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Wednesday Offseason Caterwaul: Florida Panthers Open Forum

USA beats Canada; Sabres ink Thompson to seven-year extension

NHL: Buffalo Sabres at Florida Panthers Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The United States finished atop Group A with a perfect 4-0 record thanks to a 5-2 win over arch-rival Canada. Trailing by two after the first period, Team USA got goals from Megan Keller and Kelly Pannek in the second period to even the tilt. Lacey Eden and captain Kendall Coyne Schofield scored in the third before Hilary Knight iced it with an empty-netter. Nicole Hensley stopped 26 of 28 shots. Ella Shelton and Sarah Fillier lit the lamp for Canada, who will take on Sweden in the quarterfinals. The top-seeded Americans will face Hungary, who finished third in Group B, on Thursday.

In the other Group A game, Finland wrapped up third place with a 4-0 victory over Switzerland. The 1-3 Swiss team finished fourth in the group and will take on winless fifth place Japan in the quarterfinals.

Czechia completed an unblemished run through Group B with a 3-0 shutout win over Sweden. The Czechs will take on Finland in the quarterfinals.

The other Group B game saw Germany avoid relegation with a last second goal to edge host Denmark by a 3-2 count. The Danes led late in the third period before Laura Kluge knotted the score with 4:11 remaining. Germany needed a regulation win to finish in ninth place and stay in the top division, so they pulled their goalie and it paid off when Tanja Eisenschmid scored with one tick left on the clock. The stunning result sent Hungary through to the quartefinals while Denmark will drop down to Division I Group A. Replacing them in next year’s World Championship will be France, who won this year’s Division I Group A tournament on native soil in Angers.

NHL signings

The Buffalo Sabres inked forward Tage Thompson to a seven-year contract extension worth just under $50 million. Thompson had a breakout season in 2021-22, producing a team-leading 38 goals and 68 points in 78 games. In four games gainst the Florida Panthers, he scored a goal and an assist. His new deal will kick in at the start of the 2023-24 campaign. (Die By The Blade)

Unrestriced free agent Sam Steel and the Minnesota Wild agreed to terms on a one-year contract worth $825K. Steel put up six goals and 20 points in 68 games with the Anaheim Ducks last season. (Hockey Wilderness)

The Seattle Kraken signed restriced free agent defenseman Cale Fleury to a one-year deal worth $750K. Fleury spent most of last season with the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers and appeared in nine games with the Kraken. (Davy Jones Locker Room)