Report Jets sign Tyrel Bauer to three-year, entry-level contract

The Winnipeg Jets have signed defenceman Tyrel Bauer to a three-year, entry-level contract. His draft rights were set to expire on Jun. 1, 2022.

As part of his contract, Bauer will be paid $80,000 in the minors and would carry an $850,000 cap hit if promoted to the National Hockey League. The length of the deal will begin next season and run through 2024-25.

Bauer, 20, was selected by Winnipeg in the sixth round of the 2020 NHL Draft. Since then, he’s spent each of the last two seasons serving as the captain of the Seattle Thunderbirds in the Western Hockey League.

The 6’3″ blueliner scored five goals and 10 points through 32 regular-season games in 2021-22. During the post-season, he’s posted four assists in 18 contests.

Heading into next season, Bauer will likely be competing for a roster spot on the Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League.

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Calgarys off-season will determine how successful this past season really was

There aren’t many worse kicks to the gut for Flames fans than losing to the Oilers, especially in the first playoff series between the two since 1991. But despite the sour way Calgary’s 2021-22 season came to an end, you don’t have to squint to see positives over the course of 94 meaningful games. This past season has a chance to be a real step forward for the Flames, but so much of that hinges on what happens this summer.

The positives

“This team has taken some big steps,” said general manager Brad Treliving at the team’s final media availability of the season. “Nobody wants to hear it, but you have to keep knocking on the door. You keep tweaking, you get the group back, and you get that experience.

“This group now goes into next year with an experience of winning a round. Winning a game seven. Going into an overtime of a game seven. You have to live it, so now they’ve got that in their toolbox a little bit. To me, it feels different, you take the experience from it, you take a step back and you find out how you can make yourselves a little bit better.”

I think there’s a lot of truth in that statement. Calgary’s first round series with Dallas was anything but easy and it took perseverance and belief to stick with it and eventually prevail. That was never more on display than in game seven when the Flames wouldn’t allow themselves to be goalie’d en route to Johnny Gaudreau’s series winner. Those are experiences the team can draw from in the future.

Similarly, Calgary can learn from their second round difficulties against the Oilers. While the opposition deserves plenty of credit, the Flames were never able to apply their brand of hockey against Edmonton and it showed. Once the team digs in on why that happened, and we all have our own theories, there will be lessons to apply down he road.

Individually, I thought 2022 was Gaudreau’s best playoff showing to date. He had 14 points in 12 games, of which only three were recorded on the power play. For me, Gaudreau was Calgary’s best player in the Dallas series before his performance became more intermittent vs. the Oilers. It wasn’t a perfect spring, but it was a step forward.

Gaudreau wasn’t alone. I thought Elias Lindholm, Rasmus Andersson, Andrew Mangiapane, and Dillon Dube, all young and important pieces going forward, had generally strong postseason bodies of work. Mikael Backlund was an absolute beast starting midway through round one. And Jacob Markstrom can take positives and learn lessons from his first real playoff experience (the 2020 bubble just wasn’t the same).

The Flames accomplished good things under Darryl Sutter this season. It started with the foundation laid during the regular season. It continued into the playoffs more than it ever has with this core, but it also ended in disappointing fashion. No, it wasn’t ultimately a successful season, but it also wasn’t an abject failure, at least for me.

If Calgary had a run of the mill summer ahead of them, I think we’d be talking more about some of the steps taken going into next year. But that isn’t the case, and as such, it’s hard to fully classify this season until some major questions are answered.

The mitigating circumstances

You’ll notice I haven’t mentioned anyone’s contract status so far…until now. Gaudreau is just over six weeks away from being able to call his shot as an unrestricted free agent. If he opts to sign elsewhere, Gaudreau’s building block postseason won’t mean much of anything for the Flames. No matter which way you slice it, what happens with Gaudreau is the first domino that needs to fall.

Gaudreau once again sounded very positive when asked about his future in Calgary over the weekend, and I once again take him fully at face value. I think he’d like to stay if the teams can agree on a fair number reflecting market value. I don’t think Gaudreau is set to hold the Flames ransom, but I also don’t think we’re talking about a “hometown discount” either.

If Johnny signs back, my belief is the chances are much higher for pending restricted free agent Matthew Tkachuk to do the same. And if those two things happen, we’ll be talking about Calgary running it back and seeing if this core group is able to use this season as a step forward. The team will have to make sacrifices on the fringes, but ultimate playoff success always hinges on any team’s central group of players.

But what if Gaudreau walks and Tkachuk signs his one-year qualifying offer and starts preparing an eventual exit? While I don’t think that’s the most likely scenario, it’s also one that can’t be ignored. In that case, the Flames would be taking a step back and falling out of a contending window for a little bit. That’s when it would become much harder to sell me on 2021-22 being a stepping stone for future success.

Calgary has an important next few months ahead of them.


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Jiri Kulich is a centre with a tremendous shot who the Canucks may be able to trade down for Scouting with Faber

Czech centre Jiri Kulich has played himself into being a first-round pick at the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.

Kulich comes in at 6’0″-6’1″ and weighs somewhere in the realm of 172-178 pounds. He is a pure centre who is fast, strong, and aggressively creates turnovers in the neutral zone. Kulich’s top skill is his work on the power play with his quick release and accurate shot. His power play production was on full display at the U18 tournament, where he scored seven power play goals and took home the most valuable player award for the tournament.

After scoring nine goals in six games at the U18s and taking home MVP honours, Kulich is drawing a lot more eyes to his tape and we like what we are seeing from his play in the Czechia men’s league.

Kulich is a very engaged defender in his own zone. He is the first forward back on most of the transitions into the defensive zone and that is key as he is playing centre in the Czech top league. He is disruptive to the opposition’s offence in-zone and uses both his stick and body to pry the puck away in board battles.

He also does a good job blocking shots and isn’t afraid to sacrifice his body to take away a scoring chance. Kulich really shined offensively in the U18s but also showed that he is more than just a power play specialist.

His defence is definitely advanced for his age and we liked what we saw in his ability to be responsible in his own end.

It’s great to see that Kulich is an adequate defender because he is much more than just adequate when it comes to his play in the offensive zone.

The best part of Kulich’s game is his shot — more specifically, his quick release.

Kulich finds open ice in the offensive zone and quickly makes teams pay if they leave him open for just a split second.

He is an above-average puck carrier who doesn’t panic when the puck in on his stick and a defender is closing in on him. Kulich’s ability to find open space is great to see at five-on-five but goes to the next level when he is on the power play. This was showcased by his hat trick against the powerhouse Canadian team at the U18s. He scored all three of his goals on the power play, including the game-winning goal in overtime.

His quick release is massive to his success and will be valuable for him to become a scorer in the NHL. Kulich generates a lot of power behind his shots and has one of the strongest shots we see in the upcoming draft.

Our projection for Kulich is that he could become a third line centre in two-three years. This would be great for the Canucks’ system because he would slot in behind Elias Pettersson and Bo Horvat. Kulich will need to continue to grow his defensive game to become an NHL centreman. He’s off to a good start and certainly seems strong for his size. The interesting thing will be if Kulich can get his playing weight up 15-25 pounds by the time he is 21-22 years old. If Kulich can add some strength, he could end up being an excellent third-line centre for an NHL team if he hits his offensive potential while being an average defender.

He will surely find his way onto an NHL power play at some point in his NHL career and with Kulich’s playing situation in the Czechia league, you might see Kulich over in North America sooner rather than later. The AHL is an appealing league for Czechia league players. I’d expect to see Kulich in North America for the 2023-24 season.

We expect to see Kulich slot in somewhere between 20-35 in this summer’s draft.

He’s a centre, has a great shot, and looks strong defensively in a men’s league.

Kulich’s nine goals in six games at the U18s isn’t the reason why he is a first-round pick but it surely doesn’t hurt his case.

We like the idea of Kulich being an option if the Canucks were to trade down from 15 to 22-28. There are a lot of defencemen and wingers in that realm and Kulich is a rare centre around this part of the draft. His position of need raises his value but with the Canucks’ prospect pool in the position that it is, Kulich would have to clearly be the best player available for the Canucks to pass on a defenceman for the Czechia sniper.

He has decent size, plays bigger than he is, has a dynamite shot, and showed well on the biggest stage of his young hockey career.

There’s a lot to like about Kulich and he shows a lot of potential to be an offensively dangerous third-line centre when he makes it to the NHL.

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Three former Red Wings draft selections are set to hit free agency

Barring a last-minute change, the Detroit Red Wings are slated to have three former draft selections become unrestricted free agents – including goaltender Jesper Eliasson, defenceman Alex Cotton and center Otto Kivenmaki.

For all 32 franchises, the deadline to sign eligible draft prospects falls on Jun. 1, 2022. If any player remains unsigned, each club – in this case, the Red Wings – will lose their signing rights to that skater.

Here’s the entire list of eligible prospects:

Eliasson, 22, was selected by Detroit in the third round of the 2018 NHL Draft. He split the 2021-22 season between Almtuna IS and Väsby IK, where he dropped from the second-highest league in Sweden to the third.

With Almtuna IS, the 6’3″ netminder logged 10 games and a miserable 0-9-0 record, performing to a 4.43 goals-against average and a .842 save percentage. In 14 appearances with Väsby IK, he posted a 6-8-0 record, a 3.11 goals-against average and a .900 save percentage.

Cotton, 21, was drafted by the Red Wings in the fifth round of the 2020 NHL Draft. During the following season, he appeared in 24 games with the Lethbridge Hurricanes of the Western Hockey League, registering seven goals and 26 points.

This season, the 6’2″ defenceman returned to Lethbridge for the first eight games of the campaign before being traded to the Vancouver Giants. In the 46 contests that followed, he scored 11 goals and 32 points. He also added six goals and 16 points during the playoffs.

Kivenmaki, 22, was chosen by Detroit in the seventh round of the 2018 NHL Draft. Since then, he’s played four seasons in Finland’s Liiga, three with Ässät and one with the Pelicans.

In 59 games, the 5’9″ forward finished with five goals and 20 points during the 2021-22 campaign. He registered just a single assist across three playoff contests.

More from WingsNation


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GDB 13.0 Which Star Will Shine Brightest 6pm MT, Sportsnet

There is no shortage of high-end talent in the Western Conference Final between the Edmonton Oilers and Colorado Avalanche.

Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Nathan MacKinnon, Cale Makar, Mikko Rantanen, Evander Kane, Nazem Kadri, Gabriel Landeskog, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Zach Hyman will all play a role in determining which team represents the West in the Stanley Cup Final.

But who will have the biggest impact?

Each of the aforementioned 10 players has a solid resume, and in many cases a spectacular one.

Over the past fours seasons these players have been been scattered across the goals, assists and points leaderboards.

McDavid (1st), Draisaitl (2), MacKinnon (5) and Rantanen (18) were all top 20 in points.
Landeskog, RNH, Kane and Kadri are all in the top-80.

Draisaitl (179), McDavid (152), MacKinnon (128), Rantanen (116), Landeskog (1057) and Kane (100) were among the 33 players who scored 100+ goals the past four seasons. Kane and Rantanen each missed four games and still cracked 100. Hyman had 84 goals.

Makar’s been in the NHL three seasons, and in that span he is the only D-man to average one-point-per game. He has 180 points in 178 games. He’s one of the most dynamic players in the NHL.

The top-end talent in this series is amazing, and while depth is often a topic of conversation come playoff time, and I understand why, this series could be determined by which star shines the brightest.

Draisailt had 17 points in the Oilers five-game series victory over Calgary. He set an NHL record for most assists (4) in a period, tied the record for most points (4) in a period and set and then broke his own record for most consecutive playoff games with three+ points. The old record was three, and he broke that in game four and then added four points in game five. Ridiculous.

McDavid is tied with Draisaitl for the playoff scoring lead with 26 points in 12 games, but McDavid has been on the ice for 38 goals for thus far and only 11 against. The next closest is Draisaitl at 29-15 and then Adam Fox at 27-17 and Makar at 25-13.

Colorado’s top forwards aren’t on the ice for as many goals, but they haven’t been on for as many goals against: Landeskog (21-6), MacKinnon (20-6) and Rantanen (17-8). The main question is: Can Colorado’s top stars match the Oilers’?

Here is a look at their per 60 (all situations) in goals, assist, points, shots, penalties drawn, giveaways, takeaways and hits.

Player TOI/GP G/60 A/60  Pts/60 Shots/60 PD/60 GAW/60 TAW/60 Hits/60 5×5 Pts/60
Draisaitl 20:46 1.68 4.57 6.26 7.46 0.72 3.37 2.17 1.44 5.46
McDavid 22:19 1.57 4.26 5.82 10.75 1.57 3.58 2.91 8.74 5.23
Kane 19:26 3.09 0.77 3.86 13.37 1.54 2.57 0.77 14.4 3.46
MacKinnon 21:08 2.27 1.42 3.69 15.61 0.57 1.42 2.27 3.69 2.36
Landeskog 20:22 1.77 1.47 3.24 9.13 0.29 2.06 2.06 11.48 2.47
 Kadri 18:59 1.58 1.58 3.16 10.74 1.26 0.63 0.95 4.11 3.47
Rantanen 21:01 0.29 2.85 3.14 6.85 1.14 0.57 2.85 6.28 2.05
Hyman 20:16 1.97 0.99 2.96 12.58 0.74 0.25 2.47 7.65 2.31
N-Hopkins 20:19 0.98 1.72 2.71 6.89 0.74 2.21 1.48 4.67 2.47
Nichushkin 19:46 0.91 1.21 2.12 10.32 0.3 0.91 2.43 8.19 2.44
Lehkonen 16:44 1.43 0.36 1.79 7.17 0 0.36 0.36 9.32 1.59
Yamamoto 16:52 0.59 1.19 1.78 4.15 0.89 2.07 2.67 10.37 1.44

I added P/60 at 5×5 to illustrate how productive McDavid and Draisaitl have been. Which matchup will Jared Bednar want tonight?

We know Makar and Devon Toews will face McDavid as often as they can, but which forward line will face them?

In the only regular-season game in Colorado, McDavid played 16:49 at 5×5. But Draisaitl wasn’t on his line. McDavid was with Kane and Yamamoto. And MacKinnon’s line played seven minutes against McDavid, while Nico Sturm played 5:40 and Kadri played 3:40.

If Draisaitl starts with McDavid tonight, I’d expect MacKinnon to get the matchup, and then Kadri would play against the Nugent-Hopkins line and Ryan McLeod line.

The wildcard is if Woodcroft considers moving Leon Draisaitl to centre the second line.



Hyman – McDavid – Draisaitl
Kane – RNH – Yamamoto
Foegele – McLeod – Puljujarvi
Archibald – Ryan – Kassian

Nurse – Ceci
Keith – Bouchard
Kulak – Barrie


The Oilers had an optional skate this morning and Jay Woodcroft wasn’t tipping his hat on which line combinations he will go with. The Draisaitl-McDavid-Kane line was incredibly dominant v. Calgary. But moving Draisaitl to centre would be a significant move. I understand the rationale to do it, but right now the top line has been so good that I’d start the series with Draisaitl and McDavid on the top line. I do wonder if Woodcroft opts to play Hyman with them and have Kane in a matchup v. Kadri, which is why I have Kane with RNH and Puljujarvi looked the most comfortable in game five, so I’d keep him with McLeod. He and Foegele will need to use their size and speed to match the JT Compher line. Many interesting potential matchups.

Woodcroft has spoken often about how his main message and focus is on what his team does well. If you believe that, then keep McDavid-Draisaitl together…for now.

I’m not sold that the Nichushkin-Kadri-Lehtonen line is much more dangerous than Calgary’s second line. Edmonton should be confident that Nugent-Hopkins’ line could match them, and right now the Oilers’ top line has outperformed Colorado’s top line. That might change once the series begins, but I’d stick with my dominant line to start. McDavid and Draisaitl are the first teammates in NHL history to each have 26 points after two rounds of the playoffs. That’s how dominant they’ve been.

The Oilers trailed 3-0, 2-0 and 2-0 in three road games in Calgary. They won two of them, but that is not a recipe for success long term. They need a better start tonight.


Landeskog – MacKinnon – Rantanen
Nichushkin – Kadri – Lehkonen
Burakovsky – Compher – Aube-Kubel
Cogliano –  Helm – O’Connon

Toews – Makar
Byram – E. Johnson
J. Johnson – Manson


Bednar used different top-six combinations in the last three games v. Blues.

In game four he ran:
Landeskog – MacKinnon – Rantanen
Nichushkin – Kadri – Lehkonen

In game five it was:
Nichushkin – MacKinnon – Rantanen
Landeskog  – Kadri – Lehkonen

In game six:
Landeskog – MacKinnon – Lehkonen
Nichushkin – Kadri – Rantanen

He isn’t afraid to move guys around, and I suspect we will see both coaches using different top-six combinations this series. It sounds like he will start the series with his three big guns on the top line. The Oilers will need to be very leery of Makar jumping in the rush. He’s extremely dangerous when you turn the puck over, so whoever is on the ice against him, has to not only avoid high-danger turnovers, but also be alert and aware of where he is if you have a turnover.


Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Game one hasn’t been great for the Oilers. They are 24-23 including 0-2 this season. Meanwhile Colorado loves game one. They are 22-7 on home ice and 31-17 overall. They are 2-0 this season with both wins coming at home. I believe Edmonton needs to win tonight to win the series, and they do with a 5-3 win.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The McDavid/Draisaitl show continues as each have multi-point games.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Warren Foegele scores in the playoffs for the first time in 18 games. It is the third road playoff goal of his career.


All 24 can packs of Budweiser, Bud Light, Coors Light, and Molson Canadian Beer will be on sale for $35.99 plus tax and deposit on game days during this round of playoffs!

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