Brock Nelson, Column, DJ Smith, Mike Modano, Minnesota Wild, New York Islanders, News, Ottawa Senators, Paul McFarland, Toronto Maple Leafs

NHL News & Notes: Nelson, Senators Head Coach & More

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In today’s News & Notes, Brock Nelson has signed a long-term contract extension, the Ottawa Senators have hired D.J. Smith as their new head coach and Mike Modano has been hired by the Minnesota Wild.

Nelson Signs Extension

The New York Islanders have signed Nelson to a six-year contract extension worth $36 million. This deal came after Nelson had himself a career-season with the Islanders and the team shocked many by taking a huge step forward following former captain John Tavares’ departure from the team last offseason.

Islanders center Brock Nelson
Islanders center Brock Nelson (Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports)

In 82 games this past season, Nelson would score 25 goals and a career-high 53 points. He’d play in a top-six role throughout the season, including a lot of time on the team’s top line between Josh Bailey and Leo Komarov.

Related: Islanders Sign Nelson to Contract Extension

This deal will carry a $6 million annual cap hit and will keep Nelson with the team that drafted him 30th overall in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft through his age-33 season.

Senators Hire Smith From Maple Leafs

The Senators have named Smith as their head coach after he served as an assistant coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs for four seasons. The Senators did their due diligence throughout this process and ultimately settled on Smith as the right coach for their vision.

DJ Smith Toronto Maple Leafs
DJ Smith, Toronto Maple Leafs (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

“D.J. Smith is a winner. We believe he is the best person to drive the development and success of the Ottawa Senators,” Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said in a team release. Dorion added that Smith is a great and an exceptional strategist. At the end of the day, Ottawa wanted someone who was passionate and could teach the young players on the Senators roster moving forward.

Related: Senators Hire Smith, Maple Leafs Hire McFarland

In place of Smith, the Maple Leafs have hired Paul McFarland who spent the last two seasons as the assistant coach of the Florida Panthers. McFarland also has experience in Ontario as he was born in Richmond Hill and worked in the OHL as the head coach of the Kingston Frontenacs, an assistant with the Oshawa Generals and a player with the Kitchener Rangers, making this a

Wild Hire Modano

The Wild have made a significant hire as they’ve brought Modano back to Minnesota with the title of Executive Advisor. While Modano is known as a Dallas Stars legend, he did spend time in Minnesota before the North Stars moved to Dallas. This is a new venture for Modano, but the familiarity in Minnesota should make the adjustment easier.

“We are extremely excited to welcome Mike Modano to the Minnesota Wild organization,” said team owner Craig Leipold. “His Hall of Fame career was one of the best in the history of the NHL and we look forward to Mike helping our organization build an even greater State of Hockey.”

While with the Wild, Modano will work directly with team President Matt Majka and Leopold on initiatives pertaining to team’s sales, corporate partnerships and community efforts as of Sept. 1.

“I am very thankful for this opportunity and excited to work with Craig and Matt to help support a number of Minnesota Wild business initiatives,” said Modano. “I have always felt a special relationship with this community and look forward to reconnecting with all the wonderful fans in the State of Hockey as a member of the Wild organization.”

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