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Empty Netter Assists - Rutherford re-signs - 07-02-16

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins

-The Penguins signed general manager Jim Rutherford to a three-year contract extension but what does that mean for associate general manager Jason Botterill?

-The Penguins re-signed assistant coach Jacques Martin to a two-year contract extension.

-The Penguins re-signed defensemen David Warsofsky, Steve Oleksy as well as left winger Tom Sestito and signed defensemen Cameron Gaunce, Stuart Percy as well as Chad Ruhwedel to one-year, two-way contracts.

-The Penguins lost defenseman Ben Lovejoy and goaltender Jeff Zatkoff through free agency.

-Defensive prospect Joseph Masonius plays at Connecticut where his mom was a graduate assistant coach for legendary women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma.  

-Former Penguins left winger Sergei Plotnikov has joined SKA St. Petersburg in Russia's KHL.

-Happy 40th birthday to Penguins goaltender Tomas Vokoun. Acquired in a 2012 offseason trade which sent a draft pick to the Capitals, Vokoun spent two seasons with the Penguins. During the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, Vokoun played in 20 games and had a 13-4-0 record, a 2.45 goals against average, .919 save percentage and three shutouts. Taking over for starter Marc-Andre Fleury in the 2013 postseason, Vokoun played in 11 games, had a 6-5 record, a 2.01 goals against average, a .933 save percentage and one shutout. He was sidelined the entire 2013-14 season due to a blood clot and retired following the season.

Neapolitan Ice Cream Metropolitan Division

-The Devils signed unrestricted free agent forward Beau Bennett to a one-year contract worth $725,000. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $800,000, Bennett, 24, appeared in 33 games for the Penguins last season and scored 12 points (six goals, six assists). 

-EN Says: Bennett has a year to prove he deserves a longer-term contract. Injuries have always been his biggest obstacle but when healthy, he's a talented playmaker who will get ample opportunity with the Devils.

-The Devils re-signed unrestricted free agent forward Devante Smith-Pelly to two-year contract worth a total of $2.6 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $800,000, Smith-Pelly's new deal will have a cap hit of $1.3 million. Smith-Pelly, 24, appeared in 64 games last season and scored 25 points (14 goals, 11 assists). 

-EN Says: Smith-Pelly had a fairly productive run with the Devils when he joined them last season. In 18 games with New Jersey, he scored 13 points. A strong power forward, he's capable of playing a top-nine role. 

-The Devils re-signed unrestricted free agent defenseman Jon Merrill (rightto a two-year contract worth a total of $2.275 million. Coming off an entry-level contract with a salary cap hit of $840,000, Merrill's new deal will have a cap hit of $1.1375 million. Appearing in 47 games last season, Merrill, 24, scored five points (one goal, four assists). 

-EN Says: Injuries derailed much of 2015-16 for Merrill. A solid puck mover, he's capable of playing in a bottom-four role when healthy.

-The Devils signed unrestricted free agent forward Vernon Fiddler to a one-year contract worth $1.25 million. Coming off a contract with an identical salary cap hit Fiddler, 36, appeared in 82 games for the Stars last season and scored 22 points (12 goals, 10 assists).

-EN Says: Fiddler is a prototypical bottom-six center. Strong in the faceoff circle and a tenacious defender, he will make the Devils a deeper team.

-“I picked the Devils because it’s a situation I’m excited about and I’m comfortable with. I told teams all along I didn’t need to hit a home run. I wanted to come to a place where I’d feel wanted, where I felt comfortable. I wanted to play where it was good. I think the Devils are a perfect spot for me.” - Lovejoy on signing with New Jersey.

-The Devils signed defenseman Karl Stollery, formerly of the Avalanche, to a one-year, two-way contract. Forward Carter Camper, formerly of the Capitals and defenseman Andrew MacWilliam, formerly of the Jets, were also signed to one-year, two-way contracts.

-The Islanders signed unrestricted free agent forward Andrew Ladd (right) to a seven-year contract worth a total of $38.5 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $4.4 million, Ladd's new deal will have a cap hit of $5.5 million. Ladd, 30, appeared in 78 games between the Jets as well as Blackhawks last season and scored 46 points (25 goals, 21 assists).

-EN Says: Owner of two Stanley Cup rings, Ladd brings some much-needed veteran presence to a younger roster. A strong net-front presence, he has a history of producing when lined up next to a playmaking center. He'll get that chance in New York with John Tavares. At 30, it's fair to wonder if he'll play out the life of this contract. 

-The Islanders signed unrestricted free agent forward Jason Chimera to a two-year contract worth $4.5 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $2 million, Chimera's new deal will have a cap hit of $2.25 million. Chimera, 37, appeared in 82 games last season and scored 40 points (20 goals, 20 assists).

-EN Says: Chimera is a dependable third-line winger who will play a hard, heavy game and score the occasional goal. It's probably not realistic to expect him to hit 20 goals again, but he'll contribute offensively. 

-The Islanders re-signed restricted free agent forward Shane Prince to a two-year deal worth a total of $1.7 million. Coming off a two-way contract with a salary cap hit of $700,000, Prince's new deal will have a cap hit of  $850,000. Prince, 23, appeared in 62 games last season and scored 17 points (six goals, 11 assists). 

-EN Says: Acquired from the Senators at the trade deadline, Prince found ways to contribute down the stretch for the Islanders. 

-The Rangers signed unrestricted free agent forward Michael Grabner (right) to a two-year contract worth $3.3 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $3 million, Grabner's new deal will have a cap hit of $1.65 million. Grabner, 28, appeared in 80 games for the Maple Leafs last season and scored 18 points (nine goals, nine assists). 

-EN Says: Speed. That's Grabner's defining characteristic. One of the fastest players in the NHL, he'll make a somewhat plodding lineup a little quicker. Injuries are a concern but when healthy, he's a strong penalty killer.

-The Rangers signed unrestricted free agent forward Nathan Gerbe to a one-year deal worth $600,000. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $1.75 million, Gerbe, 28, appeared in 47 games for the Hurricanes last season and scored seven points (three goals, four assists).

-EN Says: Gerbe is another fast player coming off a down season. Capable of scoring double-digit goal figures, Gerbe also brings an element of agitation to the Rangers.

-The Rangers signed unrestricted free agent defensemen Adam Clendening, formerly of the Oilers, and Michael Paliotta, formerly of the Blue Jackets, to one-year two-way contracts.

-The Rangers named former defenseman Jeff Beukeboom as an assistant coach.

-The Flyers signed unrestricted free agent forward Dale Weise to a four-year contract worth a total of $9.4 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $1.025 million, Weise's new deal will have a cap hit of $2.35 million. Weise, 27, appeared in 71 games last season between the Canadiens as well as Blackhawks and scored 27 points (14 goals, 13 assists).

-EN Says: Weise is a world-class agitator and power forward. He's a perfect fit for the Flyers. Additionally, he's capable of scoring the occasional goal. 

-The Flyers signed unrestricted free agent forward Boyd Gordon (right) to a one-year contract worth $950,000. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $3 million, Gordon, 32, appeared in 65 games for the Coyotes last season and scored four points (two goals, two assists). 

-EN Says: Gordon is a bottom-line defensive center. Capable of winning faceoffs and killing penalties, he'll provide some depth. 

-The Flyers signed unrestricted free agent defenseman Will O'Neill to a two-year contract worth $1.225 million. Coming off a two-way contract with a salary cap hit of $575,000, O'Neill's new deal will have a cap hit of $612,500. In 74 games with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins last season, O'Neill, 28, scored 50 points (eight goals, 42 assists). 

-EN Says: The Flyers always seem to need defensemen. O'Neill will get a better chance to make the NHL roster with the Flyers than he did with the Penguins.

-The Flyers signed unrestricted free agent forward Andy Miele to a one-year contract worth $600,000. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $575,000, Miele, 28, appeared in 75 games with the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins last season and scored 62 points (18 goals, 44 assists). 

-EN Says: Miele has been a very productive player at the AHL level but has not played in the NHL since 2013-14. This seems like a low-risk/high-reward signing. 

-The Flyers signed unrestricted free agent forward Greg Carey, formerly of the Coyotes, to a one-year, two-way contract.

-The Hurricanes signed former Penguins forward Lee Stempniak, an unrestricted free agent, to a two-year contract to a two-year contract worth $5 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $850,000, Stempniak's new deal will have $2.5 million. Stempniak, 33, appeared in 82 games between the Devils as well as Bruins last season and scored 51 points (19 goals, 32 assists). 

-EN Says: Stempniak went to training camp with the Devils last season on a tryout and came through with a productive season. As a result, he got a contract with term and a little bit of money. A crafty player, Stempniak can produce when used right.

-The Hurricanes signed unrestricted free agent forward Victor Stalberg (rightto a one-year deal worth $1.5 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $1.1 million, Stalberg, 30, appeared in 75 games for the Rangers last season and scored 20 points (nine goals, 11 assists). 

-EN Says: Stalberg is a big (6-foot-3, 209 pound), rangy bottom-six forward who has some speed and can play on either wing. 

-The Hurricanes hired former NHL goaltender Curtis Joseph as a goaltending coach.

-The Hurricanes signed unrestricted free agent forward Andrew Miller, formerly of the Oilers, to a one-year, two-way contract.

-The Capitals signed unrestricted free agent forward Brett Connolly to a one-year deal worth $850,000. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $1.025 million, Connolly, 24, appeared in 71 games last season and scored 25 points (nine goals, 16 assists).

-EN Says: Connolly (right) was a first-round pick (No. 6 overall) in the 2010 draft. There is talent in him. He just hasn't put it together at the NHL level. This is a low-risk/high reward signing. 

-The Capitals signed unrestricted free agent goaltender Joe Cannata, formerly of the Canucks, defenseman Darren Dietz, formerly of the Canadiens, and forward Christian Thomas, formerly of the Coyotes, to one-year, two-way contracts

-The Capitals signed defenseman Connor Hobbs, a fifth-round pick in 2015, to a three-year entry-level contract.

-The Blue Jackets signed undrafted forward Dante Salituro to a three-year entry-level contract.

Atlantic Division

-The Bruins signed unrestricted free agent forward David Backes to a five-year contract worth a total of $30 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $4.5 million, Backes' new contract will have a cap hit of $6 million. Appearing in 79 games last season for the Blues, Backes, 32, scored 45 points (21 goals, 24 assists). 

-EN Says: This has "buyout" written all over it. At 6-foot-3, 221 pounds, Backes is a mean, ornery two-way center who usually makes life miserable for the opposing team. He's a consistent 20-goal threat and his style of play will suit the Bruins well. But he's 32. It's doubtful he finishes this contract. 

-The Bruins signed unrestricted free agent forward Riley Nash to a two-year contract worth a total of $1.8 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $1.15 million, Nash's new deal will have a cap hit of $900,000. Nash, 27, appeared in 64 games with the Hurricanes last season and scored 22 points (nine goals, 13 assists). 

-EN Says: Nash has developed into a reliable bottom-six forward capable of playing multiple positions. He'll give the Bruins some depth. 

-The Bruins re-signed unrestricted free agent goaltender Anton Khudobin (rightto a two-year contract worth a total of $2.4 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $2.25 million, Khudobin's new deal will have a cap hit of $1.2 million. Appearing in nine games for the Ducks last season, Khudobin, 30, had a 3-3-0 record with a 2.69 goals against average and .909 save percentage.

-EN Says: Khudobin has shown at times he's capable of being a reliable backup goaltender in the NHL. But he's been far too inconsistent in his career. The Bruins better have a solid Plan C if something happens to starter Tuukka Rask. 

-The Bruins re-signed unrestricted free agent forward Tyler Randell, defensman Tommy Cross and signed forward Tim Schaller, formerly of the Sabres to one-year, two-way contracts.

-The Sabres signed unrestricted free agent forward Kyle Okposo to a seven-year contract worth a total of $42 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $2.8 million, Okposo's new deal will have a cap hit of $6 million. Okposo, 28, appeared in 79 games for the Islanders last season and scored 64 points (22 goals, 42 assists). 

-EN Says: Okposo has shown what he can do playing alongside a franchise center as he did in New York with John Tavares. He'll get that chance playing with either Jack Eichel or Ryan O'Reilly in Buffalo. A power forward with scoring touch, he'll be a big part of the Sabres' rebound. 

-"We don't like the fact that this is twice now that he's been in incidents like this. It's not good for the organization. It's not good for him. He's going to have to pick and choose his spots when he goes out a lot better than he does, and he's going to have to behave himself a lot better than he has." - Sabres general manager Tim Murray on forward Evander Kane being subject of a police investigation after he was accused of assaulting and harrassing two women at a bar last month.

-The Sabres signed unrestricted free agent defenseman Justin Falk, formerly of the Blue Jackets, to a one-year, two-way contract.

-The Red Wings signed unrestricted free agent forward Frans Nielsen (right) to a six-year contract worth a total of $31.5 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $2.75 million, Nielsen's new deal will have a cap hit of $5.25 million. Nielsen, 32, appeared in 81 games for the Islanders last season and scored 52 points (20 goals, 32 assists).

-EN Says: This is the type of player who usually flourishes with the Red Wings. A skilled two-way forward who can skate up and down the ice, Nielsen will replace some of what was lost by the departed Pavel Datsyuk. It's fair to wonder if he'll play out the life of this deal but in the short term, he's a great fit with the Red Wings.

-The Red Wings signed unrestricted free agent forward Thomas Vanek to a one-year contract worth $2.6 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $6.5 million, Vanek, 32, appeared in 74 games with the Wild last season and scored 41 points (18 goals, 23 assists).

-EN Says: Vanek is a very talented scoring winger who, when motivated, can look very dangerous. But that motivation hasn't always been there for a variety of reasons. That's why the Wild bought out his previous contract. He has the skillset to fit in well with the Red Wings. Does he have the drive?

-The Red Wings signed unrestricted free agent forward Steve Ott to a one-year contract worth $800,000. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $2.6 million, Ott, 33, appeared in 21 games last season and scored two assists.  

-EN Says: This is an odd contract for the Red Wings to offer. Ott is a bottom-six agitator who doesn't really fit in with the Red Wings' identity. He's coming off an injury-filled season and he's in his mid-30s. Even if it's a cheap one-year deal, it just doesn't seem like a fit.

-The Red Wings re-signed unrestricted free agent forward Darren Helm (rightto a five-year contract worth a total of $19.25 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $2.125 million, Helm's new deal will have a cap hit of $3.85 million. Helm, 29, appeared in 77 games last season and scored 26 points (13 goals, 13 assists). 

-EN Says: Helm is a strong skater who plays a tenacious brand of defense. He can contribute offense as well. In his late 20s, it's fair to wonder if a player with a history of injuries will be all that healthy as he enters his 30s.

-The Red Wings re-signed restricted free agent defenseman Alexey Marchenko to a two-year contract worth a total of $2.9 million. Coming off an entry-level contract with a salary cap hit of $666,666, Machenko's new deal will have a cap hit of $1.45 million. Marchenko, 24, appeared in 66 games last season and scored 11 points (two goals, nine assists). 

-EN Says: A puck-moving defenseman, Marchenko broke through as a full-time NHLer last season.

-The Red Wings signed unrestricted free agent forward Matt Lorito, formerly of the Devils, to a one-year, two-way contract.  

-The Lightning signed defenseman Victor Hedman to an eight-year contract extension worth a total of $63 million. Entering the final year of a contract with a salary cap hit of $4 million, Hedman's new deal, which doesn't start until 2017-18, will have a cap hit of $7.875 million. Hedman, 25, appeared in 78 games last season and scored 47 points (10 goals, 37 assists).

-EN Says: Arguably one of the top 10 defensemen in the NHL, Hedman has developed into a franchise building block. Only halfway through his 20s, he still has a ceiling he hasn't reached yet. This contract will prove to be a bargain one day.

-The Lightning signed goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (right) to a three-year contract extension worth a total of $10.5 million. Entering the final year of an entry-level contract with a salary cap hit of $925,000, Vasilevskiy's new deal, which doesn't start until 2017-18, will have a cap hit of $3.5 million. Vasilevskiy, 21, appeared in 24 games last season and had an 11-10-0 record, 

-EN Says: Vasilevsky showed he can be a franchise goaltender in the postseason this past season. The real question is what this means for incumbent starter Ben Bishop

-The Lightning signed unrestricted free agent forward Michal Bournival, formerly of the Canadiens, to a one-year two-way contract. Forward Gabriel Dumount, also formerly of the Canadiens, signed a one-year, two-way contract as well. Also, former Penguins forward Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond signed a one-year, two-way contract. Former Sharks forward Jeremy Morin signed a one-year, two-way contract also.

-The Panthers signed unrestricted free agent goaltender James Reimer to a five year contract worth a total of $17 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $2.3 million, Reimer's new deal will have a cap hit of $3.4 million. Reimer, 28, appeared in 40 games between the Maple Leafs as well as Sharks last season and had a 17-14-7 record along with a 2.31 goals against average, .922 save percentage and three shutouts.

-EN Says: There apparently is some concern about the health of starting goaltender Roberto Luongo who underwent hip surgery. If Luongo's ailment is something that impacts him long term, Reimer is a capable replacement capable of leading a team to the postseason. 

-The Panthers signed unrestricted free agent forward Colton Sceviour (rightto a two-year contract worth a total of $1.9 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $650,000, Sceviour's new deal will have a cap hit of $950,000. Sceviour, 27, appeared in 71 games for the Stars last season and scored 23 points (11 goals, 12 assists). 

-EN Says: Sceviour is a nice fit for the third line. A fast skater who plays hard minutes, he has a little offensive pop as well. 

-The Panthers signed unrestricted free agent forward Jonathan Marchessault to a two-year contract worth a total of $1.5 million. Coming off a two-way contract with a salary cap hit of $600,000, Marchessault's new deal will have a cap hit of $750,000. Marchessault, 25, appeared in 45 games for the Lightning last season and scored 18 points (seven goals, 11 assists). 

-EN Says: Capable of producing points at lower levels of hockey, the Panthers made a commitment to him and are hoping he can help fill out their bottom-six forwards.

-The Maple Leafs signed unrestricted free agent forward Matt Martin to a five-year contract worth a total of $12.5 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $1 million, Martin's new deal will have a cap hit of $2.5 million. Martin, 27, appeared in 80 games for the Islanders last season and scored 19 points (10 goals, nine assists) while recording 119 penalty minutes.

-EN Says: For a team which allegedly stresses possession metrics, this is a strange signing. Martin is a fourth-line banger-and-crasher who hits anything in another jersey is always willing to fight. He scored 10 goals last season which is impressive given his limited ice time. While the cap hit isn't anything out of the ordinary, the term of the deal is curious. 

-The Canadiens signed unrestricted free agent forward Alexander Radulov (right) to a one-year contract worth $5.57 million. A former member of the Predators, Radulov has spent the past four seasons in Russia's KHL. Radulov, 29, played in 53 games for CSKA Moscow last season and scored 65 points (23 goals, 42 assists).

-EN Says: This is a considerable risk for the Canadiens. Radulov's talent is unquestionable. He's a legitimate goal-scorer. But his commitment is very questionable.  He bailed on a contract with the Predators in 2008 in order to play in Russia. Then when he returned to Nashville in 2012, he was suspended by the team for violating a team rule. There's plenty of risk as well as reward to his signing.

-The Canadiens signed goaltender Al Montoya to a one-year contract worth $950,000. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $1.05 million, Montoya, 31, appeared in 25 games for the Panthers last season and had a 12-7-2 record with a 2.18 goals against average and .919 save percentage. 

-EN Says: After franchise goaltender Carey Price missed most of last season due to a knee injury, the Canadiens probably wanted some insurance in net to avoid a meltdown as they experienced last season.

-The Canadiens signed unrestricted free agent defenseman Zach Redmond to a two-year contract worth a total of $1.225 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $750,000, Redmond's new deal will have a cap hit of $612,500. Redmond, 27, appeared in 37 games for the Avalanche last season and scored six points (two goals, four assists).

-EN Says: Redmond is a depth defenseman who can move the puck. He won't make or break any roster.

-The Canadiens signed defenseman Mikhail Sergachev, a first-round pick (No. 9 overall) in this year's draft, to a three-year entry-level contract.

-The Canadiens re-signed restricted free agent forward Daniel Carr (right) to a two-year contract worth a total of $1.45 million. Coming off an entry-level contract with a salary cap hit of $842,500, Carr's new deal will have a cap hit of $725,000. Carr, 24, appeared in 23 games last season and scored and scored nine points (six goals, three assists). 

-EN Says: Carr has found ways to produce offense at lower levels hockey and showed a little offensive pop at the NHL level last season. He'll have a chance to make the Canadiens' roster out of training camp.

-The Senators re-signed restricted free agent forwards Casey Bailey, Max McCormick, Phil Varone and defenseman Michael Kostka to one-year, two-way contracts, signed unrestricted free agent forward Michael Blunden, formerly of the Lightning, to a two-year, two-way contract and signed unrestricted free agent forward Chad Nahring to a one-year, two-way contract.

Central Division

-The Wild signed unrestricted free agent forward Eric Staal to a three-year contract worth a total of $10.5 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $8.25 million, Staal's new deal will have a cap hit of $3.5 million. Staal, 31, appeared in 83 games between the Hurricanes as well as Rangers last season and scored 39 points (13 goals, 26 assists).

-EN Says: At one time, Staal was one of the most dangerous offensive weapons in the NHL. But age and bad teams in Carolina really took a bite out of production. Perhaps playing for Bruce Boudreau, a coach who traditionally is aggressive offensively, will spark his game.

-The Wild re-signed unrestricted free agent forward Chris Stewart to a two-year contract worth a total of $2.3 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $1.7 million, Stewart's new deal will have a cap hit of $1.15 million. Stewart, 28, appeared in 56 games for the Ducks last season and scored 20 points (eight goals, 12 assists). 

-EN Says: A bull of a power forward, Stewart (right) once had the ability to score 20 goals. Today, he's probably more of a third-liner. He had some success last season playing for Boudreau in Anaheim.

-The Wild signed unrestricted free agent forward Patrick Cannone, formerly of the Blues, to a one-year, two-way contract. Unrestricted free agent defenseman Victor Bartley, formerly of a the Predators, was also signed to a one-year, two-way contract.

-The Blackhawks re-signed unrestricted free agent defenseman Brian Campbell to a one-year contract worth $1.5 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $7,142,875, Campbell, 37, played in 82 games for the Panthers last season and scored 31 points (six goals, 25 assists). 

-EN Says: Campbell could have easily commanded a contract in excess of $5 million a season if he wanted to but he took a discount to re-sign with the Blackhawks. A skilled and graceful puck-moving defenseman, he helps give the Blackhawks a scary blue line.

-The Blackhawks signed unrestricted free agent forwards Sam Carrick, formerly of the Maple Leafs, and Pierre-Cedric Labrie, formerly of the Lightning, to one-year, two-way contracts.

-The Blackhawks placed defenseman David Rundblad on waivers with the intention of buying out his contract.

-The Blues re-signed former Penguins forward David Perron to a two-year contract with a salary cap hit of $7.5 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $3.8125 million, Perron's new deal will have a cap hit of $3.75 million. Perron, 28, appeared in 71 games between the Penguins as well as Ducks last season and scored 36 points (12 goals, 24 assists).

-EN Says: As skilled of a puck handler as you'll find in the NHL, Perron is as streaky of a player as you'll find in this league. A first-round pick of the Blues in 2007, he returns to a place he is familiar with. Given the Blues' deep group of skilled forwards, he should find linemates he can mesh well with.

-The Blues signed goaltender Jake Allen (rightto a four-year contract extension worth a total of $17.4 million. Entering the final year of a contract with a salary cap hit of $2.35 million, Allen's new deal, which doesn't have begin until 2017-18, will have a cap hit of $4.35 million. Allen, 25, appeared in 47 games last season and had a record of 26-15-3 with a goals against average of 2.35, a save percentage of .920 and six shutouts.

-EN Says: The Blues have gone all-in on Allen as their starting goaltender. He'll finally get a chance to be St. Louis' true No. 1 goaltender and log upwards of 60 games next season.

-The Blues signed unrestricted free agent goaltender Carter Hutton to a two-year contract worth a total of $2.25 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $725,000, Hutton's new deal will have a cap hit of $1.125 million. Hutton, 30, appeared in 17 games for the Predators last season and had a 7-5-3 record with a 2.33 goals against average and .918 save percentage. 

-EN Says: After trading away goaltender Brian Elliott, the Blues needed a No. 2 goaltender. Hutton has filled that role aptly behind all-star Pekka Rinne in Nashville.

-The Blues signed unrestricted free agent defenseman Morgan Ellis, formerly of the Canadiens, to a one-year, two-way contract.

-The Stars signed unrestricted free agent defenseman Dan Hamhuis (rightto a two-year contract worth a total of $7.5 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $4.5 million, Hamhuis' new deal will have a cap hit of $3.75 million. Hamhuis, 33, appeared in 58 games for the Canucks last season and scored 13 points (three goals, 10 assists).

-EN Says: For a team which doesn't play a lot of defense, it got one of the best defensive defensemen on the market. Capable of logging big minutes and taking on a shutdown role, Hamhuis will help a team which at times tends to forget the first letter in "Dallas" is "D." At 33, injuries are a concern.

-The Stars re-signed unrestricted free agent forward Patrick Eaves to a one-year contract worth $1 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $1.15 million, Eaves, 32, appeared in 54 games last season and scored 17 points (11 goals, six assists).

-EN Says: Eaves is a solid, dependable bottom-six winger who can kill penalties and score the occasional goal. Injuries are a concern with him.

-The Stars signed unrestricted free agent forward Dustin Stevenson, formerly of the Flames, to a one-year, two-way contract and defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk, formerly of the Stars, to a one-year, two-way contract.

-The Avalanche signed unrestricted free agent center Joe Colborne to a two-year contract worth $5 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $1.275 million, Colborne's new deal will have a cap hit of $2.5 million. Colborne, 26, appeared in 73 games last season for the Flames and scored 44 points (19 goals, 25 assists). 

-EN Says: Colborne is a big (6-foot-5, 221 pounds) center who is a power forward. While he has never quite lived up to the billing which made his a first-round pick in 2008, he came through with a career season in 2015-16 and cashed in. 

-The Avalanche signed defenseman Fedor Tyutin (right) to a one-year contract worth $2 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $4.5 million, Tyutin, 32, appeared in 61 games for the Blue Jackets last season and scored three points (one goal, two assists). 

-EN Says: At one time, Tyutin was a solid shutdown defender. But age has sapped him of some of his abilities. Perhaps being on  a one-year contract will spur him to play better and land a contract with longer term.

-The Avalanche signed defenseman Patrick Wiercioch to a one-year contract worth a total of $600,000. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $2 million, Wiercioch, 25, appeared in 52 games for the Senators last season and recorded five assists.

-EN Says: Wiercioch is a big (6-foot-5, 202 pound) defenseman who has a good reach and can fire the puck hard. But inconsistency has plagued his career. He'll get ample opportunity to establish himself with the Avalanche. 

-The Avalanche signed forward A.J. Greer, a second-round pick in 2015, to a three-year entry-level contract.

-The Avalanche signed unrestricted free agent forwards Jim O'Brien, formerly of the Devils, Turner Elson, formerly of the Flames, Mike Sislo, formerly of the Devils, Joe Whitney, formerly of the Islanders, goaltender Jeremy Smith, formerly of the Wild, and defenseman Ryan Stanton, formerly of the Capitals, to one-year, two-way contracts.

-The Jets signed unrestricted free agent forward Shawn Matthias to a two-year contract worth $4.25 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $2.3 million, Matthias' new deal will have a cap hit of $2.125 million. Matthias, 28, appeared in 71 games last season between the Avalanche as well as Maple Leafs and scored 28 points (12 goals, 16 assists).

-EN Says: Matthias is a big (6-foot-4, 223 pound) bottom-six style forward who plays a solid all-around game and can contribute some offense. This is a shrewd signing.

-The Jets signed former Penguins defenseman Brian Strait (right), an unrestricted free agent, to a one-year contract worth $600,000. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $775,000, Strait, 28, appeared in 52 games for the Islanders last season and scored six points (one goal, five assists).

-EN Says: If Strait is the Jets' No. 6 or 7 defenseman, that's an ideal situation. Anything more, and they're in trouble.

-The Jets signed unrestricted free agent forward Quinton Howden, formerly of the Panthers, to a one-year, two-way contract.

-The Predators signed unrestricted free agent defenseman Yannick Weber to a one-year contract worth $575,000. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $1.5 million, Weber, 27, appeared in 45 games for the Canucks last season and recorded seven assists. 

-EN Says: Weber is an offensive-minded defneseman blessed with a big shot. But he has never quite put everything together in various stops around the NHL. He'll try to fill out Nashville's bottom defensive pairing.

-The Predators signed unrestricted free agent forward Harry Zolnierczyk, formerly of the Ducks, and defenseman Matt Irwin, formerly of the Bruins, to one-year, two-way contracts.

Pacific Division

-The Oilers signed unrestricted free agent forward Milan Lucic (rightto a seven-year contract worth a total of $42 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $6 million, Lucic's new deal will have an identical cap hit. Lucic, 28, appeared in 81 games last season and scored 55 points (20 goals, 35 assists). 

-EN Says: This is another contract with buytout potential. Lucic is arguably the best power forward in the game. A unique blend of skill and strength, he makes the Oilers a tougher and more dangerous team. And he will provide an element of protection for the Oilers' young forwards such as Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. But at 28, it's fair to wonder if his style of play will allow him to finish this contract.

-The Oilers signed unrestricted free agent goaltender Jonas Gustavsson to a one-year contract worth a total of $800,000. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $700,000, Gustavsson, 31, appeared in 24 games with the Bruins last season and had an 11-9-1 record, a 2.72 goal against average and .908 save percentage.

-EN Says: The Oilers always need to improve their goaltending but we're not sure the journeyman Gustavsson, even in a backup role, is an upgrade.

-The Oilers re-signed unrestricted free agent defenseman Mark Fraser to a one-year, two-way contract.

-The Canucks signed unrestricted free agent forward Loui Eriksson (rightto a six-year contract worth a total of $36 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $4.25 million, Eriksson's new deal will have a cap hit of $6 million. Eriksson, 30, appeared in 82 games last season and scored 63 points (30 goals, 33 assists).

-EN Says: Eriksson was arguably the most complete player available in this free agent crop. A talented skilled winger who is strong in his own zone, he'll fit in well alongside the Sedin twins. It's fair to wonder how he'll hold up over the life of this contract given his age but in the short-term, this is a worthwhile contract.

-The Canucks signed former Penguins forward Jayson Megna, an unrestricted free agent, to a one-year contract worth $600,000. Coming off a contract with an identical salary cap hit, Megna, 26, appeared in six games with the Rangers last season and scored two points (one goal, one assists).

-EN Says: Megna is a fast skater who has produced points at the AHL level but he has never quite gotten it together at the NHL level. 

-The Canucks signed unrestricted free agent forwards Michael Chaput, formerly of the Blue Jackets, Borna Rendulic, formerly of the Avalanche, and defenseman Chad Billins, formerly of Linkopings HC in Sweden's SHL, to one-year, two-way contracts.

-The Canucks signed unrestricted free agent defenseman Philip Larsen to a one-year contract worth $1.025 million. He has not played in the NHL since 2013-14 with the Oilers. Larsen, 26, appeared in 52 games for Jokerit, a Finnish team in Russia's KHL, last season and scored 36 points (11 goals, 25, assists). 

-EN Says: Coming off a productive run in a lesser league, Larsen will try to give it a go in the NHL again. 

-The Sharks signed unrestricted free agent forward Mikkel Boedker to a four-year contract worth a total of $16 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $3.75 million, Boedker's new deal will have a cap hit of $4 million. Boedker, 26, 80 games between the Coyotes as well as Avalanche last season and scored 51 points (17 goals, 34 assists).

-EN Says: Boedker is a extremely fast skater who can play either wing. He'll blend in well with the offensively-minded Sharks. 

-The Sharks signed unrestricted free agent defenseman David Schlemko (right) to a four-year contract with a salary cap hit of $8.4 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $625,000, Schlemko's new deal will have a cap hit of $2.1 million. Schlemko, 29, appeared in 67 games last season with the Devils and scored 19 points (six goals, 13 assists).

-EN Says: Schlemko had a pretty solid season for a poor Devils team last season. He'll offer an upgrade on the blue line for the Sharks. 

-The Sharks re-signed unrestricted free agent goaltender Aaron Dell to a two-year, two-way contract and forward Micheal Haley to a one-year, two-way contract.

-The Flames signed unrestricted free agent forward Troy Brouwer to a four-year deal worth a total of $14.5 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $3,666,666, Brouwer's new deal will have a cap hit of $4.5 million. Brouwer, 30, appeared in 82 games for the Blues last season and scored 39 points (18 goals, 21 assists).

-EN Says: Brouwer has been a pretty healthy and steady performer throughout his career. Rarely missing games, he's usually good for 30 to 40 points a season. Additionally, he plays a pretty hard game which will fit in well with how Calgary management prefers things. He also owns a Stanley Cup ring. The Flames have have a younger roster and a player like Brouwer can offer some guidance. 

-The Flames signed former Penguins goaltending prospect Chad Johnson (right), an unrestricted free agent, to a one-year contract worth a total of $1.7 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $1.3 million, Johnson, 30, appeared in 45 games last season for the Sabres and had a 22-16-1 record with a 2.36 goals against average, a .920 save percentage and one shutout.

-EN Says: Pressed into starting duty due to an injury to starter Robin Lehner, Johnson played pretty well for a poor Sabres team. He'll give the Flames a much more stable option as a backup than previous goaltender Joni Ortio. 

-The Coyotes signed unrestricted free agent forward Jamie McGinn to a three-year contract worth a total of $9,999,999. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $2.95 million, McGinn's new deal will have a cap hit of $3,333,333. McGinn, 27, appeared in 84 games last season with the Sabres as well as Ducks and scored 39 points (22 goals, 17 assists).

-EN Says: McGinn has been a streaky goal scorer throughout his career but set a career high with 22 goals this past season. He'll provide some depth as a bottom-six forward for the Coyotes. 

-The Coyotes signed unrestricted free agent forward Ryan White (rightto a one-year contract worth $1 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $800,000, White, 28, appeared in 73 games last season with the Flyers and scored 16 points (11 goals, five assists) while also recording 101 penalty minutes.

-EN Says: White's a bottom-line banger and crasher who doesn't always play within the rules. He'll fit in well with the rough-and-tumble Pacific Division.

-The Coyotes re-signed unrestricted free agent defenseman Kevin Connauton to a two-year contract worth a total of $2 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $683,333, Connauton's new deal will have a cap hit of $1 million. 

-EN Says: Connauton can boom a shot from the point. He's probably a better fit as a bottom-pairing defenseman. 

-The Coyotes re-signed unrestricted defenseman Klas Dahlbeck to a one-year contract worth $750,000. Coming off a one-year, two-way contract with a salary cap hit of $650,000, Dahlbeck, 24, appeared in 71 games last season and scored eight points (two goals, six assists). 

-EN Says: A player with decent size (6-foot-3, 207 pounds), Dahlbeck plays a quiet game as a bottom-pairing defender.

-The Coyotes re-signed unrestricted free agent defenseman Jarred Tinordi and signed forwards Garret Ross, formerly of the Blackhawks, Chris Mueller, formerly of the Ducks, goaltender Justin Peters, formerly of the Capitals, as well as defenseman Jamie McBain, formerly of the Kings, to one-year, two-way contracts.

-The Kings re-signed unrestricted free agent forward Teddy Purcell (rightto a one-year contract worth $1.6 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $4.5 million, Purcell, 30, appeared in 76 games last season between the Panthers as well as Oilers and scored 43 points (14 goals, 29 assists). 

-EN Says: Purcell is a reliable point producer who is ideally a third-liner. Generally a healthy player who rarely misses games, Purcell can play both wings.  

-The Kings signed defenseman Tom Gilbert to a one-year contract worth a total of $1.4 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $2.8 million, Gilbert, 33, appeared in 45 games for the Canadiens last season and scored two points (one goal, one assist).

-EN Says: When healthy, Gilbert is a steady but hardly spectacular puck-moving defenseman. A right-handed shot, he struggled with a knee injury last season.

-The Kings signed unrestricted free agent defenseman Zach Trotman to a one-year contract worth $650,000. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $625,000, Trotman, 25, appeared in 38 games for the Bruins last season and scored seven points (two goals, five assists). 

-EN Says: Trotman is a bigger (6-foot-3, 217 pounds) puck-moving defenseman who never quite got things together with the Bruins. This is a depth signing. 

-The Kings signed unrestricted free agent forward Michael Latta to a one-year deal worth $600,000. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $575,000, Latta, 25, appeared in 43 games for the Capitals last season and scored seven points (four goals, three assists). 

(Photos: Claus Andersen/Getty Images, Joel Auerbach/Getty Images, Bruce Bennett/Getty Images, Mike Carlson/Getty Images, Rob Carr/Getty Images, Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images, Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images, Marianne Helm/Getty Images, Kirk Irwin/Getty Images, Derek Leung/Getty Images, Andy Marlin/Getty Images, Maddie Meyer/Getty Images, Ethan Miller/Getty Images, Doug Pensinger/Getty Images, Christian Petersen/Getty Images, Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images, Gregory Shamus/Getty Images, Patrick Smith/Getty Images, Alex Trautwig/Getty Images and Elsa/Getty Images)

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AFL-CIO targets Sen. Pat Toomey in its first ad campaign

The AFL-CIO today launched its first ads this election cycle targeting U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa. The ads, which are running on Facebook, are part of a national campaign targeting vulnerable Republicans in six battleground states....

Read more http://www.post-gazette.com/early-returns/erstate/2016/07/01/AFL-CIO-targets-Sen-Pat-Toomey-in-its-first-ad-campaign/stories/201607010211

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Mind Cure store will be become Cruel Noise

Written by Scott Mervis on .

Michael-SeamansMichael SeamansOn Aug. 1, Mind Cure Records in Polish Hill will become Cruel Noise Records, under new ownership.


Michael Seamans, who has minded the store at 3138 Dobson St. for six years, has decided to take a break from the day-to-day retail grind and work on his punk documentary and on his Mind Cure label, which has issued releases by the likes of the Bats, Eviction and the S/cks.


Taking over the space will be John Villegas, who plays multiple roles in the underground music scene.


Seamans released this statement:


I am excited to announce that as of August 1st Mind Cure Records is changing. John Villegas, who has been putting out, promoting and writing about underground music for years will be taking over the store as his own and run it under the name Cruel Noise Records. I can’t imagine a better person to step behind the counter and take the reins. John is already a cornerstone of both the Underground music and Polish Hill communities and I have no doubt that he will do a lot with what was started under the Mind Cure banner and make it his own.


To be clear I am not retiring from records, I will still be buying and selling used records and record collections independently but I need some time to take a step back from the day-to-day operations of a store and regroup.


Mind Cure Records the label will continue and the Pittsburgh Punk documentary ‘Give us a Chance’ will be finished this year. The Mind Cure Annex location inside the Commonwealth Press store in Mt. Lebanon will continue on under their watch to ensure that Washington Road’s music needs are met.


Thanks to everybody who has come through the store and supported me and Mind Cure over the years - please continue to do so for John and Cruel Noise as he continues to use this space to promote and sell the finest in Underground music.


We will continue with regular hours until July 18th and then close to allow John time to get the store set up to open for business on Tuesday August 2nd.  It has been a great 6 years at 3138 Dobson St and I couldn’t have done it without the help of a lot of people and the community on Polish Hill.


If you have any questions or have records to sell you can still reach me at (412) 500-6756 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Penguins lose Lovejoy, Zatkoff - 07-01-16

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

As expected, the Penguins have lost a few members of their Stanley Cup-winning team.

Defenseman Ben Lovejoy (above) signed a three-year contract worth $8 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $1.1 million, Lovejoy's new deal will have a cap hit of $2.66 million.

Lovejoy, 32, appeared in 66 games for the Penguins last season and scored 10 points (four goals, six assists). In 24 postseason game, he scored six points (two goals, four assists.

Largely used in a defensive role, Lovejoy routinely drew assignments against opponents' top forwards. A strong skater with limited puck skills, Lovejoy's strengths are primarily defensive in nature.

Lovejoy will rejoin a number of familiar faces in New Jersey such as general manager Ray Shero, assistant general manager Tom Fitzgerald as well as right winger Beau Bennett. With the Devils having traded right-handed defenseman Adam Larsson this week, Lovejoy, also a right-handed shot, would appear to fill an immediate void for the team.

Additionally, the Penguins lost backup goaltender Jeff Zatkoff who signed a two-year contract worth $1.8 million with the Kings. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $600,000, Zatkoff's new deal will have a salary cap hit of $900,000.

Zatkoff, 29, appeared in 14 games for the Penguins last season and had a 2.79 goals against average as well as a .917 save percentage.

After losing the No. 2 role to rookie Matt Murray, Zatkoff was pressed into starting duties for the first two games of the postseason while Murray and Fleury were sidelined due to injuries. Zatkoff went 1-1 with a 3.08 goals against average and .908 save percentage. 

Zatkoff (right) spent parts of the past three seasons with the Penguins. He was originally drafted by the Kings in 2006 in the third round but never reached the NHL level with that organization. He will likely serve as a backup to starter Jonathan Quick.

EN Says: These aren't surprising moves. General manager Jim Rutherford estimated he only has approximately $1 million of salary cap space to work with and even at their modest salaries, Lovejoy and Zatkoff weren't going to re-sign.

Lovejoy really turned his fortunes around over the past calendar year. Acquired at the 2015 trade deadline in a questionable trade which sent defenseman Simon Despres to the Ducks, Lovejoy struggled in the 2015 postseason. He entered 2015-16 with a lot of scrutiny directed at him and he responded by becoming a very reliable and dependable second-pairing defender. 

With Lovejoy's departure and the possible loss of defenseman Justin Schultz, the Penguins could end up losing two right-handed defensemen this offseason. Given head coach Mike Sullivan's strong preference for right-lefty defensive pairings, there is room for concern in losing both players.

With the emergence of Murray as well as a build-up of organizational depth in goaltenders Tristan Jarry, Sean Maguire and Filip Gustavsson, Zatkoff was a luxury the Penguins couldn't afford. 

(Photos: Christian Petersen/Getty Images and Eric Risberg/Associated Press)

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Penguins agree to new contract with assistant coach Martin - 07-01-16

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

The Penguins have agreed to a two-year contract extension with assistant coach Jacques Martin, according to a team source.

Martin has been a member of the Penguins in various capacities the past three seasons. Last season, he took over as an assistant coach when Mike Sullivan assumed head coaching duties in mid-December.

Overseeing the team's defensemen and penalty kill, Martin helped the franchise secure its fourth Stanley Cup last month. It was the first Stanley Cup in Martin's career.

Martin, 63, has previously served as head coach of the Blues, Senators, Panthers and Canadiens as well as general manager of the Panthers.

Additionally, the team is expected to fulfill most of the duties of former director of player personnel Dan MacKinnon from within the organization. MacKinnon left the team for a similar position with the New Jersey Devils earlier this week.

(Photo: Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press)

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