NHL Notes

NHL Notes: Rangers are league's most valuable franchise at $1.5B

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NHL Notes: Rangers are league's most valuable franchise at $1.5B

NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers are worth an NHL-high $1.5 billion as team values continue to rise, according to the latest estimate by Forbes.

In its annual list of franchise valuations, Forbes says the average NHL team is now worth $594 million, up 15 percent from a year ago. It comes on the heels of Bill Foley's group paying $500 million for the expansion Vegas Golden Knights, who come in 14th among 31 teams.

The Rangers lead the NHL for the third consecutive year. After the Rangers, the Toronto Maple Leafs are second at $1.4 billion, the Montreal Canadiens third at $1.25 billion and the Chicago Blackhawks fourth at $1 billion.

The back-to-back Stanley Cup-champion Pittsburgh Penguins come in 10th at $650 million. The Arizona Coyotes are last at $300 million.

Sabres: Moulson loaned to Kings’ AHL affiliate
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Sabres are shipping Matt Moulson to California to continue playing after the underachieving winger cleared waivers.

The Sabres loaned Moulson to the Ontario Reign of the American Hockey League on Tuesday, rather than their nearby affiliate, the Rochester Americans. Ontario is the top minor league affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings.

General manager Jason Botterill said Moulson has been a "true professional" about being placed on waivers. The 34-year-old has no points in 14 games this season and is in the fourth season of a $25 million, five-year contract.

"From an organizational standpoint, we felt that with our young forwards in place in Rochester, we did not want to take away from their development and ice time by adding another veteran player at this time," Botterill said.

"Matt has previously spent time within the Kings organization early in his career and we felt this would be the best opportunity for him."

Moulson played parts of two seasons earlier in his career for Los Angeles. He remains property of the Sabres and counts $3.975 million against their salary cap while in the minors (see full story).

NHL Notes: Sabres' Eichel gets $80M deal; Capitals' Wilson banned 4 games

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NHL Notes: Sabres' Eichel gets $80M deal; Capitals' Wilson banned 4 games

BUFFALO, New York -- The Buffalo Sabres have reached an agreement to sign their franchise player, Jack Eichel, to an NHL-maximum eight-year, $80 million contract.

The team announced the signing on its twitter account on Tuesday night in a deal reached two days before Buffalo hosts the Montreal Canadiens in the season opener.

Eichel is entering the final year of his three-year entry level contract and only eligible to become a restricted free agent next summer.

The deal was reached after talks had cooled for much of the past six weeks.

Eichel was the second player selected in the 2015 draft, one spot behind Edmonton's Connor McDavid. The Oilers' captain signed an eight-year, $100 million contract extension in July, making him the NHL's top-paid player on a per-season basis.

In averaging $10 million per season, Eichel ties Los Angeles Kings star Anze Kopitar on the NHL list of annual average salaries (see full story).

Capitals: Wilson suspended 4 games for boarding
ARLINGTON, Va. -- The NHL has suspended Washington Capitals right winger Tom Wilson for four games for boarding St. Louis Blues forward Sammy Blais.

The league's department of player safety announced the suspension Tuesday.

Wilson will forfeit $97,561 in salary. Even though this is the first regular-season suspension of his NHL career, Wilson is considered a repeat offender after being suspended for two preseason games for a late hit on Blues rookie Robert Thomas last month.

The 23-year old will miss games against the Ottawa Senators, Montreal Canadiens, Tampa Bay Lightning and Pittsburgh Penguins. He'll be eligible to return Oct. 13 against the New Jersey Devils.

Wilson said Tuesday he's a player who finishes big checks, which makes him the subject of attention (see full story).

Penguins: Murray ready to take mantle from Fleury
PITTSBURGH -- Matt Murray jokes he can't help but do a double take whenever he sees a No. 30 Pittsburgh Penguins jersey in public.

"I still think it's a family member or something," the Penguins goaltender said with a laugh.

Hard to blame him. Two years ago, Murray was still in the minors, a 21-year-old long on promise but whose time as the heir apparent to Marc-Andre Fleury was still off somewhere in the gauzy distance.

Like seemingly everything else in Murray's burgeoning career, the future arrived ahead of schedule. Funny how winning a pair of Stanley Cup championships speeds things up.

When Murray skates onto the PPG Arena ice on Wednesday night for the season opener against St. Louis, he'll do it for the first time as a true No. 1 NHL goalie. No more of the "Murray vs. Fleury" debates that raged across social media and talk radio -- but never in the Penguins dressing room -- during their professional if occasionally uncomfortable coexistence.

The gig is Murray's. For now and for later.

Even with his name stenciled on his sport's most prized possession -- twice -- he's in no mood for a victory lap.

"I think there's always something to prove," Murray said. "Nothing's given to you in this league that's for sure. You've got to keep your foot on the gas pedal and that's what I intend to do. I don't feel like I've earned anything."

NHL Notes: Canucks give Bo Horvat 6-year, $33 million extension

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NHL Notes: Canucks give Bo Horvat 6-year, $33 million extension

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- The Vancouver Canucks signed restricted free-agent center Bo Horvat to a $33 million, six-year contract extension Friday.

The 22-year-old Horvat had 20 goals and 32 assists in 81 games last season for the Canucks.

"Bo has quickly become a foundational player on our team and we're thrilled for him to be a part of what we're building here long term," Canucks general manager Jim Benning said in a team release. "His commitment and work ethic have helped his game improve each season. He's already a leader on our team and a young player fans can be excited to watch for years to come."

Horvat has 49 goals and 68 assists in 231 career games in three seasons with Vancouver.

The Canucks open training camp Tuesday at Rogers Arena.

Penguins: Stevens named special assignment scout
PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins have hired former star Kevin Stevens as a special assignment scout.

The 52-year-old Stevens was a three-time All-Star during his 15-year career with five teams, including eight with the Penguins. Stevens helped Pittsburgh to consecutive Stanley Cups in 1991 and 1992. His 17 goals during the 1991 playoffs remain a franchise record.

Stevens will be based in Boston and will scout amateurs and college free agents for Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford.

Stevens was sentenced to probation and fined $10,000 in May after pleading guilty to a federal drug charge.

NHL: Parros hired as head of player safety
NEW YORK -- George Parros, the bushy-mustachioed Princeton man who spent almost a decade as an NHL enforcer, is now in charge of the league's player safety department.

After a career in which he fought 159 times and racked up 1,127 penalty minutes, Parros believes there's one major reason he'll succeed as the new vice president of player safety.

"What uniquely positions me for the job is that I played the game as physically as anybody and I never once was fined or suspended," Parros said Thursday at the NHL office. "I know where that line is. I know how to protect my guys or intimidate but not injure or hurt."

He is succeeding Stephane Quintal, who is pursuing other opportunities in hockey but staying on this season to assist with the transition (see full story).