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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.'"

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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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Posted On Tuesday, 06.26.2012 / 3:39 PM

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

Sharks re-sign Desjardins, Braun, Wingels

The San Jose Sharks on Tuesday announced they have re-signed center Andrew Desjardins, forward Tommy Wingels and defenseman Justin Braun.

CSNBayArea.com reported Desjardins received a one-year contract, Wingels signed for two years, and Braun has a three-year deal. All three players were impending restricted free agents..

Desjardins had four goals and 13 assists in 76 games last season. Wingels had three goals and six assists in 33 games, while Braun had two goals and nine assists in 66 games.

The Sharks also announced they made qualifying offers to nine of their 14 other restricted free agents.

The players who received offers, allowing the Sharks to retain their negotiating rights, were: center TJ Galiardi, defenseman Matt Irwin, center Tim Kennedy, left wing Brandon Mashinter, left wing Frazer McLaren, forward/defenseman Matt Pelech, defenseman Nick Petrecki, center James Sheppard and goalie Alex Stalock.

The following players did not receive qualifying offers from San Jose and will become unrestricted free agents July 1: right wing Benn Ferriero, left wing Tony Lucia, right wing James Marcou, right wing Cameron MacIntyre and goalie Tyson Sexsmith.

Ferriero played in 35 games for the Sharks in 2011-12.

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Posted On Tuesday, 06.26.2012 / 2:28 PM

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

Avs sign O'Brien to three-year deal

The Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday signed defenseman Shane O'Brien to a new three-year contract. Terms were not released, but the Denver Post reported the deal is worth a total of $6 million.

Had he not signed, O'Brien would have been an unrestricted free agent July 1.

"Having Shane under contract further solidifies our blue line," Avalanche general manager/executive vice president Greg Sherman said. "He brings energy to our lineup and we're pleased to have signed him to a multiyear deal."

O'Brien had 20 points and 105 penalty minutes in 76 games this past season. He also ranked in the top four on the team with 138 hits and 86 blocked shots.

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Posted On Tuesday, 06.26.2012 / 11:48 AM

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

Avs elect not to extend qualifying offer to Mueller

When Peter Mueller has been healthy, he's shown himself to be a highly-skilled NHL forward.

Staying healthy, however, has been a major issue the last three seasons, and likely was part of the reason the Colorado Avalanche on Monday declined to give the restricted free agent a qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent July 1.

Taken by the Phoenix Coyotes with the eighth pick of the 2006 Draft, Mueller broke into the NHL the following season. His 22 goals as a rookie were second only to Chicago's Jonathan Toews, and his 54 points trailed only Chicago's Patrick Kane and Washington's Nicklas Backstrom.

He slumped to just 13 goals the following season, and after a slow start to the 2009-10 season, the Coyotes traded him to the Colorado Avalanche on March 3, 2010.

The change of scenery lit a fire under Mueller, who had nine goals and 11 assists in 20 games. That hot run ended April 4, 2010, when he suffered a concussion on a hit by the San Jose Sharks' Rob Blake.

He was close to returning when the 2010-11 season started, but he suffered another concussion in his first preseason game -- Mueller said he was hit by a stick in the left temple, the same place he was injured on the Blake hit -- and that led to him sitting out the entire 2010-11 season.

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Posted On Saturday, 06.23.2012 / 1:03 PM

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

Jackets' Dansk still has one draft to go

PITTSBURGH -- One draft down, one more to go for Swedish goalie Oscar Dansk.

Dansk, drafted with the first pick of the second round by the Columbus Blue Jackets (No. 31) on Saturday at Consol Energy Center, spent this past season with Brynas Jr of Sweden's second division. He sported a 2.82 goals-against average and .910 save percentage in 28 games.

NHL Central Scouting's No. 2-ranked European goalie admitted he would certainly take the major-junior route if he is selected by a team on Wednesday during the Canadian Hockey League's annual Import Draft.

"My dream will be to come to camp and try my best, but I know it's a process and however long the process going to take, we'll see," Dansk said. "I feel like I had good conversations with the Blue Jackets, but you never know what will happen."

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