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Posted On Friday, 07.06.2012 / 7:06 PM

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

Canadiens re-sign Eller

The Montreal Canadiens on Friday signed restricted free-agent forward Lars Eller to a new two-year contract. Financial terms of the deal were not released.

Eller, 23, set personal bests last season in goals (16), assists (12), points (28) and games played (79). He also had two power-play goals, the first two shorthanded goals of his NHL career and two game-winning goals.

The highlight of his season was four-goal game Jan. 4 against Winnipeg. It was the first time a Canadiens player had four goals in a game since 2006.

Originally chosen by the St. Louis Blues with the 13th pick of the 2007 NHL Draft, Eller came to Montreal in 2010 as part of the trade that sent goalie Jaroslav Halak to St. Louis.

In 163 NHL games with the Blues and Canadiens, Eller has 25 goals and 22 assists.

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Posted On Friday, 07.06.2012 / 6:18 PM

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

Wandell staying with Stars

Dallas Stars forward Tom Wandell has accepted the club's qualifying offer and will remain with the team on a one-year, $892,500 contract.

Wandell, 25, had six goals and nine assists in 72 games last season. A 2005 fifth-round pick, Wandell has 19 goals and 23 assists in 211 NHL games, all with the Stars, in four seasons.

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Posted On Friday, 07.06.2012 / 4:39 PM

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

Luongo feels return to Vancouver unlikely

While Columbus Blue Jackets forward Rick Nash remains the hottest name on the trade market, the matter of what the Vancouver Canucks will do with goaltender Roberto Luongo remains to be decided as well.

Roberto Luongo
Roberto Luongo - 2011-12
Goalie - VAN
RECORD: 31-14-8
GAA: 2.41 | SVP: 0.919

During a radio interview Friday with The Jeff O'Neil Show on 99.3 The Fox in Vancouver, the veteran spoke about his time with the Canucks in the past tense and intimated he doesn't expect to be back in the fall.

"At the end of the day, I think it's time to move on. And I'm OK with that," Luongo said. "I had a great six years in Vancouver. It's a really wonderful city. I really enjoyed my time there. Unfortunately, I was not able to bring a Stanley Cup there. Probably my biggest regret. But it'll be remembered for six great years."

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Posted On Friday, 07.06.2012 / 4:20 PM

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

Poile focused on re-signing Weber

With Ryan Suter's departure a thing of the past, Nashville Predators GM David Poile said his full attention now is focused on getting defenseman and team captain Shea Weber to sign a long-term contract with the team.

"Shea is the player we want to build our franchise around," Poile told The Tennessean on Friday. "He's our captain, he's our leader and at some point we would like to enter into a longer term contract with him. That's what our goal is and we'll see over the next little while if we can make that happen."

Weber had career-bests of 19 goals and 49 points last season, and he's averaged at least 16 goals the past six seasons. He won a $7.5 million, one-year contract in arbitration last year, and currently is a restricted free agent again.

However, Poile remains confident the team and Weber can agree on a new deal that keeps the 2003 second-round pick in Nashville for the long haul.

"He believes in us, sees himself as the leader of our hockey club, and I think he, a lot like us, is disappointed with the outcome with Ryan," Poile said. "So having said that, we have to both get back up on the horse and find a way to fill the hole and move forward. Hopefully that will be together. Right now, if you ask me, I think Shea feels that way."

As far as replacing Suter, who signed a 13-year contract with the Minnesota Wild on July 4, Poile said a number of options exist.

"I'm not committed or sold on any one particular type of player or a specific player," he said. "If we were, we might have made that move. We're having talks within our organization, we're having talks with agents and we're having talks with other teams. You have to give it some time."

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Posted On Friday, 07.06.2012 / 1:06 PM

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

Panthers re-sign Ellerby to one-year contract

The Florida Panthers re-signed defenseman Keaton Ellerby on Friday to a one-year deal. Terms were not disclosed, but general manager Dale Tallon confirmed it is a one-way NHL contract.

Ellerby collected five assists in 40 regular-season games for the Panthers last season and was scoreless in one Stanley Cup Playoff game.

"Give him an opportunity. He can skate, he can play, hopefully he's maturing," Tallon said. "It takes a long time for defensemen, longer than forwards. It takes 300 games before most players become top-notch defensemen. We're very patient."

A first-round pick taken by the Panthers at No. 10 in the 2007 NHL Draft, Ellerby has recorded two goals, 17 points and 34 penalty minutes in 120 games over parts of three seasons with the team.

"He's got great feet," Tallon said. "He's able to carry the puck and he's aggressive, he's got size and skating ability. It's just a matter of playing with a little more confidence, that's all."

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Posted On Friday, 07.06.2012 / 12:52 PM

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

Jets agree to terms with Maxwell, Dekanich

The Winnipeg Jets signed forward Ben Maxwell and goaltender Mark Dekanich to new contracts Friday. Terms of the agreements were not disclosed.

Maxwell, 24, played nine games with the Jets last season. In that time he recorded a goal and five points. He spent the majority of the season with the St. John’s IceCaps of the American Hockey League, where he recorded eight goals, 25 points and 35 penalty minutes in 43 games played. He also appeared in 15 Calder Cup Playoff games with the club, posting three goals and seven points.

A native of North Vancouver, B.C., Maxwell has played in 47 career NHL games between Montreal, Atlanta, Winnipeg and Anaheim, and has two goals, eight points and 19 penalty minutes. He was originally chosen by the Canadiens in the second round (No. 49) of the 2006 NHL Draft.

Dekanich, 26, played five games with the Springfield Falcons last season when he recorded a 1-2-1 record, 4.00 goals-against average and .867 save percentage. Also a native of North Vancouver, B.C., he has played in one NHL game -- a relief effort with the Nashville Predators on Dec. 18, 2010 in which he made 22 saves.

He has played in 127 career AHL games between Milwaukee and Springfield for a 66-40-12 career record, 2.22 GAA and .920 save percentage. He was originally selected by the Predators in the fifth round (No. 146) of the 2006 NHL Draft.

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Posted On Friday, 07.06.2012 / 12:48 PM

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

Lightning sign Taormina to two-way contract

The Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday signed restricted free agent defenseman Matt Taormina to a one-year, two-way contract.

The 5-foot-9, 190 pound blueliner has recorded four goals and 12 points in 47 career NHL games spanning two seasons, all with the New Jersey Devils. In 30 games with the Devils last season, Taormina had one goal and seven points, and was a plus-6.

Taormina played in 141 games at Providence College, where he didn't miss a game while recording 20 goals and 65 points. The native of Warren, Mich., was undrafted and signed as a free agent by the Devils on Feb. 25, 2010.

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Posted On Friday, 07.06.2012 / 11:58 AM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Summer with Stanley blog

Kopitar's historical day in Slovenia

Anze Kopitar is the NHL's first player from Slovenia, so he is clearly the first person to spend his day with the Cup in Slovenia.

Kopitar's special celebration in Jesenice started Thursday with the Cup being placed atop a log in the backyard of the family's home, one that has been used to celebrate hockey accomplishments of Anze and his brother, Gasper, over the years.

Kopitar had breakfast with the Cup and will eventually hand it off to coach Darryl Sutter, who will spend his day with the Cup in Viking, Alta., on the farm where he was raised.

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Posted On Friday, 07.06.2012 / 11:40 AM

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

Blues sign Murray to two-way contract

The St. Louis Blues on Friday signed veteran forward Andrew Murray to a one-year, two-way contract. Terms were not disclosed.

Murray, 30, dressed in 39 games for the San Jose Sharks last season, recording one goal and four points. He also appeared in 10 games for their AHL affiliate in Worcester, posting a goal and three points.

The 6-foot-2, 218-pound forward has registered 24 goals and 40 points in 220 games over parts of five NHL seasons with San Jose and the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Selkirk, Manitoba native was originally chosen by Columbus in the eighth round of the 2001 NHL Draft.

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Posted On Friday, 07.06.2012 / 11:30 AM

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

Coyotes re-sign Chipchura to one-year contract

Kyle Chipchura registered career highs in assists and points last season with the Phoenix Coyotes.

The team re-signed the five-year NHL veteran to a one-year contract Friday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The 6-foot-2, 205 pound center played 53 games for the Coyotes in 2011-12 and finished with three goals, 13 assists, 16 points and 42 penalty minutes. Chipchura also played in 15 playoff games for the Coyotes, collecting one goal and four points.

"We are very pleased to re-sign Kyle," general manager Don Maloney said. "Kyle is a hard-working, versatile forward who brings toughness and grit to our lineup. We are happy to have him back."

In five NHL seasons with Montreal, Anaheim and Phoenix, the 26-year-old native of Westlock, Alberta has appeared in 216 games, registering 13 goals, 44 points and 161 PIM.

Chipchura was originally chosen by the Canadiens with the 18th pick in the 2004 NHL Draft.

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