13Radim VrbataRW36ArizonaFlorida13.88.5 6Alexander RadulovRW31MontrealDallas56.310.7 24Daniel WinnikRW32Washington———5.3 21Martin HanzalC30MinnesotaDallas34.85.6 19Andre BurakovskyLW22WashingtonWashington23.07.5 12Jaromir JagrRW45Florida———8.6 4Andrei MarkovD38Montreal———11.1 10Thomas VanekLW33Florida———9.5 9Anders NilssonG27BuffaloVancouver22.510.2 7Sam GagnerC27ColumbusVancouver33.210.6 26Karl AlznerD28WashingtonMontreal54.65.1 20Jonathan BernierG28AnaheimColorado12.85.6 16Mike FisherC37Nashville———7.9 2Kevin ShattenkirkD28WashingtonNY Rangers46.712.7 *A re-formulation of Hockey-Reference.com’s Point Shares that measures a player’s value over a replacement-level player at the same position.A player’s displayed salary represents his annual cap hit.Sources: Hockey-Reference.com, ESPN Kevin Shattenkirk, New York RangersCome trade deadline time the past several seasons, Kevin Shattenkirk’s name has been linked seemingly to every team in the NHL (including the Rangers in February), and for good reason — since his rookie season in 2010-11, Shattenkirk ranks 10th among defensemen in goals scored, tied for eighth in assists and 10th in total points. His 35 power play goals are tied for fifth over that same stretch, and his power play points are good for third.The New York Rangers ranked 10th in the league in power-play percentage last season, and that should only improve with the addition of hometown1He’s from nearby New Rochelle. boy Shattenkirk. The newly minted Rangers defenseman chews up big minutes, and he’s never finished a full season with a Corsi For percentage of less than 51.2. For the uninitiated, a Corsi For score of more than 50 percent means the player’s team was controlling the puck more often than not when he was on the ice, so the addition of Shattenkirk should make the Rangers a stronger possession team from the jump.Over the past five seasons, the bulk of the blame for each Rangers playoff ouster seems to have pointed back to the blue line. With a mishmash of overworked veteran defensemen and disappointing acquisitions, the Rangers sit roughly in the center of the pack in shots allowed per game over the past five seasons. Adding a puck-moving defenseman who is entering his prime with better-than-average possession numbers should help decrease those shot totals — and take some of the burden off the suddenly human-appearing goaltender Henrik Lundqvist’s shoulders.The Rangers’ defensive corps will look different with the retirement of Kevin Klein and longtime defenseman Dan Girardi going to Tampa Bay, but the franchise that hasn’t had a legitimate defensive star since Brian Leetch landed a big upgrade in Shattenkirk.Justin Schultz, Pittsburgh Penguins (re-signed)Justin Schultz’s career began with so much promise. In the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, he scored 27 points from the blue line as a 22-year-old rookie. But in the 2.5 seasons that followed, he failed to match the impressive points-per-game numbers he put up as a rookie, and people in Edmonton began to sour on him. Oh what a difference a few seasons and some new scenery make.Since joining the Penguins, Schultz has transformed into a top-line defenseman, and he was a key piece to their Stanley Cup-winning campaign last season. In less than two seasons with Pittsburgh, he’s scored 0.61 points per game from the back,2He produced 0.41 points per game during his time in Edmonton. and he’s driven possession at a better clip, too.Of the free agents in the 2017 class, Schultz’s goals above replacement3Goals above replacement aims to estimate the number of net goals a player produces compared to a replacement-level player in the same amount of ice time. (The replacement level represents the amount of production a team could expect from a minimum-salary player at a given position.) mark of 13.9 ranks at the top. Pittsburgh may have lost Trevor Daley to free agency, but a defensive core built around Schultz and a healthy Kris Letang is nothing to turn your nose up at.Justin Williams, Carolina HurricanesThe Carolina Hurricanes were pretty close to making the playoffs last season. They ended up falling eight points short of an eighth seed but were in the hunt until the last few weeks of the season — and if they make the 2018 postseason, they’ll be glad they signed Justin Williams. Williams is well-known around the league for being a playoff beast. His career playoff points per game rate of 0.67 is better than his regular-season rate of 0.63, and he’s tied for 14th among active NHL players in game-winning playoff goals — and he’ll be returning to the place where he lifted the first of his three Stanley Cups, and where he twice netted 30-plus goals.Ten times in his career, Williams has scored 40 or more points, which should help a Carolina team that finished in the bottom third of goals scored last season. Oh, and Williams can do more than score timely playoff goals; his career Corsi For percentage of 56.9 isn’t too shabby either.Alexander Radulov, Dallas StarsAlexander Radulov is … mercurial. The Russian winger has been on alternating stints between the NHL and Russia’s KHL for his entire professional career: two seasons in Nashville, four in Salavat, a few more weeks in Nashville, four seasons in Moscow and then one in Montreal. So after his 54-point campaign with the Canadiens last season, he was bound to go anywhere from British Columbia to Siberia. He chose Texas. He’ll be there for a while, too, signing a long-term deal with the Dallas Stars. (Radulov’s signing in Dallas can also be read as a rebuff of KHL league chairman Arkady Rotenberg — and his close friend Vladimir Putin — who hopes to pry as many Russian players away from the NHL to ensure eligibility for the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.)But Radulov is a world-class scorer — he’s tallied 156 points in 230 NHL games and scored 492 points in 391 KHL games — and was by all accounts a great teammate in Montreal, so the Stars were lucky to land the big sharp-shooting right winger. Pair Radulov’s propensity for burying the puck with an insanely talented top line of Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn, and the Stars might have on their hands the highest-scoring top line in the NHL next season.Patrick Marleau, Toronto Maple LeafsThe Toronto Maple Leafs were a formidable offensive force last season, ranking fifth in total goals scored. The Leafs got a ton of scoring — 32 percent of their 250 goals — from their three rookie sensations: Calder Trophy-winning Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander. Patrick Marleau will make the Leafs’ offense only more dangerous, and you could do worse as far as mentor figures go.Marleau, 37, has been in the NHL for 19 seasons, and until now he’s never worn anything but “deep Pacific” San Jose teal. In his 19 seasons, he’s made a point of scoring at least 19 goals — he’s only failed to do so three times, and one of those seasons was shortened to 48 games by a lockout. Marleau has also played in 177 playoff games, experience that should help the upstart Leafs — who gave the mighty Washington Capitals a serious scare in the first round of last season’s playoffs — immensely.Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks (re-signed)“Jumbo” Joe Thornton is easily one of the best passers in NHL history. And he is certainly the best passer in NHL history who has a beard that is probably sentient. One of the premier centers of his generation, Thornton trails only Jaromir Jagr — who himself remains mysteriously unsigned — on the active assists leaderboard.4He also ranks 13th all time and needs just 43 more to leapfrog Gordie Howe as the ninth-highest dime-disher in NHL history. Jumbo hasn’t scored fewer than 50 points in a full season since he was a 19-year-old playing for the Boston Bruins in 1998-99.He’s not going to score a ton of goals — never really has — but San Jose was probably smart to prioritize Thornton over his longtime teammate Marleau. (Fun fact: Thornton and Marleau went first and second, respectively, in the 1997 NHL draft.) Thornton isn’t the lights-out goal scorer Marleau is, but he creates more opportunities for his teammates than his longtime counterpart; 43 of Jumbo’s 50 points were assists, 18 of which came on the power play. For a team that struggled mightily on the power play last season — San Jose ranked 25th in the league — the Sharks will need all of the passing acumen they can muster with the man advantage next season.Ryan Miller, Anaheim DucksRyan Miller probably won’t play much in Anaheim — starter John Gibson is just 23 years old and had a spectacular 2016-17 season — but there aren’t many teams in the NHL that can say they’ve got a backup who was once considered among the best goalies on the planet. Miller’s numbers were down a bit last season, but you can’t really blame him — his Vancouver Canucks gave up the sixth-most shots of any team in the league. Despite his impressive résumé, Miller might have to battle with Reto Berra for the backup position in Anaheim. Still, though, the Ducks are in great shape between the pipes — there aren’t many teams in the NHL that have the luxury of choosing from three proven(ish) NHL goaltenders.Karl Alzner, Montreal CanadiensAndrei Markov, unsignedThe Washington Capitals probably didn’t have the cap space to re-sign longtime defenseman Karl Alzner, but they probably didn’t really care to either. No worries for Alzner, though, because the Habs delivered a pretty solid payday. But truth be told, the native of Burnaby, British Columbia, got an awful lot of money — a cap hit of $4.6 million a year, to be exact — for a guy whose Corsi For percentage ranked 184th out of 229 qualified5With a minimum of 20 games played. defensemen in 2016-17.Alzner actually doesn’t do a whole lot very well — in 82 games, he scored just 13 points, zero of which came on the power play. He’s still relatively young for a defenseman — he’ll turn 29 before the 2017-18 season begins — and so perhaps Les Habitants are hoping Alzner’s game has room to grow. But that doesn’t change the fact that they signed a guy whose possession stats are subpar to a lucrative deal while their longest-tenured player — Andrei Markov — remains seated on the bench, waiting to see if he’ll play in Montreal next season.Markov is old, but if last season’s performance is any indicator, he still has some gas left in his tank. Markov was limited because of injury but put up impressive numbers in the 62 games he did play in. At 38, and still playing more than 21 minutes per game, he drove possession at the best rate of his career. He also scored 36 points from the blueline, good for .58 points per game.6Markov’s career points per game rate? .58.In 16 NHL seasons, Markov has only ever worn a Habs jersey. Montreal would be foolish not to re-sign their longest-tenured player. The NHL’s top free agents of 2017According to 2016-17 goals above replacement (GAR)* PLAYERPOSAGE2016-17 TEAMNEW TEAMYRS$M/YRGAR 1Justin SchultzD27PittsburghPittsburgh35.513.9 18Joe ThorntonC38San JoseSan Jose18.07.7 17Ryan MillerG36VancouverAnaheim22.07.7 22Nick RitchieLW21Anaheim———5.5 15Scott HartnellLW35ColumbusNashville11.08.0 11Philipp GrubauerG25WashingtonWashington11.59.1 During their free-agency period, NHL teams haven’t engaged in an all-out superpower arms race like their basketball brethren. Rather, NHL free agency has been a methodological redistribution of assets — one that can be traced to the addition of the Vegas Golden Knights and the expansion draft that ensued. All that extra movement of bodies and money, coupled with every general manager’s rush to add or retain a free-agent gem, means there will be a lot of familiar faces in unfamiliar jerseys next season.Not every free agent has signed — in particular, this year’s rather elderly free-agent class has a few graybeards who remain without suitors — but most of the league’s big targets have decided where they’ll play next season. So without further ado, here’s our unofficial and admittedly incomplete guide to the moves that will affect the 2017-18 season. 8Patrick MarleauC37San JoseToronto36.310.3 3Evgeny KuznetsovC25WashingtonWashington87.812.0 25Brett RitchieRW24DallasDallas21.85.3 5Justin WilliamsRW35WashingtonCarolina24.510.9 23Kyle QuinceyD31ColumbusMinnesota11.35.4 14Tyler JohnsonC26Tampa BayTampa Bay75.08.2
Trade between the United States and Russia spiked by 7% despite the economic sanctions levied by the US on the country, President Vladimir Putin said.Both countries were surprised by the trade stats. Data from the US Commerce Department show that US exports to Russia increased by 1% in 2014. However, imports from Russia are down 13%, The Washington Post reported.”When I looked at the statistic today . . . [it] even surprised me a little,” Putin told Interfax, the Russian news agency.The report does come as a surprise because Western sanctions against Russia have been tight and that has strained relationship between the two countries.More recently, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with a local newspaper that the Western sanctions against the country were violating international law and were aimed at damaging the country’s economy.”The situation that we see today in connection with unilateral restrictions introduced by the U.S., the European Union and some other countries certainly contradicts international legal norms, including, on a whole number of occasions, the norms of the WTO [World Trade Organization and our Western colleagues’ declared conceptual approaches toward the development of international economic cooperation – respect for market principles, honest competition, etc,” Lavrov told Russia Beyond the Headlines. “As for the political component of these sanctions, I could say that as long as coercive measures were adopted, primarily by the UN Security Council, because all the rest was illegitimate, our Western partners were among the first who called for these sanctions to target leaders who failed abide by UN states’ decisions and to prevent any negative side-effect on the population,” Lavrov added.On Friday, President Putin signed a military doctrine that identified NATO as a potential threat to the country adding that Russia could employ nuclear weapons if any country threatens the existence of Russia, The Associated Press reports.NATO however said that it poses no threat to Russia.”Any steps taken by NATO to ensure the security of its members are clearly defensive in nature, proportionate and in compliance with international law,” a spokeswoman for NATO was quoted by the AP.”In fact, it is Russia’s actions, including currently in Ukraine, which are breaking international law and undermining European security,” she added.
Share Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty ImagesA man holds a placard at Newark Liberty International Airport on Tuesday, reminding travelers that FAA safety inspectors have been furloughed during the shutdown.Updated at 9:45 p.m. ETThe U.S. government has been operating under a partial shutdown since Dec. 22. The shutdown, driven by a political battle over President Trump’s demand that Congress approve funds for a wall along the border with Mexico, is touching the lives of Americans in myriad ways.Nine federal departments (and some smaller agencies like NASA) are affected, at least in part, by the lapse in funding: Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, State, Transportation and the Treasury. Approximately 800,000 federal workers have been furloughed or are being required to work without pay.Congress had already passed appropriations bills funding about three-quarters of the federal government, including Health and Human Services and Veterans Affairs, so those departments and agencies remain operational.Lots of important things are not affected by this shutdown: Medicare, Medicaid, and the Health Insurance Marketplace (aka Obamacare). Social Security, disability checks and veterans’ benefits. Getting a passport. And the U.S. Postal Service, an independent agency whose operations are funded by sales of postage and services, not taxes, keeps delivering mail.But other aspects of American life have become complicated, scarce or messy since the shutdown started. Here’s a look at how it’s affecting the country.Air safetyThe Transportation Security Administration is part of the Department of Homeland Security. Many of its workers are considered “essential,” so many are working without pay — though a greater number than usual have been calling in sick. So far, lines at airport security have not been significantly longer.TSA employees are among the lowest-paid federal workers.“If there’s no check on the 26th, I have no idea what we’re going to do,” 36-year-old Jacinda, whose husband is a TSA officer in Portland, told NPR. “Our rent is due, the electric bill is due, our cellphones are now past due. … I’m scared and I’m trying to be OK because I can’t be sad every day for my kids, and I can’t be stressed out because it affects how I parent.” She said her husband is stressed out too — and that he’s been given instructions on how to file for unemployment, though he’s still working 40 hours a week.Also affected: air traffic controllers, who are working unpaid.“It’s a very high-stress job and you need to be on your game at all times,” says Mick Devine of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association. “There is a concern that as this goes on the human factors aspect of this shutdown will take a toll on the psyche and concentration level of our members.”Many planes are not being inspected and pilot training is not being certified, says Capt. Dennis Tajer, a pilot for American Airlines and a spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association.That’s because many of the FAA safety inspectors aren’t working.“We are able to maintain a margin of safety and security, but every day another player is pulled off the field and it comes some point where the game cannot be played properly,” Tajer told NPR.“We are another layer of safety,” inspector Troy Tomey told the Miami Herald. “We’re the last check of the box. Taking us out of it, mistakes can happen.”Food inspectionThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration furloughed about 40 percent of its staff since the government shutdown. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said that the agency has suspended all routine inspections of food processing facilities in the U.S., The Washington Post reports. He said he hopes to be able to bring inspectors to high-risk facilities as early as next week.“That puts our food supply at risk,” Sarah Sorscher with the Center for Science in the Public Interest says in a statement. “Regular inspections, which help stop foodborne illness before people get sick, are vital.”Food stampsThe Department of Agriculture has announced it will continue to fund SNAP (food stamps) through February. The USDA says it can keep paying SNAP benefits up to 30 days beyond the expiration of the most recent government funding resolution. That means SNAP recipients will actually get their February benefits early, on or before that spending authority expires on Jan. 20. About 1 in 10 Americans relies at least partly on SNAP benefits to buy food.The USDA’s other major nutrition assistance programs have enough funding to continue operations into February.Scientific researchClimate scientists from all over the world are meeting in Vancouver this month, as the lead authors of the next international climate science report. But at least seven U.S. climate scientists who were supposed to help write it aren’t there — scientists for NOAA, NASA and other federal agencies can’t work or travel for work because of the shutdown.Air-quality monitoring is also affected: The Environmental Protection Agency manages sensors all over the country that detect various kinds of air pollution, such as ozone, industrial chemicals and smog. Usually, this data is released to the public right away, but because the EPA isn’t operating at full strength, that’s not happening. Air sensors run by state agencies and private institutions are still working, however.Coast GuardWhile the other branches of the military are part of the Defense Department, the Coast Guard falls under Homeland Security. After some maneuvering, the government found a way to pay its military members on Dec. 31. The nearly 42,000 active duty members of the Coast Guard are still working, as they are considered essential personnel, but it’s not clear whether they will get a paycheck on Jan. 15.Former Coast Guard Commandant Thad Allen described a wide range of operations that continue during the shutdown: search and rescues along the nation’s coastlines, efforts to stop drug smugglers, even the piloting of an icebreaker to Antarctica break the ice around McMurdo Station.“I think it’s pretty bad,” Allen told NPR. “I think when you have people providing emergency services to this country without pay, I think we ought to take a serious look at how we’re governed.”Immigration courts and enforcementThe country’s immigration courts are closed, and they already had a huge backlog even before the shutdown. Member station KPCC/LAist reported last month that Los Angeles alone had fewer than 40 judges and nearly 74,000 pending cases.With the courts now closed, the people who were due in court have their cases moved to the back of the line and must have them rescheduled — which could add two or three years to their wait.“It’s not like when we come back, we can absorb the cases,” Judge A. Ashley Tabaddor, president of the National Association of Immigration Judges, told KPCC/LAist. “There’s no magical way to tell thousands of people to just come to their court hearings two weeks later so that the ones that were not heard can be heard.”The shutdown has also halted E-Verify, a federal program that aims to prevent immigrants from working in the U.S. illegally.“There’s an irony there,” Julie Pace, an attorney specializing in employment and immigration law at the Cavanagh Law Firm in Phoenix, told NPR. “We have an electronic wall for E-Verify that should be being used, that the government has not funded.”Federal courtsThe federal judiciary continues to operate during the shutdown, using court fee balances and other funds. Its employees are reporting to work and remain fully paid, and it estimates it has enough money to sustain paid operations until Jan. 18.If the funds run out before new appropriations are received, “essential work” in the federal courts will continue. “Each court would determine the staff necessary to support its mission critical work,” the judiciary said in a statement on Jan. 7. “In response to requests by the Department of Justice, some federal courts have issued orders suspending, postponing, or holding in abeyance civil cases in which the government is a party for a limited period, subject to further consideration, or until appropriated funds become available.”Criminal cases are expected to continue without interruption.The artsAfter staying open for the first few days of the shutdown, the museums and institutions that make up the Smithsonian have all closed.The National Endowment for the Arts says it will honor its Fiscal Year 2019 grants and that it’s currently accepting applications for 2020 — though during the shutdown, nobody is working at the agency to answer any questions.And some arts organizations receive federal grants on a reimbursement basis, which means they aren’t sure when they will get back the money they paid upfront.“As you can imagine, any nonprofit cultural organization struggles with cash flow, as they really need to expend funds before funds are received,” Dorothy Ryan, managing director of Brooklyn theater company Theatre for a New Audience, told NPR. “And the question about when the National Endowment for the Arts will be distributing funds really hits home for us.”Mario Tama/Getty ImagesThe National Park Service says Joshua Tree National Park will close, after people drove off-road and defaced trees while rangers were furloughed. Previously, only sections of the park had been closed, as seen here on Friday.National parksMany national parks have stayed open through the shutdown, though without staff or servicing. While in some places other parties have stepped in to help — state or local governments, tourist bureaus, or volunteer groups — not all is well.After staying open for nearly three weeks during the shutdown, the National Park Service said California’s Joshua Tree National Park is closing. Without rangers around to keep watch, visitors had driven off-road through parkland, creating new, unsanctioned roads and had destroyed some of the park’s Joshua trees, the NPS said in a statement. “Law enforcement rangers will continue to patrol the park and enforce the closure until park staff complete the necessary cleanup and park protection measures.”Former NPS Director Jonathan Jarvis believes the parks have been kept open to avoid the public outcry that occurred over their closure during the 2013 shutdown. In an opinion piece for The Guardian, he warns of an array of ugly consequences of leaving the parks open: human waste in waterways, overflowing trash attracting wildlife and increasing human/bear encounters, poaching, artifact theft, and damage to fragile natural features.Two weeks into the shutdown, NPS announced it will dip into entrance fee funds to pay for staff and service at some parks — an unprecedented and controversial move, as entrance fees are earmarked for visitor services, not operations and basic maintenance.Oil and gas drillingThe oil and gas business is booming, but much of that drilling is on federal lands and operators worry about a slowdown, Cooper McKim of Wyoming Public Media reports. The Bureau of Land Management says it is still processing online applications to drill; however, it’s not clear what’s actually happening with those.“Companies are waiting for leases,” said Kathleen Sgamma of the Western Energy Alliance, a group of oil and gas companies. “If you don’t have the full lease hold, it’s hard to do the exploratory work or full development work you’re planning on.”That could be significant in Wyoming, where taxes from oil and gas make up a third of state revenue. More oil and gas lease sales are slated for February and March, but some in the industry worry that if the shutdown drags on, they won’t happen.One place the shutdown isn’t slowing proposed drilling projects is Alaska. BLM is moving ahead with holding public meetings about oil and gas drilling leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska Public Media reports. The bureau is part of Interior, one the departments affected by the shutdown.Raúl Grijalva, the Democratic chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, wrote a letter to the acting secretary of the Interior, asking how these hearings are happening “while so many other essential services remain shut down.”BLM told Alaska Public Media that it’s using funds from the previous fiscal year to continue working.The District of ColumbiaWashington, D.C.’s courts are funded through the federal government, and its marriage bureau has been shuttered, leaving some engaged couples in the lurch. So the D.C. Council just passed the LOVE Act (Let Our Vows Endure Emergency Amendment Act of 2019) to give D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser the authority to grant marriage licenses during the shutdown. (As member station WAMU/DCist notes, divorces and trials have continued.)The federal government is also the largest customer of DC Water — and it told the utility company it wouldn’t be paying $5 million of its quarterly bill during the shutdown, WAMU’s Jacob Fenston reports. The DC Water board members joked about how to handle this big unpaid bill, perhaps by turning off the water at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.“Water is leverage,” says DC Water spokesperson Vincent Morris. “No one wants to go without it.”Colin Dwyer, Elizabeth Blair, Greg Myre, David Schaper, Rhitu Chatterjee, Philip Ewing, Dan Charles, Joel Rose, Rebecca Hersher, Cooper McKim, Ian Stewart and Marisa Peñaloza contributed to this report.Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.