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Posted On Saturday, 06.30.2012 / 3:51 PM

By Staff -  / - NHL Free Agency 2012 blog

Schultz agrees to deal with Oilers

The Edmonton Oilers have won the Justin Schultz sweepstakes.

Schultz, a top prospect who became an unrestricted free agent when he left school and didn't sign with the Anaheim Ducks, agreed to terms on an entry-level contract Saturday with the Oliers, the team announced.

The 21-year-old defenseman had 16 goals and 44 points for Wisconsin last season, and 40 goals and 113 points in three seasons (121 games) with the Badgers. He was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, given annually to the top player in college hockey.

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Posted On Saturday, 06.30.2012 / 2:06 PM

By Staff -  / - NHL Free Agency 2012 blog

Niskanen re-ups for two years with Penguins

While the Pittsburgh Penguins are expected to try for a big splash Sunday, they kept one of their key free agents from reaching the open market Saturday.

Defenseman Matt Niskanen and the Penguins agreed to a two-year deal, reportedly worth $4.6 million according Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Niskanen had four goals and 21 points in 75 games for the Penguins last season.

Niskanen, who will turn 26 in December, was acquired by Pittsburgh along with James Neal for Alex Goligoski before the trade deadline during the 2010-11 season.
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Posted On Friday, 06.29.2012 / 9:46 PM

By John Kreiser - Columnist / - NHL Free Agency 2012 blog

Report: Schultz to make decision on Saturday

Blue-chip defense prospect Justin Schultz reportedly will decide on Saturday which team he'll sign with.

According to a tweet from TSN's Bob McKenzie, "Free agent defenceman Justin Schultz will decide tomorrow where he's signing." He cannot actually put his name on a contract until Sunday, when free agency begins.

TSN's Darren Dreger reported Friday that the Edmonton Oilers, one of the teams reportedly on Schultz's short list, brought in a couple of big guns to make their case -- both Wayne Gretzky and Paul Coffey talked with him.

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Posted On Friday, 06.29.2012 / 8:49 PM

By Staff -  / - NHL Free Agency 2012 blog

Report: Ducks and Selanne to talk

One of the biggest offseason questions for the Anaheim Ducks is whether 41-year-old Teemu Selanne, their leading scorer in 2011-12, will return for another season. They'll reportedly get a better idea of the answer this weekend.

The Orange County Register reports that Ducks GM Bob Murray said he is scheduled to speak with Selanne over the weekend to get an idea of whether he is ready to officially commit to another NHL season and return to the team. Murray wouldn't offer anything beyond that in regard to where he's gotten any indication that Selanne will make good on a previous report out of Finland that said he would be back with the Ducks.

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Posted On Friday, 06.29.2012 / 8:35 PM

By Staff -  / - NHL Free Agency 2012 blog

Report: Rangers re-sign Martin Biron

The New York Rangers reportedly have re-signed backup goaltender Martin Biron to a two-year contract. Multiple media reports, including ESPN New York and the New York Post, say the deal is worth a total of $2.6 million.

Biron could have become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

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Posted On Friday, 06.29.2012 / 8:13 PM

By Staff -  / - NHL Free Agency 2012 blog

Canadiens re-sign Travis Moen to four-year-deal

The Montreal Canadiens on Friday re-signed forward Travis Moen to a four-year contract. No financial terms were disclosed, but RDS reports the deal is worth a total of $7.2 million, for an average annual value of $1.8 million.

Moen, 30, would have become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

"Travis brings tremendous leadership to our club, and is very appreciated from his teammates. He expressed his desire to remain with the Canadiens organization and we are very happy to have come to an agreement with him before July 1," GM Marc Bergevin said in a statement. "He has a lot of experience and brings a physical presence to our group of forwards."

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Posted On Friday, 06.29.2012 / 6:44 PM

By Staff -  / - NHL Free Agency 2012 blog

Coyotes re-sign Andy Miele

The Phoenix Coyotes on Friday re-signed center Andy Miele to a one-year, two-way contract. No financial terms were disclosed.

The 5-foot-9, 180-pounder had 16 goals and team-leading totals of 38 assists and 54 points for Portland, the Coyotes' AHL affiliate, in 2011-12, his first professional season. Miele made his NHL debut with Phoenix on Oct. 23, 2011, at Anaheim, and played seven games for the Coyotes without registering a point.

The 24-year-old native of Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich., won the 2011 Hobey Baker Award after an outstanding 2010-11 season with Miami University in which he led the NCAA in scoring with 71 points in 39 games.

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Posted On Friday, 06.29.2012 / 5:16 PM

By Staff -  / - NHL Free Agency 2012 blog

Flames re-sign Jones and Stempniak

The Calgary Flames on Friday re-signed center Blair Jones and forward Lee Stempniak to two-year contracts.

The team says Jones' deal carries an average annual value of $650,000. Stempniak's deal is for a total of $5 million, a $2.5 million AAV.

Stempniak scored 14 goals and added 14 assists for 28 points in 61 games for the Flames this past season, his first with Calgary. He was originally drafted in the fifth round (No. 148) by St. Louis in 2003 and has also played for Toronto and Phoenix. In 517 regular-season games, he has 129 goals and 275 points. He would have become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

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Posted On Friday, 06.29.2012 / 4:58 PM

By Staff -  / - NHL Free Agency 2012 blog

Blues' Armstrong doesn't worry about offer sheets

Two of the St. Louis Blues' most important players, T.J. Oshie and David Perron, will become restricted free agents on July 1, but GM Doug Armstrong isn't concerned.

"I think if you look around the league, there's probably 200 guys in the same boat," Blues general manager Doug Armstrong told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Friday. "This isn't something that is a concern to me at all."

Oshie tied David Backes for the team lead last season with 54 points, while Perron was second on the team with 21 goals. Both are young and talented, and letting them go unsigned beyond July 1 will allow them to field offer sheets from prospective teams.

"I've never been in fear of an offer sheet," Armstrong told the newspaper. "It's part of the system. You have a right to match it if you think the player's worth the offer or you take the draft picks as compensation. So I'm not concerned about an offer sheet. It's a tool in the (collective bargaining agreement) and the players have the right to see if they can find one."

Both players also are eligible for arbitration, which Armstrong said could be a consideration. The deadline for filing is July 5. It would put the salary for each player in the hands of an independent party, but it also would end the threat of an offer sheet.

"The good thing about arbitration is when you find out on July 5 if they elect arbitration, then they're off the market," Armstrong said. "So that's done and you can either negotiate a longer-term deal with them or go to the arbitration process and elect a one- or two-year deal."

Armstrong has other roster decisions to make soon. Veteran forwards Jamie Langenbrunner and Jason Arnott and defensemen Carlo Colaiacovo and Kent Huskins will be unrestricted free agents if not signed before July 1.

"We're still kicking some tires on some guys, but time is certainly starting to wind down," Armstrong said. "If they get to July 1, obviously they'll look around and we'll look around to replace them.

"It's a long time before Oct. 10 [season opener]. It's not like we're playing Sunday. So we'll have a good roster by Oct. 10 ... I'm comfortable with that."

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Posted On Friday, 06.29.2012 / 4:14 PM

By Staff -  / - NHL Free Agency 2012 blog

Downie re-signs with Avalanche

Steve Downie was a key acquisition for the Colorado Avalanche late in the 2011-12 season, and he'll be staying put in Denver after agreeing to a two-year contract Friday.

Downie, 25, finished with two goals, 13 points and a plus-9 rating in 20 games with Colorado after being acquired from Tampa Bay on Feb. 21. Combined between the Lightning and Avalanche, Downie recorded 14 goals, 41 points and 137 penalty minutes in 75 games this past season. His 27 assists were a career high.

"Since his arrival, Steve has provided a unique combination of grit and skill to our lineup," Avalanche general manager Greg Sherman said. "We're looking forward to Steve's contributions to our team for the next two years."

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He's a winner. We want winners here, and he's a proven winner. He's won two Stanley Cups. He's 22 years old and been a big part of it. He's got all the right tools. He's got size (6-foot-1, 204 pounds) and strength. He's exactly what we were looking for. He's going to be a big piece of our team for many, many years to come.

— Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen on Brandon Saad, who he acquired in a trade with the Blackhawks on Tuesday