Capitals, Tom Wilson agree to seven-year contract extension worth $45.5 million

The Washington Capitals have signed veteran forward Tom Wilson to a long-term extension, the team announced on Friday. Wilson, 29, inked a seven-year contract worth $45.5 million.

Wilson’s extension will kick in at the start of the 2024-25 season, and it carries an AAV of $6.5 million. The Capitals’ first-round pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, Wilson has spent his entire career with the franchise, and this extension makes it a real possibility that he will retire in Washington.

Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said Wilson has made substantial contributions to the Capitals in his 10 seasons with the team, and he believes that will continue well into the future.

“Tom possesses all the intangibles needed to win in this League and we are extremely pleased to sign him to a long-term contract, giving him the opportunity to finish his career in a Capitals’ uniform,” MacLellan said in his statement. “Throughout his career, Tom has improved every facet of his game through his drive and competitiveness. We feel his work ethic and leadership qualities will be a tremendous asset to our organization for years to come.”

Wilson has played 680 games with the Capitals, earning a reputation as a hard-nosed power forward along the way. Throughout his career, Wilson has piled up 128 goals, 167 assists, and 295 points.

In the 2018 playoffs, Wilson was integral in helping the Capitals win their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. He contributed five goals and 15 points in 21 games played.

Wilson missed significant time in 2022-23 due to his recovery from a torn ACL and a separate ankle injury he suffered during the season. He played in just 33 games, scoring 13 goals and adding nine assists.

Penguins add Erik Karlsson to load up for one last run with Stanley Cup-winning veteran core

The Pittsburgh Penguins made an important decision during the 2022 offseason when they re-signed Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang. With the team deciding not to break up their veteran core, Pittsburgh pushed its chips to the center of the table for another Stanley Cup run with the acquisition of star defenseman Erik Karlsson.

On Sunday, the Penguins acquired the reigning Norris Trophy winner as part of a three-team trade with the San Jose Sharks and Montreal Canadiens.

The trade was as follows:

The Penguins acquired Karlsson, forward Rem Pitlick, forward Dillon Hamaliuk and the Sharks’ 2026 third-round draft pick
The Sharks acquired the Penguins’ 2024 first-round pick (top-10 protected), forward Mikael Granlund, defenseman Jan Rutta, and forward Mike Hoffman
The Canadiens acquired the Penguins’ 2025 second-round pick, defenseman Jeff Petry, goaltender Casey DeSmith, and forward Nathan Legare
Karlsson, a three-time Norris Trophy who’s been selected to seven All-Star Games, is signed through the 2026-27 season and helps to extend Pittsburgh’s window to compete for a Stanley Cup. The Sharks will also retain $1.5 million of Karlsson’s yearly salary as part of the deal.

How Karlsson fits in with the Penguins
It’s been well-documented that the Penguins possess one of the NHL’s older cores, which features the likes of captain Sidney Crosby, Malkin, and Letang. After re-signing Malkin and Letang last offseason, the Penguins continued the tradition of adding veteran talent during the 2023 offseason.

In addition to Karlsson, the Penguins also beefed up their blue line with the signing of former New Jersey Devils defenseman Ryan Graves to a six-year, $27 million contract. Pittsburgh also improved their top-six forward group by acquiring Reilly Smith from the Vegas Golden Knights. Finally, the team re-signed goaltender Tristan Jarry to a five-year, $26.8 million contract extension.

The acquisition of Karlsson gives the Penguins two elite right-handed defensemen in their top two defensive pairings. It’s likely that Karlsson will be slotted with Graves on the team’s top defensive pairing once the 2023-24 campaign begins.

Karlsson brings an abundance of offensive talent that will fit in nicely with Pittsburgh’s already talented roster. It gives Pittsburgh another blue-liner that can help put the puck in the net. That’s a huge addition seeing as the Penguins go just 27 goals from their defensemen in 2022-23 with Letang scoring 12 of those.

The star defenseman is coming off of a massive season in which he registered 101 points (25 goals, 71 assists) in a full 82-game season with the Sharks. In doing so, Karlsson became just the sixth blue-liner in NHL history to record a 100-point season and the first since Brian Leetch in 1991-92.

Karlsson also led all defensemen in goals, assists, and points, while finishing 11th in points among all players. Since entering the league during the 2009-10 season, Karlsson leads all NHL defensemen in assists (583) and points (761), while also ranking second in goals (178) behind only Brent Burns (210).

The Penguins ranked 16th in goals-per-game (3.18) during the 2022-23 season, so it’s safe to say that they could use a boost in the goal-scoring department. While Karlsson had a career year in 2022-23, he’s registered double-digit goals in eight of his 14 NHL seasons, so he will be a much-needed spark plug on the offensive end for Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh’s Stanley Cup chances
It goes without saying that the Penguins’ offseason moves were very necessary after missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since Sidney Crosby’s rookie season in 2005-06. This is a team that was fully capable of making a deep run at the Stanley Cup during the 2023-24 season following the moves they’ve made.

Crosby is still playing at an elite level after tallying 93 points (33 goals, 60 assists) in his 18th NHL season. The Penguins also still have a tremendous amount of forward depth with Malkin, Smith, Jake Guentzel, and Rickard Rakell. Guentzel will miss the start of the 2023-24 campaign, but shouldn’t be out of the lineup more than the first couple of weeks of the season, barring any setbacks from offseason ankle surgery.

With the addition of Karlsson, this has all the makings of a very dangerous offensive team. It’s likely going to come down to the play of Tristan Jarry in net.

Jarry tallied a less-than-stellar 2.90 goals-against-average, and only appeared in 47 games due to injury last season. If Jarry can return to form and stay healthy, the Penguins have all the makings of a Stanley Cup contender.

If you look up and down the Eastern Conference, the Boston Bruins most likely won’t be repeating their Presidents’ Trophy season after losing Tyler Bertuzzi and Dmitry Orlov in free agency and Patrice Bergeron to retirement. Teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs, New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers will be fighting for conference supremacy yet again, but there’s no reason that the Penguins can’t be in that mix following the acquisition of Karlsson.

At the very least, it’s fairly likely that the Penguins can grab one of those Wild Card spots in the East. As we saw last season with the Florida Panthers, anything is possible as long as you sneak into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo identifies Mesa, Arizona as possible location for new arena

Following their failed attempt to build a new arena and entertainment district in Tempe, the Arizona Coyotes have set their sights on another city. On Wednesday, the Coyotes announced that owner Alex Meruelo has turned to Mesa in hopes of finding a permanent home in Arizona.

Back in May, Tempe voters rejected the Coyotes’ proposition to build a new arena, entertainment district, and residential housing in the area. The franchise had to go back to the drawing board in order to find a long-term solution in Arizona, and it seems like Meruelo has identified Mesa as a possible landing spot.

In its official announcement, the team revealed that Meruelo has “executed a Letter of Intent to purchase a parcel of land located in Mesa, Arizona.” The Coyotes made it very clear that their aim is to keep the franchise in Arizona permanently, despite rumors that the franchise could face relocation in the next few years.

“We appreciate the tremendous support that we have received from many communities, elected officials, and community leaders who have expressed their desire to see the Coyotes remain in the Valley permanently,” the team said in its statement. “We would also like to thank NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly for their steadfast support of the Club’s efforts to find a permanent arena solution, and for their recognition that Arizona is a tremendous hockey market.”

The team did add that it will “continue to explore other potential sites in the East Valley.”

For now, the Coyotes are sharing Mullett Arena with Arizona State University’s hockey program. Following the 2021-22 season, when Arizona lost Gila River Arena, the team signed a deal with Arizona State to play at Mullett Arena through at least the 2024-25 season. The Coyotes also have an option to stay there for the 2025-26 season.

The Coyotes have upgraded their roster this offseason, with additions like Sean Durzi, Jason Zucker, Alexander Kerfoot, and Matt Dumba. As they try to climb out of the NHL’s basement, the Coyotes will keep searching for some stability in the desert.

Bruins’ David Krejci announces retirement after 16 seasons

Boston Bruins forward David Krejci announced his retirement on Monday after 16 NHL seasons. Krejci spent all 16 of his NHL seasons as a member of the Bruins.

“When I was drafted in 2004, I had no idea that I would be working with such incredible and driven people who would lead us to three Stanley Cup Finals, and winning the ultimate goal in 2011,” Krejci said in a statement.

“I have made so many great friendships throughout the organization. You have always been there for me whenever I needed something and I will always be here for you.”

Krejci returned to the Bruins last summer on a one-year deal after spending the 2021-22 campaign playing for HC Olomouc in Czechia. The veteran center tallied 56 points (16 goals and 40 assists) during the 2022-23 season, which was his highest point total since 2015-16.

The 37-year-old helped Boston set league records for the most points (135) and victories (65) in a season. The Bruins were eliminated by the Florida Panthers in the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs despite their record-breaking regular season.

Krejci was originally selected in the second round (No. 63 overall) of the 2004 NHL Draft. Throughout his 16-year career, Krejci racked up 786 points (231 goals and 555 assists) in 1,032 career contests with Boston.

Krejci ranks fifth in assists (555) in team history, while also ranking fifth in games played (1,032), sixth in postseason points (43), and ninth in points (786).

The veteran center was a key part of the Bruins team that won the Stanley Cup in 2011 as he tallied 23 points (12 goals and 11 assists) in 25 postseason games. Krejci follows longtime teammate Patrice Bergeron into retirement after the Bruins captain hung up his skates July 25.

Bobby Baun, legendary Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman, dies at 86

Toronto Maple Leafs legend Bobby Baun has died at the age of 86, the team announced on Tuesday. One of the toughest defensemen in franchise history, Baun was part of four different Stanley Cup championship teams with the Maple Leafs.

Baun made his debut with the Maple Leafs in the 1956-57 season, and he played the first 11 seasons of his career with the franchise. Baun helped Toronto win the Stanley Cup in three straight seasons from 1962 to 1964.

In the 1964 Stanley Cup Final against the Detroit Red Wings, Baun scored the overtime winner in Game 6 on a broken leg. Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan released a statement on Baun’s death and said his legacy continues to inspire those within the organization to this day.

“The Toronto Maple Leafs are deeply saddened by the passing of Bobby Baun, whose enduring legacy of remarkable resilience includes his iconic overtime game-winning goal during a Stanley Cup Final despite playing with a broken leg.

“Bob possessed unquestionable toughness and incredible pride in being a Toronto Maple Leaf. His inspirational presence continues to embody the heart of the game. He will be greatly missed by our team and its fans. Our thoughts are with Bob’s loved ones during this difficult time.”

Baun was selected by the Oakland Seals in the 1967 NHL Expansion Draft, and he played one season there before being dealt to the Red Wings in 1968. Baun did return to Toronto for the final 137 games of his career.

Five games into the 1972-73 season, Baun suffered a neck injury that would end his career. In his 964 NHL games, Baun totaled 37 goals, 187 assists, 224 points, and 1,489 penalty minutes.

Red Wings acquire Jeff Petry from Canadiens in exchange for draft pick, Gustav Lindstrom

The Detroit Red Wings have bolstered their blue line with the acquisition of veteran defenseman Jeff Petry. On Tuesday, the Red Wings announced that they acquired Petry from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for a conditional 2025 fourth-round pick and defenseman Gustav Lindstrom.

This is now the second time Petry has been traded this offseason. After spending the 2022-23 season with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Petry was traded to the Canadiens earlier this month, with Pittsburgh retaining 25% of his $6.25 million salary.

The Canadiens are now retaining 50% of Petry’s remaining salary, which means the Red Wings will get a veteran blue line presence for just over $2.3 million for the next two seasons.

Petry, 35, is entering his 14th NHL season, and he has remained a solid puck-moving defenseman well into his career. Last season, Petry tallied five goals and 26 assists in 61 games with the Penguins. According to Natural Stat Trick, Pittsburgh controlled 53.9% of the expected goals with Petry on the ice at five-on-five.

Petry will slot into a Red Wings defensive group that already features budding superstar Moritz Seider, Justin Holl, Jake Walman, Shayne Gostisbehere, and Ben Chiarot. Detroit allowed 279 goals against last season which ranked 23rd in the league, but that number should improve with Petry in the fold.

Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman has been busy trying to complete the team’s rebuild this summer, and he made one of the biggest moves of the offseason when he traded for sharpshooting winger Alex DeBrincat in July.

Lindstrom, a second-round pick by the Red Wings in 2017, has yet to establish himself as a full-time NHL player. He should get more of a chance to do just that on a Canadiens team with a less crowded blue line.

Goalie on Division III champion women’s hockey team killed, three teammates injured in car crash

Jori Jones, who was a member of the NCAA Division III national champion Gustavus Adolphus College women’s hockey team, died Sunday in a two-vehicle collision in west-central Minnesota. Jones was just 19 years old.

Three other players were injured in the crash, which occurred at a rural intersection.

According to the Minnesota Star-Tribune, the accident occurred around 12:40 p.m. on Sunday an estimated 20 miles west of Willmar in Grace Township. The women’s SUV was heading east on Highway 40 when it collided with a southbound minivan.

All four women were taken to Montevideo Hospital, but Jones didn’t survive her injuries.

The SUV’s driver ended up being identified as Gianna K. Gasparini. Her grandfather, Gino Gasparini, served as the University of North Dakota men’s hockey head coach from 1978 to 1994, and he led the school to three national championships.

According State Patrol Sgt. Troy Christianson, one of the drivers failed to obey a stop sign, but he didn’t reveal who was at fault. The intersection where the accident took place is a four-way stop. 

The players were in one of the three vehicles that were carrying teammates who were returning from an offseason trip to Aberdeen in eastern South Dakota. 

“There was sort of a caravan coming back,” Gustavus Adolphus women’s hockey head coach Mike Carroll said. “One of the cars came upon the [crash] scene. They were there while the paramedics pulled the athletes out of the car. The other group heard and doubled back.”

All four women were freshmen this past season when Gustavus Adolphus won the NCAA Division III national title in March 2023. Prior to landing at Gustavus Adolphus, Jones played her high school hockey for Roseville (Minn.).

Gustavus Adolphus organized a private vigil on campus to honor the victims on Monday. 

Starting lineup prediction, bench rotation, depth outlook for 2023-24

UConn is losing key pieces from its national-title winning team such as Jordan Hawkins, Andre Jackson and Adama Sanogo, but don’t fall into the trap of calling the 2023-24 season a rebuilding year for the Huskies. With several key contributors from last season back and poised to thrive in bigger roles, coach Dan Hurley’s squad is likely to compete on the national stage yet again.

The arrival of the nation’s No. 6 signing class, headlined by five-star guard Stephon Castle, and the inbound transfer of elite 3-point shooter Cam Spencer also provide reason for optimism that there won’t be a significant drop-off for the Huskies.

Returning to anchor the 2023-24 squad are fifth-year senior point guard Tristen Newton, redshirt sophomore power forward Alex Karaban and sophomore center Donovan Clingan. Of the trio, Clingan is poised for the most-significant breakout after outperforming his No. 73 overall prospect ranking as a true freshman while backing up Sanogo.

One particularly interesting wild card on the Huskies’ roster is Samson Johnson, a third-year member of the program who was on track for a key role last season prior to an early-season injury. Hurley has been high on Johnson since before his arrival, and he could provide a spark for UConn in the front court in the season ahead.

As college basketball’s offseason player movement cycle slows to a trickle, it’s time to start breaking down the rosters of the sport’s top programs. For this installment, we’re taking a look at UConn and trying to decipher what the Huskies’ lineup could look like when the season begins.

The reigning national champion UConn Huskies are bringing back one of the best big men in the country and a few more pieces. So, where does this team fall in the overall hierarchy for title contenders for 2024, and is UConn even the favorite in the Big East? Matt Norlander and Gary Parrish elaborate on the challenging climb ahead for the Huskies, including a history lesson on how the program has done the year after winning it all. Subscribe to Eye on College Basketball, which is available available for free on the Audacy app as well as Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and wherever else you listen to podcasts.

Projected starting lineup

  1. Tristen Newton
    6-5 | 190 | Sr.

Newton caught some flack early last season for not being a “true point guard” after arriving as a transfer from East Carolina, where he served as the Pirates’ primary scoring option. But he got better as the season went along and capped it off with a 19-point, 10-rebound performance in the national title game. He finished last season averaging 4.7 assists and should again be a key piece of the Huskies’ rotation.

  1. Cam Spencer
    6-4 | 207 | Sr.

Spencer entered the portal in May after leading Rutgers in scoring with 13.2 points per game on 43.4% shooting from 3-point range in his lone season with the Scarlet Knights. Including three seasons at Loyola-Maryland, he’s a career 40.5% 3-point shooter. Replacing the perimeter marksmanship of Hawkins won’t be easy, but Spencer’s late addition to the roster gives the Huskies a great outside shooting option.

  1. Stephon Castle
    6-6 | 205 | Fr.

Castle landed at No. 7 in Kyle Boone’s early 2024 NBA mock draft after ranking as the No. 7 prospect in the Class of 2023, according to 247Sports. Those are some lofty expectations, but the McDonald’s All-American is a big combo guard with all the physical tools necessary to deliver on the hype. From a skill standpoint, his shot is a work in progress, which means that fans should cool their expectations for what Castle might contribute offensively.

  1. Alex Karaban
    6-8 | 210 | R-So.

Karaban exceeded expectations as a redshirt freshman, stepping into the starting lineup for the season’s second game and never relinquishing the role. He hit 40.2% of his 3-point attempts on 4.2 tries per game and also proved to be a trustworthy defender, even when switched onto smaller guards. His versatility on both ends of the floor makes him the perfect stretch power forward in the modern game and explains how he landed as a projected first-round pick in Boone’s 2024 NBA mock draft.

  1. Donovan Clingan
    7-2 | 265 | So.

The only reason Clingan didn’t play a starring role for the Huskies as a true freshman was because Sanogo, the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player, played the same position. With Sanogo now in the NBA, the path is clear for Clingan to become one of the most dominant centers in college basketball. He averaged a whopping 1.8 blocks in just 13.1 minutes per game and averaged 6.9 points on 65.5% shooting. If he can stay out of foul trouble and maintain his conditioning, Clingan could be a walking double-double and elite rim protector worthy of All-American consideration.

Donovan Clingan getting some 3s off

— Joe Arruda (@joearruda9) July 29, 2023
Samson Johnson
6-10 | 215 | Jr.
Johnson started the season opener last year before a foot injury derailed his sophomore campaign. The former four-star prospect can play either position in the front court and should finally get a chance to show what he can contribute in his third season with the program.

Hassan Diarra
6-2 | 190 | Sr.
Diarra is an excellent perimeter defender, but that wasn’t enough to keep him prominently featured in the rotation during the NCAA Tournament last season. Still, the former Texas A&M guard appeared in 36 games for the Huskies and should factor into the bench equation once again, especially if he can improve upon last season’s lackluster offensive metrics.

Solomon Ball
6-3 | 185 | Fr.
Ball finished the 2023 recruiting cycle ranked No. 41 nationally by 247Sports, making him the lesser-heralded of the program’s two freshmen guards. But while Castle could be a one-and-done rental, Ball has the makings of a long-term contributor. With elite athleticism, a reported 6-10 wingspan and a reputation for prolific scoring, he’ll also have the chance to earn an early role.

Jaylin Stewart
6-7 | 210 | Fr.
Stewart ranked as the No. 53 freshman in the class, and Hurley is optimistic about his offensive repertoire. “He has an awesome blend of size, strength and skill for a perimeter player,” Hurley said. “He is a natural basketball player with an elevated feel for the game and we feel he has the potential to be a star.”

Jayden Ross
6-7 | 180 | Fr.
Ross ranked as the No. 108 prospect in the class. Hurley described him as “an explosive athlete, a big wing who can really use his shooting as a weapon on the offensive end.”

Apostolos Roumoglou | 6-7 | 200 | So.
Youssouf Singare | 7-0 | 225 | Fr.

A late addition to UConn’s 2022-23 roster from Greece, Roumoglou remains somewhat of a mystery after only logging garbage minutes last season. But it’s conceivable that he could find his way into the mix after a season of acclimating to college basketball. Singare ranked as the No. 134 prospect in the class and holds promise as a rim protector. But minutes could be hard to find behind Clingan and Johnson this season.

Scores, times, TV channel, watch online, live stream, standings, odds

The 2023 FIBA Men’s World Cup is set to tip off this weekend with 32 teams eyeing the international prize. The preliminary round begins Friday, Aug. 26, and runs through Wednesday, Aug. 30. Each of the 32 teams participating will play a trio of group-stage matchups in the Philipines, Japan, and Indonesia to set the stage for the quarterfinals. The teams have been split into eight groups of four.

Team USA does not have its brightest stars participating in the competition, but the Americans are favored to win the event. The USA squad (full roster here) is coached by Steve Kerr and led by Anthony Edwards, Jalen Brunson, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Mikal Bridges. The Americans are looking for a better result than when they finished seventh in the event in 2019. Team USA’s first game is Saturday against New Zealand.

Looking for the pairings, matchups and full group-stage schedule? We’ve got you covered below. You can see the four teams in each group, every scheduled game, and every tip-off time for the first round below.

Lakers to unveil Kobe Bryant statue ahead of matchup with Nuggets on Feb. 8, 2024

Kobe Bryant is considered by many to be the greatest Los Angeles Laker of all time. When he retired in 2016, the team retired both his No. 8 and No. 24 jerseys, but now, the team is planning an even greater tribute to the legend. On Feb. 8, 2024, the team will unveil a bronze statue of Bryant outside of Arena, the Lakers announced Thursday.

“Kobe Bryant was one of the most extraordinary athletes of all time, and one of the most iconic individuals in the history of Los Angeles,” Lakers owner Jeanie Buss said in the statement. “There is no better place for Kobe to be honored with a statue than here, at the center of our city, where everyone can celebrate him and be inspired by his incredible achievements.”

The dates involved are symbolic. August 24 is now officially Kobe Bryant Day in Los Angeles and Orange County because of the two numbers that he wore as a Laker, so it was only fitting that the announcement be made then, a day after what would have been his 46th birthday. His daughter Gianna, who also died in the 2020 helicopter accident that claimed Kobe’s life, wore No. 2, meaning that Feb. 8, 2024 represents all three uniform numbers worn by the Bryant family.

Bryant will be the seventh Laker to be honored with a statue. He will join former teammate Shaquille O’Neal, former Lakers broadcaster Chick Hearn, and fellow Laker legends Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Elgin Baylor and Jerry West. Bryant took part in the initial planning of the statue, according to the Lakers, but ultimately died before it could be built and unveiled. Bryant’s widow, Vanessa, released a video expressing her gratitude for the statue.

Kobe’s legacy immortalized.


— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) August 24, 2023
“As you know, Kobe played his entire 20-year NBA career as a Los Angeles Lakers,” Bryant said. “Since arriving in this city and joining the Lakers organization, he felt at home here, playing in the City of Angels. On behalf of the Lakers, my daughters and me, I am so honored that, right in the center of Los Angeles, in front of the place known as the house Kobe built, we are going to unveil his statue so that his legacy can be celebrated forever.”

The Lakers will host the defending champion Denver Nuggets on Feb. 8 in what will be a rematch of the Western Conference finals. Now, one of the most anticipated matchups on the schedule just became a whole lot more exciting.