ANNOUNCEMENTS

Congratulations to the Chicago Blackhawks for winning the 2013 Stanley Cup.

Congratulations to Conn Smythe Trophy winner Patrick Kane.


UPDATES


- The NHL Players Overseas for Lockout list is current as of 2:35 PM January 6, 2013.

- The 2012 Free Agents list and 2012 Free Agent Signings list are current as of 2:35 PM January 6, 2013.

- The 2011 Free Agents list and 2011 Free Agent Signings list are current as of 1:09 PM June 16, 2012.

- The Atlanta Thrashers have been re-designated Winnipeg on the 2011 Free Agents list. Any signings that were completed prior to May 31, 2011 will be listed as "Atlanta/Winnipeg." Any signings completed after May 31, 2011 will be listed as "Winnipeg."

- The 2010 Free Agents list and 2010 Free Agent Signings list are current as of 11:34 PM May 20, 2011.

Search This Blog

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Maple Leafs Acquire Versteeg from Blackhawks

The Toronto Maple Leafs announced Wednesday night that they have acquired right wing Kris Versteeg and the rights to left wing Bill Sweatt from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for left wing Viktor Stalberg, center Chris DiDomenico, and center Philippe Paradis. I'll have analysis on this trade tomorrow, as I have to get up very early, but needless to say, the Maple Leafs got a good scoring winger in Versteeg and a decent prospect in Sweatt. The Blackhawks loaded up on prospects in this move, as Stalberg, DiDomenico, and Paradis all have lots of promise and could help keep the Blackhawks competitive foryears down the road.

Thrashers Sign Defenseman Welch to One-Year Contract

The Atlanta Thrashers announced on Wednesday that they have signed defenseman Noah Welch to a one-year, two-way contract. He will earn $550,000 at the NHL level and $105,000 at the minor league level. He would have been an unrestricted free agent on July 1. In 37 games last season with Chicago of the AHL, he had one goal and four assists for five points. This is really just a depth signing for the Thrashers, as Welch is likely to spend most of next season in the minors. He has some offensive skill and a decent shot, so he should be a good addition for Atlanta's AHL affiliate.

Panthers Buy Out Defenseman Koistinen

The Florida Panthers announced Wednesday night that they have bought out the remaining year of Ville Koistinen's contract, making him an unrestricted free agent. In 17 games last season with the Panthers, he had one goal and three assists for four points. He also appeared in eight games with Rochester of the AHL, scoring one goal and one assist. This move really comes as no surprise since Koistinen was a frequent healthy scratch last season in Florida. He does have some offensive skill on the blueline and any teams looking for such a player could sign him to a new contract. However, I think it's very likely he will leave for Europe, as he hinted at doing so last summer when still with the Nashville Predators.

Ducks Acquire Jaffray from Flames for MacMillan

The Anaheim Ducks continued to be busy on Wednesday night by acquiring center Jason Jaffray from the Calgary Flames in exchange for center Logan MacMillan. Jaffray played in three games with the Flames last season, scoring no points. He also appeared in 72 games with Abbotsford of the AHL, scoring 25 goals and 29 assists for 54 points and 70 penalty minutes. In seven games last season Abbotsford, MacMillan scored no points. He also appeared in 30 games with Bakersfield of the ECHL, scoring two goals and four assists for six points. This is really just a depth move for both teams. Jaffray doesn't have much upside, but gives the Ducks a solid minor leaguer and a versatile forward who can play both center and wing in case of injuries. The Flames get the player with more upside in this deal, but MacMillan has struggled to put up decent numbers over the past couple of seasons. Perhaps the change in scenery will help him improve his game, as the Flames are looking for more offense up front.

Ducks Buy Out Defenseman Oystrick's Contract

The Anaheim Ducks announced today that they have bought out the contract of defenseman Nathan Oystrick one day after he cleared waivers. Oystrick, who had one year remaining on his contract, was acquired from the Atlanta Thrashers in March for forward Evgeny Artyukhin. In three games with the Ducks last season, Oystrick scored no points. He also appeared in 43 games with Chicago of the AHL, scoring seven goals and 16 assists for 23 points and 96 penalty minutes. Not much to say about this move, as Oystrick likely wouldn't have made lineup in 2010-11 and will help the Ducks trim a tiny amount of payroll they can use to re-sign impending free agents or sign some new players once free agency starts.

Ducks Sign Goaltender Levasseur to One-Year Deal

The Anaheim Ducks announced today that they have signed goaltender Jean-Philippe Levasseur to a one-year contract extension. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. He was not given a qualifying offer by the team and was set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, but it was reported Anaheim was still negotiating a new contract with him. In 25 games last season with Springfield of the AHL, Levasseur posted an 8-16-1 record, one shutout, a 3.59 GAA, and a .896 save percentage. He also appeared in 16 games with Laredo of the CHL, going 10-3-3 with a 2.31 GAA and a .919 save percentage. He also played in five games with Bakersfield of the ECHL, posting a 2-3-0 record with a 3.63 GAA and a .903 save percentage. This is really just a depth signing for the Ducks, as Levasseur will likely spend most of next season in the minors. He has good size and has what it takes to become at backup at the NHL level, but still needs some work to be able to make that transition.

Hurricanes Sign Defenseman Fitzgerald to One-Year Contract

The Carolina Hurricanes announced today that they have signed defenseman Zack Fitzgerald to a one-year, two-way contract. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. He would have been an unrestricted free agent on July 1. In 77 games last season with Albany of the AHL, he had two goals and 12 assists for 14 points and 311 penalty minutes. He last appeared in the NHL during the 2007-08 season with the Vancouver Canucks, scoring no points in one game. This is really just a depth signing for the Hurricanes, as Fitzgerald is likely to spend most of next season, if not all, in the minors. He has great size and is a very physical player on the ice, but lacks the talent to play regular minutes at the NHL level. Look for him to play another physical season with Albany in 2010-11.

Lightning Buy Out Forward Todd Fedoruk

The Tampa Bay Lightning announced today that they have bought out the final year of left wing Todd Fedoruk's contract, making him an unrestricted free agent. He was placed on waivers by the team yesterday and went unclaimed. In 50 games last season with the Lightning, Fedoruk had three goals and three assists for six points and 54 penalty minutes. In 545 career NHL games with the Philadelphia Flyers, Anaheim Ducks, Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild, Phoenix Coyotes, and Tampa Bay Lightning, he has 32 goals and 65 assists for 97 points and 1050 penalty minutes. It will be interesting to see if any teams will have interest in the 31-year-old forward once free agency starts on July 1. He's a very physical player who loves to hit and plays with plenty of toughness and could be of some interest to teams looking for a physical veteran winger. If no teams show interest, Fedoruk may have to look to Europe or the minor leagues to extend his playing career.

Stars Sign Wathier to Two-Year Extension

The Dallas Stars announced today that they have signed left wing Francis Wathier to a two-year, two-way contract. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. He would have been an unrestricted free agent on July 1. He appeared in five games last season with the Stars, scoring no points. He also played in 76 games with Texas of the AHL, scoring 19 goals and 21 assists for 40 points and 101 penalty minutes. This is really just a depth signing for the Stars, as Wathier is a very physical forward who plays with lots of toughness, but isn't a natural goal-scorer. If he does play any games with Dallas next season, it will likely be on the fourth line.

Flyers Sign Goaltender Leighton to Two-Year Deal

The Philadelphia Flyers announced today that they have signed goaltender Michael Leighton to a two-year contract worth $3.1 million. The deal averages out to $1.55 million per season. He would have been an unrestricted free agent on July 1. He was claimed off waivers by the Flyers from the Carolina Hurricanes last December. The Flyers now have three goaltenders on board for the 2010-11 season, with Brian Boucher and Johan Backlund already on board. The team had been given permission to speak with impending free agent goaltenders Evgeni Nabokov and Marty Turco, but it is unlikely deals will be completed with those veterans before July 1. It is currently unknown how the Leighton signing could impact those discussions. In 34 games last season with Philadelphia and Carolina, Leighton posted a 17-9-2 record, one shutout, a 2.83 GAA, and a .905 save percentage. In 14 playoff games, he posted an 8-3 record, three shutouts, a 2.46 GAA, and a .916 save percentage. He missed 13 regular season and nine playoff games with an ankle injury last season. This is a great signing for the Flyers, as Leighton had a good bounce-back season in 2009-10 and emerged as a playoff hero for the Flyers. He has good size and is solid in the goalie crease. If Leighton plays as well next season as he did in 2009-10, the Flyers should be near the top of the Eastern Conference standings for most of the season.

Veteran Center Rod Brind'Amour Retires

Veteran canter Rod Brind'Amour announced his retirement today after 21 NHL seasons and will take an unspecified front office job with the Carolina Hurricanes. Brind'Amour stated on Wednesday that the decision was made simpler when he was approached by Hurricanes general manager, Jim Rutherford, and told that he would not fit in with the team's rebuilding plan. In 80 games last season with the Hurricanes, he had nine goals and 10 assists for 19 points. In 1484 career NHL games with the St. Louis Blues, Philadelphia Flyers, and Carolina Hurricanes, Brind'Amour had 452 goals and 732 assists for 1184 points. He won the Stanley Cup with the Hurricanes in 2006 and won the Selke Trophy as the league's best defensive forward in 2006 and 2007. Brind'Amour was a great player throughout his entire career and played with lots of skill, toughness, and class. He was an excellent two-way forward and was a great leader on and off the ice. He will definitely be enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame one day.

Wild Re-Sign Kassian, Prosser

The Minnesota Wild announced today that they have signed left wing Matt Kassian to a two-year contract and defenseman Nate Prosser to a one-year contract. Financial terms of both deals were not disclosed. Both players would have been restricted free agents on July 1. In 59 games last season with Houston of the AHL, Kassian had two goals and four assists for six points and 149 penalty minutes. He has yet to appear in an NHL game. Prosser appeared in three games with the Wild last season, scoring one assist. He also played in 39 games with Colorado College, scoring four goals and 24 assists for 28 points. These are really just depth signings for the Wild, as Kassian and Prosser will likely spend most of next season in the minors. Kassian plays with lots of toughness and is a very good hitter. He could possibly see some time in the NHL next season, but it would likely be on the fourth line and in the event of an injury. Prosser has some offensive skill and good size for a blueliner. If he makes the team next season, it will likely be as a sixth or seventh defenseman.

Oilers Acquire Vandermeer from Coyotes for O'Sullivan

The Edmonton Oilers announced today that they have acquired defenseman Jim Vandermeer from the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for left wing Patrick O'Sullivan. Both players were placed on waivers yesterday and cleared today before the trade was made. The Coyotes are expected to buy out O'Sullivan's contract, while the Oilers will retain Vandermeer. In 62 games last season with the Coyotes, Vandermeer had four goals and eight assists for 12 points and 60 penalty minutes. O'Sullivan appeared in 73 games with the Oilers last season, scoring 11 goals and 23 assists for 34 points. This is essentially a salary dumping trade for both teams. The Oilers will save about $1 million by trading away O'Sullivan and acquiring Vandermeer, while the Coyotes will buy out O'Sullivan for close to $1 million and end up cutting out $2 million in salary. Vandermeer will bring plenty of veteran, defensive depth to the Oilers blueline next season, as well as plenty of toughness. Despite having a lackluster year in 2009-10, O'Sullivan still has some offensive upside and could be a decent fit for the right price on a team seeking depth down the wing.

Preissing, Dawes, Pandolfo Among NHL Players on Waivers

On Wednesday, the following NHL players were placed on unconditional waivers, meaning they will be eligible to have their contracts bought out if they clear and become unrestricted free agents. The players will have until noon tomorrow to be claimed by other teams.


Nigel Dawes, LW - Calgary Flames
Petteri Nokelainen, C - Phoenix Coyotes
Jay Pandolfo, LW - New Jersey Devils
Andrew Peters, LW - New Jersey Devils
Tom Preissing, D - Colorado Avalanche


There's really no surprise that most of these players are potentially going to be bought out by their teams. They've really fallen down the depth chart of their respected teams and were either frequent scratches or shipped off to the minors last season. The Flames placing Dawes on waivers is an interesting move, as he didn't have a terrible 2009-10 season for his talent level and is scheduled to make a very affordable $850,000 next season. It's possible the Flames could be planning on making a big trade or free agent signing and this could be the precursor to such a move, but it remains to be seen if that is actually the case.

Blue Jackets Claim Ethan Moreau Off Waivers from Oilers

The Columbus Blue Jackets announced today that they have claimed long-time Edmonton Oilers' left wing Ethan Moreau off waivers. He was placed on waivers yesterday by the Oilers and it was believed they would buy out the remaining year of his contract if he cleared today. He is scheduled to make $2 million next season. In 76 games last season with the Oilers, Moreau had nine goals and nine assists for 18 points and 62 penalty minutes. In 863 career NHL games with Edmonton and the Chicago Blackhawks, he has 145 goals and 132 assists for 277 points and 1066 penalty minutes. Not a bad depth move for the Blue Jackets, as Moreau will bring plenty of toughness and leadership to the relatively young team. He's also effective on the penalty kill and will likely serve as a mentor for the young Blue Jackets' players next season.

Devils Sign David Clarkson to Three-Year Deal

The New Jersey Devils announced today that they have signed right wing David Clarkson to a three-year contract extension worth $8 million. The deal averages out to $2.67 million per season. He would have been a restricted free agent on July 1. In 46 games last season with the Devils, Clarkson had 11 goals and 13 assists for 24 points and 85 penalty minutes. He missed 36 games in 2009-10 with two different leg injuries. In 216 career NHL games, all with New Jersey, he has 40 goals and 42 assists for 82 points and 438 penalty minutes. This is a great signing for the Devils, as Clarkson is quickly becoming one of the top agitators in the NHL. He has good size, can chip in goals from time to time, and plays with lots of grit and toughness. He will continue to be a good fit on the Devils' third line for the next three seasons.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Flames Sign Goaltender Karlsson to One-Year Deal

The Calgary Flames announced today that they have signed goaltender Henrik Karlsson to a one-year contract. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. He would have been a restricted free agent on July 1. The Flames acquired the Swedish netminder from the San Jose Sharks on June 26 in a draft day trade that sent a sixth round pick to the Sharks. San Jose used the pick to select defenseman Konrad Abeltshauser. Karlsson appeared in 34 games last season with Farjestad of the Swedish League, posting a 2.45 GAA with a .914 save percentage and three shutouts. Not a bad depth signing for the Flames, as Karlsson has very good size and some upside to become a starting goaltender. He signed a contract on June 14 to play in the KHL next season, so it's likely that he will be with the Flames organization instead. If that's the case, Karlsson could end up as the backup in Calgary next season depending if the Flames feel they need to add more depth in goal during the summer.

Predators Acquire Sergei Kostitsyn for Ellis, Boyd

The Nashville Predators announced today that they have acquired right wing Sergei Kostitsyn and future considerations from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for goaltender Dan Ellis, center Dustin Boyd, and future considerations. The future considerations in the trade will become late round draft picks if any of the players are signed to contracts for next season. Kostitsyn is set to become a restricted free agent on July 1, while Ellis and Boyd will be unrestricted free agents. In 47 games last season with the Canadiens, Kostitsyn had seven goals and 11 assists for 18 points. He also appeared in 16 games with Hamilton of the AHL, scoring four goals and nine assists for 13 points. Ellis played in 31 games with the Predators last season, posting a 15-13-1 record, one shutout, a 2.69 GAA, and a .909 save percentage. Boyd, who was acquired by the Predators from the Calgary Flames on March 3, had 11 goals and 13 assists for 24 points. Certainly an interesting trade for both teams, but only time will tell who won this one. Kostitsyn is a very shifty winger who has some offensive upside, but has questionable work ethics and a poor attitude. He was suspended by the Canadiens last October for refusing to report to Hamilton and was told to stay away from the team prior to game four of their Eastern Conference Semi-Finals game against Pittsburgh. He has also expressed an interest in leaving the NHL for the KHL. If Kostitsyn can change his attitude and work ethic in Nashville, he could provide a decent offensive spark to the team. If he clashes with Predators management much like he did in Montreal, the club could witness another young forward depart for the KHL, as Alexander Radulov did a couple summers ago. The Canadiens get a solid goaltender in Ellis and a decent third line forward in Boyd, but there is no guarantee those two players will be signed by the Canadiens. If they do sign, Ellis will be a good backup for Carey Price, and could even jump into the starter's role if the latter should struggle, whereas Boyd would be a decent two-way forward for the Canadiens.

Stars Sign Forward Barch to Two-Year Extension

The Dallas Morning News is reporting that the Dallas Stars have signed left wing Krys Barch to a two-year contract extension worth $1.675 million. The deal will pay him $825,000 next season and $850,000 in 2011-12. He would have been an unrestricted free agent on July 1. In 63 games last season with the Stars, he had six assists and 130 penalty minutes. Not a bad depth signing for the Stars, as Barch plays with lots of grit and toughness. He's not afraid to drop the gloves and fight and is a great energy winger on the team's third and fourth lines, just don't expect to see him score very many points, as he doesn't have a lot of offensive upside.

Senators Buy Out Jonathan Cheechoo's Contract

The Ottawa Senators announced today that they have bought out the final year of Jonathan Cheechoo's contract, making him an unrestricted free agent. He was scheduled to make $3.5 million for the 2010-11 season. The Senators acquired Cheechoo last September from the San Jose Sharks along with Milan Michalek in exchange for Dany Heatley. In 61 games last season with the Senators, Cheechoo had five goals and nine assists for 14 points. He also appeared in 25 games with Binghamton of the AHL, scoring eight goals and six assists for 14 points. In 501 career NHL games with the Sharks and Senators, he has 170 goals and 135 assists for 305 points. He won the Rocket Richard Trophy in 2006 as the goals leader in the NHL. This comes as no surprise, as Cheechoo has been in constant offensive decline over the past several seasons. It's possible another team could sign him this summer to add some veteran depth to their team, but it likely wouldn't be for very much given his lack of offense in recent years. If he does get signed this summer, it will likely be his last chance to prove that he can still produce decent numbers at the NHL level, otherwise his NHL career could be over.

Moreau, Nilsson, O' Sullivan Among More NHL Players on Waivers

On Tuesday, the following NHL players were placed on waivers with the likely purpose of buying out their contracts. The players will have until noon tomorrow to be claimed by other teams. If they go unclaimed, they will likely have their contracts bought out and become unrestricted free agents.

Donald Brashear, LW - New York Rangers
Todd Fedoruk, LW - Tampa Bay Lightning
Ethan Moreau, LW - Edmonton Oilers
Robert Nilsson, LW - Edmonton Oilers
Patrick O'Sullivan, LW - Edmonton Oilers
Nathan Oystrick, D - Anaheim Ducks
Patrick Rissmiller, LW - New York Rangers
Aaron Voros, LW - New York Rangers

Jonathan Cheechoo, Ales Kotalik, Ville Koistinen, Petteri Nokelainen, and Jim Vandermeer all cleared waivers from yesterday and are now eligible to be bought out by their clubs. It really comes as no surprise that the Oilers have placed Moreau, Nilsson, and O'Sullivan on waivers with the purpose of buying out their contracts, as the Oilers stated their intentions to do so earlier this month. I would be surprised if any of these players were claimed off waivers, as any team interested in them is better off waiting until their contracts are bought out and then signing them to new, more affordable deals.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Predators Sign Thuresson to One-Year Contract

The Nashville Predators announced today that they have signed right wing Andreas Thuresson to a one-year, two-way contract. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. He would have been a restricted free agent on July 1. In 22 games last season with the Predators, his first in the NHL, Thuresson had one goal and two assists for three points. He also appeared in 50 games with Milwaukee of the AHL, scoring 14 goals and 19 assists for 33 points. Not a bad depth signing for the Predators, as Thuresson has plenty of offensive potential. He is also a very hard working forward who is good at killing penalties, so he should be a good fit to the third line and penalty kill units next season.

Avalanche Acquire Forward Winnik from Coyotes

The Colorado Avalanche announced today that they have acquired center Daniel Winnik from the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for a fourth round pick in the 2012 Entry Draft. Winnik is eligible for restricted free agency on July 1. In 74 games last season with the Coyotes, he had four goals and 15 assists for 19 points. Not a bad acquisition for the Avalanche, as Winnik is a versatile forward in that he can play both center and on the wing. He's a good penalty killer with plenty of defensive skill, so he should be a good fit on Colorado's third line next season.

Cheechoo, Kotalik Among NHL Players Currently on Waivers

On Monday, the following NHL players have been placed on waivers with the purpose of buying out their contracts. The players will have until noon tomorrow to be claimed by other teams. If they go unclaimed, they will likely have their contracts bought out and become unrestricted free agents.

Jonathan Cheechoo, RW - Ottawa
Ville Koistinen, D - Florida
Ales Kotalik, RW - Calgary
Petteri Nokelainen, C - Phoenix
Jim Vandermeer, D - Phoenix

I will be surprised if any of these players are claimed off waivers, as any team interested in acquiring them would be better off waiting until they are bought out and signing them to new, more affordable contracts. Cheechoo currently carries a $3.5 million price tag, and with only five goals and 14 points in 61 games last season, will likely keep any team from wanting to claim him. Kotalik, who is currently set to earn $3 million during each of the next two seasons, was wildly inconsistent last season with the New York Rangers and Calgary Flames, managing only 11 goals and 27 points in 71 games. His inconsistent play, lack of scoring, and salary will likely keep him from going claimed.

Canadiens Re-Sign Forwards Pyatt and Pouliot

The Montreal Canadiens announced today that they have signed left wings Tom Pyatt and Benoit Pouliot to one-year contracts. Pyatt will make $500,000 next season, while Pouliot's contract is worth $1.375 million. Both players were eligible for restricted free agency on July 1. Pyatt, who was acquired from the New York Rangers last summer in the Scott Gomez trade, had two goals and three assists for five points in 40 games with the Canadiens last season. He also appeared in 41 games with Hamilton of the AHL, scoring 13 goals and 22 assists for 35 points. Pouliot, who was acquired from the Minnesota Wild last November for Guillaume Latendresse, had 17 goals and 11 assists for 28 points with the Wild and Canadiens. He also appeared in three games with Hamilton on a conditioning assignment, scoring one goal and two assists. These aren't bad signings for the Canadiens, as Pyatt and Pouliot were both hard-working players for the team last season. Pyatt has plenty of speed and is a very versatile forward, as he can play both center and wing, making him a good fit for the fourth line next season. Pouliot played extremely well for the Canadiens after joining the team last November and should continue to be a good fit next season. Like Pyatt, Pouliot is a versatile player, as he can play both center and the wing. He also has plenty of offensive upside and can rack up points when he is on his game. If Pouliot can continue to improve his play next season with the Canadiens, he could potentially be a 20-30 scorer with the club.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Report: Flyers & Sharks Reach Agreement on Nabokov's Rights

According to CSNPhilly.com, the Philadelphia Flyers and San Jose Sharks have reached a verbal agreement in which the Flyers would acquire the negotiating rights to goaltender Evgeni Nabokov in exchange for a seventh round pick in the 2011 Entry Draft. The Sharks would get the pick if the Flyers are able to sign Nabokov before he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Sharks' general manager would not confirm the deal, but stated that there are some issues surrounding the negotiations and could take several days to complete. I'll have more analysis on this potential deal when more news becomes available, but if the Flyers are able to sign Nabokov, they definitely would have found the answer to their goaltending problems. However, Nabokov could command at least $5 million per season, so unless he is willing to play for $1.5 million or less, the Flyers will have to unload some salary in order to afford the Russian netminder, which should ramp up the Jeff Carter trade rumors over the next few days.

Blues Add Sobotka from Bruins for Warsofsky

The St. Louis Blues added some offensive depth on Saturday by acquiring center Vladimir Sobotka from the Boston Bruins in exchange for prospect defenseman David Warsofsky. Sobotka will be a restricted free agent on July 1. In 61 games last season with the Bruins, he had four goals and six assists for 10 points. Warsofsky appeared in 34 games last season with Boston University, scoring 12 goals and 11 assists for 23 points. Not a bad move for both teams, as both players should fit in nicely with their new clubs. Sobotka plays with lots of energy and toughness and also has some offensive upside, so he should be a good fit for the Blues on their fourth line next season. Warsofsky, who will remain in the NCAA next season, is still several years away from playing in the NHL, so he won't be in the Bruins' lineup any time soon, but he does give them a decent offensive prospect on the blueline.

Flames Acquire Goaltender Karlsson from Sharks

The Calgary Flames announced on Saturday that they have acquired goaltender Henrik Karlsson from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a sixth round pick in the 2010 Entry Draft. The Sharks used the pick to select defenseman Konrad Abeltshauser. Karlsson appeared in 34 games last season with Farjestad of the Swedish League, posting a 2.45 GAA with a .914 save percentage and three shutouts. He is eligible for restricted free agency on July 1. Not a bad move for the Flames to make, as Karlsson has very good size and has some upside to become a starting goaltender. Karlsson currently has a contract in place to play in the KHL next season, so the Sharks likely decided to trade him than risk losing him for nothing if he decides to pursue a career in the KHL. However, he could likely head to training camp with the Flames in the fall with an eye on the backup role depending on what Calgary does this summer. Karlsson could have found new life with the Flames, but if can't secure a spot on the team, he could end up playing in the KHL next season.

Maple Leafs Acquire Mike Brown from Ducks

The Toronto Maple Leafs added some toughness to their lineup on Saturday by acquiring right wing Mike Brown from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for their fifth round pick in the 2010 Entry Draft. In 75 games last season with the Ducks, Brown had six goals and one assist for seven points and 106 penalty minutes. In 142 career NHL games with the Ducks and Vancouver Canucks, he has nine goals and three assists for 12 points and 306 penalty minutes. Not a bad acquisition for the Maple Leafs, as Brown will be an energy player for the team and probably be used on the penalty kill. He is a very tough forward who will stick up for his teammates, so he should be a good fit for the Maple Leafs.

Sharks Re-Sign Nichol, Wallin, Desjardins

The San Jose Sharks announced today that they have signed centers Scott Nichol and Andrew Desjardins and defenseman Niclas Wallin to one-year contract extensions. Financial terms of all three deals were not disclosed. Nichol and Wallin would have been unrestricted free agents on July 1, while Desjardins would have been a restricted free agent. In 79 games last season with the Sharks, Nichol had four goals and 15 assists for 19 points. Wallin split time last season with the Carolina Hurricanes and San Jose Sharks, scoring seven assists in 70 games. He won the Stanley Cup with Carolina in 2006. Desjardins played in 80 games with Worcester of the AHL, scoring 19 goals and 27 assists for 46 points. These aren't bad signings for the Sharks, as they bring plenty of depth to the team. Nichol is a very competitive player who plays with lots of grit and toughness, while Wallin brings plenty of defensive depth and physical play to the team's blueline. Desjardins is really just a minor league depth signing for the Sharks. He plays with lots of toughness and does have some offensive upside, but given the depth on offense for San Jose next season, he will likely spend most, if not all, of next season in the minors.

Hurricanes Make Several Trades at 2010 Entry Draft

The second day of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft was very busy for the Carolina Hurricanes, as they made three trades throughout the course of the day. The Hurricanes acquired center Riley Nash from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for a second round pick in 2010, defenseman Bobby Sanguinetti from the New York Rangers for a sixth round pick in 2010 and a second round pick in 2011, and center Jonathan Matsumoto from the Philadelphia Flyers for a seventh round pick in 2010. Nash, a former first round pick of the Oilers, had 12 goals and 24 assists for 36 points in 31 games with Cornell University last season. Sanguinetti, a former first round pick of the Rangers, appeared in five games last season with New York, scoring no points. He also played in 61 games with Hartford of the AHL, scoring nine goals and 29 assists for 38 points. Matsumoto appeared in 80 games with Adirondack of the AHL, scoring 30 goals and 32 assists for 62 points. These aren't bad depth signings for the Hurricanes. Nash is a decent two-way center who is good on the faceoff and plays with plenty of grit. Sanguinetti has lots of offensive skill and is decent on the power play, while Matsumoto has good offensive instincts and has proven that he can score at lower levels. Matsumoto will likely spend most of next season in the minors, but if Nash and Sanguinetti are impressive enough at training camp, they could secure spots on the team next season.

Blackhawks Acquire Forward Jimmy Hayes from Maple Leafs

Less than 24 hours after selecting forward Kevin Hayes in the first round of the 2010 draft, the Chicago Blackhawks have acquired his brother, right wing Jimmy Hayes, from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for Calgary's second round pick in 2010. Chicago had acquired the pick last summer in the Rene Bourque trade. The Maple Leafs used the pick to select Bradley Ross from the Portland Winterhawks. In 42 games last season with Boston College, Hayes had 13 goals and 22 assists for 35 points. Ross had 27 goals and 41 assists for 68 points and 203 penalty minutes in 71 games last season. Not a bad move for both teams. Hayes has plenty of offensive upside, so he brings the Blackhawks a decent prospect forward. Ross also has lots of offensive upside and plays with plenty of toughness. He should be a good fit for the Maple Leafs a few years down the road.

Penguins Acquire Defenseman Hamhuis from Flyers

Nearly a week after being traded from the Nashville Predators to the Philadelphia Flyers, defenseman Dan Hamhuis is on the move again. After the conclusion of the first round of the 2010 Entry Draft, the Flyers announced that they had dealt Hamhuis' negotiating rights to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for a third round pick in the 2011 Entry Draft. The Flyers had been negotiating with the 27-year-old on a new contract, but could not come to terms with him. In 78 games last season with the Predators, he had five goals and 19 assists for 24 points. Not a bad move for the Penguins to make, especially if they cannot come to terms with defenseman Sergei Gonchar, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Hamhuis is a decent puck-moving defenseman with plenty of defensive skill, so he should be a good fit to the Penguins defense if they can get him signed.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Senators Acquire Defenseman Rundblad from Blues

The Ottawa Senators announced during the 2010 Entry Draft that they have acquired defenseman David Rundblad from the St. Louis Blues in exchange for their first round pick in 2010. Rundblad was St. Louis' first round pick in 2009 and was recently signed to a three-year entry level contract. In 47 games last season with Skelleftea of the Swedish league, he had one goal and 12 assists for 13 points. Not a bad acquisition for the Senators, as Rundblad is a good puck-moving defenseman with plenty of offensive upside. He should be a decent fit on Ottawa's blueline in the near future. The Blues selected right wing Vladimir Tarasenko with the Ottawa's first round pick. He is a very good goal-scorer with lots of offensive upside, so he should be a good fit for the Blues in the future.

Panthers Deal Ballard to Canucks for Bernier

The Florida Panthers have traded defenseman Keith Ballard and right wing Victor Oreskovich to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for right wing Steve Bernier, left wing Michael Grabner, and Vancouver's first round pick in 2010. The Panthers then selected left wing Quinton Howden with the pick. In all 82 games last season with the Panthers, Ballard had eight goals and 20 assists for 28 points. Oreskovich appeared in 50 games with the Panthers, scoring two goals and four assists for six points. He also played in 34 games with Rochester of the AHL, scoring six goals and nine assists for 15 points.

In 59 games last season with the Canucks, Bernier had 11 goals and 11 assists for 22 points. Grabner appeared in 20 games with the Canucks, scoring five goals and six assists for 11 points. He also played in 38 games with Manitoba of the AHL, scoring 15 goals and 11 assists for 26 points. Howden appeared in 65 games with Moose Jaw of the WHL last season, scoring 28 goals and 37 assists for 65 points.

Not a bad trade for the Panthers and Canucks to make, as it addresses needs for both teams, but I think the Panthers have the edge in this one. Bernier isn't a huge goal-scorer, but does have some scoring potential and also owns great size. Grabner has lots of offensive potential and the ability to score goals, making him a good fit for the rebuilding Panthers. Howden was very impressive last season in the WHL, and if he can continue to improve his play, he will be a great forward for the team down the road. Ballard gives the Canucks another puck-moving defenseman and also plays a physical game, so he should be a good fit for Vancouver. Oreskovich gives the team a big-bodied winger and some upside, so he might be able to find a spot on the third or fourth line next season.

Bruins Reach One-Year Agreement with Mark Recchi

The Boston Bruins announced today that they have reached an agreement with right wing Mark Recchi on a one-year contract for the 2010-11 season. The deal is expected to be for $1 million, but it will have some significant bonuses attached depending on the number of games he plays. The team is expected to make the announcement on Monday. He would have been an unrestricted free agent on July 1. In 81 games last season with the Bruins, Recchi had 18 goals and 25 assists for 43 points. In 1571 career NHL games with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers, Montreal Canadiens, Carolina Hurricanes, Atlanta Thrashers, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Boston Bruins, he has 563 goals and 922 assists for 1485 points. He won the Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh in 1991 and Carolina in 2006. This is a pretty good move for the Bruins, as Recchi is still a quality forward despite his age. He brings plenty of veteran, offensive depth, is still good on the power play, and has lots of leadership skills. Recchi will be a good mentor next season for the young players in Boston.

2010 NHL Entry Draft Order - First Round

Here is the order for the first round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. The first round of the draft will take place on Friday, June 25 in Los Angeles. Rounds 2-7 will take place on Saturday, June 26.
  1. - Taylor Hall, LW - Windsor Spitfires, OHL
  2. (from Toronto) - Tyler Seguin, C - Plymouth Whalers, OHL
  3. - Erik Gudbranson, D - Kingston Frontenacs, OHL
  4. - Ryan Johansen, C - Portland Winterhawks, WHL
  5. - Nino Niederreiter, LW - Portland Winterhawks, WHL
  6. - Brett Connolly, RW - Prince George Cougars, WHL
  7. - Jeffrey Skinner, C - Kitchener Rangers, OHL
  8. - Alex Burmistrov, C - Barrie Colts, OHL
  9. - Mikael Granlund, LW - HIFK Helsinki, Finland
  10. - Dylan McIlrath, D - Moose Jaw Warriors, WHL
  11. - Jack Campbell, G - US National Team, USHL
  12. - Cam Fowler, D - Windsor Spitfires, OHL
  13. (from Calgary) - Brandon Gormley, D - Moncton Wildcats, QMJHL
  14. - Jaden Schwartz, C - Tri-City Storm, USHL
  15. (from Boston, from Florida) - Derek Forbort, D - US National Team, USHL
  16. (from Ottawa) - Vladimir Tarasenko, RW - Novosibirsk, KHL
  17. - Joey Hishon, C - Owen Sound Attack, OHL
  18. - Austin Watson, RW - Peterborough Petes, OHL
  19. (from Los Angeles) - Nick Bjugstad, C - Blaine High School, Minnesota
  20. - Beau Bennett, RW - Penticton Vees, BCHL
  21. - Riley Sheahan, C - Notre Dame Fighting Irish, CCHA
  22. (from Phoenix) - Jarred Tinordi, D - US National Team, USHL
  23. - Mark Pysyk, D - Edmonton Oil Kings, WHL
  24. (from New Jersey, from Atlanta) - Kevin Hayes, LW - Nobles High School, Massachusetts
  25. (from Vancouver) - Quinton Howden, LW - Moose Jaw Warriors, WHL
  26. - Evgeny Kuznetsov, LW - Chelyabinsk, KHL
  27. (from Montreal) - Mark Visentin, G - Niagara Ice Dogs, OHL
  28. - Charlie Coyle, RW - South Shore Kings, EJHL
  29. (from Philadelphia) - Emerson Etem, C - Medicine Hat Tigers, WHL
  30. (from Chicago) - Brock Nelson, C - Warroad High School, Minnesota

Coyotes Sign Forward Wolski to Two-Year Extension

The Phoenix Coyotes announced on Thursday that they have signed left wing Wojtek Wolski to a two-year contract extension worth $7.6 million. The deal averages out to $3.8 million per season. He would have been a restricted free agent on July 1. The Coyotes acquired Wolski from the Colorado Avalanche on March 3 in exchange for Peter Mueller and Kevin Porter. In 80 games last season with the Avalanche and Coyotes, he had 23 goals and 42 assists for 65 points. Not a bad move for the Coyotes, as Wolski has plenty of offensive skill despite lacking consistency at times. He has decent goal-scoring skills and is an excellent playmaker who has been a good acquisition thus far for the Coyotes. Look for him to have a fine first full season with Phoenix in 2010-11.

Bruins Sign Defenseman Boychuk to Two-Year Deal

The Boston Bruins announced on Thursday that they have signed defenseman Johnny Boychuk to a two-year contract extension. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. He would have been an unrestricted free agent on July 1. In 51 games last season with the Bruins, Boychuk had five goals and 10 assists for 15 points. He also appeared in two games with Providence of the AHL, scoring one goal. He missed five games last season with an orbital bone fracture. Not a bad depth signing for the Bruins, as Boychuk really improved his play throughout the course of last season. He has a good shot, plays a physical game and throws plenty of hits, and works very hard on the ice. Look for him to be the fifth or sixth defenseman on the team next season.

Sharks Sign Forwards Marleau & Pavelski to Four-Year Extensions

The San Jose Sharks retained two of their top forwards on Thursday by signing centers Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski to four-year contract extensions. Marleau, who would have been an unrestricted free agent on July 1, signed a contract worth $27.6 million, which averages out to $6.9 million per season, while Pavelski, who would have been a restricted free agent, received a contract worth $16 million, which averages out to $4 million per season. In all 82 games last season with the Sharks, Marleau had 44 goals and 39 assists for 83 points. In 953 career games, all with San Jose, he has 320 goals and 373 assists for 693 points. Pavelski appeared in 67 games last season with the Sharks, scoring 25 goals and 26 assists for 51 points. These are great signings for San Jose, as Marleau and Pavelski are both very talented forwards. Marleau has great goal-scoring abilities, decent two-way play, and plenty of speed and leadership qualities, making him one of the Sharks' top forwards. Pavelski has lots of offensive upside and is a great playmaking center whose best years are still ahead of him. Look for both players to have fine seasons once again in 2010-11.

Blackhawks Trade Colin Fraser to Oilers

Less than a day after trading playoff hero Dustin Byfuglien to the Atlanta Thrashers, the Chicago Blackhawks have made another salary cap related move. The team has traded center Colin Fraser to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for a sixth round pick in the 2010 Entry Draft. He is eligible to become a restricted free agent on July 1. In 70 games last season with the Blackhawks, he had seven goals and 12 assists for 19 points. Not a bad acquisition for the Oilers, as Fraser has some offensive upside and is not a bad role player. He will likely center the the checking lines for the Oilers next season.

Hurricanes Sign Forward Samson to Two-Year Deal

The Carolina Hurricanes have announced that they have signed right wing Jerome Samson to a two-year, two-way contract. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. He was eligible for restricted free agency on July 1. In seven games last season with the Hurricanes, he had two assists. He also appeared in 74 games with Albany of the AHL, scoring 37 goals and 41 assists for 78 points. Not a bad depth signing for the Hurricanes, as Samson has some offensive upside and has proven that he can produce points at lower levels. Depending on how he performs at training camp, he could secure a spot with the team on the fourth line next season.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Blackhawks Trade Byfuglien, Sopel to Thrashers in Multi-Player Deal

The Atlanta Thrashers announced early Thursday that they have acquired left wing Dustin Byfuglien, defenseman Brent Sopel, left wing Ben Eager, and prospect right wing Akim Aliu from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for center Marty Reasoner, prospect left wing Jeremy Morin, right wing Joey Crabb, and the 24th and 54th overall picks in the 2010 Entry Draft. The two picks Chicago gets in the deal were acquired from New Jersey in the trade that sent Ilya Kovalchuk to the New Jersey Devils. In all 82 games last season with the Blackhawks, Byfuglien had 17 goals and 17 assists for 34 points and 94 penalty minutes. He also added 11 goals and five assists for 16 points in 22 playoff games. Sopel had one goal and seven assists for eight points in 73 games, while Eager had seven goals and nine assists for 16 points and 120 penalty minutes in 60 games. Aliu had 11 goals and six assists for 17 points in 48 games with Rockford of the AHL. He also appeared in 13 games with Toledo of the ECHL, scoring five goals and nine assists for 14 points.

Reasoner appeared in 80 games with the Thrashers last season, scoring four goals and 13 assists for 17 points. Morin played in 58 games with Kitchener of the OHL, scoring 47 goals and 36 assists for 83 points, while Crabb had 24 goals and 29 assists for 53 points in 79 games with Chicago of the AHL.

It's not a bad move for both teams. The Thrashers get a decent forward in Byfuglien, who can also play defense. He has plenty of offensive potential and can play a little physical. Sopel will give Atlanta some veteran depth on the blueline, while Eager brings some toughness to the team. They get a decent prospect in Aliu, who has some scoring potential and some toughness. For the Blackhawks, it is essentially a salary dumping trade, as they are currently operating at the salary cap ceiling and still have to re-sign Antti Niemi, Niklas Hjalmarsson, and Andrew Ladd, who has been the subject of trade rumors recently. Adding Marty Reasoner gives the team an experienced center, while Jeremy Morin gives the Blackhawks a talented prospect forward. Crabb is an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and it remains to be seen if the Blackhawks have any plans on signing him. The two draft picks will give the team an opportunity to add more future talent to the organization. This trade will free up about $4 million in cap space for the Blackhawks, which will give them some relief, but they may have to move some more salary to comfortably fit all their players under the salary cap.

Thrashers Deal Sterling, Vernace to Sharks

The Atlanta Thrashers have announced that they have traded left wing Breet Sterling, defenseman Michael Vernace, and a seventh round pick in the 2010 Entry Draft to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for future considerations. This trade was facilitated in order for the Thrashers to get under 50 NHL contracts in order to complete the Dustin Byfuglien trade with Chicago. Sterling is eligible for unrestricted free agency and Vernace for restricted free agency on July 1. Not much to say about this trade other than it was done to help the Thrashers complete their trade with the Blackhawks. It remains to be seen if the Sharks will give Vernace a qualifying offer or attempt to sign Sterling.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

2010 NHL Award Nominees & Winners

Here is a list of the NHL players who will be up for awards for the 2009-2010 season. The NHL Awards Ceremony will take place on June 23 in Las Vegas. The finalists for each trophy will be listed as the NHL announces them over the course of the next week. The winners of each award will be in bold and italics.

PLAYER AWARDS

ART ROSS TROPHY - Top Point Scorer
Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Canucks - 112 points

MAURICE "ROCKET" RICHARD TROPHY - Top Goal Scorer
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins & Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning - 51 goals

WILLIAM M. JENNINGS TROPHY - Fewest Goals Allowed
Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils - 168 goals allowed

VEZINA TROPHY - Top Goaltender
Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils
Ilya Bryzgalov, Phoenix Coyotes
Ryan Miller, Buffalo Sabres

FRANK J. SELKE TROPHY - Top Defensive Forward
Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings
Ryan Kesler, Vancouver Canucks
Jordan Staal, Pittsburgh Penguins

LADY BYNG MEMORIAL TROPHY - Skill/Sportsmanship
Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings
Brad Richards, Dallas Stars
Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning

CALDER MEMORIAL TROPHY - Top Rookie
Matt Duchene, Colorado Avalanche
Jimmy Howard, Detroit Red Wings
Tyler Myers, Buffalo Sabres

JAMES NORRIS MEMORIAL TROPHY - Top Defenseman
Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings
Mike Green, Washington Capitals
Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks

BILL MASTERTON MEMORIAL TROPHY - Perseverance & Dedication to Hockey
Kurtis Foster, Tampa Bay Lightning
Jed Ortmeyer, San Jose Sharks
Jose Theodore, Washington Capitals

NHL FOUNDATION PLAYER AWARD - Contributions to Charitable Causes
Dustin Brown, Los Angeles Kings
Mike Green, Washington Capitals
Ryan Miller, Buffalo Sabres

JACK ADAMS AWARD - Top Head Coach
Joe Sacco, Colorado Avalanche
Dave Tippett, Phoenix Coyotes
Barry Trotz, Nashville Predators

HART MEMORIAL TROPHY - League MVP
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Canucks

TED LINDSAY AWARD (Formerly Lester B. Pearson Award) - MVP Voted by the NHLPA
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Canucks

GENERAL MANAGER OF THE YEAR AWARD - Top General Manager (1st year of award)
Don Maloney, Phoenix Coyotes
George McPhee, Washington Capitals
David Poile, Nashville Predators

MARK MESSIER LEADERSHIP AWARD - Top Leader in Hockey
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
Shane Doan, Phoenix Coyotes
Ryan Miller, Buffalo Sabres

KING CLANCY TROPHY - Humanitarian Contribution to Hockey
Shane Doan, Phoenix Coyotes

CONN SMYTHE TROPHY - Playoff MVP
Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks


TEAM AWARDS

PRESIDENTS TROPHY - Top Team Based on Points
Washington Capitals - 121 Pts.

PRINCE OF WALES TROPHY - Eastern Conference Champions
Philadelphia Flyers

CLARENCE S. CAMPBELL TROPHY - Western Conference Champions
Chicago Blackhawks

STANLEY CUP - League Champions
Chicago Blackhawks


NHL ALL-ROOKIE TEAM
Jimmy Howard, G - Detroit Red Wings
Michael Del Zotto, D - New York Rangers
Tyler Myers, D - Buffalo Sabres
Niclas Bergfors, RW - Atlanta Thrashers
John Tavares, C - New York Islanders
Matt Duchene, C - Colorado Avalanche

Penguins Sign Forward Cooke to Three-Year Extension

The Pittsburgh Penguins announced on Tuesday that they have signed left wing Matt Cooke to a three-year contract extension. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. He would have been an unrestricted free agent on July 1. In 79 games last season with the Penguins, Cooke had 15 goals and 15 assists for 30 points and 106 penalty minutes. In 738 career NHL games with the Vancouver Canucks, Washington Capitals, and Pittsburgh Penguins, he has 114 goals and 157 assists for 271 points and 859 penalty minutes. He won the Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh in 2009. Not a bad signing for the Penguins, as Cooke is a very tough and physical forward who is quickly becoming one of the top agitators in the league. He's a good open-ice hitter, but has earned the ire of many hockey fans for some very questionable and dirty hits, particularly the hit that resulted in Boston Bruins center Marc Savard missing the last 18 games of the 2009-10 season and six playoff games with a concussion. Still, he's a decent third line forward for the Penguins and will continue to bring lots of grit to their lineup for the next three years.

Wild Sign Newly Acquired Staubitz to Two-Year Deal

The Minnesota Wild announced on Tuesday that they have signed newly acquired right wing Brad Staubitz to a two-year contract worth $1.15 million. The deal averages out to $575,000 per season. He would have been a restricted free agent on July 1. He was acquired by the Wild from the San Jose Sharks on June 21 for a 5th round pick in the 2010 Entry Draft. In 47 games last season with the Sharks, Staubitz had three goals and three assists for six points and 110 penalty minutes. He missed 19 games with a facial injury. Not much more to say that I already said yesterday after the Wild acquired Staubitz. He plays with lots of toughness and is a very physical forward. Plus, he's a very versatile player, as he can play both the wing and defense. Staubitz will likely become the Wild's new enforcer, which means that current enforcer Derek Boogaard, who is an unrestricted free agent on July 1, is likely headed for the open market.

Canadiens Sign Forward Darche to One-Year Deal

The Montreal Canadiens announced on Tuesday that they have signed left wing Mathieu Darche to a one-year contract extension worth $550,000. He would have been an unrestricted free agent on July 1. In 29 games last season with the Canadiens, Darche scored five goals and five assists for 10 points. He also appeared in 32 games with Hamilton of the AHL, scoring 16 goals and nine assists for 25 points. Not a bad depth move for the Canadiens, as Darche is a hard working forward who has good size for the NHL level. He will be a good, affordable addition to the Canadiens' fourth line next season.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Canadiens Sign Tomas Plekanec to Six-Year Deal

The Montreal Canadiens announced today that they have signed forward Tomas Plekanec to a six-year contract extension worth $30 million. The deal averages out to $5 million per season. There is also a no-trade clause in the contract. He would have been an unrestricted free agent on July 1. In all 82 games last season with the Canadiens, Plekanec had 25 goals and 45 assists for 70 points. He also added four goals and seven assists in 19 playoff games. In 393 career NHL games, all with the Canadiens, he has 103 goals and 151 assists for 254 points. This is not a bad signing for the Canadiens as long as Plekanec can remain a consistent scorer for the team. He is a good two-way forward with plenty of speed and playmaking skills and is good on the faceoff, but he has battled some inconsistency over the past few seasons. The Canadiens would have been better off signing him to a short-term contract for around $3 million per season in the event that Plekanec's numbers don't remain consistent.

Defenseman Scott Niedermayer Announces Retirement

Anaheim Ducks defenseman Scott Niedermayer announced his retirement this afternoon at a press conference at the Honda Centre in Anaheim less than four months after helping lead Canada to an Olympic gold medal in Vancouver. Niedermayer had been pondering retirement since the end of the 2006-07 season, but every year decided to keep on playing. In 80 games last season with the Ducks, he had 10 goals and 38 assists for 48 points. In 1263 career NHL games with the New Jersey Devils and Anaheim Ducks, he had 172 goals and 568 assists for 740 points. Niedermayer won the Stanley Cup as a member of the Devils in 1995, 2000, and 2003, and as a member of the Ducks in 2007. He won the Norris Trophy in 2004 as the league's top defenseman and the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP in 2007. He has also won Olympic gold medals in 2002 and 2010. It doesn't surprise me that Niedermayer is hanging up the skates as he's hinted at retirement over the past couple seasons. He was a excellent defenseman throughout his career and one of the best in the league over the past couple decades. He was a proven leader on the ice, had superb defensive skills, and provided lots of offense from the blueline. He accomplished a lot throughout his career and should easily be elected to the Hall of Fame the first year he is eligible. Niedermayer's presence on the blueline will be missed in Anaheim and the rest of the league.

Panthers Deal Nathan Horton to Boston

The Florida Panthers announced today that they have shipped forwards Nathan Horton and Greg Campbell to the Boston Bruins in exchange for defenseman Dennis Wideman, the 15th overall pick in the 2010 Entry Draft, and a third round pick in 2011. Horton's name had begun popping up in trade rumors since the end of the season and more recently his name had been connected with the Bruins. In 65 games last season with the Panthers, Horton had 20 goals and 37 assists for 57 points. He missed 17 games with a fractured leg. In 422 career NHL games, all with the Panthers, he has 142 goals and 153 assists for 295 points. Campbell appeared in 60 games last season with the Panthers, scoring two goals and 15 assists for 17 points and 53 penalty minutes. In 76 games last season with the Bruins, Wideman scored six goals and 24 assists for 30 points. He also added one goal and 11 assists in 13 playoff games. In 378 career NHL games with the St. Louis Blues and Boston Bruins, he has 46 goals and 119 assists for 165 points.

This is a great move for the Bruins, as Horton is a very skilled forward who has great goal-scoring abilities. He will likely play alongside Marc Savard on the Bruins' first line, which will give them the scoring punch that they have been looking for. Campbell gives the Bruins a gritty, defensive minded forward who is good on the penalty kill. He should be a good fit on their third line. Wideman brings the Panthers a decent puck-moving defenseman who can score goals and excels on the power play. With Bryan McCabe, Keith Ballard, and now Wideman on the blueline, the Panthers boast plenty of offensive contributors on defense and should be much improved in that area next season.

Penguins Sign Defenseman Lovejoy to Three-Year Contract

The Pittsburgh Penguins announced today that they have signed defenseman Ben Lovejoy to a three-year contract extension. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. He would have been eligible for unrestricted free agency on July 1. In 12 games last season with the Penguins, he had three assists. He also appeared in 65 games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL, scoring nine goals and 20 assists for 29 points. Not a bad depth signing for the Penguins, as Lovejoy is a very mobile defenseman who moves the puck well and has some offensive upside. Depending on what moves the Penguins make this summer of defense, Lovejoy could crack the lineup next season as a sixth or seventh defenseman.

Wild Acquire Forward Staubitz from Sharks

The Minnesota Wild announced today that they have acquired right wing Brad Staubitz from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a fifth round pick in the 2010 Entry Draft. He is eligible to become a restricted free agent on July 1. In 47 games last season with the Sharks, Staubitz had three goals and three assists for six points and 110 penalty minutes. He missed 19 games with a facial injury. Not a bad move for the Wild, as Staubitz plays with lots of toughness and is a very physical forward. Plus, he's a very versatile player, as he can play both the wing and defense. Staubitz had really fallen off the depth chart in San Jose and was a healthy scratch at times last season, so it comes as no surprise that they traded him. By landing in Minnesota, he will likely become their new enforcer, which means that current enforcer Derek Boogaard, who is an unrestricted free agent on July 1, is likely headed for the open market.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Coyotes Sign Forward Pyatt to Two-Year Extension

The Phoenix Coyotes announced today that they have signed left wing Taylor Pyatt to a two-year contract extension. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. He would have been an unrestricted free agent on July 1. In 74 games last season with the Coyotes, Pyatt had 12 goals and 11 assists for 23 points. In 606 career NHL games with the New York Islanders, Buffalo Sabres, Vancouver Canucks, and Phoenix Coyotes, he has 103 goals and 111 assists for 214 points. Not a bad depth signing for the Coyotes, as Pyatt brings plenty of veteran depth to their offense. He also has great size and had some defensive awareness. He will be a good addition to the Coyotes lineup for the next two years.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Devils Acquire Center Jason Arnott from Predators

The New Jersey Devils announced today that they have acquired center Jason Arnott from the Nashville Predators in exchange for prospect right wing Matt Halischuk and a second round pick in the 2011 Entry Draft. This will be Arnott's second stint with the Devils, where he previously played from 1997 to 2002. In 63 games last season with the Predators, Arnott had 19 goals and 27 assists for 46 points. In 1099 career NHL games with the Edmonton Oilers, New Jersey Devils, Dallas Stars, and Nashville Predators, he has 383 goals and 490 assists for 873 points. Halischuk played in 20 games last season with the Devils, scoring one goal and one assist. He also appeared in 32 games with Lowell of the AHL, scoring 11 goals and 11 assists for 22 points. Not a bad trade for the Devils, as Arnott still brings plenty of offensive skill, toughness, and leadership to the team despite being limited by injuries in recent seasons. Again, the Predators are essentially making a cost-cutting trade to help save money, although it was unlikely Arnott would have remained in Nashville beyond next season. By trading Arnott and his $4.5 million salary, it gives the team some salary cap space to re-sign Dustin Boyd, Patric Hornqvist, Denis Grebeshkov, Cody Franson, and Ryan Parent. Halischuk brings some two-way skill and offensive upside to the team, so it's possible he could be in the lineup next season. Plus, at $875,000, he's a very affordable winger. Given the departures of star players in Dan Hamhuis and Jason Arnott both on the same day, one can't help but wonder if the Predators will attempt to retain defensemen Shea Weber and Ryan Suter when their contracts expire in 2011 and 2012, respectively.

Flyers Acquire Hamhuis from Predators for Parent

The Philadelphia Flyers added some defensive depth today by acquiring the rights to defenseman Dan Hamhuis from the Nashville Predators in exchange for defenseman Ryan Parent. The Flyers also received a conditional seventh round draft pick in 2011 from the Predators. Hamhuis is eligible for unrestricted free agency on July 1 with the Flyers now owning his negotiating rights. In 78 games last season with the Predators, Hamhuis had five goals and 19 assists for 24 points. In 483 career NHL games, all with Nashville, he has 32 goals and 129 assists for 161 points. Parent will begin his second stint with the Predators, while previously a part of the organization in 2007. He was traded to the Flyers with Scottie Upshall in the Peter Forsberg trade. In 48 games last season with the Flyers, Parent had one goal and two assists for three points. This is a good trade for the Flyers if they can get Hamhuis sign to a contract. He's a decent puck moving defenseman who can play a great defensive game. If the Flyers get him signed to a contract, they will have one of the best defensive units in the Eastern Conference, which already boasts Chris Pronger, Kimmo Timonen, Braydon Coburn, and Matt Carle. For the Predators, they get a defensive defenseman in Parent who can also play a physical game. However, this trade highlights the Predators' financial woes, who are gaining a reputation for letting talent depart via trade or free agency in order to save money. With the team operating in this manner, it will do nothing to help draw fans to games and will only cause their attendance figures to dwindle even further.

Blues Sign Forward D'Agostini to New Contract

The St. Louis Blues have announced that they have signed right wing Matt D'Agostini to a one-year contract worth $550,000. He would have been eligible for restricted free agency on July 1. The Blues acquired the 23-year-old forward on March 2 from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for forward Aaron Palushaj. In 47 games last season with the Canadiens and Blues, he had two goals and two assists for four points. He also appeared in three games with Hamilton of the AHL, scoring one assist. Not a bad depth signing for the Blues. D'Agostini owns some scoring potential and is decent on the power play, but is also an inconsistent scorer. If given a chance by St. Louis, he could develop into a scoring forward.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Ducks Sign Chipchura to One-Year Contract

The Anaheim Ducks announced today that they have signed center Kyle Chipchura to a one-year contract worth $650,000. He was eligible to become a restricted free agent on July 1. The Ducks acquired the 24-year-old forward from the Montreal Canadiens last December for a fourth round draft pick in 2011. In 74 games last season with the Canadiens and Ducks, he had six goals and six assists for 12 points. Not a bad move for the Ducks to make for an affordable third or fourth line forward. Chipchura has decent size and plays with plenty of toughness, but has not turned into the offensive player he was projected to be in Montreal. Perhaps the change in scenery will help him improve his game.

Coyotes Sign Defenseman Aucoin to Two-Year Extension

The Phoenix Coyotes announced on Thursday that they have signed defenseman Adrian Aucoin to a two-year contract extension worth $4 million. The deal will pay him $1.8 million next season and $2.2 million during the 2011-12 season. He would have been an unrestricted free agent on July 1. In all 82 games last season with the Coyotes, Aucoin had eight goals and 20 assists for 28 points. In 933 career NHL games with the Vancouver Canucks, Tampa Bay Lightning, New York Islanders, Chicago Blackhawks, Calgary Flames, and Phoenix Coyotes, he has 116 goals and 248 assists for 364 points. This is a good move for the Coyotes, as Aucoin still has decent puck-moving skills and is a proven leader on the ice. He was a good addition for the Coyotes last summer and should maintain that success over the next two seasons.

Avalanche Re-Sign Forward Porter & Defenseman Macias

The Colorado Avalanche announced on Thursday that they have signed right wing Kevin Porter and defenseman Ray Macias to one-year contract extensions. Financial terms of both deals were not disclosed. Both players were eligible for restricted free agency on July 1. The Avalanche acquired Porter at the March 3 trade deadline from the Phoenix Coyotes along with forward Peter Mueller in exchange for forward Wojtek Wolski. In 20 games last season with the Coyotes and Avalanche, he had two goals and one assist for three points. Porter also appeared in 56 games with San Antonio and Lake Erie of the AHL, scoring 16 goals and 25 assists for 41 points. Macias played in 52 games with Lake Erie last season, scoring seven goals and 10 assists for 17 points. He did not appear in any NHL games during the 2009-10 season. These aren't bad depth signings for the Avalanche. Porter has plenty of offensive upside and is a very versatile player, as he can play all three forward positions. The only knock against him is that he is not very consistent in his scoring. Macias has good offensive instincts and is a decent puck-moving defenseman, so he should be a decent fit on the Avalanche blueline if he makes the team next season.

Blues Acquire Hensick from Avalanche for Talbot

Just hours after acquiring goaltender Jaroslav Halak from the Montreal Canadiens, the St. Louis Blues acquired center T.J. Hensick from the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for prospect center Julian Talbot. In seven games with the Avalanche last season, Hensick had one goal and two assists for three points. He also appeared in 58 games for Lake Erie of the AHL, scoring 20 goals and 50 assists for 70 points. Talbot played in 76 games with Peoria of the AHL last season, scoring 17 goals and 15 assists for 32 points. He has yet to appear in an NHL game. Not a bad depth move for the Blues, as Hensick has plenty of speed and some offensive upside. The Avalanche never gave him much of a chance to prove himself, so a new environment might be what Hensick needs to get his career on track. Talbot has some offensive skill, but likely won't see much, if any, time with the Avalanche next season given their depth on offense.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Canadiens Deal Halak to Blues for Eller, Schultz

In a surprising trade this afternoon, the Montreal Canadiens have dealt goaltender Jaroslav Halak to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for prospect forwards Lars Eller and Ian Schultz. The move comes approximately one month after Halak helped lead the Canadiens to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they were defeated in five games by the Philadelphia Flyers. In 45 games last season with the Canadiens, Halak went 26-13-5, posted five shutouts, a 2.40 GAA, and a .924 save percentage. Eller appeared in seven games with the Blues last season, scoring two goals. He also played in 70 games with Peoria of the AHL, scoring 18 goals and 39 assists for 57 points. Schultz appeared in 70 games last season with Calgary of the WHL, scoring 24 goals and 31 assists for 55 points and 150 penalty minutes. This is a great trade for the Blues, as Halak's fine play in the regular season and playoffs has made him a great starting goaltender, so he should be an excellent fit for the team. However, I'm really surprised the Canadiens decided to trade Halak in the end. Price seemed like the odd man out after struggling during the regular season and after Halak's stellar performance in the playoffs. The pressure is definitely going to be on Price next season to carry the Canadiens, and if he fails to improve his play, the team is going to be in trouble in net. Eller has really good playmaking skills and plenty of offensive upside, so he should be a good fit on the Canadiens in the future. Schultz has plenty of offensive skill and toughness, so he should be able to crack Montreal's lineup down the road.

Predators Sign Defenseman Bouillon to Two-Year Deal

The Nashville Predators announced today that they have signed defenseman Francis Bouillon to a two-year contract extension worth $2.7 million. The deal will pay him $1.2 million in the first year and $1.5 million in the second year. He would have been an unrestricted free agent on July 1. In 81 games last season with the Predators, Bouillon had three goals and eight assists for 11 points. In 566 career NHL games with the Montreal Canadiens and Nashville Predators, he has 24 goals and 89 assists for 113 points. Not a bad move for the Predators, as Bouillon plays very hard every shift on the ice and doesn't shy away from physical play. He will help keep the team competitive on the blueline for the next two seasons.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Red Wings Sign Bertuzzi to Two-Year Extension

The Detroit Red Wings announced Wednesday night that they have signed right wing Todd Bertuzzi to a two-year contract extension worth $3.875 million. The deal averages out to just under $2 million per season. He would have been an unrestricted free agent on July 1. In 82 games last season with the Red Wings, Bertuzzi had 18 goals and 26 assists for 44 points and 80 penalty minutes. He also added two goals and nine assists for 11 points in 12 playoff games. In 941 career NHL games with the New York Islanders, Vancouver Canucks, Florida Panthers, Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames, and Detroit Red Wings, he has 273 goals and 395 assists for 668 points and 1301 penalty minutes. Not a bad signing for the Red Wings, as Bertuzzi is still capable of scoring goals and plays with plenty of toughness despite having a reputation for taking bad penalties. However, at just under $2 million per season, he's a good bargain for a player who is capable of scoring 20 goals and 50 points per season.

NY Rangers Agree to Terms With Forward Newbury

The New York Rangers announced today that they have agreed to terms with center Kris Newbury on a contract extension. The exact length and financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. He would have been an unrestricted free agent on July 1. The Rangers acquired Newbury on March 3 from the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for forward Jordan Owens. In four games last season with the Red Wings, he had one goal. He also appeared in 70 games with Grand Rapids and Hartford of the AHL, scoring 15 goals and 36 assists for 51 points and 205 penalty minutes. This is really just a depth signing for the Rangers, as Newbury's offensive abilities at the NHL level are very limited. However, he plays with lots of toughness and can score points at lower levels, making him an ideal signing for their AHL affiliate in Hartford. If he does see any NHL action next season, it will on the fourth line as an injury replacement.

Wild Sign Sheppard to One-Year Contract

The Minnesota Wild announced today that they have signed center James Sheppard to a one-year contract. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. He would have been a restricted free agent on July 1. In 64 games last season with the Wild, Sheppard had two goals and four assists for six points. In 224 career NHL games, all with Minnesota, he has 11 goals and 38 assists for 49 points. This is nothing more than a depth signing at best for the Wild, as Sheppard has struggled mightily at the NHL level. While he has sound two-way skills and plenty of offensive potential, Sheppard has been very inconsistent and, in my opinion, was rushed into the NHL too quickly. He should have played at least a couple seasons in the AHL so he could be better prepared for the NHL. If he does not improve his play next season, the Wild should consider trading him while they can still get something acceptable in return. A fresh start with a new team might be what Sheppard needs to get his NHL career back on track.

Canadiens Buy Out Final Year of Laraque's Contract

The Montreal Canadiens officially parted ways with right wing and enforcer Georges Laraque yesterday by buying out the final year of his three-year contract. The buyout was for $1 million, which will be spread out over two seasons at $500,000 per season. The Canadiens first announced they were going to buy out Laraque on January 21 when it was announced he had become a distraction to the team. He remained on the roster for the remainder of the season, but did not play in any games or participate in practices. In 28 games last season with the Canadiens, Laraque had one goal and two assists for three points and 28 penalty minutes. In 695 career NHL games with the Edmonton Oilers, Phoenix Coyotes, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Montreal Canadiens, he has 53 goals and 100 assists for 153 points and 1126 penalty minutes. He has been in and out of the lineup the past few seasons with back problems. This could very well spell the end of Laraque's NHL career, as he has not played the enforcer role very well in recent seasons. He has been reluctant to drop the gloves and defend teammates and does not play as physical as he used to. Most teams will likely pass on Laraque once free agency starts, but if he can prove he is willing to play the enforcer role, he might get a training camp invitation later this summer from a team looking to add some toughness.

Stars Sign Goaltender Krahn to One-Year Deal

The Dallas Stars have announced that they have signed goaltender Brent Krahn to a one-year, two-way contract. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. He would have been an unrestricted free agent on July 1. In 22 games last season with Texas of the AHL, Krahn posted a 1-4-0 record, five shutouts, a 1.83 GAA, and a .945 save percentage. He did not appear in any NHL games last season. Not a bad depth signing for the Stars considering how well Krahn played last season in the AHL. He should provide adequate goaltending depth for their AHL affiliate next season.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Islanders Sign Forward Weight to One-Year Contract

According to tsn.ca, veteran center Doug Weight has agreed to a one-year contract extension with the New York Islanders. Financial terms of the deal have not been released, but it's believed the only thing holding up the official announcement of the signing is the bonus structure of the contract. In 36 games last season with the Islanders, Weight had one goal and 16 assists for 17 points. He missed much of the season with a torn labrum and a rotator cuff injury. In 1220 career NHL games with the New York Rangers, Edmonton Oilers, St. Louis Blues, Carolina Hurricanes, Anaheim Ducks, and New York Islanders, he has 276 goals and 748 assists for 1024 points. He won the Stanley Cup in 2006 as a member of the Hurricanes. Not a bad signing for the Islanders, as Weight brings lots of offensive depth and leadership to the team. Even though his offensive numbers have gone down in recent years, Weight still brings lots of experience to the rebuilding team and serve as a mentor to the younger players.

Canucks Sign Defenseman Rome to Two-Year Extension

The Vancouver Canucks announced today that they have signed defenseman Aaron Rome to a two-year contract. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. He would have been an unrestricted free agent on July 1. In 49 games last season with the Canucks, Rome had four assists. He also appeared in seven games with Manitoba of the AHL, scoring six goals and one assist for seven points. In 75 career NHL games with the Anaheim Ducks, Columbus Blue Jackets, and Vancouver Canucks, he has one goal and six assists for seven points. Not a bad depth signing for the Canucks, as Rome has decent size and does have some offensive capabilities from the blueline. However, given the depth on Vancouver's defense for next season, Rome will likely be a reserve defenseman and mostly fill in for injured players.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Penguins Sign Defenseman Wagner to One-Year Contract

The Pittsburgh Penguins announced today that they have signed defenseman Steve Wagner to a one-year, two-way contract. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. He would have been a free agent on July 1. The Penguins acquired the 26-year-old defenseman in February from the St. Louis Blues in exchange for Nate Guenin. In 66 games last season with Peoria and Wilkes/Barre-Scranton of the AHL, Wagner had four goals and 18 assists for 22 points. He did not appear in any NHL games last season. This is really just a depth signing for the Penguins. Wagner has good size and decent offensive instincts, but needs some work at bettering his game in the defensive zone. He will likely spend most of next season in the minors, and if he does play with the Penguins, it will likely be as a sixth or seventh defenseman, and only if their blueline becomes ravaged with injuries.

Flyers Sign Goaltender Backlund to Two-Year Extension

The Philadelphia Flyers have announced that they have signed goaltender Johan Backlund to a two-year contract extension. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. He would have been an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Backlund appeared in one game with the Flyers last season, going 0-1-0, with a 3.00 GAA, and a .917 save percentage. He also appeared in 41 games with Adirondack of the AHL, posting a 21-17-2 record, two shutouts, a 2.79 GAA, and a .906 save percentage. Not a bad signing for the Flyers, as Backlund will likely serve as a backup goaltender for the Flyers next season. He's got good size and positioning, which will make him a good candidate for the backup role. Although, he will have to compete for that position at training camp in the fall with Brian Boucher, who is also under contract with the Flyers for next season.

Flames Sign Forward Cunning to One-Year Deal

The Calgary Flames have announced that they have signed left wing Cam Cunning to a one-year contract. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. He would have been a free agent on July 1. In 69 games last season with Abbotsford of the AHL, he had 19 goals and 19 assists for 38 points. He has yet to appear in an NHL game. This is really just a depth signing for the Flames. Cunning has been a fairly steady forward at the AHL level and has been a decent depth player for the Flames' AHL affiliate over the past several years. Given the offensive depth the Flames already have, he will likely spend next season in the minors.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Red Wings Sign Doug Janik to Two-Year Extension

According to Ansar Khan of mlive.com, the Detroit Red Wings have signed defenseman Doug Janik to a two-year contract. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The deal is a two-way contract for next season and a one-way contract for the 2011-12 season. He would have been an unrestricted free agent on July 1. In 13 games with the Red Wings last season, Janik scored two assists and 18 penalty minutes. He also appeared in 66 games with Grand Rapids of the AHL, scoring six goals and 31 assists for 37 points and 84 penalty minutes. In 174 career NHL games with the Buffalo Sabres, Tampa Bay Lightning, Dallas Stars, Montreal Canadiens, and Detroit Red Wings, he has three goals and 15 assists for 18 points and 141 penalty minutes. This is really just a depth signing for the Red Wings. Janik plays with lots of toughness and brings plenty of veteran depth to the blueline, so he will be a decent acquisition to Grand Rapids' defense next season. If he does play any games with the Red Wings next season, it will likely be in the event of an injury and as a sixth or possibly seventh defenseman.

Maple Leafs Sign Forward Foster to One-Year Deal

The Toronto Maple Leafs have announced that they have signed left wing Alex Foster to a one-year contract extension. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. He would have been a free agent on July 1. In 30 games with the Toronto Marlies of the AHL last season, he scored nine goals and eight assists for 17 points. He did not appear in any NHL games last season. He last played in the NHL during the 2007-08 season, appearing in three games with the Maple Leafs and scoring no points. This is really nothing more than a depth signing for the Maple Leafs. Foster has decent size, can play either center or left wing, and can put up numbers at the minor league level. He will likely spend most, if not all, of next season in the minors.

Coyotes Re-Sign Hollweg and Schlemko

The Phoenix Coyotes announced today that they have signed left wing Ryan Hollweg to a one year contract and defenseman David Schlemko to a new contract. Financial terms of Hollweg's contract were not disclosed, while the exact length and terms of Schlemko's deal were not disclosed. Hollweg would have been an unrestricted free agent and Schlemko a restricted free agent on July 1. Hollweg appeared in 53 games last season with San Antonio of the AHL, scoring four goals and six assists for 10 points and 93 penalty minutes. He did not appear in any NHL games with the Coyotes last season. Schlemko played in 17 games with the Coyotes last season, scoring one goal and four assists for five points. He also appeared in 55 games with San Antonio of the AHL, scoring five goals and 26 assists for 31 points. These aren't bad depth signings for the Coyotes. Hollweg is a very physical and agitating forward who plays with lots of grit. If he makes the Coyotes next season, it will likely be as a fourth line winger. Schlemko has decent puck-moving skills and some offensive capabilities from the blueline. He could possibly make the team as a sixth or seventh defenseman depending on what moves the Coyotes make on defense this summer.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Coyotes Sign Forward Upshall to One-Year Extension

The Phoenix Coyotes announced today that they have signed left wing Scottie Upshall to a one-year contract extension. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. He would have been eligible for restricted free agency on July 1. In 49 games last season with the Coyotes, Upshall had 18 goals and 14 assists for 32 points and 50 penalty minutes. He missed much of the season with a right knee injury sustained in January. In 279 career NHL games with the Nashville Predators, Philadelphia Flyers, and Phoenix Coyotes, he has 64 goals and 74 assists for 138 points and 273 penalty minutes. This is a good signing for the Coyotes, as Upshall was having a breakout season in 2009-10 before injuring his knee. He is developing into a decent goal-scorer and also plays with lots of grit and energy. Look for him to be one of the Coyotes' top offensive producers for the 2010-11 season as long as he stays healthy.

Defenseman Rob Blake Announces His Retirement

Veteran defenseman Rob Blake announced today that he is going to retire from the NHL after 21 seasons in the league. He is expected to make an official announcement some time next week. In 70 games last season, Blake scored seven goals and 23 assists for 30 points and 60 penalty minutes. In 1270 career NHL games with the Los Angeles Kings, Colorado Avalanche, and San Jose Sharks, he had 240 goals and 537 assists for 777 points and 1679 penalty minutes. Blake won the Stanley Cup with the Avalanche in 2001 and the Norris Trophy as the league's top defenseman in 1998. He also won a gold medal at the 2002 Winter Olympics. Blake was an outstanding defenseman throughout his NHL career. He had great offensive skills from the blueline, was a very physical and gritty player, a proven leader in the locker room and on the ice, and will likely be in the Hall of Fame one day. He should be proud of everything he accomplished in his career and will be missed in the NHL.

Blue Jackets Sign Forward Kana to One-Year Extension

The Columbus Blue Jackets announced today that they have signed right wing Tomas Kana to a one-year, two-way contract. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. He would have been eligible for restricted free agency on July 1. The Blue Jackets acquired Kana last December from St. Louis along with defenseman Brendan Bell in exchange for forward Pascal Pelletier. In six games with the Blue Jackets last season, Kana had two assists. He also appeared in 50 games with Syracuse of the AHL, scoring 15 goals and 13 assists for 28 points. He also appeared in 11 games with Alaska of the ECHL, scoring six assists. This is nothing more than a depth move for the Blue Jackets. Kana has decent playmaking skills, but will likely have to prove himself at training camp in order to secure a roster spot on the team for the 2010-11 season.

Avalanche Sign Philippe Dupuis to One-Year Deal

The Colorado Avalanche have announced that they have signed center Philippe Dupuis to a one-year contract. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. He would have been a free agent on July 1. In four games last season with the Avalanche, Dupuis had one assist. He also appeared in 68 games with Lake Erie of the AHL, scoring 16 goals and 19 assists for 35 points. Really just a depth signing for the Avalanche. Dupuis is not a bad defensive forward, but given the offensive depth and talent currently on the Avalanche roster, he will have to fight for a spot on the team at training camp.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

NY Rangers Sign Forward Byers to Contract Extension

The New York Rangers announced today that they have signed left wing Dane Byers to a new contract. The exact length and financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. He was eligible for restricted free agency on July 1. In five games last season with the Rangers, Byers scored one goal and 31 penalty minutes. He also appeared in 74 games with the Hartford Wolf Pack of the AHL, scoring 25 goals and 26 assists for 51 points and 100 penalty minutes. Not a bad depth signing for the Rangers, as Byers has the potential to become a decent two-way forward. He plays with a lot of toughness and has some offensive ability. If he impresses enough at training camp in the fall, he could make the Rangers for the 2010-11 season as a third or fourth line forward.

Thrashers Agree to Terms with Forward Slater

The Atlanta Thrashers announced today that they have agreed to terms with center Jim Slater on a two-year contract extension. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. He would have been an unrestricted free agent on July 1. In 61 games last season with the Thrashers, Slater had 11 goals and seven assists for 18 points. In 335 career NHL games, all with the Thrashers, he has 42 goals and 46 assists for 88 pints. Not a bad signing for the Thrashers, as Slater is a decent two-way forward for the team. He's also good on he forecheck and has some offensive upside, which makes him an effective player for the rebuilding Thrashers.

Penguins Sign Forward Johnson to One-Year Deal

The Pittsburgh Penguins have announced that they have signed right wing Nick Johnson to a one-year, two-way contract. The deal will pay him $500,000 at the NHL level. He would have been eligible for restricted free agency on July 1. In six games last season with the Penguins, Johnson's first in the NHL, he scored one goal and one assist for two points. He also appeared in 61 games with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the AHL, scoring 16 goals and 27 assists for 43 points. This is really nothing more than a depth signing for the Penguins. He does have some scoring upside, so Johnson will be a good fit for the team's AHL affiliate next season. If he plays any games with the Penguins next season, it will likely be in the event of an injury to one of their regular forwards.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Bruins Sign Defenseman Seidenberg to Four-Year Contract

The Boston Bruins announced today that they have signed defenseman Dennis Seidenberg to a four-year contract worth $13 million. The deal averages out to $3.25 million per season. He would have been an unrestricted free agent on July 1. The Bruins acquired the 28-year-old defenseman on March 3 from the Florida Panthers in exchange for Craig Weller, Byron Bitz, and a second round pick in the 2010 Entry Draft. In 79 games last season with the Panthers and Bruins, Seidenberg had four goals and 28 assists for 32 points. He missed the last four games of the regular season and all 13 of Boston's playoff games with a wrist injury. In 374 career NHL games with the Philadelphia Flyers, Phoenix Coyotes, Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers, and Boston Bruins, he has 18 goals and 98 assists for 116 points. Not a bad signing for the Bruins, as Seidenberg is quickly establishing himself as a top-four defenseman in the league. He's good on the power play and penalty kill, has sound defensive skills, and can chip in a goal from time to time. With two goals and seven assists in 17 games with the Bruins, he should be an effective point producer on the blueline for the team.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Red Wings Sign Holmstrom to Two-Year Deal

The Detroit Red Wings announced today that they have signed right wing Tomas Holmstrom to a two-year contract extension worth $3.75 million. The deal averages out to $1.875 million per season. He would have been an unrestricted free agent on July 1. The signing is the second for the Red Wings in as many days, with Nicklas Lidstrom signing a one-year extension just days prior. In 68 games last season with the Red Wings, Holmstrom scored 25 goals and 20 assists for 45 points. He also added four goals and three assists for seven points in 12 playoff games. In 879 career NHL games, all with Detroit, he has 214 goals and 255 assists for 469 points. He has won four Stanley Cups with the team (1997, 1998, 2002, 2008) and won an Olympic gold medal as member of Team Sweden in 2006. This is a great signing for the Red Wings, as Holmstrom has always been a fierce competitor in front of the net. He is, without a doubt, one of the best screeners in the league and drives opposing goalies crazy on a nightly basis. The only downside to Holmstrom's style of play is that he takes a lot of penalties in the offensive zone. He also plays with plenty of grit and is excellent on the power play. Plus, at $1.875 million per season, he is a pretty good deal for the type of player he is. His contract also gives the Red Wings a little extra salary cap space to continue to re-sign impending free agents and maybe add a depth player or two once free agency begins.

Bruins Sign Shawn Thornton to Two-Year Extension

The Boston Bruins announced today that they have signed right wing Shawn Thornton to a two-year contract extension worth $1.625 million. The deal averages out to $812,500 per season. He would have been an unrestricted free agent on July 1. In 74 games last season with the Bruins, he scored one goal and nine assists for 10 points and 141 penalty minutes. In 290 career NHL games with the Chicago Blackhawks, Anaheim Ducks, and Boston Bruins, he has 15 goals and 25 assists for 40 points and 496 penalty minutes. This is a decent signing for the Bruins, as Thornton is a very physical player on the ice. He plays with lots of grit and toughness and is a great agitator on the ice. He will be a fierce competitor for the team on the third and fourth lines next season.

Maple Leafs Re-sign Forward Hamilton to One-Year Deal

The Toronto Maple Leafs have announced that they have signed left wing Ryan Hamilton to a one-year contract extension. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. He would have been a free agent on July 1. In 47 games last season with the Toronto Marlies of the AHL, he scored 16 goals and nine assists for 25 points. He has yet to play in an NHL game. Not really much to say about this signing, as it's really just a depth move for the Maple Leafs. Hamilton is not a bad special teams player and can chip in goals from time to time. If he does make the the team next season, it will likely be on the fourth line.

Avalanche Sign Goaltender Budaj, Forward Koci to One-Year Deals

The Colorado Avalanche have announced that they have signed goaltender Peter Budaj and left wing David Koci to one-year contract extensions. Financial terms of both deals were not disclosed. Both players would have been unrestricted free agents on July 1. In 15 games last season with the Avalanche, Budaj posted a 5-5-2 record, one shutout, a 2.64 GAA, and a .917 save percentage. Koci appeared in 43 games with the Avalanche last season, scoring one goal and adding 84 penalty minutes. These aren't bad depth signings for the Avalanche. Even though he struggled as the starting goaltender, Budaj has been fairly steady as a backup in Colorado. Along with starter Craig Anderson, the team has a fair amount of talent in goal for next season. Koci is a very tough and gritty forward who will stand up for his teammates. Look for him to continue to play the enforcer role in Colorado next season, but don't expect a lot of offensive production from him.