino and Ehrhoff -- carry a bit of a risk.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: July 20, 2011 2:12 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2011 2:48 pm
 

Patrick Lalime to retire, become analyst

Lalime

By: Adam Gretz

If you're still searching for a backup goaltender on the free agent market, your list of options has taken a solid hit over the past two days. The latest name to be removed is Patrick Lalime. The veteran announced his retirement on Wednesday, and according to RDS in Canada, will become an analyst for the french-speaking station.

Lalime spent 12 seasons in the NHL with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Ottawa Senators, St. Louis Blues, Chicago Blackhawks and, most recently, the Buffalo Sabres, serving as a backup to Ryan Miller. He finished his career with exactly 200 wins and a .905 save percentage.

Originally a sixth-round draft pick by the Penguins in 1993, Lalime started his career with Pittsburgh during the 1996-97 season and set an NHL record with 16 consecutive starts to his career without losing a game (his record was 14-0-2). After that season, however, he was involved in a lengthy contract dispute with Pittsburgh and was ultimately traded to Anaheim for Sean Pronger in March of 1998. After never appearing in a game with the Ducks, he was later sent to Ottawa -- in exhange for Ted Donato and Antti-Jussi Niemi -- where he spent five seasons, collecting 146 wins, and helping the club advance to the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2002-03 season.

During the 2001-02 playoffs Lalime recorded four shutouts, including three in a row against the Philadelphia Flyers in the opening round.

Now that Lalime has retired, the only goaltenders of note that remain on the free agent market are Marty Turco and Ray Emery. Chris Osgood announced his retirement on Tuesday, while the Red Wings followed that up on Wednesday by signing Ty Conklin to serve as Jimmy Howard's backup.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: July 14, 2011 10:40 am
Edited on: July 14, 2011 12:17 pm
 

Daily Skate: Leonsis' vision, Hiller progressing

By Brian Stubits

LEONSIS LIKES HIS TEAM: Owner Ted Leonsis is anything but shy and reserved, especially as an owner. Speaking at the National Press Club on Wednesday, Leonsis talked about his Capitals (Washington Post), specifically how he sees the Capitals as playoff mainstays. "This team will make the playoffs, as I promised, 10 to 15 years in a row. There is a 10- to 15-year horizon." He also addressed why he elected to keep much-maligned Bruce Boudreau as the team's coach, saying such decisions can't be made by emotion.

WOLFGANG PUCK? The Chicago Blackhawks took a big step in their branding attempts by opening a new restaurant in Chicago O'Hare airport on Wednesday. It figures to get seen by plenty of people, as O'Hare is the world's second busiest airport. What I want to know is how they got that massive pair of scissors for the ribbon cutting through security.

CLIMBING UP THE HILL: The Anaheim Ducks had a massive stroke of bad luck last season when they lost goaltender Jonas Hiller for the stretch run and playoffs because of symptoms of vertigo. But things sound good for Hiller according to coach Randy Carlyle (Ducks team site) . "He's been at a goalie camp in Switzerland and things have gone well with his progression…He has no symptoms, so this is a huge step for him. He'll spend two weeks [working there]…We think it's behind him, but you really never know with these things."

MY OH MYERS: Surprising this was kept so quiet all this time, but in the playoffs the Sabres apparently grew tired of a heckler on the glass in Philadelphia. Check out this video (hat tip to Puck Daddy) of the Flyers fan shouting at the Sabres, who respond by firing pucks at the glass. Then it's the behemoth Tyler Myers' turn and he finds a pretty good way to shut the guy up for a few seconds: breaking the glass. It quickly became a dangerous situation with glass falling to the seats below.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.


Posted on: July 12, 2011 11:28 pm
Edited on: July 13, 2011 12:10 am
 

Teams closing in on the salary cap

SalaryCap
By: Adam Gretz

On Monday we looked at the seven NHL teams that are still sitting below the NHL's salary floor and the work they need to do to reach it. But what about the teams that are closing in on the $64.3 million cap? Here's a quick look at the five teams that are closest to it, the amount of cap space they have remaining, the number of players they currently have under contract and the number of restricted free agents they have unsigned.

All salary figures come via CapGeek.
  • Buffalo Sabres, $354,693, 20 players under contract, three restricted free agents
  • Washington Capitals, $394,842, 22 players under contract, one restricted free agent
  • Philadelphia Flyers, $1.5 million, 22 players under contract, zero restricted free agents
  • Pittsburgh Penguins, $2.1 million, 22 players under contract, zero restricted free agents
  • Calgary Flames, $3.8 million, 21 players under contract, one restricted free agent
Clearly, the Buffalo Sabres have some work to do with only $354,693 in cap space and only 20 players under contract, only one of which is a goaltender. Patrick Lalime is an unrestricted free agent, while Jhonas Enroth is one of the club's three restricted free agents. The Sabres have added some large contracts this summer in Christian Ehrhoff, Ville Leino and Robyn Regehr, pushing them to the limits of the cap.

After picking up Regehr in a trade with the Calgary Flames, Ehrhoff's negotiating rights were acquired just before the start of the free agent signing period and he was quickly locked up with a 10-year, $40 million deal. On July 1, Leino signed a six-year, $27 million deal. Teams are allowed to exceed the cap during the summer, so the Sabres still have plenty of time to jettison some salary to fill out the remainder of the roster. But who do you sacrifice if you're the Sabres? Perhaps a player like Shaone Morrisonn? Ales Kotalik? Jochen Hecht? If the Sabres want to carry a 23-man roster this season, somebody is going to have to go.

The Washington Capitals have made a series of moves themselves, bringing in Joel Ward, Troy Brouwer, Roman Hamrlik and Tomas Vokoun, as well as re-signing Brooks Laich. Last week, the club shipped Eric Fehr and his $2.2 million cap hit to the Winnipeg Jets to clear some much-needed cap space as the club still needs to sign its remaining restricted free agent, defenseman Karl Alzner.

No team has had a bigger change to the makeup of its roster this summer than the Philadelphia Flyers, and while they traded two lengthy contracts (Jeff Carter and Mike Richards ... arguably their best players) they still have some potential long-term problems, none of which could be bigger in the future than the one belonging to defenseman Chris Pronger. He is still signed for another six years, and at the age of 36, isn't getting any younger on the blue line.

After they traded Carter and Richards and allowed Leino to hit the free agent market, the Flyers replaced them with Ilya Bryzgalov, Jaromir Jagr, Max Talbot and the players acquired in the two trades (Wayne Simmonds, Jakub Voracek and Brayden Schenn). They have no remaining restricted free agents.

The Penguins, it seems, have become the greatest example for teams with salary cap constraints due to the amount of money they have invested in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. (Both players have average annual salaries of $8.7 million.) As I've written in the past, this isn't quite as big a concern as it's often made out to be because their money is invested in elite, All-Star level players. Many of the top teams (Detroit, Vancouver, Chicago, Washington, San Jose ... pretty much any of the Stanley Cup contenders) that are pressed against the cap every year have close to (or more than) 50 percent of their cap space tied up in just five players. The Penguins are no different.

On Tuesday the team signed Dustin Jeffrey, their only remaining restricted free agent, to a two-year contract.

Finaly, we have the Flames. In late June they completed the previously mentioned trade with Buffalo involving Regehr to shed some salary. They followed that up by bringing back veteran forward Alex Tanguay, signing him to a five-year contract. Their remaining restricted free agent is defenseman Brendan Mikkelson. With 22 players under contract and still over $3 million in cap space, they should be in solid shape regarding the cap.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: July 1, 2011 4:28 pm
Edited on: July 1, 2011 4:53 pm
 

Sabres bring in Leino for six years, $27 million

The Buffalo Sabres have added one of the top available wings on the market, signing former Flyer Ville Leino.

The contract calls for Leino to receive $27 million over six seasons, an average of $4.5 million per season.

The Flyers wanted to keep the 27-year-old Leino but couldn't reach a deal before Friday. He scored 19 goals last season with 34 assists in Philadelphia.

The Sabres are clearly showing they are going to be a team that spends under new owner Terry Pegula, a Sabres fan who also happens to be a billionaire. On Thursday they signed defenseman Christian Ehrhoff to a 10-year, $40 million contract. By adding Leino they get a versatile forward who can help them add some scoring on the outside.

By Brian Stubits

Photo: Getty Images

Click here for more free-agency updates.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com