Here is a look at some of the headlines as NHL free agency is set to begin on Friday.
- Chicago turns attention to rebuild
- Devils place Cory Schneider on waivers
- Stars’ Tyler Seguin could miss start of next season with hip injury
- Dallas goalie Khudobin plans to test the market
- Senators acquire defenceman Erik Gudbranson from Ducks
- ‘Mr. Game 7’ Justin Williams announces retirement
Chicago will not re-sign goaltender Corey Crawford in free agency, potentially signaling a more extensive rebuild for one of the NHL’s marquee franchises.
General manager Stan Bowman said he had a “bit of an emotional” conversation with Crawford on Thursday.
“The message to Corey and to everyone else today is that we’ve decided that we’ve got some young goaltenders here in Chicago that we believe in,” Bowman said on a video conference call.
WATCH | Rob Pizzo looks at goalies flooding the market:
Collin Delia and Kevin Lankinen, who are in line to share the net with Crawford gone, have a combined 18 games of NHL experience — all belonging to Delia. Bowman said the team is interested in re-signing Malcolm Subban after he was acquired in a February trade with Vegas.
Crawford, who turns 36 on Dec. 31, went 16-20 with a .917 save percentage and a 2.77 goals-against average during the pandemic-shortened season. He started every game as Chicago eliminated Edmonton in the qualifying round before losing to the Golden Knights in the playoffs.
Crawford, a Montreal native, was selected by Chicago in the second round of the 2003 draft and made his debut with Chicago in 2010. He helped the franchise to Stanley Cup titles in 2013 and 2015.
Devils to buy out Cory Schneider
The New Jersey Devils have placed veteran goaltender Cory Schneider on unconditional waivers for the purpose of buying out the final two years of his contract.
The 34-year-old Schneider has two years remaining on the seven-year, $42 million contract. He was to be paid $6 million annually the last two seasons. The buyout is $8 million spread out over four years.
The buyout is two-thirds of the total of the amount left on the contract and it is is spread out over twice the length remaining on the deal.
Stars on the shelf
Dallas Stars forward Tyler Seguin has a torn labrum in his hip that likely will force him to miss the start of next season, while captain Jamie Benn and goaltender Ben Bishop now have time to fully recover from surgeries they had during an extended season that ended in the Stanley Cup Final.
General manager Jim Nill said Thursday that Seguin will need about four months to recover after he does have surgery, which would keep from from being available for the anticipated start of the season around Jan. 1.
Furthermore, unrestricted free agent Anton Khudobin, the 34-year-old journeyman goalie who took over for Bishop, had surgery Wednesday to address a nerve issue that was causing numbness in his stick hand. Nill said there will be no long-term issues for Khudobin, who plans to test the free agent market after going 14-10 with a 2.69 goals-against average and .917 save percentage in the post-season.
“He should be fine in four or five weeks. The surgery was successful,” said Nill, who has spoken with Khudobin’s agents about re-signing him.
Sens trade for Gudbranson
The Ottawa Senators have acquired defenceman Erik Gudbranson from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for a fifth-round selection in the 2021 NHL draft.
Gudbranson, an Ottawa native, registered nine points (four goals, five assists) and 95 penalty minutes over 51 games with Pittsburgh and Anaheim in 2019-20.
The well-travelled 28-year-old was selected third overall by the Florida Panthers in the 2010 NHL draft. The Senators are his fourth team in the last 19 months.
Over 518 career NHL games with Florida, Vancouver, Pittsburgh and Anaheim, Gudbranson has posted 73 points (20 goals, 53 assists) and 581 penalty minutes.
‘Mr. Game 7’ Justin Williams retires
Carolina Hurricanes forward Justin Williams is retiring after 19 NHL seasons and three Stanley Cup championships.
Williams announced his retirement in a statement Thursday after spending his final three seasons in a second stint with Carolina, where he won the Cup for the first time in 2006.
The 39-year-old Williams had 320 goals and 477 assists for 797 points in 1,264 games with the Hurricanes, Philadelphia Flyers, Los Angeles Kings and Washington Capitals. He helped the Kings with the Stanley Cup in 2012 and 2014, winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoffs’ most valuable player for the 2014 title run.
Williams had seven goals and eight assists in nine career Game 7s, earning him the nickname “Mr. Game 7.” The 15 career points in Game 7s are the most by any player in NHL history, while Williams’ teams went 8-1 in those games.
Habs extend newly-acquired Anderson
The Montreal Canadiens have agreed to a seven-year contract extension with forward Josh Anderson.
Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin made the announcement on Thursday, with the contract having an average annual value of $5.5 million and running until the end of the 2026-27 season.
The 26-year-old Anderson was acquired earlier in the week from the Columbus Blue Jackets for forward Max Domi and a 2020 third-round pick. Both players were upcoming restricted free agents.
Anderson had one goal and four points in 26 games with the Blue Jackets in 2019-20 before sustaining a season-ending shoulder injury Dec. 14.