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Coyotes keep Lepisto, add Ebbett

Friday, 07.02.2010 / 5:06 PM / NHL Free Agency 2010

By John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Sami Lepisto signed a new one-year-contract with the team Friday, and the Coyotes also announced the signing of free-agent forward Andrew Ebbett.

Lepisto, 25, recorded a career-high 1-10-11 and 60 penalty minutes in 66 games with the Coyotes last season.  He also collected one assist and six penalty minutes in seven playoff games last year. 

Lepisto, who won the bronze medal with Team Finland in the 2010 Winter Olympics, was acquired by the Coyotes from the Washington Capitals in exchange for a fifth-round draft choice in the 2010 Entry Draft on June 27, 2009.  Lepisto was originally selected by Washington in the third round (No. 66) in the 2004 Entry Draft.

In 80 career NHL games with Washington and Phoenix, Lepisto has 1 goal, 15 assists and 78 PIM.  Prior to coming to North America for the 2007-08 season, Lepisto played four seasons of professional hockey in Finland for Jokerit. 

Lepisto also represented Finland at the 2004 IIHF World Junior Championship where he was named the tournament’s Best Defensemen while leading Finland to a bronze medal.  He also played for Finland at the 2008 IIHF World Championship.

Ebbett, 27, had 9 goals, 6 assists and 8 PIM in 61 games this past season, which was split among the Anaheim Ducks, Chicago Blackhawks and Minnesota Wild.  Ebbett appeared in two games with Anaheim to begin the season before being claimed off waivers by Chicago on Oct. 17.  After scoring once in 10 games with the Blackhawks, Ebbett joined the Wild as a waiver-wire pickup and remained with Minnesota for the rest of the 2009-10 season, scoring 8 goals and adding 6 assists in 49 games.
 
In 2008-09, the 5-foot-9, 174-pounder set career-highs in assists (24) and points (32) while appearing in 48 games with Anaheim. In 112 career NHL games with Anaheim, Chicago and Minnesota, the native of Calgary has 17 goals, 30 assists and 34 PIM. 
 
The Coyotes also re-signed goaltender Al Montoya, a 2004 first-round pick by the New York Rangers acquired by Phoenix in 2008. He was 4-7-1 with a 2.65 goals-against average for the Coyotes' AHL farm team in San Antonio in 2009-10 before suffering a season-ending injury on Nov. 24. Montoya is 3-1-0 with a 2.08 GAA in four NHL games, all with the Coyotes in 2008-09.

Playing for my favorite team growing up, I've probably scored that goal a million times in my driveway. It feels good to actually do it in real life.

— Dale Weise, who grew up a Canadiens fan, on scoring the overtime winner in Montreal's 5-4 victory against Tampa Bay in Game 1