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Empty Netter Assists - Penguins re-sign Kuhnhackl - 06-23-15

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins

-The Penguins re-signed minor league forward Tom Kuhnhackl (above), a pending restricted free agent, to a one-year, two-way contract. It has a $575,000 salary cap hit at the NHL level. A fourth-round pick in 2010, Kuhnhakl, 23, appeared in 27 AHL games last season and scored 30 points (12 goals, 18 assists).

-EN Says: This might be Kuhnhackl's last chance with the Penguins. Drafted as a top-six style forward, Kuhnhackl has struggled to establish himself in that role at the AHL level. Granted, parts of his difficulties have been due to injuries but he was relegated to third-line duties most of last season.

-Top-six wingers don't come cheap.

-The last decade of drafts have had mixed results for the Penguins.

-Former Penguins forward Bill Thomas has joined MODO of Sweden's SHL.

-Former Wilkes/Barre/Scranton Penguins forward Jason Jaffray has joined EHC München of Germany's DEL.

Neapolitan Ice Cream Metropolitan Division

-The Devils re-signed minor league goaltender Scott Wedgewood to a two-year two-way contract.

Atlantic Division

-Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk (right), a pending restricted free agent, has fired agent Igor Larionov.

-Lightning assistant coach George Gwozdecky is leaving the team to pursue other opportunities.

Pacific Division

-Kings forward Jarret Stoll has been charged with one felony count of drug possession, of cocaine stemming from an arrest in Las Vegas in April.

-The Canucks re-signed forward Ronalds Kenins to a one-year contract worth a total of $575,000 and minor-league forward Alex Friesen to a two-year, two-way deal. Coming off an entry-level contract with a salary cap hit of $680,000, Kenins, 24, appeared in 30 games last season and scored 12 points (four goals, eight assists).

-EN Says: Kenins had a somewhat productive cup of coffee at the NHL level last season. He's a competitive player who has earned a one-way contract.

-The Ducks are still trying to re-sign pending unrestricted free agent forward Matt Beleskey.

-The Oilers officially fired head amateur scout Stu MacGregor, head professional scout Morey Gare, amateur scouts Brad Davis, Kent Hawley, professional scout Dave Semenko and director of coaching and special projects Billy Moores.

Norris Division

-In addition to Wednesday's awards show, the NHL will hold general manager meetings in Las Vegas Tuesday.

-Blues general manager Doug Armstrong was named general manager of Team Canada for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey tournament. Marc Bergevin of the Montreal Canadiens, Ken Holland of the Detroit Red Wings, Bob Murray of the Anaheim Ducks, Rob Blake of the Los Angeles Kings and Scott Salmond of Hockey Canada will be part of the management staff.

-Former Lightning/Ducks/Thrashers forward Evgeny Artyukhin (right) has joined SKA St. Petersburg of Russia's KHL.

-Former Ducks/Thrshers defenseman Mark Popovic has joined Klagenfurter AC of Austria's EBEL.

-Former Kings forward Jared Aulin has joined Rapperswil of Switzerland's NLB.

(Photos: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images, Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins)

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Empty Netter Assists - Shopping for wingers - 06-22-15

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins

-Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford is still looking for a top-six winger.

 

-Happy 48th birthday to former Penguins defenseman Paul Stanton (right). An eighth-round pick in 1985, Stanton spent three seasons with the Penguins. He made his NHL debut in 1990-91 and appeared in 75 games while scoring 23 points. He appeared in 22 playoff games that season and contributed three points as the Penguins won their first Stanley Cup title. In 1991-92, Stanton was limited to 54 games and 10 points, but appeared in all 21 of the team's postseason games and netted eight points as the franchise successfully defended its Stanley Cup title. Stanton rebounded during the team's historic 1992-93 campaign by playing in 77 games for the Presidents' Trophy champions and scoring 16 points. In the 1993 offseason, Stanton was traded to the Bruins in exchange for a draft pick. In 206 regular season games with the Penguins, Stanton recorded 49 points. In 44 postseason games, he scored 12 points.

 

-Happy 54th birthday to former Penguins forward Steve Gatzos. A second-round pick in 1981, Gatzos spent parts of four seasons with the Penguins. As a rookie, Gatzos scored 14 points in 16 games in 1981-82. Gatzos appeared in 44 games in 1982-83 but only scored 13 points. Gatzos' totals continued to fall in 1983-84 as he only played in 23 games and recorded six points. In his final NHL season, Gatzos appreared in six games and recorded two assists in 1985-86. The following offseason, Gatzos joined the Tilburg Trappers in Holland. In 89 games with the Penguins, Gatzos scored 35 points.

 

 

Central Division

-"It's a reflection of our staff, a reflection of our players and how we played the game and the season that we had. I truly believe that, so for me, it's more of an acknowledgment that our team found some sort of success this year." - Predators coach Peter Laviolette on being a finalists for the Jack Adams Award.

-Some members of the Blackhawks celebrated with the Stanley Cup with the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field yesterday:

-Blackhawks defenseman and former Penguin Michal Rozsival was part of the fun:

Patrick Division

-Former Thrashers/Jets forward Carl Klingberg has joined Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod of Russia's KHL.

(Photos: Jon Durr/Getty Images, Matt Marton/Associated Press and Penguins Hockey Cards)

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Empty Netter Assists - Flames re-sign Backlund - 06-21-15

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Neapolitan Ice Cream Metropolitan Division

-"This is a very critical draft for us. I think one of the more critical drafts in years.  We've got to hit.  We have to hit here.  We do have a lot of picks, and we have some holes to fill.  We need to keep young players coming." - Flyers general manager Ron Hextall on the upcoming draft.

Pacific Division

-The Flames signed forward Mikael Backlund (right) to a three-year contract extension worth a total of $10.725 million. Coming off a contract with a cap hit of $1.5 million, Backlund's new deal has a cap hit of $3.75 million. Backlund, 26, appeared in 52 games last season and scored and scored 27 points (10 goals, 17 assists).

-EN Says: Backlund, a first-round pick in 2007, was a significant part of the Flames' surprising postseason run this past season. A two-way center who can make some plays, he primarily served as the Flames No. 2 center last season. This is a fair deal.

-Less than a week before the draft, the Oilers fired head amateur scout Stu MacGregor and head pro scout Morey Gare.

(Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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Empty Netter Assists - NHL set to release schedule - 06-20-15

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins

-The NHL is scheduled to release the 2015-16 schedule Thursday.

-Former Penguins defenseman Alexandre Picard has joined Gottéron of Switzerland's NLA.

-Former Penguins defenseman Jay McKee has joined the OHL's Kitchener Rangers as an associate coach.

-Happy 32nd birthday to former Penguins forward Bill Thomas (right). A native of Fox Chapel, Thomas was a free agent signing in the 2008 offseason and appeared in 16 games while scoring three points for the Penguins in the 2008-09 season. Thomas left the team in the 2009 offseason joining the Springfield Falcons of the AHL. He spent this past season with Lake Erie of the AHL.  He is currently a member of Medvescak Zagreb a Croatian team in Russia's KHL.

-Happy 61st birthday to former Penguins forward Jacques Cossette. A second-round pick in the 1974 draft, Cossette's entire three-year NHL career was spent in Pittsburgh. As a rookie in 1975-76, he appeared in seven games and recorded two assists. After spending all of next season in Hershey of the AHL, Cossette appeared in 19 NHL games in 1977-78 and netted three points. The 1978-79 season saw Cossette play in 38 games and score nine points. He would never play in the NHL again. In 64 games with the Penguins, Cossette scored 14 points.

Neapolitan Ice Cream Metropolitan Division

-The Flyers will retain assistant coaches Gord Murphy, Ian Laperriere and Joe Mullen. Mullen is a former Penguins forward.

-The Devils will retain goaltending coach Chris Terreri.

Atlantic Division

-The Red Wings officially hired former Oilers coach Todd Nelson as head coach of the Grand Rapids Griffins, their AHL affiliate. Nelson, a former Penguins defeseman, was a candidate for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins' head coaching position.

-The Maple Leafs acquired forward prospect Zach Hyman and a conditional 2017 seventh-round pick in exchange for minor league forward Greg McKegg.

Central Division

-The Stars will not re-sign pending unrestricted free agent forward Shawn Horcoff (right) or restricted free agent forward Scott Glennie.

Pacific Division

-The Sharks placed forward Adam Burish on waivers with the intention of buying out the remainder of his contract.

-Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said pending unrestricted free agent forwards John Scott and defenseman Scott Hannan would not be re-signed.

(Photos: Christian Petersen/Getty Images and Dave Sandford/Getty Images)

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Empty Netter Assists - Draft order set - 06-19-15

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins

-“Certainly, my aspirations are still to be a head coach. I thought it was a necessary step if I had to go back to the [AHL] and become a head coach again and try to make my mark and bring the wealth of experience that I’ve gained through the years to the team that I’m going to coach. I think it’s an important step.” - Mike Sullivan on becoming the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins' head coach.

-The NHL released the official order of the upcoming draft. The Penguins have four picks:

Second round - No. 46 overall
Fifth round - No. 137 overall
Sixth round - No. 167 overall
Seventh round - No. 197 overall

-Former Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins goaltender Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers has joined Augsburger Panther of Germany's DEL.

-Former Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins goaltender Peter Mannino has retired and become an assistant coach with the Chicago Steel of the USHL.

-Today would've been the 75th birthday of former Penguins forward Keith McCreary (right). Acquired from the Canadiens in the 1967 expansion draft, McCreary spent five seasons with the Penguins. During the team's inaugural season of 1967-68, McCreary appeared in 70 games and scored 26 points. In 1968-69, McCreary once again played in 70 games and led the team with 25 goals while scoring a career-high 48 points. The 1969-70 season saw McCreary play in 60 games while scoring 26 points. During that spring's postseason, he appeared in 10 games and recorded four points. The following season in 1970-71, McCreary once again led the team with 21 goals while scoring 33 points in 59 games. McCreary was limited to 33 games and eight points in 1971-72. He appeared in one postseason game that spring and failed to record a point. In the 1972 offseason, he was claimed by the Atlanta Flames in the expansion draft. In 292 games with the Penguins, McCreary, one of two players to wear No. 21 for the franchise - Michel Briere was the other - scored 141 points, 59th-most in franchise history. In 11 postseason games, he had four assists. He died, Dec. 8, 2003, at the age of 63.

Neapolitan Ice Cream Metropolitan Division

-The Hurricanes re-signed defenseman Michal Jordan to a one-year contract worth $625,000. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $550,000, Jordan, 24, appeared in 38 games last season and scored six points (two goals, four assists).

-EN Says: Jordan is a solid depth player who can fill in when injuries strike the NHL roster.

-The Blue Jackets hired Kenny McCudden as an assistant coach.

Atlantic Division

-The Senators re-signed forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau (right) to a two-year contract extension worth a total of $1.8 million. Coming off an entry-level contract with a salary cap hit of $613,333, Pageau's new deal will have a cap hit of $900,000. Pageau, 22, appeared in 50 games last season and scored 19 points (10 goals, nine assists).

-EN Says: Pageau is an energy player who hustles all over the ice and will throw the body. While he is primarily a center, he can play a little wing and chip in an occasional goal. This is a fair contract.

-The Senators signed head coach Dave Cameron to a two-year contract extension.

-The Sabres hired Terry Murray and Dave Barr as assistant coaches.

-The Panthers are not expected to extend contract offers to pending unrestricted free agent forwards Tomas Kopecky and Scottie Upshall.

-The Maple Leafs filed for club-elected salary arbitration with pending restricted free agent goaltender Jonathan Bernier.

-The Bruins re-signed minor league defenseman Tommy Cross and forward Tyler Randell to one-year, two-way contracts.

Central Division

-The Wild placed former Penguins forward Matt Cooke on waivers with the intention of buying out the final year of his contract. Injuries limited Cooke, 36, to 29 games and 10 points (four goals, six assists) last season.

-Approximately two million people attended the Blackhawks' Stanley Cup victory parade and rally.

-The Blackhawks brought along C.J. Reif, son of former equipment manager Clint Reif, to celebrate. Clint Reif died in December:

-Blackhawks captain/forward Jonathan Toews gave the Stanley Cup a smooch:

 

-Retiring Blackhawks defenseman Kimmo Timonen gave the Stanley Cup a lift:

-Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith brought along the Conn Smythe Trophy:

-Blackhawks forward and former Penguin Marian Hossa celebrated once again:

-Fire Ray Shero.

-Confetti flew at Soldier Field:

-Fans brought along their own Stanley Cups:

-The Blackhawks rode along in buses on the parade route:

-The Avalanche unveiled its logo to commemorate the franchise's 20th season in Denver:

Pacific Division

-The Canucks re-signed minor league goaltender Joe Cannata. Terms were not reported.

-Former Sabres coach Ron Rolston was hired as head coach of the Portland Pirates, the Coyotes' AHL affiliate.

Adams Division

-Former Red Wings/Islanders/Maple Leafs/Flames/Canadiens goaltender Joey MacDonald has joined the Schwenninger Wild Wings of the DEL.

-Former Capitals/Islanders/Hurricanes/Blues forward Keith Aucoin has joined EHC München of the DEL.

-Former Maple Leafs forward Brandon Kozun has joined Jokerit, a Finnish team in Russia's KHL.

(Photos: Paul Beaty/Associated Press, Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images, Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press, Scott Olson/Getty Images, Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images and Penguins Hockey Cards)

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