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Posted On Thursday, 06.28.2012 / 4:03 PM

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

Report: Rask, Bruins agree on one-year deal

TSN is reporting impending restricted free agent Tuukka Rask and the Boston Bruins have agreed on a one-year, $3.5 million contract.

With Tim Thomas taking the 2012-13 season off, the move likely means Rask will be the Bruins' starting goaltender next season.

Rask went 11-8-3 in 23 games last season, with a 2.05 goals-against average and .929 save percentage. However, he suffered a season-ending groin injury in March.

Rask has started for the Bruins previously. In 2009-10, he went 22-12-5 with five shutouts, a 1.97 GAA and .937 save percentage in 45 games. That season, however, ended with him in net in the second round of the playoffs as the Philadelphia Flyers rallied from a 3-0 series deficit to beat the Bruins.

A 2005 first-round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Bruins acquired him in June 2006 in exchange for Andrew Raycroft. In 102 NHL games, all with the Bruins, Rask is 47-35-11 with 11 shutouts, a 2.20 GAA and .926 save percentage.

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Posted On Thursday, 06.28.2012 / 3:19 PM

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

Blue Jackets re-sign Nikitin

The Columbus Blue Jackets announced Thursday the team has re-signed defenseman Nikita Nikitin to a two-year, $4.3 million contract. The deal will pay the 26-year-old blueliner $1.8 million in 2012-13 and $2.5 million in 2013-14.

Had he not signed, Nikitin would have been a restricted free agent July 1.

Acquired from the St. Louis Blues on Nov. 10, 2011, Nikitin had seven goals and 32 points in 54 games; prior to the trade, he had no points in seven games.

"We were very pleased with the way Nikita played after joining us last season as he became a significant contributor on our blue line," Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson said. "He made tremendous strides this year and will continue to be an important part of what we believe is a very good group of defensemen."

A 2004 fifth-round pick of the Blues, Nikitin has eight goals and 33 assists in 102 games with the Blues and Blue Jackets.

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Posted On Thursday, 06.28.2012 / 3:01 PM

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

Jokinen done in Calgary?

Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun reported Thursday that the Calgary Flames would not be offering impending unrestricted free agent center Olli Jokinen a new contract.

Jokinen, 33, was second on the Flames last season with 61 points and third with 23 goals, his best output since he had 34 goals and 71 points in 2007-08. He also played all 82 games last season, including the 1,000th of his NHL career.

In 1,042 games with the Kings, Islanders, Panthers, Coyotes, Flames and Rangers, Jokinen has 292 goals and 683 points.

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Posted On Thursday, 06.28.2012 / 2:32 PM

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

Lee re-signs with Lightning

Defenseman Brian Lee has re-signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning, the team announced Thursday.

He was given a two-year, one-way contract that TSN reports is worth $2.3 million.

Tampa Bay acquired Lee from Ottawa in exchange for Matt Gilroy on Feb. 26. He played 20 games with the Lightning, recording eight assists and 17 shots on goal while averaging 17:05 in ice time per game.

Over the course of the 2011-12 season, Lee set career-highs for games played (55), assists (15) and points (16). He played the first 35 games with the Senators, who selected him in the first round (No. 9) of the 2005 NHL Draft.

Lee, 25, has played in 187 career games and has five goals and 31 points. He made his NHL debut during the 2007-08 season.

Lee played college hockey at the University of North Dakota and appeared in 82 games over two seasons. He twice represented the United States at the World Junior Championships.

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Posted On Thursday, 06.28.2012 / 2:02 PM

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

Latendresse leaving Wild

Guillaume Latendresse is moving on from the Minnesota Wild and will test his value as an unrestricted free agent when the market opens at noon ET on July 1.

Latendresse first told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune of his intentions Thursday morning and then announced the news on his official Twitter page later in the afternoon.

Latendresse, who played in only 27 games over the past two seasons due to knee injuries, told the Star-Tribune that he feels he needs to be closer to his 4-year-old son Hayden, who lives with his mother in Montreal. Latendresse is a Quebec native who played the first three-plus seasons of his career with the Canadiens before he was traded to Minnesota during the 2009-10 season.

The Star-Tribune reported that the Wild offered Latendresse a one-year contract with performance bonuses, but that on Wednesday he informed Wild GM Chuck Fletcher that he was turning it down.

"It's not that I didn't want to go back. It's not that the contract was not good. It's not that I didn't like the way the team was working or anything," Latendresse said. "It's really a personal matter more than anything. I would have loved to go back to Minnesota, but sometimes you have to make decisions for your family and for your future. And I think my son would be better if he could be closer to me."

Latendresse had 25 goals and 37 points in 55 games with the Wild in 2009-10 after getting traded from Montreal. However, he played in only 16 games in 2010-11 and just 11 this past season, totaling eight goals and seven assists.

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Posted On Thursday, 06.28.2012 / 1:38 PM

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

Boucher injury could open door for Peters

With Carolina Hurricanes veteran backup goalie Brian Boucher expected to miss 4-6 months with a shoulder injury, the team could feel extra urgency to re-sign Justin Peters.

The 25-year-old Peters went 2-3-2 in seven NHL games last season, spending most of the season with the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League. He went 10-13-2 with a 2.77 GAA and .907 save percentage in 28 games.

"Even prior to that injury to Boucher, with the way Peters played last year -- he got to play more games in Charlotte, which is why we signed Boucher, and with the way he played when he came up here -- he has always been in the mix of conversation of being one of our two goalies this coming year," Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford told the team's website.

Rutherford said no decision on the goaltending would come before July 1.

"Obviously this thing with Brian's injury gives Justin a better chance, but the fact that we're this close to July 1, we're probably going to wait a few days into [the free agency period] to make a decision," he said.

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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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."

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Quote of the Day

He's, believe it or not, actually one of my favorite guys, and I've ended up trading him twice. I appreciate what he's done. He was one year away from being an unrestricted free agent, and I felt with this opportunity, that it was a chance that we were able to get somebody for him in Nick Bonino and Adam Clendening.

— Penguins GM Jim Rutherford on forward Brandon Sutter