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NHL Moves: Laich has arbitration hearing, Simon re-signed by Islanders, Toivonen traded

Nick Schultz, unlike Laich, was able to avoid arbitration, signing a US$1.85-million one-year deal with the Minnesota Wild and cancelling a trip to Toronto for his Thursday hearing.

There was a trade as well Monday, the Boston Bruins shipping goalie Hannu Toivonen to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for Carl Soderberg. The Bruins were looking to move a goalie after trading for Manny Fernandez earlier this month.

While Toivonen looks for a new start, the 35-year-old Simon stayed put despite being an unrestricted free agent. He will earn $800,000 in his new deal - $475,000 in base salary and $325,000 in a games played bonus. He can also earn more in performance bonuses. He had 27 points (10-17) and 75 penalty minutes in 67 games last season.

"Chris is just one of those old school guys who gave our team a little bit of everything last season," Islanders head coach Ted Nolan said in a statement. "We can't overstate Si's leadership.

"He'll have a big role with our team, just like last season."

Simon still has five games to serve next season on the 25-game suspension he received for a stick-swinging incident with New York Rangers forward Ryan Hollweg.

In other moves Monday:

-The Philadelphia Flyers signed 2006 first-round draft pick Claude Giroux to a three-year, entry-level contract which will pay him $850,000 a season plus performance bonuses. The 19-year-old native of Hearst, Ont., had 112 points (48-64) in 63 games for the Gatineau Olympiques of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League last season.

-The Flyers also announced that goalie Brian Boucher, 30, signed a minor-league deal with their AHL affiliate, the Phantoms.

-The Vancouver Canucks signed Swiss prospect Juraj Simek. The 19-year-old forward had 57 points (28-29) in 58 games last season with the Western Hockey League's Brandon Wheat Kings.

-The Phoenix Coyotes signed defenceman Ryan Caldwell, 26, to a one-year contract.

-The Pittsburgh Penguins re-signed defenceman Alain Nasreddine, 32, to a one-year contract.

-The Bruins re-signed forward Jeff Hoggan, 29.

Schultz, 24, had 12 points (2-10) and 42 penalty minutes and became the first Wild defenceman in franchise history to appear in all 82 games last season. He led the team in blocked shots (141) and ranked third in hits (88) while averaging 20:13 in ice time.

Laich, meanwhile, went to arbitration, the first of five possible hearings this week. The 24-year-old Wawota, Sask., native had 18 points (8-10), a minus-2 rating and 29 penalty minutes in 73 games last season while earning $606,100. The forward has two NHL seasons under his belt.

The arbitrator's decision is expected within 48 hours.

Tuesday's scheduled hearing has a little more pizzazz to it, with Ottawa Senators starting goalie Ray Emery on tap. His agent, J.P. Barry, and Senators GM Bryan Murray spoke over the weekend but got no closer to a deal.

"We have a gap in the way that we see the comparable goalies in this case," Barry told The Canadian Press on Monday. "And that's causing us a problem in coming to a resolution.

"It may just be necessary to arbitrate this case."

Both sides have comparables they fancy, the Senators can easily point to the $2.66-million average salaries Buffalo's Ryan Miller and Carolina's Cam Ward earn as well as the $1.6 million Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fleury will make next season.

The Emery camp can counter with the two New York starters - Rick DiPietro and his $4.5-million salary on Long Island and the recent $4.25-million, one-year deal signed by Rangers star Henrik Lundqvist.

No arbitration hearings are scheduled for Wednesday after Joni Pitkanen settled with Edmonton last Friday. But Antti Miettinen and the Dallas Stars remain slated for a hearing Thursday.

On Friday, Derek Roy and the Buffalo Sabres are scheduled for a hearing as well as Christoph Schubert and the Senators. Roy's agent, Larry Kelly, met with Sabres GM Darcy Regier over the weekend.

The hearings run through Aug. 3.

The Blues, meanwhile, hope to recapture some of the flash Toivonen, 23, showed in his rookie season. He struggled last season, going 3-9-1 with a 4.23 goals-against average and .875 save percentage.

"Hannu is a former first-round draft choice who gives our club depth in the goaltending position," Blues president John Davidson said in a statement. "Our scouts feel he has tremendous upside and a bright future in the National Hockey League."

Soderberg, 21, played the last two years in Sweden, putting up 30 points (12-18) in 31 games with Malmo last season.


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