Jack Eichel wasn’t happy at his year-end press conference, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be in Buffalo for a long time. Sabres’ GM Tim Murray told Bill Hoppe of the Times Herald that he hopes to work out an extension this summer for the young superstar. Eichel will be heading into the final year of his entry-level deal in 2017-18, and will be deserving of a huge raise should the Sabres buy out any free agent years. A four year extension would make him an unrestricted free agent at the end of it, and every year after that will cost quite a bit extra.
Should the Sabres choose to go a shorter route they could keep costs down but risk pushing Eichel closer to free agency. Murray also told Hoppe that he’d like to re-sign Brian Gionta, the team captain and long-time NHLer. The 38-year old had another solid season with 15 goals and 35 points, and is a huge part of the leadership group that wants to help Buffalo back to the playoffs. Eichel has mentioned Gionta several times over the years in helping him adapt to life in the NHL
- Stan Bowman wasn’t worried about Artemi Panarin’s bonuses, he tells Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times. The young forward earned a $1.725MM bonus in the final game by scoring and putting himself into a tie for 10th in points among forwards. That’s in addition to his $850K “Schedule A” bonuses for finishing high in various team categories. The Hawks will have to carry much of those bonuses over to next season, but Bowman says he was assuming all season that Panarin would hit them.
- Amalie Benjamin of NHL.com reports that the Bruins will not bring Torey Krug or Brandon Carlo to Ottawa for game 2, still listing them day-to-day. Colin Miller, who exited last night’s game after just seven minutes of ice time, was seen limping around and is questionable for Saturday’s game. Miller was taken out by a knee from Mark Borowiecki last night, and left the game immediately. It will be interesting to see who the Bruins lean on while their defensemen nurse injuries; Charlie McAvoy played over 24 minutes in his debut.
- Kris Letang underwent the scheduled neck surgery successfully, and is on track to return in four to six months. The operation was to correct a herniated disc, and will sideline him for much of training camp if not the beginning of the regular season. The Penguins won their first game of the playoffs last night, but will be hard fought to go all the way without their superstar defenseman.
- Ron Hextall spoke to the media in Philadelphia (including Dave Isaac of the Courier-Post), and revealed that both Dale Weise and Brandon Manning will undergo surgery to correct various ailments. He also said that assistant coach Joe Mullen will not be retained for next season. Mullen has been with the Flyers since 2007, working with several different head coaches.