Lightning sign Callahan to 6-year deal

Posted June 25, 2014, at 6:09 p.m.

The Tampa Bay Lightning signed forward Ryan Callahan to a six-year contract, the team announced Wednesday.

The Lightning also announced they have used their second, and final, compliance buyout, as allowed by the NHL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, on forward Ryan Malone.

According to ESPN.com, Callahan’s deal is for a total of $34.8 million — an average of $5.8 million per season — and also includes a partial no-trade clause. Callahan will receive $6 million next season, $6.4 million in 2015-16, $6.5 million in 2016-18 and $4.7 million in the final two seasons of the deal.

“He’s proven to be a fierce competitor and outstanding leader who fits very well with our team,” Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said in a statement.

Callahan was acquired from the New York Rangers on March 5 along with draft picks for forward Martin St. Louis. He had six goals and 11 points in 20 regular-season games following the trade.

A fourth-round pick (No. 127) by the New York Rangers in the 2004 NHL Draft, Callahan has career totals of 138 goals and 265 points in 470 regular-season games for the Rangers and Lightning. He also has 14 goals and 24 points in 63 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

Malone will become an unrestricted free agent. The Lightning will pay two-thirds of the value of his existing contract over twice the term of the deal.

Malone has spent the previous six seasons with the Lightning after being acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins in June 2008. He played in 342 games with the Lightning, recording 92 goals, 30 power-play goals, 201 points and a minus-28 rating.

Malone has played in 641 career NHL games with Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh with 179 goals, 370 points 57 power-play goals and 25 game-winners. He has appeared in 43 Stanley Cup playoff games, registering nine goals and 22 points.

Penguins name Johnston as coach

The Pittsburgh Penguins named Mike Johnston as their head coach on Wednesday with hopes that the offensive-minded style of play his teams are known for will help his new club rediscover their winning ways.

Johnston, who was coach of Western Hockey League’s Portland Winterhawks since early in the 2008-09 season, replaces Dan Bylsma, who was fired three weeks ago.

The move is the latest by a Pittsburgh team that fired its general manager Ray Shero last month after another early exit from the Stanley Cup playoffs and promised to overhaul the team’s operations in a bid to return to championship form.

Johnston’s coaching style stresses defensemen joining the rush, a focus on shot volume and keeping the tempo of play at a high level, a strategy that would seem to benefit a team with talented players such as Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

Kings sign Gaborik to 7-year contract

Marian Gaborik, who played a key role in the Los Angeles Kings’ Stanley Cup triumph earlier this month, agreed to terms on a new seven-year contract, the National Hockey League team said on Wednesday.

Financial terms of the contract for the unrestricted free-agent forward were not disclosed by the Kings but local media reports said the deal is worth $34.1 million.

The 32-year-old Slovakian forward scored a league-leading 14 goals during the 2014 playoffs, leaving him one shy of the franchise’s playoff year record set in 1993 by Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky.

Gaborik, traded to Los Angeles from Columbus in April, missed 39 games last season due to injuries and finished the regular season with 11 goals and 19 assists.

He picked up his game in the postseason, collecting three goals and five points in the first round when the Kings rallied from a 3-0 series deficit to beat San Jose in seven games.

A first-round draft pick of the Minnesota Wild in 2000, Gaborik has represented Slovakia at the 2006 and 2010 Olympics and is a three-time NHL All-Star.

Oilers acquire Nikitin

The Columbus Blue Jackets traded defenseman Nikita Nikitin to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for a fifth-round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, the teams announced Wednesday.

Nikitin, 28, was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. The Oilers signed him to a two-year contract, reportedly for $9 million.

The 6-foot-4, 223 pound Nikitin from Omsk, Russia had two goals and 15 points in 66 regular-season games this season and was scoreless in five Stanley Cup playoff games.

A fifth-round pick (No. 136) of the St. Louis Blues in the 2004 draft, Nikitin has career totals of 13 goals and 65 points in 206 games with the Blues and Blue Jackets.

 

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