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Posted On Wednesday, 07.25.2012 / 3:14 PM

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

Canucks, Weise avoid arbitration

The Vancouver Canucks and forward Dale Weise have agreed to terms on a one-year contract, avoiding an arbitration hearing that had been scheduled for July 27.

The Vancouver Sun reports the deal is worth $615,000.

Weise, 23, had eight points and 81 penalty minutes in 68 games with the Canucks last season. In 78 NHL games with the Canucks and New York Rangers, Weise has eight points and 100 penalty minutes.

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Posted On Wednesday, 07.25.2012 / 2:25 PM

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

Sens re-sign Da Costa to one-year deal

The Ottawa Senators announced Wednesday that the club has re-signed forward Stephane Da Costa to a one-year, two-way contract.

The Ottawa Citizen reports the deal is worth $800,000 at the NHL level or $80,000 at the AHL level.

Da Costa, 23, began the 2011-12 season with Ottawa, tallying five points (three goals, two assists) and eight penalty minutes over 22 contests before being assigned to the Binghamton Senators of the American Hockey League on Nov. 27. The Paris native played in 46 games with the B-Sens in 2011-12, scoring 13 goals while adding 23 assists for 36 points and accumulating 12 penalty minutes.

"He’s coming out of his entry level deal and he played some games in the National Hockey League, but he had to play in the American league to refine his game and get stronger," Senators assistant general manager Tim Murray said on the team's website. "He still has a ways to go in that department, but we recognize his talent level and his offensive ability with the puck and his vision on the ice. It’s all first class."

Da Costa was signed by the Senators as an undrafted college free agent on March 31, 2011, after two NCAA seasons with Hockey East's Merrimack College. In 67 career collegiate contests with the Warriors, he recorded 30 goals, 60 assists and 83 penalty minutes.

Da Costa is the only French-born player ever to be signed by the Senators. He has represented France at each of the past four IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships.

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Posted On Wednesday, 07.25.2012 / 1:37 PM

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

Isles ink McIver to one-year deal

The New York Islanders announced Wednesday that defenseman Nathan McIver has agreed to terms on a one-year, two-way deal.

McIver, 27, is entering his eighth professional season. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound blueliner had one goal and 68 penalty minutes in 41 games last season with the Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League.

The Summerside, PEI, native has appeared in 36 NHL contests with the Vancouver Canucks and Anaheim Ducks, notching one assist and 95 penalty minutes. The Canucks selected McIver in the eighth round (No. 254) of the 2003 NHL Draft.

In 345 career AHL games with the Manitoba Moose and Providence, McIver has 27 points (seven goals, 20 assists) and 814 penalty minutes.

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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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Quote of the Day

I remember the first time at Wrigley Field all of us had the long johns, the turtlenecks and the extra equipment because we were afraid of being cold. Halfway through the first period everybody's ripping everything off and we just ended up wearing what we would normally wear for a game at the United Center.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp on the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic