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Posted On Friday, 06.29.2012 / 5:16 PM

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

Flames re-sign Jones and Stempniak

The Calgary Flames on Friday re-signed center Blair Jones and forward Lee Stempniak to two-year contracts.

The team says Jones' deal carries an average annual value of $650,000. Stempniak's deal is for a total of $5 million, a $2.5 million AAV.

Stempniak scored 14 goals and added 14 assists for 28 points in 61 games for the Flames this past season, his first with Calgary. He was originally drafted in the fifth round (No. 148) by St. Louis in 2003 and has also played for Toronto and Phoenix. In 517 regular-season games, he has 129 goals and 275 points. He would have become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

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Posted On Friday, 06.29.2012 / 4:58 PM

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

Blues' Armstrong doesn't worry about offer sheets

Two of the St. Louis Blues' most important players, T.J. Oshie and David Perron, will become restricted free agents on July 1, but GM Doug Armstrong isn't concerned.

"I think if you look around the league, there's probably 200 guys in the same boat," Blues general manager Doug Armstrong told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Friday. "This isn't something that is a concern to me at all."

Oshie tied David Backes for the team lead last season with 54 points, while Perron was second on the team with 21 goals. Both are young and talented, and letting them go unsigned beyond July 1 will allow them to field offer sheets from prospective teams.

"I've never been in fear of an offer sheet," Armstrong told the newspaper. "It's part of the system. You have a right to match it if you think the player's worth the offer or you take the draft picks as compensation. So I'm not concerned about an offer sheet. It's a tool in the (collective bargaining agreement) and the players have the right to see if they can find one."

Both players also are eligible for arbitration, which Armstrong said could be a consideration. The deadline for filing is July 5. It would put the salary for each player in the hands of an independent party, but it also would end the threat of an offer sheet.

"The good thing about arbitration is when you find out on July 5 if they elect arbitration, then they're off the market," Armstrong said. "So that's done and you can either negotiate a longer-term deal with them or go to the arbitration process and elect a one- or two-year deal."

Armstrong has other roster decisions to make soon. Veteran forwards Jamie Langenbrunner and Jason Arnott and defensemen Carlo Colaiacovo and Kent Huskins will be unrestricted free agents if not signed before July 1.

"We're still kicking some tires on some guys, but time is certainly starting to wind down," Armstrong said. "If they get to July 1, obviously they'll look around and we'll look around to replace them.

"It's a long time before Oct. 10 [season opener]. It's not like we're playing Sunday. So we'll have a good roster by Oct. 10 ... I'm comfortable with that."

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Posted On Friday, 06.29.2012 / 4:14 PM

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

Downie re-signs with Avalanche

Steve Downie was a key acquisition for the Colorado Avalanche late in the 2011-12 season, and he'll be staying put in Denver after agreeing to a two-year contract Friday.

Downie, 25, finished with two goals, 13 points and a plus-9 rating in 20 games with Colorado after being acquired from Tampa Bay on Feb. 21. Combined between the Lightning and Avalanche, Downie recorded 14 goals, 41 points and 137 penalty minutes in 75 games this past season. His 27 assists were a career high.

"Since his arrival, Steve has provided a unique combination of grit and skill to our lineup," Avalanche general manager Greg Sherman said. "We're looking forward to Steve's contributions to our team for the next two years."

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Posted On Friday, 06.29.2012 / 3:40 PM

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

Wings coach Babcock ready to fly

Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock won't be sitting in an airport at noon ET on Sunday, but he's packed and ready to go if needed to help with any free agent recruiting.

"I'm in a position to fly wherever they want me to fly," Babcock told the NHL Network on Thursday from his home in Saskatchewan. "We're a work in progress, so we're talking each and every day about the moves that we're trying to make, and we kind of have an A Plan, a B Plan, a C Plan, and we've probably got even a D Plan. I'm just going to be ready to go."

With the retirement of Nicklas Lidstrom and the trade of Brad Stuart, the Red Wings are expected to be one of the top suitors for Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Suter. Or they could opt to add to their depth at forward from a group that includes the Devils' Zach Parise, the Coyotes' Shane Doan and Ray Whitney, the Capitals' Alexander Semin and the Flyers' Jaromir Jagr.

According to Capgeek.com, the Red Wings have more than $24 million in salary cap space.

"We're fortunate that there will be people on the market and we're going to have to improve our hockey club," Babcock said. "We were in a situation last year where we played $6 million under the cap on purpose to kind of be set up for going ahead and that's what we're trying to do to secure the best people that we can possibly secure and then go from there."

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Posted On Friday, 06.29.2012 / 2:32 PM

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

Devils re-sign fourth line, two others

One of the keys to the New Jersey Devils' run to the Stanley Cup Final was the play of their vaunted fourth line.

The Devils kept that line intact Friday by announcing they have signed Stephen Gionta, Ryan Carter and Steve Bernier to new contracts, as well as forward Cam Janssen and defenseman Peter Harrold.

Gionta, Carter and Bernier combined for 10 goals and 21 points during the playoffs, allowing Devils coach Peter DeBoer to roll four lines on a consistent basis and avoid having to tax stars like Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise.

Gionta, who spent the entire season in the AHL before he was recalled for the regular-season finale, had three goals and seven points. Carter scored five goals -- two of them game-winners -- and had seven points. Bernier added two goals and seven points.

Harrold also became a key component of the Devils' defense during the postseason, playing in 17 games and recording four assists. Janssen was a healthy scratch during the playoffs, but recorded one assist and 75 penalty minutes in 48 games during the regular season.

The (Bergen) Record reported Bernier signed a two-year contract with a cap hit of $775,000 while Janssen received a two-way contract worth $575,000 at the NHL level and $105,000 at the AHL level. Gionta's deal is reported to be for two years, a one-way NHL contract for $575,000 for the first season and a two-way contract for $600,000 for the second. Harrold'a deal reportedly will pay him $525,000.

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Posted On Friday, 06.29.2012 / 12:59 PM

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

Report: 'Canes to waive Joslin

TSN is reporting the Carolina Hurricanes have placed defenseman Derek Joslin on unconditional waivers for buyout or termination of his contract.

The 25-year-old blueliner had two goals and two assists in 44 NHL games. He also played four AHL games with the Charlotte Checkers.

A 2005 fifth-round pick of the Sharks, Joslin has four goals and 12 assists in 114 NHL games with the Sharks and Hurricanes.

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Posted On Friday, 06.29.2012 / 11:06 AM

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

Reports: Brodeur hires agent, Devils re-sign pair

According to a media report, New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur has hired an agent and could test the free-agent waters when the market opens for business at noon ET on July 1.

The (Bergen) Record's Tom Gulitti reported Friday that agent Pat Brisson confirmed in an e-mail an earlier report by TSN's Darren Dreger that Brodeur has hired him.

"It looks like he might be testing free agency on Sunday if a deal isn't reached by Sunday with the Devils," Brisson wrote in the e-mail.

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Posted On Friday, 06.29.2012 / 10:44 AM

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

Flames re-sign Sarich to two-year deal

The Calgary Flames on Friday signed defenseman Cory Sarich to a new two-year, $4 million contract. The move prevents Sarich from becoming an unrestricted free agent.

"Cory is a true competitor who plays the game the right way, with fire and grit," Flames GM Jay Feaster said. "He is capable of delivering the big hit and as such keeps opposing players honest. He eliminates time and space down low, he moves the puck well with a good first pass, he is one of the leaders in our room, and he is a well-liked and well-respected teammate. We are thrilled to have Cory back in the fold on a contract that fits within our plan and enables us to continue to improve our hockey team."

Sarich, 33, had a goal, six assists, a plus-1 rating and 66 penalty minutes in 62 games last season. He tied for second with 144 hits, and his 60 blocked shots were fifth.

Sarich had spent the previous five seasons with the Flames. He also has played with the Sabres and Lightning in 13 NHL seasons. In 887 games, he has 20 goals, 146 points and 1,035 penalty minutes, 10th among active defensemen.

The Sarich signing marks the second straight day the Flames have focused on their defense. They acquired the rights to impending free agent Dennis Wideman from the Washington Capitals on Thursday then signed him to a five-year contract.

"When we set about the process of improving our blue line we identified the need for a puck-mover who could play the point on the power play and help us offensively, and we also wanted a time-space eliminator who hits and competes and brings a sandpaper element to his game," Feaster said. "We took care of the first need [Thursday] by acquiring and signing Dennis Wideman, and we checked the box on the second need [Friday] by re-upping Cory Sarich."

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Posted On Thursday, 06.28.2012 / 5:16 PM

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

Gill re-signs with Predators

Defenseman Hal Gill has re-signed with the Nashville Predators, agreeing to a two-year, $4 million contract.

Gill had five assists and a plus-4 rating in 24 regular-season games in 2011-12 after being acquired by the Predators in a trade from the Montreal Canadiens to bolster Nashville's defensive-zone play and penalty-killing. He was hurt late in the season, however, and sat out the Predators' first-round playoff series against the Red Wings. He returned during the second round against the Coyotes, finishing with no points and a plus-2 rating.

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Posted On Thursday, 06.28.2012 / 4:03 PM

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

Report: Rask, Bruins agree on one-year deal

TSN is reporting impending restricted free agent Tuukka Rask and the Boston Bruins have agreed on a one-year, $3.5 million contract.

With Tim Thomas taking the 2012-13 season off, the move likely means Rask will be the Bruins' starting goaltender next season.

Rask went 11-8-3 in 23 games last season, with a 2.05 goals-against average and .929 save percentage. However, he suffered a season-ending groin injury in March.

Rask has started for the Bruins previously. In 2009-10, he went 22-12-5 with five shutouts, a 1.97 GAA and .937 save percentage in 45 games. That season, however, ended with him in net in the second round of the playoffs as the Philadelphia Flyers rallied from a 3-0 series deficit to beat the Bruins.

A 2005 first-round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Bruins acquired him in June 2006 in exchange for Andrew Raycroft. In 102 NHL games, all with the Bruins, Rask is 47-35-11 with 11 shutouts, a 2.20 GAA and .926 save percentage.

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Quote of the Day

It was a different game in the past, that's for sure. It's not exactly what I was expecting but I think the experience paid off for a lot of our guys that realized what it takes in a Game 7. Realistically the effort we put forward, we might not even had to put 60 [minutes], but we just couldn't get a couple bounces to go our way and we just kept pushing.

— Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby on Washington's play in Game 7 vs. the Islanders