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Posted On Tuesday, 07.24.2012 / 5:36 PM

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

Maple Leafs sign Aucoin, Gysbers

The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed forward Keith Aucoin and defenseman Simon Gysbers to one-year contracts, the team announced Tuesday.

The Toronto Star reports Aucoin will make $650,000 at the NHL level or $350,000 at the AHL level.

Aucoin, 33, split the 2011-12 season between the Washington Capitals and the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League. He had three goals, eight assists and a plus-4 rating in 27 games with the Capitals. He also appeared in 14 playoff games for Washington, collecting two assists.

Aucoin played 41 AHL games, ranking second with 59 assists and tied for fourth with 70 points. He was named an AHL First Team All-Star.

Gysbers, 25, played 68 games for the Toronto Marlies in the AHL in 2011-12, posting five goals and 24 assists and a plus-13 rating. He ranked first among Marlies defensemen in goals, assists and points in the regular season.

The Toronto Star reports Gysbers will make $600,000 at the NHL level or $90,000 at the AHL level.

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Posted On Tuesday, 07.24.2012 / 3:26 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Summer with Stanley blog

Cup spends time with Kings fans

From Slovenia to Sylvan Lake, from Voskresensk to Vegas, the Stanley Cup spent the past few weeks in Europe and North America before returning to Los Angeles this week for a series of events that will allow many of the team's biggest fans to enjoy some time with the iconic trophy.

It started with the Kings' premium seating event Tuesday, when some of the team's season-ticket holders were let into Staples Center to select the seats from where they will watch the defending champions play next season. The day would have been momentous enough, but an appearance by the Cup made it an event few people involved likely will ever forget.

It was a precursor to an alumni event Wednesday at a venue that has become a popular stomping ground for Kings fans in Southern California.

That's when the Cup is scheduled to make an appearance between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. local time for a charity event at the Redondo Beach Café. With several Kings alumni scheduled to attend, including Nelson Emerson, Jim Fox, and Daryl Evans, the Stanley Cup will serve as the guest of honor at the fundraiser for the Kings Care Foundation. For $10, guests will have the opportunity to have their photograph taken with the Cup.

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Posted On Tuesday, 07.24.2012 / 1:59 PM

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

Predators sign Wilson to new three-year deal

The Nashville Predators on Tuesday signed restricted free-agent forward Colin Wilson to a three-year, $6 million contract. The new deal will pay the team's 2008 first-round pick $1.5 million in 2012-13, $2 million in 2013-14 and $2.5 million in 2014-15.

Wilson, 22, had a career-best 35 points last season, playing 68 games. His 15 goals were one off the personal-best 16 he had in 2010-11 while playing all 82 games.

The seventh pick of the 2008 NHL Draft, Wilson has 39 goals and 45 assists in 185 regular-season games, all with the Predators.

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Posted On Tuesday, 07.24.2012 / 12:14 PM

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

Carolina extends Harrison through 2015-16 season

The Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday signed defenseman Jay Harrison to a three-year contract extension that will pay him $1.5 million per season beginning in 2013-14.

"Jay has developed into a consistent, steadying presence for our defense," general manager Jim Rutherford said in a statement. "He is capable of providing both physicality and offense, and we are happy to now have him under contract for the next four seasons."

Harrison, 29, ranked first among Hurricanes defensemen in goals (nine) in 2011-12 and set career highs in goals, assists (14) and points (23) while playing 72 games. The Oshawa, Ontario, native ranked second on the team in blocked shots (132) and was the Hurricanes' nominee for the Bill Masterton Trophy, which honors sportsmanship, perseverance and dedication to the game of hockey. He was selected by the Carolina chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association as the winner of the Josef Vasicek Award (formerly "Good Guy Award") for media cooperation.

Chosen by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the third round (No. 82) of the 2001 NHL Draft, Harrison has totaled 13 goals and 28 assists for 41 points along with 200 penalty minutes in 202 regular-season NHL games with Toronto and Carolina. The Hurricanes signed Harrison as a free agent on July 9, 2009, and he has 39 points (13 goals, 26 assists) in 182 games with Carolina.

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Posted On Tuesday, 07.24.2012 / 11:12 AM

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

Hurricanes re-sign Boychuk to two-way contract

The Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday announced that restricted free agent forward Zach Boychuk was signed to a one-year deal to avoid arbitration.

The deal will pay Boychuk $625,000 at the NHL level or $105,000 in the American Hockey League in the 2012-13 campaign.

Boychuk, who will certainly battle for a roster spot out of training camp in September, split the 2011-12 season between Carolina and the team's AHL affiliate in Charlotte. The 2008 first-round pick (No. 14) produced two assists in 16 NHL games last season, and has seven goals and 18 points in 72 career games. He led the Checkers with 21 goals, and ranked third among Charlotte skaters with 44 points in 64 AHL games.

Prior to turning professional, Boychuk, 22, skated in 237 regular-season games over four seasons with the Lethbridge Hurricanes of the Western Hockey League, totaling 110 goals and 271 points. He won a gold medal for Team Canada at the 2008 and 2009 World Junior Championship, serving as an alternate captain in the '09 World Juniors.

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Posted On Monday, 07.23.2012 / 2:40 PM

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

Versteeg agrees to four-year deal with Panthers

Kris Versteeg can finally look forward to spending some time in the same place.

The 26-year-old forward, who went from Chicago to Toronto to Philadelphia to Florida in the space of a year after winning the Stanley Cup with the Hawks in 2010, agreed to a four-year deal worth $17.6 million with the Panthers.

"It's been a bit of a whirl for the last two years," he said Monday during a media conference call. "Security was the No. 1 thing for me, and playing in Florida was the No. 1 thing for me. It all came down to wanting to be in Florida -- I've loved my time here and I'm excited to get going again and try to win the Stanley Cup with the Florida Panthers."

The deal enabled the two sides to avoid an arbitration hearing scheduled for Monday.

Kris Versteeg
Right Wing - FLA
GOALS: 23 | ASST: 31 | PTS: 54
SOG: 181 | +/-: 4
"Sometimes you have to keep negotiating right to the bitter end," general manager Dale Tallon said during a conference call when asked about the arbitration process. "It happens a lot -- you really don't want to go to arbitration, and we decided we didn’t want to. It made sense for both sides."

Said Versteeg: "I think we both got a fair deal and we're both excited about what the future of the franchise can be. I was confident we were going to get something done."

Versteeg, who was acquired by Florida from Philadelphia on July 1, 2011, is coming off the best season of his career, scoring 23 goals and adding 31 assists for 54 points in 71 games to help the Panthers win the first division title in franchise history. He had his first career hat trick in November and was part of Florida's top line along with Stephen Weiss and Tomas Fleischmann.

"I loved playing with those guys," Versteeg said. "They made me a better player."

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Posted On Monday, 07.23.2012 / 2:36 PM

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

Predators re-sign Sergei Kostitsyn

The Nashville Predators on Monday signed restricted free agent left wing Sergei Kostitsyn to a two-year contract worth $6 million.

The Predators avoided losing Kostitsyn, an unrestricted free agent, last summer when they signed him to a on a one-year, $2.5 million contract. Kostitsyn, 25, finished with 17 goals and 43 points in 75 games in his second season with the Predators in 2011-12.

Kostitsyn has totals of 64 goals and 161 points in 307 career games.

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Posted On Monday, 07.23.2012 / 12:28 PM

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

Hurricanes re-sign Bowman to two-year contract

The Carolina Hurricanes have signed left wing Drayson Bowman to a two-year contract. The deal will pay Bowman $600,000 at the NHL level or $105,000 at the AHL level in 2012-13. He will be paid $600,000 in 2013-14.

Bowman, 23, split the 2011-12 season between the Hurricanes and Charlotte of the American Hockey League. With Carolina, Bowman established NHL career highs in goals (six), assists (seven), points (13) and games played (37), earning the majority of his NHL playing time in the second half of the season. He added 13 goals and 26 points in 42 games with Charlotte.

Chosen by Carolina in the third round (No. 72) in the 2007 NHL Draft, Bowman has registered eight goals and 16 points in 69 career NHL games with the Hurricanes. He has appeared in 149 career AHL games with Albany and Charlotte, totaling 42 goals and 88 points.

Bowman, who was born in Grand Rapids, Mich., andraised in Littleton, Colo., played junior hockey for Spokane of the Western Hockey League prior to turning professional, notching 242 points (130 goals, 112 assists) in 265 games and helping the Chiefs capture the 2008 Memorial Cup championship.

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Posted On Monday, 07.23.2012 / 12:06 PM

NHL.com - NHL Free Agency 2012 blog

Jets agree to terms with Maxime Macenauer

The Winnipeg Jets on Monday agreed to terms with restricted free-agent forward Maxime Macenauer on a new contract. No terms were disclosed.

Macenauer, 23, had one assist in nine regular-season games with Winnipeg's American Hockey League affiliate, the St. John's IceCaps, after being acquired from the Anaheim Ducks in a trade on Feb. 13, 2012. He also suited up for 10 Calder Cup playoff games with the IceCaps, scoring one goal.

He began the season with the Syracuse Crunch, Anaheim's AHL affiliate, where he played 13 games and scored four goals with two assists, along with two penalty minutes. The Laval, Quebec, native made his NHL debut with the Ducks last season, scoring a goal and adding three assists for four points in 29 games, along with 18 penalty minutes.

Macenauer has played in 101 AHL games between Syracuse and St. John's; he has 17 goals, 22 assists and 69 penalty minutes.

He was selected by Anaheim in the third round (No. 63) of the 2007 NHL Draft.

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Posted On Monday, 07.23.2012 / 10:44 AM

NHL.com - Summer with Stanley blog

Dustin Brown to bring Cup to Ithaca on Saturday

Los Angeles Kings captain Dustin Brown, a native of Ithaca, N.Y., will bring the Stanley Cup to Ithaca High School on Saturday morning.

The Syracuse Post-Standard reports that a limited number of photo opportunities with the Cup will be available for a $5 donation to the Semper Fi Fund, which helps provide support for injured or critically ill members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families. Fans will also be able to receive an autographed championship photo signed by Brown for a $5 donation, and raffle tickets will be sold for the chance to win mini replica Stanley Cups signed by Brown.

"Winning the Stanley Cup is a dream come true," Brown said. "I'm extremely excited to share this experience with the people and town of Ithaca, and raise money for a cause very close to me and my family."

The Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund is a nonprofit organization that provides immediate financial support for injured and critically ill members of the Armed Forces and their families.

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Quote of the Day

He seemed to thrive on his own and didn't really need any push from me. I certainly don't want to get in the way of the coaches. You see how that goes sometimes. I never really worried about it and just enjoyed the ride.

— David Ekblad on his son's [Aaron Ekblad] journey to the NHL, signing with the Florida Panthers