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Preseason Buzz: Oilers send Puljujarvi down

Forward, who was No. 4 pick in 2016, assigned to Bakersfield of AHL

NHL.com @NHL

Welcome to the 2017 preseason!

This is a busy time, with the start of the new season less than a week away. Rookies are looking to make a name for themselves and veterans are aiming to lock down roster spots. Each day, we will have all the updates of note right here.

Here is the preseason news for Sunday:

The Edmonton Oilers assigned forward Jesse Puljujarvi, the No. 4 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, to Bakersfield of the American Hockey League on Sunday. 

Puljujarvi had three points (two goals, assist) in five preseason games. He had eight points (goal, seven assists) in 28 NHL games last season before he was sent to Bakersfield, where he had 28 points (12 goals, 16 points) in 39 games.

Defenseman Mark Fayne was placed on waivers for purpose of assignment to the Condors.

 

Panthers set roster for opener

The Florida Panthers have their 23-man roster expected to open the regular season against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena on Friday (7:30 p.m. ET; SUN, NHL.TV) after releasing veteran forwards Brandon Pirri and Harry Zolnierczyk from their professional tryouts Sunday.

Pirri had an assist and was plus-1 in four preseason games but did not do enough to beat out forward Owen Tippett, the No. 10 pick in the 2017 NHL Draft. Pirri had 18 points (eight goals, 10 assists) in 60 games with the New York Rangers last season, and 62 points (40 goals, 22 assists) in 122 games in three seasons in Florida. 

Tippett, 18, is eligible to play nine NHL games before his entry-level contract would kick in. He'll either remain with the Panthers or be returned to Mississauga of the Ontario Hockey League.

Zolnierczyk, 30, has 13 points (seven goals, six assists) in 84 games with the Philadelphia Flyers, New York Islanders, Anaheim Ducks and Nashville Predators. He appeared in 11 Stanley Cup Playoff games (one goal, two assists) during the Predators' run to the Stanley Cup Final last season.

Defenseman Josh Brown was loaned to Springfield of the American Hockey League.

 

Hayes signs with Devils

Forward Jimmy Hayes signed a one-year, $700,000 contract with the New Jersey Devils.

Hayes, 27, was invited to Devils training camp on a professional tryout after he was placed on waivers by the Boston Bruins for the purpose of a buyout on June 30. He had three points (two goals, assist) in five preseason games to earn a place on New Jersey's roster. 

In six NHL seasons, Hayes has 100 points (51 goals, 49 assists) in 301 games for the Chicago Blackhawks, Panthers and Bruins.

 

Blues sign Upshall to one-year contract

Forward Scottie Upshall signed a one-year contract with the St. Louis Blues. Financial terms were not released. 

"It's nice to be back in a nice, new dressing room," Upshall said. "As far as I know, I was in the lineup [Thursday], I was preparing and just got a call from my agent saying that St. Louis had reached out and was interested in talking. That just kind of made things unfold.

"... I'm excited for this opportunity that lies ahead and helping this group get to the next level."

Upshall, who was released from his professional tryout with the Vancouver Canucks on Sept. 27, returns to the Blues after he had 18 points (10 goals, eight assists) in 73 games last season. 

"Obviously we know [Upshall] well," Blues coach Mike Yeo said. "His teammates were excited to see him, coaching staff, we were excited to see him and to have him out on the ice with us. We definitely know what [Upshall] can bring to our group.

"It's not like we're dealing with a younger player or player coming from another organization that we don't have that familiarity with. He's a player that brought a lot to us as far as the role that he brings, his personality with the group, the way he fits with the culture around here. It's good to have him back."

Selected by the Nashville Predators with the No. 6 pick in the 2002 NHL Draft, Upshall, 33, has 266 points (131 goals, 135 assists) in 696 regular-season games with the Predators, Philadelphia Flyers, Phoenix Coyotes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Florida Panthers and Blues.

Video: STL@CAR: Upshall scores a beautiful shorthanded goal

 

Karlsson could be ahead of schedule after Chabot demotion

The Ottawa Senators assigned defenseman Thomas Chabot to Belleville of the American Hockey League on Sunday. 

Chabot, 20, the No. 18 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, was expected to compete for a role on the Senators' top defense pair with captain Erik Karlsson recovering from offseason foot surgery. 

The demotion could mean Karlsson may be close to returning. He hasn't been cleared for contact, but Ottawa has seven defensemen on its roster. Karlsson was originally doubtful to return for the Senators' season opener against the Washington Capitals at Canadian Tire Centre on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET; RDS2, TSN5, CSN-DC, NHL.TV). 

With Ottawa down to 23 players, forward Logan Brown, the No. 11 pick in the 2016 draft, could begin the season in the NHL. Brown, 19, is second on the Senators behind forward Mark Stone (3-4-7) with six points (three goals, three assists) in five preseason games.

Defenseman Ben Harpur was also assigned to Belleville. Forward Max McCormick was placed on waivers for purposes of being assigned to the AHL.

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