Empty Netter Assists - 07-04-13

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .


-It's looking less and less likely that Matt Cooke (right) will return to the Penguins.

-Is Beau Bennett ready to be Evgeni Malkin's left wing?

-"It came down to, you don't mess with happiness." - Pascal Dupuis on re-signing with the Penguins.

-What's the Taylor Swift Curse?

-Former Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins captain/defenseman Joey Mormina has signed with the Syracuse Crunch, the Lightning's AHL affiliate.

-Former Wilkes-Barre/Scraton Penguins forward Riley Holzapfel has joined HV71 of Sweden's SHL.

-Jonathan Bombulie of the Wilkes-Barre Citizens Voice takes a look at the AHL's top free agents.

-Happy 51st birthday to former Penguins forward Kevin McClelland. Acquired along with Pat Boutette as compensation for the Whalers' signing of Greg Millen, McClelland spent parts of three seasons with the Penguins. As a rookie in 1981-82, he appeared in 10 games and recorded five points. He also appeared in all five of the team's playoff games that spring and contributed two points when the Penguins nearly upset the defending Stanley Cup champion Islanders in the first round. In 1982-83 McCleland played in 38 games and scored nine points. After appearing in 24 games and scoring six points in 1983-84, McClelland and a draft pick were traded to the Oilers in exchange for Tom Roulston. In 72 games with the Penguins, McClelland scored 20 points. He is currently the head coach of the CHL's Wichita Thunder.

Atlantic Division

-The Devils re-signed unrestricted free agent forward Patrik Elias to a three-year contract worth a total of $16.5 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $6 million, Elias' new deal will have a cap hit of $5.5 million. Elias, 37, appeared in 48 games last season and scored 36 points.

-EN Says: Elias is a life-long Devil and he means quite a bit to this franchise on and off the ice. But investing this large of a cap hit into a contract which will take him to this 40th birthday is questionable, to be kind.

-In the wake of the trade which brought in goaltender Cory Schneider from the Canucks, the Devils placed former Penguins goaltender Johan Hedberg (right) on waivers with the intention of using a compliance buyout on the remaining year of his contract. The move will relieve the Devils of his $1.4 million cap hit.

-"I was probably one of the most shocked. I was caught off guard for sure." - Hedberg on the Schneider trade.

-"It's disappointing, obviously. You know in the salary cap era after the [2004-05] lockout, it would take a while for some teams to rebuild. The Islanders have obviously gotten to the point where you're finally starting to see that come to fruition. The most disappointing part is that I'm not going to be a part of it." - Goaltender Rick DiPietro on being bought out by the Islanders.

-The Rangers hired former Blue Jackets coach Scott Arniel as an assistant coach.

-The Rangers placed forwards Darrol Powe and Arron Asham, a former Penguin, on waivers.

-"What tipped it for Vinny was the chance to play for a hockey market with passionate fans. He is really impressed with the rich tradition of the Flyers." - Kent Hughes, agent for new Flyers forward Vincent Lecavalier, on why his client agreed to a contract with the Flyers.

Northeast Division

-The Maple Leafs placed forward Mikhail Grabovski (right) with the intent of using a compliance buyout on the remaining four years on his contract. The move will relieve the Maple Leafs of his salary cap hit of $5.5 million.

-The Senators signed head coach Paul MacLean to a three-year contract extension.

-The Sabres re-signed forward Matt Ellis to a two-year two-way contract.

-The Canadiens hired former Blackhawks goaltending coach Stephane Waite as their goaltending coach.

Southeast Division

-The Panthers placed defenseman Filip Kuba on waivers with the intention of using a compliance buyout on the final year of his contract. The move would relieve the Panthers of his $4 million salary cap hit.

-The Lightning re-signed goaltender Cedrick Desjardins and defenseman Matt Taormina to one-year, two-way contracts.

Central Division

-The Blackhawks signed restricted free agent defenseman Nick Leddy (right) to a two-year contract. Coming off an entry-level contract with a salary cap hit of $1,116,666 at the NHL level, Leddy's new deal will have a cap hit of $2.7 million and will make him a restricted free agent at its conclusion. In 48 games last season, Leddy, 22, had 16 points (three goals, three assists).

-EN Says: Leddy is a young high-end talent who isn't anywhere near his ceiling. This seems like a "bridge" contract which can get Leddy to a position where will sign a long-term deal should the Blackhawks want to commit to him.

Northwest Division

-Avalanche defensemen Matt Hunwick and Greg Zanon cleared waivers.

Pacific Division

-The Stars re-signed unrestricted free agent defenseman Jordie Benn to a three-year deal worth a total of $2.1 million. Coming off a contract with a cap hit of $525,000, Benn's new deal will have a cap hit of $700,000. Benn, 25, appeared in 26 games last season and scored six points (one goal, five assists).

-EN Says: For a No. 6 of 7 defenseman, this is a fair contract.

Patrick Division

-The Professional Hockey Writers Association, a group the author of this blog is a member of, issued a statement regarding the snafu which led to Capitals captain/forward Alex Ovechkin (right) being voted in on the NHL All-Star teams as a right winger and left winger:

It was the Professional Hockey Writers Association's recommendation that its members vote for Alex Ovechkin on the right wing, the position he played in the vast majority of his games this season.

Prior to ballots being issued, we emailed a memo to our members reminding them of Ovechkin's position switch in 2012-13. But 45 of our members chose to vote for him on the left wing, the position he had played for many years. It is also the position listed for him on

We are troubled by the all-star voting results, and plan to take a closer look at the events that led to Ovechkin winning All-Star acclaim at two positions. We know we got this wrong, and our objective is to make sure it never happens again.

Even before this confusion was revealed, the PHWA had already planned a study of our voting process. At our annual meeting in New York, a committee was formed to look at all voting issues, including transparency and eligibility. The committee includes Mark Spector (, Craig Custance (, Mike Russo (Minneapolis Star-Tribune), Nick Cotsonika (, Bruce Garrioch (Ottawa Sun) and Frank Seravalli (Philadelphia Daily News).

That group will also review this situation to see what can be done to eliminate this in the future.”

-Happy 237th birthday to the United States.

(Photos: Cooke-Paul Bereswill/Getty Images; Hedberg-Al Bello/Getty Images; Grabovski and Ovechkin-Claus Andersen/Getty Images; Leddy-Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

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