Empty Netter Assists 06-27-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .


-After sorting out their management and coaching situation, the Penguins' focus turns to the draft.

-Matt Niskanen (right) plans to make himself available to the free agent market July 1.

-"Whether I get this amount or that amount, my lifestyle isn’t going to change that much. I’d be lying if I said there isn’t a business side to it. There is. We’re all human. To me, I’m probably going to get more years that I’ve ever had in my career so you want to make sure you get it right." - Matt Niskanen on his status as a free agent.

-Mike Johnston is interested in bringing Travis Green in as an assistant coach. Green is currently head coach of the Utica Comets, the Canucks' AHL affiliate.

-Former Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins defenseman Joey Haddad has joined Cardiff Devils of the United Kingdom's EIHL.

-Happy 40th birthday to former Penguins defenseman Eric Cairns. Acquired midway through the 2005-06 season from the Panthers in exchange for a draft pick, Cairns spent parts of two seasons with the Penguins. He appeared in a combined 28 games in those two seasons and recorded one goal as well as 92 penalty minutes. After missing all but one game in 2006-07 due to an injury, Cairns retired and took a position in player development with the Islanders. Cairns may be more famous for getting into a fight as an Islander with former Penguins forward Matthew Barnaby in the bowels of Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum during the 1999-2000 season:

Neapolitan Ice Cream Metropolitan Division

-According to TSN, the Flyers have given Kent Hughes, agent for forward Vincent Lecavalier, permission to seek a trade.

-“While it’s different, a lot of the things are the same for me. It was always a busy, active time, and I’ll again be talking to a lot of people. The difference is I’m the point person, not the support person.” - Former Penguins captain/forward Ron Francis on approaching his first draft as the Hurricanes' general manager.

-The Capitals renewed their affiliation agreement with the ECHL's South Carolina Stingrays.

Atlantic Division

-The Senators re-signed restricted free agent defenseman Eric Gryba (right) to a two-year contract worth a total of $2.5 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $562,500, Gryba's new deal will have a cap hit of $1.25 million. Gryba, 26, appeared in 57 games last season and scored 11 points (two goals, nine assists).

-EN Says: Gryba (6-foot-4, 225 pounds) is a big defenseman who will hit and fight just about anyone. He's a respectable bottom-six pairing blue liner. This is a fair contract.

-Senators general manager Bryan Murray is trying to find the right deal in a potential trade of captain/forward Jason Spezza.

-According to Sportsnet, Don Meehan, the agent for Bruins forward and former Penguin Jarome Iginla has begun interviewing with other teams. Iginla is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent July 1.

-Will the Panthers hang on to the top overall pick in the draft?

Central Division

-The Blues re-signed restricted free agent Patrik Berglund to a three-year contract worth a total of $11.1 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $3.25 million, Berglund's new deal will have a cap hit of $3.7 million. Berglund, 25, appeared in 78 games last season and scored 32 points (14 goals, 18 assists).

-EN Says: Berglund has a world of talent and has been a 20-goal scorer in the NHL but hasn't reach that plateau since the 2010-11 season. That said, he fits in with how head coach Ken Hitchcock wants to play with regards to puck possession. If he can stay healthy, this is a fair contract.

-According to TSN, Blackhawks franchise forwards Patrick Kane (right) and Jonathan Toews are seeking salaries of $12 million per season. They are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents in the 2015 offseason and are eligible to sign contact extensions Tuesday.

-"I expect to see a lot more trades than we normally see. We'll see a lot more trades, in my opinion, that don't even involve draft picks. Hockey trades. There's so much parity in the league, everyone is trying to get ahead. I think some teams look at free agency as not an ideal route. I think there will be a lot of movement." - Wild general manager Cliff Fletcher on the potential for trades this weekend during the draft.

Pacific Division

-“If we don’t think we can get a fair deal for him, then we’re going to keep him and he’s a Vancouver Canuck. And we’re happy to have him back because he’s a great player.” - Canucks general manager Jim Benning on potentially trading forward Ryan Kesler.

-According to ESPN, the Kings will not re-sign unrestricted free agent defenseman Willie Mitchell.

Norris Division

-The NHL's board of governors approved changes to the draft lottery which would give all of the 14 non-playoff teams a more even chance at securing the top overall pick. The NHLPA must approve the change.

-Kootenay Ice forward Sam Reinhart (right) could be the latest member of his family to be a high-end draft pick in the NHL.

-Kitchener Rangers forward Ryan MacInnis, son of Hockey Hall of Fame defenseman Al MacInnis, could be drafted this weekend.

-Former Canucks/Islanders/Flyers/Canadiens forward Gino Odjick revealed he is dealing with a terminal disease impacting his heart.

-Former Capitals forward Jakub Klepis has joined Färjestad of Sweden's SHL.

-Former Rangers/Lightning/Senators/Panthers defenseman Matt Gilroy has joined Atlant Mytishchi of Russia's KHL.

(Photos: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images, Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images and Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

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