Kyle Okposo

NHL Notes: Sabres star Jack Eichel focused on hockey, not contract talks

uspresswire-sabres-jack-eichel.jpg
USA Today Images

NHL Notes: Sabres star Jack Eichel focused on hockey, not contract talks

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Sabres star center Jack Eichel is focused on taking on a larger leadership role, and not concerning himself with contract talks -- even it means waiting until next year to sign a new deal.

"I have no problem playing the season out and just trying to earn whatever," Eichel said Tuesday. "We know where we stand. We know where the Sabres stand. If it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen."

Eichel also reiterated his commitment to staying in Buffalo on a long-term basis. He spoke after taking part in his first on-ice session with numerous teammates in Buffalo a little over a week before the Sabres open training camp.

The 20-year-old is entering the final season of his three-year rookie contract, and in line for what is projected to be a lucrative contract extension.

A person with direct knowledge of talks told The Associated Press last month that both sides have discussed a contract spanning an NHL-maximum eight seasons . The same person told The AP on Tuesday that negotiations haven't stopped since the two sides formally opened talks in June. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because negotiations have been private (see full story).

Hurricanes: New-look team ready to snap postseason drought
RALEIGH, N.C. -- There's plenty new for the Carolina Hurricanes these days.

They picked up a new starting goalie, gave big new contracts to some young defensemen and brought in a splashy free agent. There also might be a new team owner signing their paychecks.

With a little over a week until preseason camp begins, there's also a new feeling of justified optimism surrounding an organization that owns the NHL's longest active postseason drought.

"I can't wait," defenseman Jaccob Slavin said Tuesday. "I'm so excited for it, and I can't wait to see what this season has and what the future holds as well -- but more importantly, the season right here" (see full story).

Sabres: Healthy Okposo eager to look forward
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Buffalo Sabres forward Kyle Okposo happily looks to the future now that he's fully recovered from concussion-related symptoms which nearly derailed his career in March.

Saying he's not dwelling on the past, Okposo was eager to rejoin the Sabres after skating with numerous teammates for practice a little more than a week before the team opens training camp. Though he's has been skating for much of the summer, Tuesday marked his first time on the ice in Buffalo since being hospitalized late last season.

"It was obviously a tough situation, a tough road," Okposo said. "I'm just happy to be back and happy to be able to play again, and play at a high level."

He acknowledged questioning if he would ever get better before he started feeling "clear" in May.

"It was definitely a scary thing," Okposo said. "Your mind starts to question a lot of things" (see full story).

Rangers: Leetch, Richards hired as advisers
NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers have hired former players Brian Leetch and Brad Richards as advisers.

General manager Jeff Gorton announced the hires Tuesday. Leetch and Richards will work on prospect development and assist with on-ice development for the Rangers and their top affiliate, the American Hockey League's Hartford Wolf Pack.

These are the latest moves in an offseason that already included former captain and assistant general manager Chris Drury taking over GM duties in Hartford and New York hiring longtime NHL head coach Lindy Ruff as an assistant on Alain Vigneault's staff.

Leetch played parts of 17 seasons with the Rangers during his Hall of Fame career and was the top defenseman on the team that broke the franchise's Stanley Cup drought in 1994. Richards played three seasons in New York from 2011-2014, helping the Rangers reach the 2014 Cup Final.

NHL Notes: Sabres' Kyle Okposo in hospital having tests to determine illness

NHL Notes: Sabres' Kyle Okposo in hospital having tests to determine illness

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Matt Moulson wants hospitalized Buffalo Sabres teammate Kyle Okposo to know he has the team's support.

"You're family here," Moulson said after the Sabres closed their home schedule with a 2-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night. "And no matter what type of injury or what you have, you always feel for them and their family and giving them support."

Okposo has spent the past three days in a Buffalo hospital undergoing a battery of tests to determine an undisclosed illness that has sidelined him for more than a week.

A person with direct knowledge of Okposo's status confirmed to The Associated Press on Wednesday that the player is in the neuro surgical intensive care unit at Buffalo General Hospital. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the Sabres have not revealed Okposo has been hospitalized (see full story).

Penguins: Letang to have neck surgery, out for playoffs
PITTSBURGH -- Kris Letang's goal in Game 6 of the 2016 Stanley Cup Final clinched a fourth championship for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The talented but star-crossed defenseman will have a far different view as the Penguins try to defend their title when the playoffs start next week.

The three-time All-Star will undergo surgery to repair a herniated disk in his neck and is out 4 to 6 months, rendering him a spectator as Pittsburgh tries to become the first team in nearly 20 years to win back-to-back Cups.

"Right now it's pretty hard to swallow," Letang said Wednesday (see full story).

Coyotes: Injury frustrates Doan in twilight of career
Shane Doan kept shaking his head and using the F-word.

"Really, really frustrating," he said. "It's really frustrating."

Doan had just come off the ice after an hour-long workout to stay in shape. The Arizona Coyotes' captain has now missed eight of the past 10 games with a lower-body injury, an absence made worse by the potential end of his NHL career approaching.

The 40-year-old is mulling retirement after 20 seasons and doesn't want to limp to the finish line (see full story).

2016 Flyers free-agent fit: Islanders RW Kyle Okposo

2016 Flyers free-agent fit: Islanders RW Kyle Okposo

Each day until July 1, the day free agency begins, CSNPhilly.com producers Tom Dougherty, Jordan Hall and Greg Paone will profile some of the NHL's top impending free agents and project their likelihood of signing with the Flyers.
 
Kyle Okposo, right wing
 
Age: 28
Height: 6-0
Weight: 217
Last team: New York Islanders
2015-16 cap hit: $2.8 million
 
Scouting report
One of the biggest names on the free-agent market, Okposo is a nifty puck-handler with a fearsome shot, making for a richly talented offensive winger.
 
Sounds just like Ron Hextall’s No. 1 offseason need.
 
The 2006 seventh overall pick finished last season with 64 points — which would have been second on the Flyers — by tallying 22 goals and a career-high-tying 42 assists. His last three seasons have gone for 50-plus points, while in 2013-14 he posted a career-best 69.
 
Okposo is a multifaceted scorer, understanding how to produce in a variety of ways, whether it’s using his body or skill. He knows how to play big and small.
 
The righty shot is dangerous on the power play and a bona-fide top-six forward.
 
Many believe he’s just reaching his prime.
 
Projection
The Islanders have essentially said so long to Okposo, so he’s up for grabs.
 
The Flyers have interest but it looks to be a daunting task to snag the 28-year-old.
 
With the extension of Radko Gudas and the need to re-up restricted free agent Brayden Schenn, it simply doesn’t appear monetarily plausible for the Flyers to reel in a top-six forward the ilk of Okposo.
 
Rumblings have it that Okposo could be searching for a long-term deal in the ballpark of $7 million a season. Whether he’s worth as such is one thing. Whether the Flyers could afford it is another.

I’m a believer the Flyers should seek out Okposo, but unless Hextall pulls off an unforeseen trade to surprisingly clear the barn and make room, I don't see it happening.