News and notes around the NHL this evening:
- Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill said that losing Valeri Nichushkin to the KHL is “not the end of the world.” The unsigned RFA is rumored to be close to signing a two-year deal with CSKA Moscow instead of remaining with the Dallas Stars. Nill reasons that Nichushkin is still young and will continue to develop in the KHL—and return to the organization a better player. Nishushkin scored 9G and 20A in 79 games for the Stars, and was considered a promising prospect on the backend.
- Unsigned RFA Ryan Strome approaches the New York Islanders self-imposed deadline to sign a contract before the season starts. As Larry Brooks reports, the Isles have maintained the previous ownership’s policy of not negotiating during training camp. The Canadian forward scored 8G and 20A in 71 games for the Isles last season, and an additional 1G and 3A in 8 playoff games. The Isles have just over $3.6MM in cap space—more than enough to sign a player of Strome’s calibre to a short-term bridge deal.
- The Buffalo Sabres officially announced that they have changed their arena name from the First Niagara Center to the KeyBank Center. KeyBank’s parent company KeyCorp recently bought First Niagara, and with it came the arena’s naming rights. Both are mid-size banks with a concentrated upstate New York presence. The name change will take effect this season. The name change is also the team’s fourth in twenty years, after being called the Marine Midland Arena, HSBC Arena, and most recently the First Niagara Center.