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Posted On Thursday, 06.28.2012 / 1:28 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - NHL Free Agency 2012 blog

Report: Panthers to waive Bradley, Santorelli

According to TSN's Bob McKenzie, the Florida Panthers have placed right wing Matt Bradley on unconditional waivers, presumably for the buyout or termination of his contract.

Bradley had signed a two-year, $1.9 million contract with the Panthers last summer, but had just three goals and five assists in 45 games.

TSN also reported the team placed center Mike Santorelli on waivers. Santorelli had nine goals and 11 points in 60 games last season, after scoring 20 goals in 82 games in 2010-11.

Posted On Thursday, 06.28.2012 / 1:19 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - NHL Free Agency 2012 blog

Nichol re-signs with Blues for one year

Forward Scott Nichol has re-signed with the St. Louis Blues, the team announced Thursday.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the one-year contract is worth $650,000.

“We are pleased to have Scott back in the fold for next year,” Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said in a statement. “His work ethic and professionalism are second to none and he serves as an excellent role model for our young core.”

Nichol played in 80 games for the Blues this past season, with three goals, five assists and 83 penalty minutes. He led the team by winning 57.6 percent of his faceoffs.

The 37-year-old joined the Blues as a free agent last offseason. He has 126 points (55 goals, 71 assists) and 891 penalty minutes in 632 career regular-season games.

Posted On Thursday, 06.28.2012 / 12:09 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - NHL Free Agency 2012 blog

Is Schultz's list set?

Coveted free-agent defenseman Justin Schultz reportedly has cut his list of desirable teams to sign with to five.

TSN reported Wednesday that the Canucks, Maple Leafs, Rangers, Senators and Oilers have made the cut. Among those eliminated from the bidding were the Red Wings, Flyers and Blackhawks.

Schultz has been in Toronto the last two days for meetings with his agents and prospective teams. TSN reported that with his final list of teams set, he'll begin another round of talks.

Schultz, a 21-year-old 2008 draft pick of the Anaheim Ducks, became an unrestricted free agent last week when he withdrew from the University of Wisconsin and failed to reach a deal with the Ducks in the team's exclusive 30-day negotiating window.

A two-time Hobey Baker Award finalist at Wisconsin, Schultz is considered by many scouts as the best player not currently in the NHL.

Schultz is eligible for a two-year, entry-level contract, so the financial package from each team is the same. Instead, he's looking for the best roster fit, including a chance to step onto a team and play top-four defense minutes right away. And the native of West Kelowna, B.C., also reportedly would like to play for a Canadian team, preferably in the west.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

Posted On Thursday, 06.28.2012 / 10:11 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - NHL Free Agency 2012 blog

Stars, Benn moving patiently

The Dallas Stars clearly would like to get restricted free agent Jamie Benn's name on a new contract, and preferably before July 1.

The Dallas Morning News is reporting that while talks are ongoing, both sides are prepared to be patient and respectful of the situation.

"Jamie Benn is going to be a Dallas Star, and this is just part of the process," Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk told the newspaper's Mike Heika. "He's an important player to us, and it's not like he's going anywhere."

Benn's agent, Rich Evans, refused to comment to the Morning News on the pace of talks, saying Benn wanted to keep negotiations out of the media "for the time being."

In 2011-12, Benn set career-highs with 26 goals and 63 points in his third NHL season and played in his first NHL All-Star Game. A 2007 fifth-round pick, Benn has at least 22 goals in all three of his NHL seasons.

If the two sides don't agree to a new deal before July 1, Benn could talk with 29 other teams. While offer sheets to restricted free agents are rare, it could happen. However, it sounds like the Stars would match anything another team convinced Benn to sign.

"Jamie will be playing for the Dallas Stars for a long time," Stars owner Tom Gaglardi told the newspaper. "That's the important thing to keep in mind."

Posted On Thursday, 06.28.2012 / 9:27 AM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - NHL Free Agency 2012 blog

Schultz rules out Red Wings

Free-agent defenseman Justin Schultz appears to be shrinking the number of teams he's interested in.

The Detroit Red Wings, thought to be a favorite to sign the coveted 21-year-old blueliner, were told Thursday that Schultz would not be signing with them.

"I was told we are not on his list of teams," Red Wings GM Ken Holland told the Detroit News. "We expressed our interest to his agent (Don Meehan). They went over all the information (Wednesday)."

Schultz has spent the last two days in Toronto meeting with his agents and perspective teams, including the Edmonton Oilers.

A native of West Kelowna, B.C., Schultz is eligible for a two-year entry-level contract, which reportedly will contain a base salary of $925,000, and with bonuses can reach $3.77 million. So while the financial offers are the same from each team, Schultz is basing his decision on where he could fit on a team's roster -- he reportedly wants to play for a team that can offer him top-four defense minutes.

He also reportedly is hoping to play for a Canadian team, and preferably stay in the west. That means the Canucks, Flames and Oilers -- who sent a delegate led by team president Kevin Lowe to meet with Schultz on Wednesday -- could be front-runners. Other reported possible landing spots are the Maple Leafs (Wisconsin teammate and close friend Jake Gardiner plays there), Rangers, Flyers, Blackhawks and Senators, but their hopes could be dwindling like the Red Wings.

Posted On Thursday, 06.28.2012 / 9:27 AM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - NHL Free Agency 2012 blog

Schultz rules out Red Wings

Free-agent defenseman Justin Schultz appears to be shrinking the number of teams he's interested in.

The Detroit Red Wings, thought to be a favorite to sign the coveted 21-year-old blueliner, were told Thursday that Schultz would not be signing with them.

"I was told we are not on his list of teams," Red Wings GM Ken Holland told the Detroit News. "We expressed our interest to his agent (Don Meehan). They went over all the information (Wednesday)."

Schultz has spent the last two days in Toronto meeting with his agents and prospective teams, including the Edmonton Oilers.

A native of West Kelowna, B.C., Schultz is eligible for a two-year entry-level contract, which reportedly will contain a base salary of $925,000, and with bonuses can reach $3.77 million. So while the financial offers are the same from each team, Schultz is basing his decision on where he could fit on a team's roster -- he reportedly wants to play for a team that can offer him top-four defense minutes.

He also reportedly is hoping to play for a Canadian team, and preferably stay in the west. That means the Canucks, Flames and Oilers -- who sent a delegation led by team president Kevin Lowe to meet with Schultz on Wednesday -- could be front-runners. Other reported possible landing spots are the Maple Leafs (Wisconsin teammate and close friend Jake Gardiner plays there), Rangers, Flyers, Blackhawks and Senators, but their hopes could be dwindling like the Red Wings.

Selected by the Anaheim Ducks in the second round of the 2008 draft, Schultz blossomed in three seasons at the University of Wisconsin. He was a two-time conference defensive player of the year and a Hobey Baker finalist the past two seasons. He led all NCAA defensemen last season in goals, points and power-play goals.

He withdrew from school after his junior year, and when he didn't sign with Anaheim during a 30-day window of exclusivity that ended last week, he became an unrestricted free agent.

Schultz is considered by many to be third on the list of most desired free agents this summer, after New Jersey's Zach Parise and Nashville's Ryan Suter.

While some are questioning why so much attention is being paid to a player yet to skate in an NHL game, Schultz is considered by many to be the best player not currently in the League.

"His foundation of skating is excellent," NHL Network analyst Craig Button told NHL.com. "He has speed, quickness and agility and is able to use his abilities to beat pressure defensively and to move into advantageous positions and be a threat offensively. … Overall, he's a player who is capable of controlling the pace and tempo of play when he has the puck. He's a player who wants to make a difference in the game. I think he has a chance to be a top-end defenseman."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

Posted On Wednesday, 06.27.2012 / 3:23 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - NHL Free Agency 2012 blog

Comeau re-signs with Flames

The Calgary Flames announced Wednesday they had re-signed forward Blake Comeau to a one-year, $1.25 million contract.

In 58 games with the Flames last season, he had five goals and 10 assists. He was claimed off waivers by the New York Islanders on Nov. 25 after going without a point in 16 games.

In 319 NHL games with the Islanders and Flames, he has 61 goals, 75 assists and 167 penalty minutes.

It was a busy day for the Flames, who also acquired the rights to defenseman Dennis Wideman and signed him to a five-year contract.

Posted On Wednesday, 06.27.2012 / 12:11 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - NHL Free Agency 2012 blog

Schultz meeting with Oilers

TSN is reporting free-agent defenseman Justin Schultz will meet with the Edmonton Oilers -- along with other teams -- Wednesday in Toronto.

Schultz became one of the most sought-after unrestricted free agents on the market when he did not reach a deal with the Anaheim Ducks, the team that selected him in the second round of the 2008 NHL Draft.

The 21-year-old played the past three seasons at the University of Wisconsin, where he was a two-time finalist for the Hobey Baker Award.

"Are we interested? Of course we are," Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini said Wednesday. "We believe we present an incredible opportunity."

The Detroit Red Wings, New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks are among the teams believed to be interested in Schultz, who is eligible for an entry-level contract.

Earlier Wednesday, the Oilers promoted associate coach Ralph Krueger to head coach. The team selected forward Nail Yakupov with the No. 1 pick in last week's NHL Draft, adding him to a young core that includes Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle.

Posted On Tuesday, 06.26.2012 / 10:10 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - NHL Free Agency 2012 blog

Parise says Devils will still be in mix on July 1

Even if Zach Parise doesn't re-sign on the dotted line to return to the New Jersey Devils prior to the start of free agency, there's no reason to believe the team for which he has spent the last seven seasons is completely out of the picture.

Zach Parise
Left Wing - NJD
GOALS: 8 | ASST: 7 | PTS: 15
SOG: 87 | +/-: -8
Parise told Rich Chere of The Star-Ledger on Tuesday that New Jersey would still be a strong candidate for his services -- even if no deal were struck by the noon deadline on Sunday.

"I'm sure a lot of people would think that, but that's very far from the case," Parise told the paper. "If it does happen to get to Sunday, that's by no means saying I don't want to go back to New Jersey.

"I know the perception would be, 'Oh, he wants out.' But that's not the case. I haven't been lying. I've said all along how much I like playing in New Jersey. So that wouldn't be me saying, 'I don't want to play there anymore.'"

Posted On Tuesday, 06.26.2012 / 5:09 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - NHL Free Agency 2012 blog

Stuart signs three-year deal with Sharks

The San Jose Sharks announced Tuesday they had signed defenseman Brad Stuart to a three-year contract. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but CSNBayArea reported last week that the deal would be worth $3.6 million per season.

The Sharks had acquired Stuart's rights June 10 from Detroit, in return for forward Andrew Murray a 2014 seventh-round draft pick.

Stuart, 32, would have been an unrestricted free agent had he not signed prior to July 1.

Originally drafted by the Sharks with the third pick of the 1998 draft, Stuart played his first six NHL seasons with San Jose. He's also played with Boston, Calgary, Los Angeles and Detroit.

He had six goals, 21 points and a plus-16 rating in 81 games with the Red Wings last season.

The Stuart signing caps a busy day for the Sharks, who re-signed three restricted free agents -- forwards Tommy Wingels and Andrew Desjardins, and defenseman Justin Braun -- and sent qualifying offers out to nine others.

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