NHL News and Notes

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Avs sign Guite, McCormick
June 15th, 2007

Denver, CO (Sports Network) - The Colorado Avalanche signed forward Ben Guite to a two-year contract and forward Cody McCormick to a one-year deal on Friday.

Guite, 28, played in 39 games for the Avalanche last season, tallying three goals and eight assists.

"Ben provided some quality minutes during our stretch run," said Avalanche executive vice president and general manager Francois Giguere. "We look for him to continue his role on our team."

The Montreal, Quebec native signed with the Avalanche as a free agent on July 12, 2006 after originally being drafted by Montreal in the 1997 draft.

The 24-year-old McCormick was the Avalanche's fifth selection (144th overall) in the 2001 NHL Draft. He began the 2006-07 season with Colorado, recording no goals and one assist in six games before being reassigned to the club's AHL affiliate

"Cody has almost 100 games of NHL experience," said Giguere. "He brings an element of grit and energy to our organization."

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Canadiens ink Higgins, Komisarek for two more years
June 15th, 2007

Montreal, QC (Sports Network) - The Montreal Canadiens announced on Friday the signing of forward Chris Higgins and defenseman Mike Komisarek to two-year contracts.

Per club policy, financial terms of the agreements were not disclosed.

"Christopher Higgins and Mike Komisarek are two of the young players we consider to be building blocks for the long term success of our team," said Canadiens general manager Bob Gainey. "Christopher is a complete player with great offensive skills who improved consistently since making his NHL debut. Mike displayed outstanding defensive poise over the past seasons and his physical presence is an undeniable asset to our group of defensemen."

The 24-year-old Higgins, in his second year in the league, recorded 38 points (22 goals, 16 assists) in 61 games in the 2006-07 season.

Higgins has registered 76 points in 143 NHL regular season games.

Komisarek, 25, completed his fourth NHL season in 2006-07, scoring a career- high four goals and tallied 15 assists.

Komisarek has scored 30 career points (six goals, 24 assists).

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Blackhawks acquire Samsonov from Habs
June 16th, 2007

Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - The Chicago Blackhawks acquired forward Sergei Samsonov from the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday in exchange for defenseman Jassen Cullimore and forward Tony Salmelainen.

Samsonov played in 63 games last season for Montreal and registered nine goals and 17 assists.

"We believe Sergei can rebound and give us a spark on the power play and offensively as well as improve our overall skill level," said Chicago general manager Dale Tallon in making the announcement. "We feel he has a lot left in the tank and playing under Denis Savard will bring out the offensive creativity that he has shown in the past."

Samsonov, who was selected with the eighth overall pick in the 1997 draft by the Boston Bruins, won the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie in 1997-98.

In nine seasons in the league, Samsonov has appeared in 596 regular-season games with Boston, Edmonton and Montreal, scoring 178 goals and picking up 240 assists for 418 points. He has also played in 59 career playoff games, recording 13 goals and 26 assists for 39 points

Cullimore, 34, played the last two seasons with the Blackhawks, scoring two goals and picking up 12 assists in 118 games. This will be Cullimore's second stint in Montreal as the blueliner spent two years with the Habs starting in 1996.

The 25-year-old Salmelainen netted six goals and added 11 helpers in 57 games last season for Chicago.

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Flyers get Timonen and Hartnell from Nashville
June 18, 2007

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -The Philadelphia Flyers acquired defenseman Kimmo Timonen and forward Scott Hartnell from the Nashville Predators on Monday, improving a team that finished last in the NHL.

The Predators get a first-round pick - the same one they sent to the Flyers to acquire Peter Forsberg - for Timonen and Hartnell, who were to become unrestricted free agents July 1.

Timonen had 13 goals and 42 assists and a plus/minus rating of plus-20 last season. The 32-year-old will bolster a blue line that had significant problems last season. The versatile Hartnell had 22 goals and 17 assists. He can play either wing spot.

The Flyers still hold the No. 2 pick in the NHL draft that begins Friday night. They are coming off a woeful season (22-48-12) after years of success. The Flyers missed the playoffs for the first time since 1994 and set team records for most losses and fewest points (56).

In all, Philadelphia used a team-record 49 players last season, including 15 rookies.

One of the league's top defensemen, Timonen has 79 goals and 222 assists in eight seasons with Nashville. He is minus-6 for his career, playing mostly on a team that struggled.

The 25-year-old Hartnell was the sixth overall pick by Nashville in 2000. He has 93 goals, 118 assists in six seasons with the Predators.

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Predators ink Smithson
June 19th, 2007

Nashville, TN (Sports Network) - The Nashville Predators made a move to replace a pair of players traded on Monday by signing center Jerred Smithson to a two-year contract. The deal will pay him $475,000 for next season and $525,000 in 2008-09.

The 28-year-old Smithson appeared in 64 games with Nashville this past season, matching a career-high with five goals.

On Monday, the Predators dealt right wing Scott Hartnell and defenseman Kimmo Timonen to Philadelphia. In exchange, Nashville re-acquired its 2007 first-round draft pick originally sent to the Flyers as part of the Peter Forsberg trade.

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Hurricanes agree to terms with Walker
June 20th, 2007

Raleigh, NC (Sports Network) - The Carolina Hurricanes have agreed to terms with veteran right wing Scott Walker on a three-year contract.

The deal will take Walker through the 2009-10 season and will pay him $2.5 million per year.

Walker notched 21 goals and 30 assists for 51 points in 81 games last season, his first in Carolina. The Hurricanes acquired him from Nashville last July in a deal that sent Josef Vasicek to the Predators.

"Keeping Scott in Carolina was one of our top priorities this offseason," said Hurricanes president and general manager Jim Rutherford. "He brings skill and grit to our forward lines and he has become one of our team's leaders on and off the ice."

The 33-year-old Walker has played 688 regular-season games in 12 NHL seasons. He was Nashville's all-time leading scorer at the time of last year's trade and has posted 127 goals with 215 assists for 342 points with the Hurricanes, Predators and Vancouver Canucks.

Vancouver selected the Cambridge, Ontario native in the fifth round of the 1993 draft and he made his debut with the Canucks during the 1994-95 season.

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Re: NHL News and Notes

Sabres extend offers to Vanek, four others
June 20th, 2007

Buffalo, NY (Sports Network) - The Buffalo Sabres have extended qualifying offers to five restricted free agents, including leading goal scorer Thomas Vanek.

Vanek notched 43 goals last season and added 41 assists to finish with 84 points, second on the team behind Daniel Briere. His goal total tied for the fifth-most in the league last season.

By making the qualifying offer, the Sabres have the right to match any offer Vanek might receive from another team. If they refuse, draft picks would be awarded as compensation.

Center Derek Roy, who was fifth on the team with 63 points, was also tendered a qualifying offer. The others were forwards Andrew Peters and Daniel Paille, and defenseman Nathan Paetsch.

The Sabres also have a number of unrestricted free agents ready to the hit the open market, including Briere and third-leading scorer Chris Drury. Briere had 32 goals and a team-best 95 points, while Drury notched 37 goals and 69 points for the Presidents' Trophy winners last season.

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Bruins expected to name Julien head coach Thursday
June 20th, 2007

Boston, MA (Sports Network) - The Boston Bruins have called a news conference for 10:30 a.m. (et) Thursday, at which time they are expected to name former Montreal Canadiens and New Jersey Devils coach Claude Julien as their new head coach.

Julien would become the Bruins' fifth head coach since the start of the 2002-2003 season, following Dave Lewis, Mike Sullivan, Mike O'Connell and Robbie Ftorek, and the 28th different man to helm the B's in their 83-year history.

Julien's first year behind the bench in New Jersey this past season was terminated with less than a week remaining in the schedule despite leading his team to a 47-24-8 record.

The 47-year-old Ontario native began his NHL coaching career with Montreal in 2003 as a mid-season replacement for Michel Therrien, and was fired late in the 2005-2006 season. He has compiled a 120-94-17 mark over parts of four campaigns with the Habs and Devils.

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Flames re-sign F Moss
June 20th, 2007

Calgary, Alberta (Sports Network) - The Calgary Flames re-signed forward David Moss on Wednesday. Per club policy, terms of the deal were not released.

Moss made his NHL debut last season for the Flames, registering 10 goals and eight assists in 41 games. Moss also appeared in all six playoff games against the Detroit Red Wings, recording one assist.

The Livonia, Michigan native was taken in the seventh round of the 2001 NHL Draft.

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Lightning re-sign D O'Brien
June 21st, 2007

Tampa, FL (Sports Network) - The Tampa Bay Lightning re-signed defenseman Shane O'Brien to a two-year contract on Thursday. Per team policy, financial terms were not disclosed.

"Shane O'Brien has already demonstrated to us, in a very short period of time, that he is going to be a perfect fit in our system," said Lightning general manager Jay Feaster. "He skates incredibly well, gets the puck to our forwards in transition, and he has great grit. He is everything we want in a hockey player and we are extremely pleased to have him signed for the next two years. We expect great things from Shane."

The 23-year-old defenseman was originally acquired by the Lightning from the Anaheim Ducks in February.

O'Brien tallied two goals and 14 assists in 80 games last season, his first in the NHL.

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Re: NHL News and Notes

Horton agrees to record deal with Panthers
June 21st, 2007

Sunrise, FL (Sports Network) - The Florida Panthers announced on Thursday that they have agreed to terms on a franchise-record six-year contract with forward Nathan Horton.

According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, quoting Canada's TSN, the deal is worth $24 million.

Horton finished second on the team with career-highs in goals (31), and points (62), game-winning goals (3), and plus-minus (+15).

The 22-year-old was taken with the third overall pick in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft by the Panthers, and has scored 73 goals with 131 points in 208 games, all with Florida.

The Welland, Ontario native played in 55 games during his rookie season in 2003-04. He netted 14 goals and eight assists, and became the youngest player in NHL history to score on a penalty shot against Philadelphia on January 8 of that season.

Prior to Horton's signing, the Panthers' longest-termed contracts were five- year deals given to one-time forward Pavel Bure in 1999 and current defenseman Bryan Allen last week.

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Anaheim locks up Giguere with multi-year extension
June 21st, 2007

Anaheim, CA (Sports Network) - The Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks signed goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere to a multi-year contract extension on Thursday. Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The 30-year-old Giguere posted a 36-10-8 record and 2.26 goals-against average this past regular season. His 36 victories set a new franchise record for Anaheim while his 10 regulation losses were the fewest in the league of any goaltender to play in at least 50 games.

"J.S. Giguere has been an instrumental part of this franchise for the last six years," said Ducks executive vice president/general manager Brian Burke. "We view him as one of the top goaltenders in the NHL today, one with tremendous character and competitive fire, traits we value greatly in this organization."

During Anaheim's Stanley Cup championship run, Giguere was sensational, recording a 1.97 GAA and .922 save percentage in 13 wins.

"I'm very excited to be staying with the Ducks," said Giguere. "Orange County has been a great place for my family over the last six years, and we are grateful to the entire organization for the opportunity to stay here."

A native of Montreal, Quebec, Giguere was acquired by the Ducks from the Calgary Flames in 2000.

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Maple Leafs sign Colaiacovo to extension
June 21st, 2007

Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - The Toronto Maple Leafs signed defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo to a three-year contract extension on Thursday.

Colaiacovo, who was scheduled to become a restricted free agent, played in 48 games this past season scoring eight goals to go along with nine assists.

"Carlo made real strides as an NHL defenseman this past season and we look forward to having him as an integral part of our defense for the next three years," said Toronto general manager John Ferguson.

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Re: NHL News and Notes

Sharks ship Toskala, Bell to Leafs for 1st-round pick
June 22, 2007

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- The San Jose Sharks traded goalie Vesa Toskala and forward Mark Bell to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday for three draft picks, including a first-rounder, in the first big deal of NHL draft day.

Toskala teamed up with Evgeni Nabokov over the previous three seasons to form one of the NHL's best goaltending tandems. But both players' desire to be starters prompted general manager Doug Wilson to give up a homegrown talent in exchange for draft picks.

The Sharks got the choice to take Toronto's first-round pick Friday -- 13th overall -- or next season's pick. San Jose also got the Maple Leafs' second-round pick -- 44th overall -- and a fourth-round pick in 2009.

The Maple Leafs picked up a tested veteran goalie who will challenge Andrew Raycroft for their starting job. Despite playing behind Nabokov down the stretch run, Toskala went 26-10-1 for San Jose last season with a 2.35 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage -- both better numbers than Raycroft.

Toskala led the Sharks into the second round of the playoffs in 2006, then improved his statistics last season despite injuries. Though Nabokov -- who won the Calder Trophy in San Jose in 2001 -- makes much more money, he might be a cheaper long-term investment than the 30-year-old Toskala, who is only under contract through next season.

Bell flopped in his only season in San Jose, managing just 11 goals and 10 assists in 71 games after being projected as Joe Thornton's left wing when he joined the club in a trade with Chicago.

Bell, arrested on suspicion of drunk driving and felony hit-and-run before he even played a game in San Jose, has two years and $4.5 million remaining on the contract he signed after joining the Sharks.

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Avalanche re-sign forward Arnason
June 22, 2007

DENVER (AP) -The Colorado Avalanche re-signed forward Tyler Arnason to a two-year contract that will keep him with the team through the 2008-09 season.

``Tyler had a good season for us last year and we look forward to him building upon that success,'' Avalanche general manager Francois Giguere said Friday.

The 28-year-old Arnason had 16 goals and 33 assists last season. He was sixth on the team in goals.

Arnason was one of five Avalanche players who appeared in every game last season.

He played for the U.S. National Team at the World Championships in Moscow. He had a goal and three assists in seven games.

He has 192 points (73 goals and 119 assists) in 346 games.

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Blackhawks trade Aucoin, draft pick to Calgary for 2 defensemen
June 22, 2007

CHICAGO (AP) -Hours before picking first in the NHL draft, the Chicago Blackhawks traded defenseman Adrian Aucoin and a seventh-round selection to the Calgary Flames on Friday for defensemen Andrei Zyuzin and Steve Marr.

The 33-year-old Aucoin played in just 92 games over two injury-plagued seasons with the Blackhawks. He had five goals and 17 assists in Chicago.

Last season injuries forced the former All-Star to sit out 21 games. In 2005-2006, he missed 49 games because of a groin injury and dislocated shoulder.

The 29-year-old Zyuzin played in 49 games for the Flames last season, scoring one goal with five assists. He was the overall No. 2 pick in the 1996 draft by San Jose and has also played for Tampa Bay, New Jersey and Minnesota.

The 23-year-old Marr played 34 games for Omaha of the AHL, scoring one goal with four assists.

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Penguins agree to 1-year deals with Recchi, Roberts
June 22, 2007

PITTSBURGH (AP) -The Penguins' two oldest players are returning for one more season.

Gary Roberts, 41, and Mark Recchi, 39, agreed to one-year deals Friday.

General manager Ray Shero had said he hoped to keep both veterans on a team with a nucleus of young stars including NHL MVP Sidney Crosby, Evgeny Malkin and Jordan Staal.

``Mark and Gary are talented veteran forwards who can provide essential experience and leadership to our young team,'' Shero said. ``They made significant contributions last season, both on and off the ice, and we're looking forward to having them back in 2007-08.''

Agent Rick Curran, who represents both players, did not immediately return a message left at his office Friday afternoon. Recchi earned $2.28 million last season, and Roberts $2.25 million.

The Penguins acquired Roberts at the trade deadline last season for defenseman Noah Welch. Roberts had 13 points in 19 regular-season games with Pittsburgh.

Recchi, an 18-year veteran, played in all 82 games with the Penguins last season, scoring 24 goals and 44 assists, including his 500th career goal and 800th career assist.

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Nashville trades goalie Tomas Vokoun to Florida
June 22, 2007

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -The Nashville Predators traded top goaltender Tomas Vokoun to the Florida Panthers on Friday hours before the NHL draft, unloading the priciest player on their roster for three draft picks.

The deal involves a first-round draft pick in 2008 and a second-round pick in 2007, according to a Predators official who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team was still preparing its announcement.

The Predators signed Vokoun to a four-year, $22.8 million contract in September 2006. The deal was an extension set to take effect this season.

But Nashville's future ownership is uncertain with Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie making a $220 million offer to buy the team, and that deal won't be processed by the NHL before free agency starts July 1.

Vokoun played in only 44 games last season because of a hand injury. He went 27-12 and had a .920 save percentage. He was replaced by Chris Mason who played in 40 games and went 24-11 with five shutouts - all career highs.

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Thrashers acquire Thorburn from Pens; re-sign Larsen and McCarthy
June 22nd, 2007

Nashville, TN (Sports Network) - The Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday acquired a third-round draft pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft from the Atlanta Thrashers in exchange for forward Chris Thorburn.

Thorburn collected three goals and five points in 39 games with the Pens last season. He registered one assist in two games with the Buffalo Sabres in the 2005-2006 season.

The Thrashers also re-signed forward Brad Larsen and defenseman Steve McCarthy. Larsen, who was set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, had seven goals and six assists in 72 games for the Thrashers last season. McCarthy appeared in 46 games last season, recording a career-high 16 points (four goals, 12 assists).

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Sharks re-sign D Rivet
June 22nd, 2007

San Jose, CA (Sports Network) - The San Jose Sharks re-signed unrestricted free-agent defenseman Craig Rivet to a four-year contract on Friday. Per club policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Rivet, 32, was originally acquired by the Sharks in February of this year along with a fifth round selection in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft from the Montreal Canadiens for defenseman Josh Gorges and a first round selection in the 2007 draft.

In 17 regular season games with San Jose, the veteran tallied one goal and seven assists and in 11 playoff games, Rivet was second on the team with five points.

Overall in 71 games with San Jose and Montreal, Rivet finished the 2006-07 regular season with 24 points and 69 penalty minutes.

In 670 career NHL games with San Jose and Montreal, Rivet has 40 goals, 119 assists and 807 penalty minutes.

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