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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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Posted On Saturday, 06.23.2012 / 1:01 PM

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

Sutter, Thrower likely to see each other again soon

PITTSBURGH -- It's possible that Saskatoon Blades teammates' Lukas Sutter and Dalton Thrower could very well cross paths in the NHL as opponents in the very near future.

On Saturday at Consol Energy Center during the second round of the NHL Draft, it was more about sharing the most incredible experience of their hockey careers.

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Sutter, the son of former Philadelphia Flyers forward Rich Sutter, was taken No. 39 by the Winnipeg Jets and Thrower was chosen No. 51 by the Montreal Canadiens.

"We kind of crossed paths on the floor and gave each other a hug," Sutter told NHL.com. "He's my best friend and to share this experience with him is so surreal. I'm extremely proud of him and I'm sure he'd say the same about me."

In 148 games spanning three seasons with the WHL's Blades, Sutter has totaled 352 PIMs, including 165 in 70 contests this season. According to hockeyfights.com, he also dropped the gloves 10 times in 2011-12 -- seven short of the 17 players he fought last season.

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Posted On Saturday, 06.23.2012 / 11:13 AM

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

New favorite team for Stolarz

PITTSBURGH -- Corpus Christi IceRays goalie Anthony Stolarz grew up in Jackson, N.J. -- about an hour north of Philadelphia -- rooting for Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils.

But after being selected by the Philadelphia Flyers in the second round of the 2012 NHL Draft, the 6-foot-5, 200-pounder said, "It looks like I'm a Flyers fan now."

Stolarz does have a connection to the Flyers, as growing up in central New Jersey, he played with and against Philadelphia forward James van Riemsdyk.

"I played against Trevor in high school when I was a freshman [at St. John Vianney], he was a senior at Christian Brothers [Academy]. There were a few times playing open hockey I'd play with James, Trevor and the youngest brother, Brandon."

Stolarz has taken a circuitous route to his NHL draft day. He played in the Atlantic Youth Hockey League and was recommended for an open camp Corpus Christi was having in Albany, N.Y. From there he was invited to the IceRays' main camp and posted a 2.84 goals-against average and .920 save percentage in 50 games.

He admits he had no idea what hockey in Texas would be like.

"It was right on the beach," he said. "I figured it'll be a good spot."

However, playing in Texas made it a bit hard for NHL scouts to find him, which made his selection in the second round a bit of a surprise.

"To start the year I really wasn't focused on the NHL," he said. "I was focused more on getting a college scholarship. Anything after that was an added bonus."

He'll play at the University of Nebraska-Omaha next season, but said he's already looking forward to meeting Flyers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov.

"He looks like an interesting character," Stolarz said. "He's a good goalie. Watching him in Phoenix and now Philly, hopefully I'll be able to pick up a few things from him."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Posted On Saturday, 06.23.2012 / 10:46 AM

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

Awkward reunion

PITTSBURGH -- Back in February at the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, Red Deer defenseman Matt Dumba and Baie-Comeau left wing Raphael Bussieres and engaged in a pretty spirited fight.

When Bussieres was picked by the Wild in the second round of the 2012 NHL Draft on Saturday, the first person he saw at the team's table on the draft floor was the team's first-round pick -- Dumba.

"I shook his hand," Bussieres told NHL.com. "It was a little awkward, but just funny. We both laughed."

Bussieres said there's no hard feelings or about what happened, saying it was just part of that game.

"I have nothing against Dumba," Bussieres said. "The game is intense. He hit one of the players I played with and I just fight him."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Posted On Saturday, 06.23.2012 / 1:27 AM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - 2012 NHL Draft blog

Missing graduation no problem for Jankowski

PITTSBURGH -- As recently as a week ago, Mark Jankowski was struggling to figure out what he should do.

But when he was taken the Calgary Flames with the 21st pick at the NHL Draft on Friday night, the tall center from Stanstead College in Quebec knew he’d made the right call to skip his high school graduation ceremony and attend the first round of the draft

"I think I made the right decision," a beaming Jankowski said while wearing a Flames jersey. "I only made my decision about a week ago, and right up until that day I was flip flopping every day."

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Posted On Saturday, 06.23.2012 / 1:23 AM

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

Devils draft son of Stephane Matteau

PITTSBURGH -- Stefan Matteau was three months old when his father wrapped home the historic goal in the second overtime of Game 7 of the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals as a member of the New York Rangers against the New Jersey Devils.

Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello pretty much assured that the younger Matteau wouldn't allow history to repeat itself when he drafted Stefan with the 29th pick of the NHL Draft at Consol Energy Center on Friday.

Was the youngster, NHL Central Scouting's No. 17-ranked North American skater, surprised by the selection?

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"I met with the Devils a few times, but obviously knowing the history of my name, I guess it's surprising," Matteau said. "But I couldn't be more thrilled."

Matteau's father was selected with the 25th pick in 1987 by the Calgary Flames, meaning Stefan lost the big bet since father was drafted earlier than son.

After hearing his name announced by New Jersey director of amateur scouting, David Conte, Matteau said he didn't even have enough time to chat with his father.

"I gave [my father] a hug and ran down to the stage," Matteau said. "I think he's happy for me. If I would have gone to the Rangers with the pick before, there would have been a lot of pressure. I think it's good for me and I'm glad to be a Devil."

Matteau was the sixth American-born player drafted in the opening round. He'll play for the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in 2012-13.

"You meet with teams early on and give yourself expectations and sometimes you don't meet them," Matteau said. "I thought I could have gone earlier, but it worked out in the end. There are 10 to 15 minutes between each pick and it's long.

"Today was the longest day of my life, but it all worked out in the end and I'm really proud."

The 6-foot-1 1/2, 210-pound center had 15 goals, including four power-play goals, and 32 points in 46 games with the U.S. National Team Development Program this season. He also accumulated 166 penalty minutes. In 47 games with the U-17 Team last season, he had seven goals, 18 points and 67 penalty minutes.

"I'm a big-bodied power forward, have a lot of skill and a good shot, and I play with an edge," Matteau said. "Some teams like that, and I like to bring an all-around solid game."

Matteau doesn't believe he plays the game as his father once did.

"Growing up, I did get to watch him … he was a hard-working, physical guy who played with an edge," Stefan told NHL.com. "It's weird to say this because he played 15 years, but I think I'm more offensive than he was. Dad told me I'm bigger and more skilled … that's what he said."

Matteau believes he's a perfect fit with the Devils, a team he considered to be one of the hardest-working in the playoffs.

"Just their physicality and the way they never stopped," Matteau said. "The Final was a tough go, but they still didn't back down and that's how I play. I go hard to the end and it's a good fit for me."

He said his "mentality is to make the team next year."

"If not, I'll just go back to junior and develop one more year and hopefully make the jump after that."

U.S. U-18 NTDP coach Danton Cole envisions Matteau as a prototypical power forward in the NHL. Some believe he could be the next Jordan Staal. Matteau sees himself as a future James van Riemsdyk, Scott Hartnell or Vincent Lecavalier.

"He's a powerful man, big and strong," Cole told NHL.com. "He plays a physical game and he's going to be good. I would think he's a little (more physical than dad). He also probably has a little more high-end offensive ability -- Stef's going to put the puck in the net."

Does Matteau have a message for Devils' fans?

"No, not really … I'm in shock myself," he said with a grin. "There's a bright future ahead, and I'm looking forward to having an impact wherever they may need me."

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale

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