Brendan Smith

NHL Notes: Blue Jackets buy out Scott Hartnell

NHL Notes: Blue Jackets buy out Scott Hartnell

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Columbus Blue Jackets have bought out the final two years of 35-year-old forward Scott Hartnell's contract, opening up salary cap space to possibly sign another free agent.

Hartnell would have cost the team $4.75 million against the cap over the next two years. The buyout, announced Thursday, clears $3.25 million against the cap next season and $1.75 million in 2018-19.

Hartnell, who becomes an unrestricted free agent, had 64 goals and 82 assists with 275 penalty minutes in 234 games with the club in three seasons. Last season he had 13 goals and 24 assists in 78 games.

The No. 6 overall pick by Nashville in the 2000 draft, Hartnell was acquired by the Blue Jackets in a trade with the Flyers in 2014 (see full story).

Devils: Goaltender Kinkaid re-signed
NEWARK, N.J. -- The New Jersey Devils have re-signed backup goaltender Keith Kinkaid to a two-year contract.

General manager Ray Shero announced the deal late Thursday, noting that Kinkaid will get $1.2 million this season and $1.3 million in 2018-19.

The soon-to-be 28-year-old Kinkaid set career highs with 26 games played, 23 games started, and 713 saves. He was 8-13-3 with one shutout, a 2.64 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage.

Kinkaid also notched the first point of his career, assisting on Taylor Hall's power-play goal on Feb. 19 against the New York Islanders. The former Union College star has spent all six of his professional seasons with the Devils' organization.

Rangers: Smith agrees to $17M, 4-year deal
WASHINGTON -- The New York Rangers have agreed to terms on a $17 million, four-year deal with Brendan Smith.

The defenseman will count $4.35 million against the salary cap in each season of the new contract.

General manager Jeff Gorton announced the deal Thursday. Smith was set to be an unrestricted free agent Saturday.

Smith, 28, would have been one of the top blue liners available in free agency after the Rangers acquired him as a rental at the trade deadline from the Detroit Red Wings. Smith had three goals and six assists for nine points in 51 games, averaging a career-high 19:14 of ice time.

In 309 games in parts of six seasons, Smith has 16 goals and 55 assists. A left-shooting defenseman who can play the right side, the Toronto native has strong puck-possession numbers and will be a top-four player for New York, perhaps playing with captain Ryan McDonagh (see full story).

Oilers: Buying out Pouliot, clearing cap space
EDMONTON, Alberta -- The Edmonton Oilers have placed forward Benoit Pouliot on unconditional waivers with the purposes of buying out his contract.

Pouliot had two years left at a salary-cap hit of $4 million. By buying out Pouliot, Edmonton saves $2.67 million against the cap the next two years.

It's the latest move by the Oilers to clear cap space with big-money deals for MVP Connor McDavid and forward Leon Draisaitl coming. Draisaitl's new contract starts next year and McDavid's -- which could come in at around $100 million -- would begin in 2018-19.

Edmonton already traded winger Jordan Eberle and his $6 million salary to the New York Islanders for the younger, cheaper Ryan Strome.

Pouliot, 30, had 84 points in 184 games in three seasons with Edmonton, his sixth NHL team (see full story).

NHL Notes: Rangers acquire Brendan Smith from Red Wings

NHL Notes: Rangers acquire Brendan Smith from Red Wings

DETROIT -- The Detroit Red Wings have traded draft selections for decades, giving up future assets to make a push to get into the playoffs and chase a Stanley Cup. Picking up players for picks helped the franchise win four Cups and play in 25 straight postseasons.

Heading into the NHL trade deadline on Wednesday, the last-place team in the Atlantic Division is in a different position: The Red Wings are selling for a change.

Detroit traded defenseman Brendan Smith to the New York Rangers on Tuesday in exchange for a second-round pick in 2018 and a third-round pick this year.

The Smith trade gives the Red Wings 10 picks in the draft this year, including three selections in the third round and two in the sixth.

Detroit drafted Smith in the first round in 2007 and the feisty player has 67 career points in 291 games. He had career highs in goals (five) and assists (14) during the 2013-14 season, his first full year in the NHL. Smith had two goals and three assists in 33 games this season with the Red Wings.

The Rangers bolstered their blue line with the trade, hoping to stay competitive in the Metropolitan with division-leading Washington, Pittsburgh and Columbus. Dan Girardi will be out for a couple weeks, coach Alain Vigneault said, because of an open wound on his ankle from blocking a shot. Kevin Klein has been scratched in recent games with back spasms.

BLACKHAWKS: Rosival, Tootoo sign new deals
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks have agreed to one-year contract extensions through next season with defenseman Michal Rozsival and forward Jordin Tootoo.

In five seasons in Chicago, the 38-year-old Rozsival has played on two championship teams. He has one goal and one assist this year.

The 34-year-old Tootoo has played in 36 games after signing with Chicago last summer.

The Blackhawks announced the moves on Tuesday.

Chicago, second in the Western Conference, goes for its fifth straight win and 10th in 11 games when it hosts Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

BLUE JACKETS: Marc-Andre Bergeron signs two-way deal
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Columbus Blue Jackets signed 36-year-old defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron to a contract for the rest of the season.

General manager Jarmo Kekalainen said Monday that Bergeron was signed to a two-way AHL-NHL contract, which means he'll make more money if he is called up from AHL affiliate in Cleveland, where he's been playing this season.

Bergeron has 82 goals and 153 assists in 490 career NHL games with the Carolina Hurricanes, Tampa Bay Lightning, Montreal Canadiens, Minnesota Wild, Anaheim Ducks, New York Islanders and Edmonton Oilers from 2002-13.

He posted career highs in goals, points, penalty minutes and games played with the Oilers in 2005-06. He most recently recorded a goal and eight saves in 25 games split between the Lightning and Hurricanes in 2012-13.