The Atlanta Thrashers signed free-agent forward Nik Antropov to a four-year, US$16-million contract, Mikhail Grabovski got big raise from the Toronto Maple Leafs and Mark Recchi decided to extend his stay in Boston as NHL teams continued to fill their rosters Thursday.
The Thrashers obtained Antropov, 29, with an eye to re-signing captain IIya Kovalchuk who could become a free-agent next season.
“Certainly, it’s going to help us through the process,” said Don Waddell, Atlanta’s general manager. “Ilya wants to be part of a winning organization and this is a big step in the right direction.”
Kovalchuk played with Antropov in Russia during the NHL lockout.
Antropov set a career high with 59 points and 28 goals with Toronto and the New York Rangers last season. He was traded to the Rangers on March 4.
He had 56 points with the Maple Leafs during the 2007-08 season.
The Thrashers also re-signed forward Chris Thorburn on Thursday. Thorburn had 15 points, including seven goals, in a career-high 82 games last season.
Grabovski signed a US$8.7-million, three-year deal with the Leafs. That averages out to US$2.9 million per season, a big raise over the US$850,000 he made last year.
The Belarusian forward had 20 goals and 48 points in 78 games last season, his first with the Maple Leafs.
In 105 career NHL games with Montreal and Toronto, he has 23 goals and 57 points.
Recchi, 41, agreed to a one-year, US$1-million deal with the Bruins, plus bonuses. The NHL’s sixth-leading active goal scorer had hinted he may retire if the Bruins didn’t offer him a deal.
Staying with the Bruins gives Recchi a chance to win his fourth Stanley Cup. Boston obtained Recchi from Tampa Bay on March 4. He had six goals and 10 assists in 18 regular-season games with the Bruins.
During his career, Recchi has been part of three Stanley Cup-winning teams – Pittsburgh in 1991 and 1992 and Carolina in 2006. He has 545 goals and 897 assists for 1,442 points in 1,490 regular-season games for seven clubs.
The Bruins also announced the signings of forwards Steve Begin and Byron Bitz and defenceman Johnny Boychuck.
Begin signed a one-year deal after finishing last season with Dallas following 4 1/2 years in Montreal. Bitz signed a multi-year contract after an impressive rookie season, and Boychuck got a one-year deal after scoring 20 goals in the AHL last season.
In Florida, the Panthers made sure they didn’t lose Jay Bouwmeester for nothing. They signed Jordan Leopold to a one-year contract, locking up the player they received from Calgary in exchange for Bouwmeester’s rights.
Leopold, 28, had seven goals and 24 points in 83 games for Calgary and Colorado last season.
The Panthers acquired him and a third-round pick from the Flames in exchange for Bouwmeester last weekend.
The Flames were also busy, signing centre Garth Murray and minor-league forward Riley Armstrong.
Murray, from Regina, has eight goals and two assists in 116 career NHL games with Phoenix, Florida, Montreal and the New York Rangers.
The 27-year-old compiled 11 goals and 10 assists in 64 games for the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage last season and also played 10 games with the parent club in Phoenix. Murray, who is six-foot-two and 215 pounds, was the 79th pick of the New York Rangers in the 2001 draft.
Saskatoon native Armstrong spent the last five seasons playing in the San Jose Sharks minor-league system and has appeared in two NHL games. The 25-year-old had 25 goals, 17 assists and 101 penalty minutes in 71 games for Worcester of the AHL last season.
The Vancouver Canucks reached deals with defencemen Nolan Baumgartner and Lawrence Nycholat and forward Matt Pope.
Baumgartner, 33, had 11 goals and 22 assists last season with the Manitoba Moose, Vancouver’s AHL franchise. During his career he has played 131 NHL games with five NHL teams, scoring six goals and adding 39 assists.
Nycholat, 30, rejoins the Canucks after finishing the 2008-09 season with the Colorado Avalanche. In 50 career NHL games with five teams he has two goals and nine points.
Pope, 24, played the bulk of last year with Bakersfield of the ECHL but finished the season in Manitoba.
The Montreal Canadiens signed forwards Mike Glumac and Mathieu Darche and defenceman Alex Henry to one-year, two-way contracts.
Glumac, 29, led the Hamilton Bulldogs of the AHL with 33 goals last season. Darche, 32, had 31 goals and 35 assists with the Portland Pirates.
Henry played two games with the Canadiens last season. He spent the rest of the year in Hamilton where he was second on the team with 127 penalty minutes in 79 games.
The Los Angeles Kings added defenceman Rob Scuderi to a a four-year contract. Scuderi led the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins with a plus-23 rating and 164 blocked shots over 81 games last season. He also added a career-high 16 points.
The Kings also re-signed restricted free agent winger Kevin Westgarth to a three-year deal.
The Dallas Stars signed free agent defenceman Karlis Skrastins to a two-year deal worth US$2.75 million.
The Stars gave the 34-year-old Skrastins US$1.1 million for the 2009 season and US$1.65 million for 2010.
Skrastins played in 80 games for Florida last season. He had four goals and 18 points while leading the team with 171 blocked shots.
The New York Islanders signed goaltender Scott Munroe, winger Jeremy Reich and defenceman Brett Westgarth to one-year contracts.
Munroe, an undrafted goalie, has been in the Philadelphia Flyers’ organization for the past four seasons. He led the Phantoms to the Calder Cup Playoffs in each of the past two seasons, and had a save percentage of .926 with four shutouts last year.
Reich has played in 99 NHL games, scoring two goals and four assists with the Bruins’ organization. Last season for Providence, he had a career-high 21 goals and 13 assists.
Westgarth played last year for the Worcester Sharks, the AHL affiliate of the San Jose Sharks.
The New Jersey Devils have welcomed Finnish forward Ilkka Pikkarainen back into the fold.
Pikkarainen, 28, was the Devils’ seventh-round pick in the 2002 NHL draft and spent three seasons with their top farm team in Albany, N.Y.
He returned to Finland and played the last three seasons with HIFK Helsinki, leading the team this year with 24 goals in 54 games.
The Phoenix Coyotes added more veteran presence to their blue-line by signing defenceman Adrian Aucoin to a US$2.25-million, one-year contract.
Aucoin spent the past two years with the Calgary Flames, scoring 10 goals and 34 points in 81 games last year.
It will be the sixth NHL team for Aucoin, who turns 36 on Friday.
The Los Angeles Kings, the parent club of the Manchester Monarchs, have agreed to terms on a four-year contract with free agent defenseman and 2009 Stanley Cup Champion Rob Scuderi, Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi announced today. Per club policy, terms of the agreement were not announced.
Scuderi, 30, led the Pittsburgh Penguins with a plus-23 rating, while tallying a career-high 16 points (1-1516) and 18 penalty minutes. He also logged a career-high 81 regular season games played this past season. The blue-liner also led his team with 164 blocked shots and an average of 3:47 of short-handed ice time for the Penguins, who finished eighth in the NHL on the penalty kill (82.7 per cent). During the 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs, Scuderi added five points (1-45) and six penalty minutes in 24 postseason games while logging an average of 20:29 of ice time per game (second among D-men, fourth overall). He also assisted on the game-winning goal in Game 7 against Detroit, helping the Penguins win the Stanley Cup. The 6-foot, 218-pound defenseman played parts of five seasons with Pittsburgh, collecting 39 points (3-3639) and 112 penalty minutes in 300 career NHL games. Scuderi has also recorded eight points (1-78) and 10 penalty minutes in 49 playoff appearances all with Pittsburgh – including 13 games during two Stanley Cup Finals appearances (2009 and 2008).
Scuderi also played parts of five seasons with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the AHL, recording 88 points (8-8088) and 206 penalty minutes in 305 regular season games. He also recorded seven points (2-57) in 41 playoff games with the Baby Penguins, including a trip to the Calder Cup Finals during the 2003-04 season.
Prior to entering the pro ranks in 2001, Scuderi completed four seasons at Boston College (H-East) where he finished as the school’s all-time games played leader (168 career games played). He helped lead Boston College to a NCAA Championship during the 2000-01 season and was named to the All-Tournament Team. The Syosset, New York native, who earlier this week was invited to attend the 2009 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Orientation Camp (August 17-19 in Woodbridge, Illinois), was originally selected by Pittsburgh in the fifth round (134th overall) in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft.