The Summer of Sidney (Speculation) continues... as Sidney Crosby is back skating, having started the on-ice portion of his offseason workout routine. He hadn't been on the ice since April when the headaches came back while practicing with the Penguins so this is a good step. But it really depends on how he feels when he's back in game action in the pre-season before we'll really know if he's back to normal.
Ottawa re-signed Bobby Butler to a two-year, one-way deal. There was a lot to like about his performance in his rookie-pro season last year as he was scoring at around a 40 goal pace in the AHL before being called up to Ottawa in February and clicking on a line with Spezza to the tune of 10+11=21 in his last 27 games. Then he went back down to Binghamton for the playoffs and put up 13+4=17 in 23 games to help the Baby Sens win the Calder Cup. The key for him this season will be winning the top line role with Spezza as there is a huge drop off with any of the other Sens Cmen. If he can pull that off that I think you're looking at a strong breakout candidate for this season.
Brian Boyle re-signed with the Rangers on a three-year deal... dude is coming off a career year where he had 21+14=35 but I think it will be a challenge for him to repeat that as Torts uses him in a defensive role and he'll mostly be playing with some combination of Avery, Prust, Fedotenko & Rupp. Those aren't the linemates of consistent 20 goal scorers, so I'm not banking on an encore.
The Ducks re-signed Nick Bonino to a two-way deal... despite not recording a point in 26 games with the Ducks last year, I like this kid and think he has a bright future. He'll likely be splitting this season between the AHL & NHL again but then in 2012/13 with Koivu, Blake & Selanne (right?) gone then he should be given a shot at a L2 role.
Casey Wellman re-signed with the Wild, it's a one-year, two-way deal and looking at the Wild's depth chart it seems likely that he'll have to start the year in the AHL and wait for an injury or two before being called up. One thing to note is that his coach in Houston last year, Mike Yeo, is now the coach of the Wild so that should make the transition easier when he does get the call.
The Bruins re-signed Adam McQuaid to a four-year deal... he led all rookies with a plus-30 last season but like Jeff Schultz two seasons ago the stars just aligned for him (his PDO (combined on-ice sh% & sv%) was 106.2)... so I'd expect a regression. But if you need a guy who should give you PIMs with some hits & blks then he's worth a look.
A few guys signed ELCs yesterday... Craig Cunningham with Boston and Max Reinhart with Calgary. Both guys have some upside and had nice playoff runs this spring but are likely a few years away from challenging for an NHL roster spot.
Former Devils-Thrashers-Devils dman Anssi Salmela has signed to play in the KHL next year.