Sabres defenseman Erik Johnson told Peter Baugh of The Athletic (subscription link) that there were three or four other teams that had “intense talks” about a contract for him this summer with his former team in Colorado not being among those once the bidding started to go up. The 35-year-old inked a one-year, $3.25MM deal of the opening day of free agency, a surprising price tag for someone who had just eight assists in 63 games last season. Johnson already has a goal with his new team but is logging a career-low 15:13 per night this season.
Elsewhere in the Atlantic Division:
- Canadiens defenseman Kaiden Guhle will return to the lineup tonight after missing the past four games with an upper-body injury, the team announced (Twitter link). The 21-year-old is in his second NHL season and logged more than 20 minutes a night in his rookie campaign. With David Savard out of the lineup for at least the next six weeks, Guhle is likely to play a big role once again for a while. Gustav Lindstrom will be a healthy scratch to make room for Guhle’s return.
- Red Wings prospect Joren van Pottelberghe is expected to sign a three-year deal beginning next season with HC Lugano in the Swiss League, reports Watson’s Klaus Zaugg. The 26-year-old was a fourth-round pick back in 2015 (110th overall) but has yet to sign with Detroit. As the NHL doesn’t have a direct player transfer agreement with Switzerland, the Red Wings will continue to hold his rights indefinitely. He has a 2.49 GAA and a .914 SV% over parts of eight seasons in Switzerland’s top division so it’s possible Detroit will want to bring him over one day but that might be a little further down the road now.