Empty Netter Assists - 06-30-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .


-The Penguins turn their sights on free agency.

-How was the NHL's salary cap set at $69 million?

-Will the Predators miss Nick Spaling more than Patric Hornqvist?

--Happy 31st birthday to former Penguins forward Karl Stewart (right). Claimed off waivers from the Ducks prior to the 2006-07 season, Stewart appeared in three games for the Penguins and failed to score a point before being claimed off waiver by the Blackhawks less than a month into the season. He spent last season with the Straubing Tigers of Germany's DEL.

Neapolitan Ice Cream Metropolitan Division

-Could Matt Niskanen's relationship with former Penguins assistant coach Todd Reirden lead him to sign with the Capitals?

-“We’re not even close. They say ‘We want to sign you to a ‘bridge’ deal.’ We say ‘We don’t want to do a ‘bridge,’ and that’s the end of it.” - Restricted free agent forward Ryan Johansen on contract negotiations with the Blue Jackets.

Atlantic Division

-The Sabres will use a compliance buyout on the remainder of defenseman Christian Ehrhoff's contract. The move will spare the Sabres Ehrhoff's salary cap hit of $4 million over the next seven seasons.

-"The fact that he quite frankly doesn’t want to be here makes it easy. I’ve said at the start that if you don’t want to be here we’ll make it happen. He’s made I believe $22 million in three years and feels that we’re not going in the right direction, but he really hasn’t had much part in the direction the team has gone. So time to move on." - Sabres defenseman Tim Murray on Ehrhoff.

-The Lightning acquired forward Sam Gagner (right) from the Oilers in exchange for forward Ted Purcell. After that, the Lightning traded Gagner and forward B.J. Crombeen to the Coyotes in exchange for a sixth-round pick in 2015. The Lightning will retain $1.6 million of Gagner's salary cap hit. Purcell, 28, has two years remaining on a contract with a salary cap hit of $4.5 million. In 81 games last season, he scored 42 points (12 goals, 30 assists). Gagner, has two years remaining on a contract with a salary cap hit of $4.8 million. In 67 games last season, Gagner had 37 points (10 goals, 27 assists). Crombeen, 28, has one year remaining on a contract with a salary cap hit of $1.15 million.

-EN Says: This was a salary dump for the Lightning, albeit they certainly went through a few steps to do it. The move will save the Lightning $5.65 million in salary cap space. For the Oilers, they've seemingly had Gagner on the block for a few seasons now. We're not sure Purcell is equal value in return but he has shown an ability to be productive when playing with skilled forwards, something the Oilers have an abundance of. For the Coyotes, they get a playmaking center in Gagner who can replace the recently departed Mike Riberio on the top two lines. Crombeen is a fourth-liner who will forecheck and drop the gloves.

-The Panthers placed captain/defenseman Ed Jovanovski on waivers with the intention of using a compliance buyout on the remainder of his contract.

Central Division

-The Jets re-signed unrestricted free agent defenseman Adam Pardy to a one-year contract worth $700,000. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $600,000, Pardy, 30, appeared in 60 games last season and recorded six assists.

-EN Says: Pardy is a bottom-pairing defenseman who has a stay-at-home type. He's large (6-foot-4, 220 pounds) but not overly physical and doesn't offer much in the way of an offensive game. This is a fair contract.

-The Predators will not re-sign restricted free agent defenseman Michael Del Zotto.

Pacific Division

-The Ducks acquired forward Nate Thompson (right) from the Lightning in exchange for four- and seventh-round picks in 2015. Thompson, 29, has three years remaining on a contract with a salary cap hit of $1.6 million. In 81 games last season, he had 16 points (nine goals, seven assists).

-EN Says: As stated above, the Lightning is trying to dump salary. The Ducks get a solid fourth-line center who can win faceoffs, kill penaltys and play physical.

-Canucks fans held a rally outside Vancouver General Hospital for former Vancouver forward/enforcer Gino Odjick who is dealing with a terminal cardiac illness.

(Photos: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images, Mike Carlson/Getty Images and Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

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