With the regular season now just a few days away, there was a small uptick in news around the league. Here are the top stories from the past seven days.
Gionta Retires: Veteran winger Brian Gionta officially announced his retirement at the age of 39. He will remain with the Sabres in a part-time capacity after working with them over the offseason. Gionta suited up in 1,026 regular season games over parts of 16 seasons between New Jersey, Montreal, Buffalo, and Boston, where he spent the final quarter of last year after suiting up for Team USA at the Olympics. His 595 career points rank 42nd all-time among American-born NHL players.
Successful Tryouts: The majority of players attending training camps on tryout deals have already been cut but there are a couple that managed to get themselves a contract. The Islanders added some defensive depth by inking Luca Sbisa to a one-year, $1.5MM contract, a sizable price tag for someone that went to camp with a non-guaranteed deal. Meanwhile, the Blackhawks locked up defenseman Brandon Davidson to a one-year pact worth the league minimum $650K. There are still a handful of players left on PTOs and decisions will need to be made on their respective futures within the next day or two.
Perry Out Long-Term: Anaheim will be without one of their more prominent forwards for the next five months as winger Corey Perry underwent surgery to repair damage to his meniscus and MCL. The 33-year-old is coming off of a quieter season but still ranked third on the Ducks in team scoring in 2017-18. The Ducks are still dealing with Ryan Kesler and Patrick Eaves working their way back into playing form as well so there are quite a few slots to fill up front heading into the season. Considering that they will be able to put Perry on LTIR to start the season if they want, it will be worth watching to see if they try to swing a deal for some short-term help after they get RFA Nick Ritchie signed.
Seven Years For Theodore: The Golden Knights were hoping to get defenseman Shea Theodore locked up long-term and they did just that, signing him to a seven-year, $36.4MM deal. It’s not very often that someone with just 114 games of regular season experience gets that much money but the 23-year-old has quickly become one of their top defenders and many believe he still has another level he can get to. Vegas will now likely shift their focus towards getting a long-term deal done with Nate Schmidt although that will likely take a while to get done as they’d be wise to wait until he gets back from his 20-game suspension to start the season.
Jones Out Four-To-Six Weeks: While the Blue Jackets got some good news on the injury front with Zach Werenski returning, they’ll be without their other top defenseman for a while as Seth Jones will miss four-to-six weeks due to a knee issue. He’s coming off of a career year that saw him post 57 points in 78 games while finishing fourth in Norris Trophy voting so his absence will be tough to fill. Columbus is still dealing with some other injuries on their back end as well with Ryan Murray and Scott Harrington banged up at the moment.
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