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Eastern Conference

Leafs’ Auston Matthews Not Worried About Contract Situation

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Toronto Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews isn’t sweating his current contract situation as his entry-level contract expires at the end of the season, and as his representatives continue to negotiate a new, long-term contract with the team.

“I don’t know if I’ll sign a new contract before the season or not,” Matthews said Sunday (h/t NHL.com). “I’m not really involved with the talks. That’s something being dealt with by my agents and team management.

“They’ve told me that it will get done when it gets done, and that’s fine.”

Matthews is also looking forward to playing alongside John Tavares, who signed a seven-year, $77 million contract with Toronto this summer.

“I’m very excited,” Matthews said. “We’ve picked up a great player in [Tavares], and that makes us a much better team. He’s a special player and I’m looking forward to playing with him.”

“We skated a couple times in July, and then he was gone for a while, but he’s back now,” Matthews continued. “I already knew from playing against him that he’s a great skater and he’s so skilled. Everyone in the League knows what kind of player he is.

“He gives us so much depth at center. It’s going to cause a lot of matchup problems for the other teams.”

 

Eastern Conference

Lightning Shopping Slater Koekkoek

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The Tampa Bay Lightning are shopping defenseman, and former first round pick, Slater Koekkoek, according to SportsNet’s Elliotte Friedman.

Tampa Bay is now motivated to trade away their once prized prospect, who is currently playing with the Syracuse Crunch on a conditioning stint.

Koekkoek is waiver eligible and will become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights in the summer of 2019.

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Columbus Blue Jackets

Blue Jackets’ Sergei Bobrovsky Will Not Dress Due To Team Incident

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The Columbus Blue Jackets have announced that veteran goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky will not dress for tonight’s game against the Nashville Predators due to what is being described as an “incident”.

Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen stated the following:

“There are certain expectations and values that we have established for our players that define our culture. An incident occurred in which Sergei failed to meet those expectations and values, so we made the decision that he would not be with the team for tonight’s game. This is an internal matter and we will have no further comment at this time.”

In corresponding moves, the Blue Jackets has recalled Jean-Francois Berube, and placed both Brandon Dubinsky and Markus Hannikainen on injured reserve.

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Eastern Conference

Leafs’ Frederik Andersen Targeting Saturday Return

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Toronto Maple Leafs’ goaltender Frederik Andersen said that he is eyeing the team’s upcoming game against the Boston Bruins on Saturday to make his return to the ice.

Andersen was placed on injured reserve on January 3rd, retroactive to December 23rd, and hasn’t played since December 22nd.

Despite his goal of a Saturday return, Maple Leafs’ head coach Mike Babcock is looking towards Monday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche as the best time for his return.

Babcock pours a little cold water on Andersen’s reveal, saying it might be Monday vs. Colorado. Hmmm…— luke fox (@lukefoxjukebox) January 9, 2019

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