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Empty Netter Assists - 06-28-13

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins

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-Kris Letang (right) turned down an eight-year contract offer worth $56 million from the Penguins.

-According to USA Today, Dan Bylsma will be named head coach of the United States Olympic team. Ray Shero will serve as part of the management team. (PG+)

-"You want to give yourself a chance to win, and we have young superstars who will be here, long-term. We have a chance to win every year." - Chris Kunitz on signing a contract extension with the Penguins. (PG+)

-“They have a plan for me, but it won’t really work unless I hold up my end of the bargain and stop pucks." - goaltender Eric Hartzell on his future with the Penguins.

-Happy 35th birthday to former Penguins defenseman Ric Jackman. Acquired midway through the 2003-04 season in a deal which sent Drake Berehowsky to the Maple Leafs, Jackman spent parts of two seasons with the Penguins. In 25 games with the Penguins that campaign, Jackman was highly productive as he scored 24 points. During that season, the highlight of Jackman's Penguins career was an overtime goal in a 4-3 win at Phoenix which snapped an unofficial NHL record 18-game losing streak (below). Following the lockout, Jackman returned to the Penguins in 2005-06, and appeared in 49 games while recording 28 points. After falling out of favor with new coach Michel Therrien, Jackman was traded to the Panthers in exchange for Petr Taticek at the trade deadline. In 74 regular season games with the Penguins, Jackman scored 52 points. He is currently a member of Székesfehérvár of Austria's EBEL.

-Happy 33rd birthday to former Penguins forward Niklas Nordgren. Acquired from the Hurricanes at the 2006 trade deadline along with Krys Kolanos and a draft pick in exchange for Mark Recchi, Nordgren's Penguins career amounted to 15 games and zero points in 2005-06. In the 2006 offseason, he signed with Rapperswil of the NLA in Switzerland. He is currently a member of Kloten of Switlerand's NLA.

Atlantic Division

-After being passed over as head coach, former Rangers captain Mark Messier stepped down as the Rangers' special assistant to general manager Glen Sather. Messier claimed his decision to step down had nothing to do with the head coaching position.

-Rangers forward Ryane Clowe (concussion) was given medical clearance after suffering a suspected concussion in the postseason.

Northeast Division

-The Sabres re-signed restricted free agent defenseman Mike Weber (right), a native of Cranberry, to a three-year contract worth a total of $5 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $950,000, Weber's new deal will have a cap hit of $1.66 million. In 42 games last season, Weber, 25, scored seven points (one goal, six assists).

-EN Says: For a bottom-pairing defenseman, this seems like a slight overpayment for Weber. But he is one of the few physical presences the Sabres have on their blue line. He offers an element they simply don't have a lot of.

Southeast Division

-"When you get that phone call and you're told you're not playing for the Lightning, it was pretty rough on everybody." - Former Lightning captain/forward Vincent Lecavalier on his and his family's reaction to having his contract bought out.

-"This was not done just with the idea for next year. This is a part of where the Lightning are going long term, what our goals are and how we are going to get there.'' - Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman on buying out Lecavalier.

-The Lightning re-signed forward Mike Angelidis to a one-year two-way contract.

Central Division

-Contract talks between the Blue Jackets and restricted free agent goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky appear to have hit a stalemate.

-Blackhawks forward and former Penguin Marian Hossa may need back surgery to repair a disk which caused his right foot to go numb during the Stanley Cup Final.

-"Chicago’s a second home to me. There are other things my agent and I have to work on, and hopefully we can make that happen. There are a lot of different things. You want to be happy, and I’m happy here. It’s a great team and a great city. But we’re going to work on something. Hopefully it’ll make us both happy.” - Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell (right) on being scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent July 5.

-The Blackhawks will use compliance buyouts on defenseman Steve Montador and forward Rostislav Olesz. The move will relieve the Blackhawks of salary cap hits for Montador ($2.75 million) and Olesz ($3.125 million).

-The Blackhawks will hold their victory parade today.

-Last month, the Chicago Sun-Times laid off its entire photography staff with hopes that others staffers could be trained to take photos with cell phones. On the heels of the Blackhawks' Stanley Cup championship, here are the photos on the covers of the Sun-Times (right) and the competing Chicago Tribune two days after the win:

-Thinking Out Loud: You've got to spend money to make money.

Northwest Division

-The Avalanche re-acquired former forward Alex Tanguay and defenseman Cory Sarich from the Flames in exchange for forward David Jones and defenseman Shane O'Brien. Tanguay, 33, has three years remaining on a contract with a salary cap hit of $3.5 million. In 40 games last season, Tanguay had 27 points (11 goals, 16 assists). Sarich, 34, has one year left on a contract with a salary cap hit of $2 million. In 28 games last season, Sarich had two assists. Jones, 28, has two years remaining on a contract with a salary cap hit of $4 million. In 33 games last season, he had nine points (three goals, six assists). O'Brien, 29, has two year left on a contract with a salary cap hit of $2 million.

-“One of the things we’ve been talking about for some time and we certainly talked about at the end of the season, is the need to become a harder team to play against,” Feaster said Thursday night. “We wanted to get bigger and younger as well.” - Flames general manager Jay Feaster on the trade.

-EN Says: This is an odd trade for both teams. For the Avalanche, its continues it seemingly never-ending quest to bring back every former player in some capacity by dealing for Tanguay (right) who was a member of the club's 2001 Stanley Cup championship team. Tanguay is a long way removed from the player who was a regular 20-goal threat however. Sarich is an older physical defender who usually plays a safe responsible game but has dealt with injuries as of late. For the Flames, they add a bit of salary in adding two younger but underachieving players. Jones had a dreadful season after two back-to-back 20-goal campaign while O'Brien is a bottom-pairing defenseman who offers a pretty physical game but has some questions in terms of discipline.

-The Wild may want to shed some payroll at this weekend's draft.

Pacific Division

-The Ducks re-signed unrestricted free agent defenseman Ben Lovejoy to a three-year contract worth a total of $3.3 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $525,000, Lovejoy's new deal will have a cap hit of $1.1 million. In 35 games last season, the former Penguin had 10 assists.

-EN Says: After being traded to the Ducks early this past season, Lovejoy (right) seemed to find a home with the Ducks and the aggressive offensive system of head coach Bruce Boudreau. Taking advantage of his skating ability, Lovejoy was asked to join in on the offensive attack quite a bit in Anaheim. This is a fair contract for a player who seems like a good fit with the Ducks.

-The Sharks re-signed restricted free agent defenseman Jason Demers to a one-year contract worth $1.5 million. In 22 games last season, Demers, 25, scored three points (one goal, two assists).

-EN Says: Coming off an injury-filled season, this is a fair contract for Demers. Capable of being a puck-mover, Demers has some offensive touch but is inconsistent in his own zone.

(Photos: Letang-Vincent Pugliese/Getty Images; Weber-Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images; Bickell-Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images; Tanguay-Jeff Gross/Getty Images; Lovejoy-Harry How/Getty Images)

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