NHL free agency: Wild land Parise, Suter

Reports from credible sources say both top free agents Zach Parise, a former North Dakota standout, and the top available forward, will be joined by the top available defenseman, former Badgers standout Ryan Suter of Nashville in St. Paul.

If so, this is a HUGE day for the Minnesota Wild franchise. You may want to buy your season tickets now, because they will sell quickly once this is confirmed. FYI, The Wild will need that ticket revenue to pay those two.

ESPN reported both deals are for 13 years and $98 million, which locks them up through the 2024-25 season and would carry a salary cap hit of $7.538 million per campaign.

Here is an updated version of the story from nhl.com. Here is some excellent detail from the Wild beat writer, who also suggests how both their significant others played a big role in coming to the Twin Cities.

Wednesday reading: Crabb, Trouba, LaLeggia, Merrimack AD

Former Tiger Joey Crabb talks about why he chose the Capitals: a chance to make the playoffs. Here is more from the Anchorage Daily News and that he likely will be on the fourth line.

Michigan signee Jacob Trouba, pictured, will not head to the OHL, which has denied offering Trouba, the top college-bound player chosen in the recent NHL Draft, $200,000 to go to Kitchener. He was the ninth pick overall by Winnipeg. He would have been the 22nd Wolverine to leave the program early or never even show up since 2000.

DU defenseman Joey LaLeggia is featured by the Edmonton Oilers in their daily development camp feature.

The Merrimack athletic director has been put on paid leave over a “personnel matter,” according to USCHO.

NHL free agency: Testwuide re-signs; eight Tigers remain available

Former Tiger captain Mike Testwuide re-signed with the Flyers on Tuesday morning.

That leaves eight former Tigers (as of 11 a.m. MT) weighing their free agency options.

They are (name, 2011-12 team):  Richard Bachman (Dallas): Brian Connelly (Calgary); Mark Cullen (Florida); Kris Fredheim (Wild); Trevor Frischmon, (Islanders); Richard Petiot (Tampa Bay);  Brett Sterling (Blues), and Colin Stuart (Sabres).

From NHL.com …

11:40 a.m. – DAY 3: FLYERS INK THREE
With the third day of free agency underway, the Flyers announced three signings. Defenseman Cullen Eddy and forward Mike Testwuide will return to the Flyers organization, as will defenseman Danny Syvret who enters his third separate campaign with the team.

Eddy attended Flyers training camp for the past two seasons and appeared in 54 games for the club’s AHL affiliate, the Adirondack Phantoms, where he posted 15 points (2G-13A) and 130 penalty minutes. Eddy also recorded 14 points (4G-10A) in 15 games for the Greenville Road Warriors of the ECHL this past season.

Syvret played for the Flyers from 2008-2010 and part of the 2010-11 season.

He recorded his first NHL goal with the Flyers during the 2010 NHL Winter Classic against the Boston Bruins at Fenway Park.

Overall, Syvret has four points (2G-2A) in 27 games with the Flyers.

With the Flyers’ AHL affiliate, Syvret has produced 27 goals and 79 assists for 106 points in 142 regular season games, including 57 points (12G-45A) in 76 games during the 2008-09 season to finish second among all AHL defensemen for the Phantoms during the team’s final year in Philadelphia.

Testwuide has spent the previous two seasons in Glens Falls with the Phantoms. He posted 29 points (12G-17A) in 66 games to go along with 79 penalty minutes.

Since signing with the Flyers on March 19, 2010 out of Colorado College, the 6-3, 220-pound Testwuide has recorded 30 goals and 38 assists for 68 points in 142 games with Adirondack.

NHL free agency: Hillen joins Crabb in Washington

CC fans have another reason to follow the Washington Capitals (which also have David Civitarese in AHL Hershey) closely this upcoming season.

Former Tiger Jack Hillen, pictured, signed a one-year $650,000 NHL-only contract with the Caps on Tuesday morning. It looks like Washington expects him to contribute at the top club.

That leaves nine former Tigers (as of 10 a.m. MT) weighing their free agency options. They are (name, 2011-12 team):  Richard Bachman (Dallas): Brian Connelly (Calgary); Mark Cullen (Florida); Kris Fredheim (Wild); Trevor Frischmon, (Islanders); Richard Petiot (Tampa Bay);  Brett Sterling (Blues), Colin Stuart (Sabres) and Mike Testwuide (Flyers).

Here is the Hillen press release:

The Capitals announced Tuesday morning they have signed defenseman Jack Hillen to a one-year contract. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Hillen, 26, had six points (two goals, four assists), a plus-6 rating and 20 penalty minutes in 55 games with the Nashville Predators in 2011-12. He finished tied for eighth on the club in blocked shots (65).

The Minnetonka, Minn., native has 56 points (10 goals, 46 assists) and 129 penalty minutes in 230 NHL games with the Islanders and Nashville. He posted career highs in goals (four), assists (tied; 18), points (22) and penalty minutes (45) during the 2010-11 campaign with the Isles.

Hillen (5-foot-10, 190 pounds) spent four seasons with Colorado College of the WCHA, where he was teammates with newly acquired Caps forward Joey Crabb. Hillen earned WCHA Defensive Player of the Year, WCHA First All-Star Team and NCAA (West) First All-American Team honors during his senior season in 2008. He was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the Islanders on April 1, 2008.

Tuesday reading: Cecere, NHL free agency, Guentzel, Bjugstad, AFA

Future Tiger Garrett Cecere (2013 commit) is getting some attention from NHL scouts.

Seven former Tigers remain NHL/AHL free agents  (as of 10 a.m. MT) after Joey Crabb (Capitals), Curtis McElhinney (Columbus) and Toby Petersen (Dallas) signed on Sunday and Monday.

Jack Hillen joined Crabb on the Caps on Tuesday morning.

Here are some details about Crabb’s deal and the $200,000 pay raise from the Anchorage Daily News.

They are (name, 2011-12 team):

Richard Bachman (Dallas): Kris Fredheim (Wild); Trevor Frischmon, pictured, (Islanders); Richard Petiot (Tampa Bay); Brett Sterling (Blues), Colin Stuart (Buffalo), and Mike Testwuide (Flyers).

Colorado Springs’ Ben Holmstrom (Flyers) is also available.

Jake Guentzel, younger brother of former Tiger Gabe, is considering Colorado College. Nice kid. I met him during his visit while he was watching a practice last November. He is forgoing his senior year of high school to go to the USHL which means he could develop more quickly.

Former Badger Justin Schultz hates how Lebronesque his decision became.

Minnesota’s Nick Bjugstad will decide after the Panthers’ development camp if he will return to the Gophers.

UMass fans lick their wounds after being turned down by the Quinnipiac coach.

From  the academy …

The Air Force hockey team is proud to announce the five members of the Class of 2016, as announced Monday by head coach Frank Serratore. The class of 2016 includes two forwards and three defensemen.

26, Ben Carey, F, 5-11, 160, Centennial, CO / Wenatchee Wild (NAHL)

Played two years of junior hockey for the Wenatchee Wild of the NAHL … Led the Wild in scoring in 2011-12 with 57  points (27-30-57) in 60 games … led the team with 14 ppg and was second with a +16 … tied for 11th in the league in goals and 16th in points … third in the league in power-play goals … scored six points (2-4-6) in eight playoff games … in 2010-11, was fifth on the Wild with 43 points (19-24-43) in 57 games … fourth on the team in goals and fifth in points in 2010-11.

44, Max Edson, F, 5-8, 170, Hermosa Beach, CA / Waterloo Blackhawks (USHL)

Played two years of junior hockey for the Waterloo Blackhawks of the USHL … Played 33 games in 2011-12 at forward and scored 15 points (6-9-15) … In 2010-11, played 54 games at forward and scored 19 points (10-9-19).

8, Max Hartner, D, 6-0, 195, Greenwood Village, CO / Green Bay Gamblers (USHL)

Played three years of junior hockey for the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL … Played in 38 games in 2011-12 on defense and scored 10 points (1-9-10) … Played in 44 games on defense in 2010-11 and had 12 points (6-6-12) in 44 games … team captain in 2011-12 and 2010-11 … helped lead the Gamblers to the USHL regular-season and playoff championships twice … In 2009-10, scored three points (1-2-3) in 24 games.

10, Jesse Ramsey, D, 5-11, 175, Rogers, MN / Kenai River Brown Bears (NAHL)

Played three years of junior hockey with the Kenai River Brown Bears of the NAHL .. the top scoring defenseman, and third overall on the team,  with 38 points (11-27-38) in 60 games in 2011-12  … ranked fifth in the league in points by a defenseman … 11 goals tied as the second most in the league by any blueliner … played 57 games at forward for the Brown Bears in 2010-11 and had 21 points (5-16-21) … began his junior career in 2009-10 with the Wenatchee Wild of the NAHL and played 16 games, scoring four points (3-1-4) … played the final 38 games of the 2009-10 season with the Brown Bears at forward and scored 19 points (3-16-19) in 38 games.

77, Trevor Waldoch, D, 6-2, 175, Forest Lake, MN / Austin Bruins (NAHL)

Played two years of junior hockey for the Austin Bruins of the NAHL … Played in 60 games on defense in 2011-12 and scored 27 points (9-18-27) in 60 to rank third on team among defenseman … Played 48 games in 2010-11 on defense and scored 25 points (5-20-25) in 48 games.

NHL free agency: Crabb to Caps, Petersen re-signs with Stars

From NHL.com …

The Washington Capitals have signed right wing  and former Tiger Joey Crabb, pictured scoring against the Rangers, to a one-year contract, vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today. In keeping with club policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

NOTE: Caps Insider reports the deal is worth $950,000.

Crabb, 29, recorded career highs in goals (11), assists (15), points (26) and games played (67) last season with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He finished the season ranked 11th on Toronto in points and eighth in goals while his plus-one rating finished tied for fifth on the team. Crabb tallied four game-winning goals in 2011-12, tied for the second-most among all Maple Leaf players, and his two shorthanded goals tied for the team lead. He averaged 1:34 of penalty kill time on ice per game, the third-most among all Maple Leaf forwards (minimum 40 games). In addition, Crabb registered 15 points (seven goals, eight assists) in nine games with the Toronto Marlies in the American Hockey League (AHL) last season and recorded three assists in eight games with the United States at the 2012 World Championships.

The Anchorage, Alaska, native has appeared in 144 career NHL games with Atlanta and Toronto, compiling 50 points (18 goals, 32 assists) and 85 penalty minutes. He has collected 172 points (73 goals, 99 assists) in 299 career AHL games with Chicago and Toronto. The 6’1”, 190-pound forward won a Calder Cup championship with the Chicago Wolves in 2007-08, posting one goal and five assists in 24 playoff games. Crabb was originally drafted by the New York Rangers in the seventh round (226th overall) of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft after spending four seasons at Colorado College (NCAA).

From NHL.com …

The Dallas Stars announced today that the club has signed former Tigers center Toby Petersen to a  two-year, two-way contract through the 2013-14 season.

Petersen, 33, has spent five of his nine NHL seasons with the Dallas Stars and is coming off a 2011-12 season that saw him post five points (2 goals, 3 assists) and six penalty minutes in 39 games.

In 397 career NHL games with Pittsburgh, Edmonton and Dallas, Petersen has posted 81 points (33 goals, 48 assists) and 50 penalty minutes. His career-best for points in a season is 15, set twice in 2009-10 with Dallas and 2006-07 with Edmonton. He has added a goal and two penalty minutes in 18 career NHL playoff games.

Originally drafted in the ninth round (No. 244 overall) by Pittsburgh, the Minneapolis native made his NHL debut with the Penguins on Dec. 5, 2000 at Ottawa. He scored his first NHL goal three games later, on Dec. 10, 2000 at Detroit.

During his time with the Iowa Stars (AHL) in 2007-08, was named the team’s MVP after tallying 51 points (21-30-51) in 63 games. He also appeared in the 2008 AHL All-Star Game, winning the Fastest Skater skills competition.

Oilers land Wisconsin’s Schultz

From the CBC …

The Edmonton Oilers decision to take sniper forward Nail Yakupov over steady defenceman Ryan Murray looks even better now that the Oilers landed prized unrestricted free agent defenceman Justin Schultz.

In dramatic fashion that played out on Twitter on Saturday afternoon, Schultz and his representatives began contacting the six teams that made his shortlist. The Canucks, Rangers, Wild and Maple Leafs were all informed that they had lost their bid to sign the native of West Kelowna, B.C. to a three-year entry level contract.

The decision came down to the Senators and Oilers, the two most talented young teams based in Canada, and Schultz chose Edmonton, which even had Wayne Gretzky and Paul Coffey call Schultz on the Oilers behalf to help their recruiting cause.

Schultz felt that the Oilers provided the best opportunity to grow with a young group of talented players, including forward Taylor Hall who also met with Schultz to try and sway him to come to Edmonton.

“You look at what they have there, the type of team there with all those young guys who are turning into superstars,” Schultz said. “The have a strong core of young prospects and that was intriguing to me.

“The coach, Ralph Krueger, also came in to talk to me about what style he wants to play and I didn’t think there would be a better fit.”

Schultz will travel to Edmonton to meet with local reporters and some of the Oilers staff on Sunday. His two-year, entry-level contract has a base salary of $925,000, but potential bonuses will make him a cap hit of $3,775,000.

Schultz, who turns 22 on Friday, remarked that he hasn’t been promised a spot on the Oilers roster next season, but with his strong skating and offensive ability he sure had scouts excited about his future. Twenty-six teams were interested in signing him when he became an unrestricted free agent last Monday.

“I don’t want to be the guy that gets a guaranteed spot. I want to earn it and you should have to earn it in the NHL.”

Originally drafted by the Anaheim Ducks in the second round in 2007, the University of Wisconsin product became a free agent through a loophole when he left school in February.

“This is a massive day for the Oilers because of how people view what we’re doing here,” Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini said.

Edmonton now has 18 players under contract with a $47.5-million payroll. That means the Oilers still have $22.7-million in salary cap space.

Although Tambellini said the Oilers will be active when the free-agent frenzy opens its doors on Sunday, here is projected look at what the Oilers season-opening roster looks like now:

Forwards

Taylor Hall – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Jordan Eberle

Nail Yakupov – Shawn Horcoff – Ales Hemsky

Ryan Jones – Eric Belanger – Sam Gagner

Ben Eager – Anton Lander – Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson

Defencemen

Ryan Whitney – Nick Schultz

Ladislav Smid – Justin Schultz

Corey Potter – Jeff Petry

Goalies

Devan Dubnyk – Nikolai Khabiblulin