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Jackets in center of free agency hoopla

(AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) Where many express concern, Jarmo Kekalainen says he sees only opportunity regarding the uncertain state of the Columbus roster a week before NHL free agency.

To Kekalainen, the fear of possibly losing stars such as Matt Duchene, Artemi Panarin and goalie Sergei Bobrovsky on July 1 is offset by the knowledge that their departures would open significant space under the salary cap.

That would put the Blue Jackets general manager in prime position to fill those holes through trades or free agency at a time when the newly announced $81.5 million payroll maximum for next season is forcing various cap-strapped teams to shed salary.


Wild sign D Hunt to 2-year contract

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) Minnesota Wild defenseman Brad Hunt has agreed to a two-year contract worth $1.4 million.

Hunt had five points in 29 games with the Wild last season after coming over from Vegas in a midseason trade.


Subban excited with trade to Devils

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) P.K. Subban wasn't exactly shocked Saturday when the six-time NHL defenseman was traded from the Nashville Predators to the New Jersey Devils.

"I've been through the process before," Subban said in a conference call with the media Sunday. "There was a lot of talk after the season about what the Predators would do. Being in a (salary) cap world, every time you're up against the cap and when you draft well, you have to pay players. We kind of knew that there would be changes, especially after losing in the first round (of the NHL playoffs to the Dallas Stars). I didn't know what to expect."


Bettman, Fehr support World Cup reboot

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) With labor talks having already begun on an informal basis, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and union chief Don Fehr are in favor of rebooting the World Cup of Hockey tournament and holding it every four years.

The stumbling block to laying out a long-term calendar of international competition, however, revolves around the hot-button topic of the NHL competing at the Winter Olympics after skipping out on South Korea last year.


Leafs deal veteran Marleau to Hurricanes

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) The Toronto Maple Leafs have freed up valuable salary-cap space by trading veteran forward Patrick Marleau to the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Hurricanes acquired a conditional first-round pick and a seventh-round selection in next year's draft.


Lightning unload F Miller to Canucks

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) The traditional team-by-team roll call to open the second day of the NHL draft hadn't yet begun when the league's looming salary-cap crunch began overshadowing the final six rounds Saturday.

Norris Trophy-winning defenseman P.K. Subban is off to New Jersey. Forward Patrick Marleau, a 21-year veteran, is headed to Carolina. And center J.T. Miller, one year into a five-year $26.25 million contract, was traded to Vancouver.


Salary cap $1.5M lower than projected

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) The NHL salary cap for next season has been set at $81.5 million, which is $1.5 lower than initially projected.

The league and the NHL Players' Association announced the figure Saturday, a day before teams can begin meeting with prospective unrestricted free agents ahead of the signing period opening July 1. The cap rose by $2 million from last season, though teams at or near the maximum were counting additional room in order to sign or re-sign players.


Blackhawks get C Quenneville from Devils

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) The Latest on the NHL draft (all times local):

11:08 a.m.


Devils select US C Hughes with 1st pick

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) The first round of the NHL draft wasn't so much unpredictable as the game is becoming more international.

That was Dallas Stars general manager Jim Nill's observation following an opening round Friday that featured an international theme and numerous twists.


Wings' Yzerman makes unexpected pick

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) Back home in Detroit, it took Steve Yzerman only a matter of minutes Friday in the NHL draft to put his imprint on the future of the Red Wings.

It came with the No. 6 overall pick and a selection that was unexpected. Moritz Seider, the newest member of the Red Wings, was even surprised.

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