The Philadelphia Flyers continued to be active and got a lot tougher on the first day of free agency by signing veteran forward Jody Shelley, an agitator with good defensive skills. Shelley led the NHL with 249 penalty minutes in 2003 and has finished in the top 10 in penalties in three other seasons.
Shelley, 34, is a 10-year veteran who has played with the Columbus Blue Jackets, San Jose Sharks and New York Rangers. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound left wing has 16 goals and 33 assists for 49 points in 538 NHL games and is minus-29 with 1,347 penalty minutes. He has one power-play goal and two game winners in his career.
Calgary Flames in 1998 and played three seasons for their AHL affiliate in St. John, New Brunswick. Shelley then signed as a free agent with Columbus in 2000 and made his point with 357 penalty minutes with their AHL affiliate, Syracuse, before being called up.
Shelley played 5 1/2 seasons with the Blue Jackets before they traded him to San Jose in 2008. He then played 2 1/2 seasons with the Sharks before they traded him last February for a late-round draft pick next July. He had 2 goals and 4 assists for 6 points in 21 Rangers games and was plus-4.
Shelley had 13 fighting majors last season and two misconducts. He also had four roughing penalties, a kneeing call and one unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
Earlier Thursday, the Flyers traded for defenseman Andrej Meszaros, signed free-agent defenseman Sean O'Donnell and re-signed defenseman Braydon Coburn.
The Flyers left wings include Simon Gagne, Scott Hartnell, James van Riemsdyk, Riley Cote and Andreas Nodl. It would appear that the Shelley signing means the Flyers won't re-sign free agent left wing Arron Asham, who had 10 goals and 24 points last season.
Shelley scored the biggest goal of his career on April 9 in the Rangers' second-last game of the season when he put the Rangers up, 2-1, over the Flyers late in the first period of a game the Rangers won, 4-3. The victory at Madison Square Garden put the Rangers into a tie with the Flyers for the last Eastern Conference playoff berth. When the teams met again in the season finale on April 11 in Philadelphia, Shelley stunned the Flyers' fans by scoring the opening goal 3:27 into the first period. But the Flyers tied the game late in the third period and won in a shootout, eliminating the Rangers from the playoffs.