Empty Netter Assists - 07-10-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .


-The Penguins claim no final decision has been made regarding Sidney Crosby's (right) injured right wrist.

-Restricted free agent Nick Spaling is scheduled to have an arbitration hearing July 31.

-Former Penguins forward Aleksey Morozov had his contract terminated by the KHL's CSKA Moscow.

-Former Penguins coach/general manager Eddie Johnston will be inducted into the Cambria County Sports Hall of Fame Saturday. Johnston spent one season as a goaltender with the Johnstown Jets of the former Eastern Hockey League and helped the team win the league championship in 1959-60.

-Happy 39th birthday to former Penguins defenseman Alain Nasreddine. Acquired at the 2004 trade deadline in a deal which sent Steve Webb to the Islanders, Nasreddine spent parts of three seasons with the Penguins. Following the 2004-05 lockout, he appeared in six games and didn't record a point for the Penguins in 2005-06. The 2006-07 campaign was his finest as an NHLer as he appeared in a career-high 44 games and scored five points. In 2007-08, Nasreddine was limited to six games and no points. During the 2008 offseason, he joined the Sinupret Ice Tigers Nurnberg of the DEL in Germany. He is currently an assistant coach with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

Neapolitan Ice Cream Metropolitan Division

-The Devils signed goaltender Cory Schneider (right) to a seven-year contract extension worth $42 million. Entering the final year of a contract with a salary cap hit of $4 million, Schneider's new deal will have a cap hit of $6 million. Appearing in 45 games last season, Schneider, 28, appeared in 45 games last season and had a 16-15-12 record with a 1.97 goals against average, .921 save percentage and three shutouts.

-EN Says: After years of backing up or platooning with Roberto Luongo in Vancouver and Martin Brodeur in New Jersey, Schneider finally has his chance to be a full-time No. 1 goaltender. The Devils acquired him to be Brodeur's successor and he took the job from Brodeur in the latter half of the 2013-14 campaign. A first-round pick in 2004, Schneider has shown the ability to be a franchise goaltender in spurts but has never truly held the role. While he certainly has the ability to be worthy of this contract, he hasn't necessarily had the results. To this point of his career, Schneider has been more potential than success.

-Capitals forward Tom Wilson will be sidelined until the start of training camp in September following surgery for a fractured left fibula.

Atlantic Division

-Lightning forward prospect Adam Erne will undergo wrist surgery.

Central Division

-The Blackhawks signed forwards Patrick Kane (right) and Jonathan Toews to identical eight-year contract extensions each worth a total of $84 million. Both players, each entering the final years of their current contracts with salary cap hits of $6.3 million, will have salary cap hits of $10.5 million under their new deals beginning in 2015-16. Kane, 25, appeared in 69 games last season and scored 69 points (29 goals, 40 assists). Toews, 26, appeared in 76 games last season and scored 68 points (28 goals, 40 assists).

-EN Says: These contracts will give Kane and Toews the highest individual salary cap hits in the NHL. They deserve it. Kane and Toews have been the biggest reason the Blackhawks have transformed from the NHL's laughingstock to arguably the best franchise in the league. Their impact on the ice has been monumental as evidenced by the two Stanley Cup championships they helped the Blackhawks wins but their impact off the ice might be bigger in terms of ticket and merchandise sales as well as television ratings. As far as the salary cap implications for the Blackhawks, they already have over $71 million committed to contracts for 2015-16. Trying to re-sign young role players such as Marcus Kruger and Brandon Saad - each scheduled to become restricted free agents after next season - could be tricky. These contracts will make the Blackhawks all the more dependent on their abilities to draft and develop NHL-caliber players. League-wide, this contract raises the bar for a player such as Steven Stamkos who is scheduled to become a restricted free agent in 2016.

-The Predators re-signed restricted free agent defenseman Mattias Ekholm to a two-year contract worth a total of $2.075 million. Coming off an entry-level contract with a salary cap hit of $900,000, Ekholm's next contract will have a salary cap hit of $1,037,500. Appearing in 62 games last season, Ekholm, 24, scored nine points (one goal, eight assists). Ekholm was scheduled to have an arbitration hearing with the Predators.

-EN Says: A fourth-round pick in 2009, Ekholm broke through as a full-time NHLer last season. He has a large body (6-foot-4, 204 pounds) and can play physical. Inconsistency is his biggest issue.

-The Wild re-signed former forward Cody Almond to a one-year contract worth a total of $550,000. Almond spent the past two seasons with Genève-Servette of Switzerland's NLA. In 44 games last season, Almond, 24, scored 34 points (18 goals, 16 assists). 

-EN Says: Almond is a bottom-six forward.

Pacific Division

-The Ducks have signed former Wild forward Dany Heatley (right) to a one-year contract worth a total of $1 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $7.5 million, Heatley, 33, appeared in in 76 games last season and scored 28 points (12 goals, 16 assists).

-EN Says: How the mighty have fallen. At one point, Heatley, a two-time 50-goal scorer, was arguably the best goal-scoring winger in the NHL. Now, he's barely a top-six forward in the NHL. A healthy scratch at times last season, Heatley saw his game steadily decline the past three seasons with Minnesota. The Ducks are taking a chance on him with a low-risk high-reward contract. While he'll never reach the 50-goal mark again, Heatley still have a good shot and if teamed with either Ryan Getzlaf or Ryan Kesler, he can still hit the 20-goal mark. Another aspect of this deal is the fact Heatley has been a strong power-play player throughout his career. Anaheim's power play struggled quite a bit last season and Heatley can provide a boost for this unit.

-The Oilers re-signed restricted free agent goaltender Richard Bachman to a one-year contract. Financial terms were not reported. Appearing in three NHL games last season, Bachman, 26, had a 0-2-1 record with a 3.02 goals against average and .916 save percentage.

Smythe Division

-Former Stars/Thrashers/Coyotes forward Niko Kapanen has joined Jokerit of Finland's Liiga.

-Former Bruins forward Jamie Tardif has joined Adler Mannheim of Germany's DEL.

(Photos: Al Bello/Getty Images, Paul Bereswill/Getty Images, Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images and Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

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