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Jets GM says team will match any offer sheets on Patrik Laine, Kyle Connor

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Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff has made it a major priority to bring back not just Patrik Laine, but Kyle Connor back this offseason. And he also has a message for other teams interested in their services: don’t waste your time with offer sheets, because they plan on matching anything thrown at those two players.

“I think you look at all the situations and determine it, but certainly it would be our intention to match, and you’ve got the summer to figure it out,” said Cheveldayoff.

Laine, 21, was initially selected 2nd overall by the Jets in the 2016 NHL Draft. Despite a year of ups-and-downs, he still managed to amass 30 goals and 20 assists in 82 games this past season, and has averaged just under 37 goals and over 61 points per season in his NHL career. He also has an NHL All-Star selection under his belt.

Connor, 22, has amassed 67 goals and 61 assists over a span of 178 games and three seasons in the NHL. The 2015 first round pick is coming off a career season where he posted 34 goals and 66 points in 82 games.

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Ovechkin will serve as NHL Ambassador in China next month

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A big name NHL star is going to be the face of hockey in China.

The league announced Thursday that Washington Capitals great Alex Ovechkin will serve as an international ambassador for the NHL when he visits Beijing, China during the week of August 4 next month

“It is a huge honour for me to be an ambassador for the entire Washington Capitals organization and the National Hockey League for this special trip to China,” said Ovechkin.

“I think it is very important to spend time to help make people all over the world see how great a game hockey is. I can’t wait to spend time with all the hockey fans there and I hope to meet young kids who will be future NHL players. I can’t wait for this trip!”

Among the things Ovechkin will do when in the country is do a full on media tour, attend business meetings, and participate in various youth hockey clinics.

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Former Nashville Predators captain Greg Johnson’s death most likely a suicide

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Some more sobering information has been revealed about the tragic death of former Nashville Predators captain Greg Johnson.

According to the Detroit News, Rochester police documents confirm that his death was more likely than not a suicide after a gun and a single bullet were near his body when he was discovered by his wife in the morning on July 7.

No further details of the autopsy have been made public.

Johnson, who was 48 at the time of his passing, spent 12 seasons in the NHL from 1993-2006.

The second round pick in the 1989 NHL Draft amassed 145 goals, 224 assists and 345 penalty minutes over a span of 785 games split between the Predators, Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins and Chicago Blackhawks.

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Capitals ink Jakub Vrana to two-year extension

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Another restricted free agent is off the market.

The Washington Capitals announced Tuesday that they have signed forward Jakub Vrana to a two-year, $6.7 million contract extension.

“Jakub is a highly skilled player with a tremendous upside and is a big part of our future” said Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan.

“We are pleased with his development the past two seasons and are looking forward for him to continue to develop and reach his full potential with our organization.”

The 23-year old, who was selected 13th overall in the 2014 NHL Draft, posted a career-best 47 points (24 goals, 23 assists) and a plus-20 rating in 82 games last season.

He will be entering his fourth NHL season in 2019/2020.

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