The New York Rangers have inked another of their young cornerstones.
The Rangers signed 23-year-old defenceman Marc Staal to a five-year contract Wednesday, keeping him in the Big Apple for the foreseeable future. Numerous reports indicate the deal is worth $19.875 million US, which works out to an annual salary cap hit of just under $4 million.
Rangers general manager Glen Sather took his time getting Staal, a restricted free agent, back in the fold. The Rangers open training camp Friday.
Staal, entering his fourth season in the NHL, set career highs in goals (eight) and assists (19) in 82 games with the Rangers last season. In 244 career games, the former first-round draft pick has 13 goals and 39 assists.
Proving to be durable and dependable, Staal has played in 202 consecutive games. He also finished plus-11 in 2009-10, tops among all Rangers defencemen.
BRUINS ADD BEEF
Shawn Thornton might not need to provide all the heavy lifting for the Boston Bruins this season.
The Bruins have invited former Calgary Flames and Ottawa Senators heavyweight Brian McGrattan to training camp, according to the Boston Globe. McGrattan, an unrestricted free agent since July 1, racked up 86 penalty minutes in 34 games with the Flames last season.
McGrattan, a 6-foot-4, 235-pounder, could push Thornton, the Bruins resident tough-guy, or replace him. In 182 NHL games, McGrattan has 395 penalty minutes.
The Shattuck-St. Mary's girls team has a couple of big names on its roster.
According to ESPN.com, Stephanie Lemieux and Taylor Crosby will play at Shattuck-St. Mary's during the coming prep hockey season.
Sound familiar? They should.
Stephanie, 15, is the daughter of Hockey Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux, the Pittsburgh Penguins owner, and Taylor, 14, is the little sister of Sidney Crosby, the Pens star forward. Sidney Crosby played at Shattuck-St. Mary's in 2002-03 before moving on to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
The NHL and NHLPA will honour former Vancouver Canucks captain Markus Naslund with a special tribute during the league's season-opening European tour in October.
Naslund, who ended his 15-year NHL career in 2009, will take part in the ceremonial faceoff prior to the San Jose-Columbus game in Stockholm, Sweden on Oct. 8.
"I'm very honoured to be invited by the NHLPA and NHL to participate in the celebrations surrounding this year's Premiere Games," Naslund told NHL.com. "I enjoyed participating in the Premiere Games as a player and I'm looking forward to attending the upcoming games in Stockholm as a fan."
Naslund, a five-time all-star, had 346 goals and 756 points during his NHL career, most of which was spent in Vancouver.
LIGHTNING LANDS LANDRY
Tampa Bay signed Montreal Juniors defenceman Charles Landry to a three-year entry-level contract Wednesday.
Landry, a 5-foot-11, 187-pounder who went undrafted last summer, impressed the Lightning enough during the club's prospect tournament in Traverse City, Mich. to earn the contract. He had six goals and 24 assists in 68 games with the Drummondville Voltigeurs last season.