Buffalo Sabres

NHL Notes: Devils lose Travis Zajac for 4-6 months with pectoral injury

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NHL Notes: Devils lose Travis Zajac for 4-6 months with pectoral injury

NEWARK, N.J. -- The New Jersey Devils have lost top center Travis Zajac for four to six months with a pectoral injury.

Devils executive vice president and general manager Ray Shero announced that Zajac had surgery to repair the pectoral muscle on Thursday.

Shero said the Zajac was hurt last week during offseason training.

Dr. Jonathan L. Glashow performed the surgery and estimated that Zajac's recovery time could last until February. The season starts in October.

The 32-year-old Zajac had 14 goals and 31 assists last season. He has 155 career goals and 280 assists. He has played for the Devils since the 2006-07 season.

The 20th overall pick in the 2004 NHL Draft, Zajac signed an eight-year, $46 million contract in 2013.

Sabres sign Zemgus Girgensons to 2-year deal

Sabres: Team signs forward Girgensons to 2-year deal
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Sabres have signed forward Zemgus Girgensons to a two-year contract.

The team announced the deal Thursday that carries an average value of $1.6 million.

Girgensons, from Latvia, is the last of the Sabres' restricted free agents to sign with the team. Buffalo's first-round pick in 2012 has 37 goals and 49 assists in 277 career games over four seasons.

He skated in a career-best 75 games last season after signing a one-year extension last September.

NHL Notes: Jack Eichel, Sabres reportedly negotiating 8-year contract

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NHL Notes: Jack Eichel, Sabres reportedly negotiating 8-year contract

PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- A person familiar with negotiations tells The Associated Press the Buffalo Sabres and Jack Eichel are discussing a contract extension that could run the NHL maximum eight years.

The person spoke on the condition of anonymity on Wednesday because the talks have been private since formal negotiations began a little over a month ago.

Sabres owner Terry Pegula declined to assess the status of negotiations except to say no deadline has been set and that both sides are committed to reaching a deal.

"I can tell you this, We want Jack and Jack wants to be in Buffalo," Pegula said during a news conference at the Buffalo Bills training camp site in suburban Rochester. Pegula also owns the Bills.

In a text to The AP, Eichel's agent Peter Fish wrote: "We are talking and I would say that we will be continuing to talk" (see full story).

Wild: Granlund says team ‘can do some damage’ in playoffs
This offseason for the Minnesota Wild was never going to be about making major additions.

This was simply the summer of maintenance and sustenance, with a new contract for Mikael Granlund one of the biggest priorities.

Now that Granlund has agreed to the deal, for $17.25 million over three years, the dynamic Finnish forward has his focus on a much deeper push by the Wild through the playoffs. Performing up to the value of the contract is not his concern.

Even without obvious roster upgrades after a five-game loss in the first round to St. Louis, the strength of the core that fueled a top-five finish in the NHL regular season has not diminished.

"There's always something to prove, but I think the biggest thing is as a team I really want us to make a deeper playoff run," Granlund said Wednesday on a conference call. "Obviously we need to make it to playoffs first, but I think we have a really good group of guys and we can do some damage" (see full story).

Penguins: Preseason game moved from ‘Hockeyville’ winner
PITTSBURGH -- A suburban Pittsburgh ice rink that won the right to host a Pittsburgh Penguins preseason contest will instead have to settle for a ticketed practice by the Stanley Cup champions after the facility was deemed unfit to host an NHL game.

Rostraver Ice Rink in Belle Vernon -- about 20 miles southeast of Pittsburgh -- won an online contest sponsored by Kraft to receive $150,000 worth of arena upgrades as well as a preseason game between the Penguins and the St. Louis Blues on Sept. 24.

Kraft announced on Wednesday it was moving the game from Rostraver Ice Rink to the Penguins' practice facility in Cranberry -- about 30 minutes north of Pittsburgh. Members of the Belle Vernon community and youth hockey players from Rostraver Ice Garden will receive the majority of the game tickets.

The rink will still receive the upgrades. The Penguins will hold a practice at Rostraver on Sept. 24 as part of four days of festivities. Pittsburgh plans to bring its game-night entertainment operation -- including music, videos, anthem singer Jeff Jimerson, P.A. announcer Ryan Mill and the Penguins Ice Crew -- to a Rostraver youth hockey game that week.

NHL Notes: Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella gets 1-year extension

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NHL Notes: Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella gets 1-year extension

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- John Tortorella of the Columbus Blue Jackets is getting a one-year contract extension following a season in which he was the NHL's Coach of the Year.

General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen announced the move Monday. Financial terms were not released.

Tortorella was entering the last year of a five-year, $10 million deal he signed with Vancouver in 2013.

Since joining Columbus on Oct. 21, 2015, Tortorella has led the Blue Jackets to an 84-57-16 record and .586 winning percentage.

Columbus had a 50-24-8 record and 108 points last year, the NHL's fourth-best record. This was a 32-point turnaround from 2015-16.

Sabres: Beaulieu avoids arbitration with 2-year, $4.8M deal 
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Newly acquired Buffalo Sabres defenseman Nathan Beaulieu has agreed to a two-year, $4.8 million deal in foregoing the opportunity to have his contract determined at an arbitration hearing.

The Sabres announced the agreement on Monday, five days before both sides were scheduled to present their case before an NHL arbitrator. Beaulieu was a restricted free agent.

Buffalo gave up a third-round draft pick to acquire Beaulieu in a trade with Montreal on June 17 after the Canadiens were prepared to expose the player in the expansion draft.

The 24-year-old Beaulieu had a career-best four goals and 24 points in 74 games in his third full NHL season. Overall, he has seven goals and 53 assists in 225 career games.

Beaulieu is a puck-moving defenseman who is regarded to be a good fit under newly hired head coach Phil Housley.

Wild: With long-term deal, Niederreiter can finally relax
Nino Niederreiter has been bold enough with his hobbies to ride on the outside of an airplane . On the ice, he plays a fearless game with a thick frame that's tough to knock off the puck around the net.

The last few months, though, he found himself feeling a little anxious.

Niederreiter was a restricted free agent who filed for salary arbitration, and the long-term contract he expected with the Minnesota Wild, a deal they spoke openly of desiring to complete, had not yet come together. The arbitration hearing scheduled in Toronto was coming closer and closer.

"I wouldn't say I wasn't worried. Obviously the longer the summer went, the more you start thinking," Niederreiter said, adding: "All of a sudden you have to make plans for Toronto and all that stuff. Obviously you get a little nervous. You never want to go to Toronto and make a deal there."

He didn't have to. The Wild and Niederreiter agreed to terms on a five-year contract worth $26.25 million on Sunday night, keeping him under the team's control through the 2021-22 season. His average annual salary is $5.25 million, which is what the hit will be against the Wild's cap.

"He's grown into his role as one of the offensive leaders of this group, and his shot and net-front presence will continue to play a major role in our team's success," general manager Chuck Fletcher said in announcing the deal. "Nino has a great attitude and personality, and we know our fans will be as happy as we are" (see full story).