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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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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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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