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Nick Foligno and Sam Gagner follow their fathers into the NHL

Monday, 10.01.2007 / 12:03 PM / News

The Canadian Press

Sam Gagner and Nick Foligno are following their fathers into the NHL, while Marc Staal is about to become the third big-league skater in his family.

Gagner emerged with a job in Edmonton, Foligno survived Ottawa's final camp cuts and Staal got the nod from the New York Rangers.

Gagner, 18, is a playmaking centre much like his dad Dave, who skated through 15 NHL seasons. He was Edmonton's first pick, sixth overall, in the 2007 draft after scoring 35 goals and assisting on 83 for 118 points in 53 OHL games with his home-town London Knights. He was on Canada's team that won gold at the 2007 world junior tournament and he was the leading scorer and MVP of the recent eight-game, Canada-Russia junior series.

"In a short period of time, Sam has demonstrated what it takes to be a professional and has conducted himself with the utmost respect," GM Kevin Lowe said after signing Gagner to a three-year, entry-level contract Monday. "Sam is going to be a great asset for the Edmonton Oilers and the game of hockey."

Foligno, 19, a scrappy forward in the mold of his dad Mike, will be a hit with fans in Canada's capital if he's even half as entertaining. Mike Foligno played 15 NHL seasons and now coaches the major junior team in Sudbury, Ont., where Nick Foligno had 31 goals and 57 assists to go with 135 penalty minutes in 66 OHL games last season. He was Ottawa's first pick, 28th overall, in the 2006 entry draft. He was born in Buffalo when his dad played for the Sabres.

Staal, 20, is a six-foot-four defenceman who was drafted 12th overall in 2005 and who also played in Sudbury. He joins brothers Eric (Carolina) and Jordan (Pittsburgh) as members of the Thunder Bay, Ont., family skating in the NHL. He had five goals and 29 assists in 53 OHL games last season.

Other moves as teams tried to reduce to or beyond the league-maximum limit of 23 players:

-Ottawa assigned to its Binghamton, N.Y., AHL farm team forwards Denis Hamel, Alexander Nikulin and Ilja Zubov and defencemen Brian Lee and Lawrence Nycholat.

Veteran defenceman Luke Richardson made the lineup for Ottawa's opener in Toronto on Wednesday. Richardson, 38, was a free agent intent on extending his career when he signed last August with the Senators in the city in which he was born. He's played 1,339 NHL games with Toronto, where he had two stints, Edmonton, Philadelphia, Columbus and Tampa Bay.

The other new faces in Ottawa's lineup will be veteran forward Shean Donovan, who was acquired from Boston in a July trade, and goaltender Brian Elliott, who'll be backup as Ray Emery continues rehab on a surgically repaired wrist.

- Montreal announced that forward Maxime Lapierre, defenceman Ryan O'Byrne and goaltender Jaroslav Halak have been assigned to the AHL's Hamilton Bulldogs.

That left goaltender Carey Price and centres Kyle Chipchura and Mikhail Grabovski on the roster for the opener at Carolina on Wednesday.

Price has been pegged as Montreal's goalie of the future since being the club's first pick, fifth overall, in the 2005 draft. The 20-year-old native of Vancouver was Canadian major junior goalie of the year in going 30-13-1 with the WHL's Tri-City Americans last season.

Chipchura, a first-rounder in 2004 from the WHL's Prince Albert Raiders, had 12 goals and 27 assists as a rookie pro with the Bulldogs last season. The 21-year-old native of Westlock, Alta., a former captain of Canada's junior team, was the Habs' first-rounder, 18th overall, in 2004.

Grabovski, 23, a smallish centre from Germany, had 17 goals and 37 assists with the Bulldogs last season.

-Vancouver assigned to the AHL's Manitoba Moose defencemen Luc Bourdon and Patrick Coulombe and forwards Mike Brown, Jannik Hansen, Michael Grabner, Jason Jaffray and Rick Rypien. Defenceman Dan McGillis was released.

Defencemen Nathan McIver of Summerside, P.E.I, who spent the last two seasons with the Moose, and Alex Edler, a Swede who played his first 22 NHL games last season, are among 24 players still on the Canucks roster. Mason Raymond of Cochrane, Alta., who played college hockey at Minnesota-Duluth last winter, is another new face in Vancouver.

-Detroit assigned to the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins goaltender Jimmy Howard, defenceman Jonathan Ericsson and forwards Igor Grigorenko, Mattias Ritola, Johan Ryno, Darren Helm and Evan McGrath.

Defenceman Kyle Quincey was placed on injured reserve and centre Mark Hartigan was placed on waivers.

-Boston assigned defenceman Matt Hunwick, centre Petteri Nokelainen and centre Nate Thompson to the AHL's Providence Bruins. Left-winger Jeff Hoggan was placed on waivers. If he clears, he'll also go to Providence.

Free agent Glen Metropolit of Toronto and rookie Milan Lucic, 19, who scored 30 goals for the WHL's Vancouver Giants last season, are on the 23-man roster to begin the season. So is former Gatineau, Que., junior David Krejci.

-Pittsburgh signed Adam Hall to a one-year, two-way contract. The American right-winger split 2006-2007 between Minnesota and the New York Rangers and had six goals and 11 assists in 72 NHL games.

The Penguins reduced their roster to 22 by assigning defencemen Kris Letang and Mike Weaver and forwards Jonathan Filewich, Jeff Taffe and Ryan Stone to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the AHL.

Letang got into seven NHL games last season. The 20-year-old native of Montreal spent most of the season with the Val d'Or, Que., juniors. Weaver, 29, from Brampton, Ont., spent most of the last two years with the Los Angeles Kings.

- Buffalo assigned forwards Mark Mancari and Marek Zagrapan and defenceman Michael Funk to the AHL's Rochester Americans.

Mancari, a London, Ont.-born graduate of the OHL's Ottawa 67's, has spent his last two seasons in Rochester. He had 23 goals and 34 assists last season and came close to cracking the Sabres' lineup this autumn.

-Chicago sent forwards Jack Skille, Dave Bolland and Petri Kontiola and defencemen Cam Barker and Karel Pilar to the AHL's Rockford Ice Hogs.

Barker, the Winnipeg-born third overall pick in the 2004 draft, split last season between the NHL and AHL. Skille, a big American right-winger out of the University of Wisconsin, was Chicago's first pick and seventh overall in 2005.

-New York Rangers sent goalie Al Montoya and forwards Artem Anisimov and Nigel Dawes to the Hartford, Conn., farm. They also placed defenceman Andrew Hutchinson on waivers for reassignment to Hartford.

Defenceman Dan Girardi of Welland, Ont., who got into 34 games with the Rangers last season, made the team, as did Staal and American centre Brandon Dubinsky.

-Dallas assigned left-winger Chris Conner to the AHL's Iowa Stars.

The Stars placed on injured reserve Mike Ribeiro (ankle), Niklas Grossman (shoulder), Aaron Gagnon (ankle), Vojtech Polak (ankle) and Francis Wathier (shoulder).

Right-winger Krys Barch of Hamilton, the former Knight who got into 26 games with the Stars last season, remains on the roster with one cut remaining.

-St. Louis released defenceman David Tanabe and assigned forward Martin Kariya to the AHL's Peoria Rivermen.

David Perron, the 19-year-old right-winger from Sherbrooke, Que., was still in the mix with two or three more cuts to come.

-Colorado assigned forward Cody McCormick to Cleveland of the AHL.

-Tampa Bay assigned defenceman Bryce Lampman and forward Kyle Wanvig to their affiliate in Norfolk, Va. Both cleared waivers Monday. Forward Mathieu Darche also cleared waivers and will remain with the Lightning.

-Washington re-signed forward Tomas Fleischmann, who split his last two seasons between the NHL and AHL. The Capitals assigned forward Ben Clymer and defenceman Jame Pollock to the AHL's Hershey Bears.

Quote of the Day

I think Loui Eriksson is a player that can be even better than he was last year. I think we started seeing that at the end of the year, and he could be a replacement for Jarome as a possibility.

— Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien on forward Loui Eriksson's potential