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Free-agent defensemen object of teams' affection

Wednesday, 07.01.2009 / 7:22 PM / 2009 NHL Offseason News

By Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

One day after acquiring Scott Gomez from the New York Rangers, the Montreal Canadiens spent Wednesday working on their blue line.

Not long after the free-agency market opened, the Habs shored up their defense with the signings of veterans Jaroslav Spacek and Hal Gill. Spacek signed a three-year deal with the Habs, while Gill agreed to a two-year contract. The signings came shortly before the team learned that All-Star Mike Komisarek was leaving for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Spacek, 35, appeared in 80 games for the Buffalo Sabres last season, scoring 8 goals and 37 assists. He has 73 goals in 701 career games. Gill, 34, helped the Pittsburgh Penguins win the Stanley Cup last month. After going 2-8-10 in 62 games during the regular season, Gill had a pair of assists in 24 postseason contests.

"We decided it was time to part ways," Gill said on TSN. "I think the time was right. It's a great organization and I've always loved to play (at the Bell Centre). I'm excited about it. It just seemed to fit."

NHL.com takes a closer look at other defenseman who switched teams on Wednesday:

Walker's a Bolt; so is Krajicek -- Shortly after signing Mattias Ohlund to a seven-year contract, the Tampa Bay Lightning re-signed defenseman Lukas Krajicek to a one-year deal. Krajicek had 19 points in 71 games for the Lightning in 2008-09.

"Lukas is one of the elite skating defensemen in the NHL and he played admirably for us last season in a difficult blue-line situation," Lightning GM Brian Lawton said. "We are pleased to sign him for the 2009-10 season and we look forward to seeing him for training camp."

Tampa Bay also signed defenseman Matt Walker to a four-year deal.

The 6-foot-3, 213-pound blueliner had 1 goal, 13 assists and 79 penalty minutes in 65 games for the Chicago Blackhawks. He was chosen by the St. Louis Blues in the third round of the 1998 Entry Draft.


ANDY GREENE
DEFENSE - DEVILS

GOALS: 2 | ASSISTS: 7 | PTS: 9
SOG: 38 | PIM: 22 | +/-: +3

Devils re-sign Greene -- Andy Greene won't be going anywhere, either. The New Jersey Devils quickly locked up the 26-year-old defenseman on a new contract. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Greene appeared in 49 games for the Devils last season and notched 2 goals and 7 assists. He missed 20 contests during the regular season due to a broken hand. Greene added 1 assist in three playoff games.

Montador to Buffalo -- The Buffalo Sabres shored up their blue line with the signing of stay-at-home defenseman Steve Montador to a two-year deal.

The 29-year-old had 1 assist in 13 regular-season games and 3 points in 11 playoff contests for the Boston Bruins after being traded from the Anaheim Ducks.

Vancouver lands Rome -- Looking for help after losing Ohlund, the Canucks signed Aaron Rome to a one-year contract.

Rome, 25, spent the majority of last season in the AHL. In 48 games with the Syracuse Crunch, he had 7 goals, 21 assists and 153 penalty minutes. Rome added 1 assist in eight games for the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Pardy re-signs in Calgary -- Not long after signing Jay Bouwmeester to a long-term deal, the Calgary Flames agreed to terms with Adam Pardy, who had 2 assists in six playoff games.

The 6-foot-4, 206-pounder appeared in 60 regular-season contests, recording a goal, 9 assists and 69 penalty minutes.

Zanon is Wild -- Greg Zanon, 29, decided to make the Minnesota Wild his second NHL team, signing a three-year deal with the club.

Zanon (6-foot, 205 pounds) appeared in all 82 games for the Nashville Predators last season, scoring 4 goals and 7 assists. He has appeared in 230 NHL contests, all with Nashville.

Huskins heads for San Jose --
Kent Huskins signed a two-year contract to stay with the San Jose Sharks.

Huskins, 30,  was traded to San Jose at the deadline after spending three seasons with the Anaheim Ducks, but didn't play due to injury. He had 2 goals, 4 assists and 27 penalty minutes in 33 games this past season, all with Anaheim

Strudwick stays in Edmonton -- Jason Strudwick will remain in Edmonton for at least one more season, as he agreed to terms with the Oilers for 2009-10.

Strudwick, who turns 34 on July 17, had two goals, seven assists and 60 penalty minutes in 71 games last season.

Contact Brian Compton at bcompton@nhl.com








Quote of the Day

Just the feel for the direction they were headed and what they're trying to do, it just felt that this is a really good thing for this organization. They've got the pieces. We can put something together and go on a run or two and be together for a while, and I'm really excited about that opportunity. The team we have here has an opportunity to win, and that's the most attractive thing.

— Washington defenseman Matt Niskanen on why he decided to sign with the Capitals