While the hockey media and fans focus more on the clock like school children waiting for the final bell to ring, there have been some notable player signings over the last 48 hours with the free agent season beginning tomorrow.
DAVE BOLLAND STAYS IN CHICAGO FOR NEXT 5 YEARS
Among those who came into their own on a very resurgent Chicago Blackhawks team that reached the Western Conference Finals last season has agreed to remain with the club for the next five years. Blackhawks forward Dave Bolland signed a new 5-year, $16.875 million contract.
Bolland scored 19 goals and had 28 assists for a career-high 47 points in 81 regular season games for Chicago. He would then record 12 points in 17 playoff games this year.
The Blackhawks also re-signed forward Jacob Dowell to a two-year deal and goaltender Antti Niemi for the 2009-2010 season.
HURRICANES RE-SIGN JUSSI JOKINEN TO 2-YEAR DEAL
After an impressive showing in the 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs where he scored 7 goals and dished out 4 assists for 11 points in all 18 games the Carolina Hurricanes played, the team announced yesterday they have re-signed forward Jussi Jokinen to a 2-year, $3.4 million contract. According to general manager Jim Rutherford, he said:
"Jussi was a good addition to our team last season and he really stepped into his role in the playoffs. His ability to contribute on the power play and penalty kill, and his versatility at different forward positions makes him a valuable player."
PENGUINS KEEP CRAIG ADAMS AND BILL GUERIN IN FOLD
The 2009 Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins have kept two forwards around following a successive run at their third title in franchise history. The team re-signed forward Craig Adams to a 2-year contract and Bill Guerin for the 2009-2010 season at $2 million.
Guerin's decision to return to Pittsburgh was easy to make when you have general manager Ray Shero to negotiate a new contract with.
"It doesn't always happen like this," Guerin said. "It was awesome dealing with Ray. He made everything really easy and smooth. He was up front and honest and made it a great situation."
Guerin was very productive on his way to a second Stanley Cup title in his 17-year National Hockey League career with 15 points (7 goals and 8 assists) in 24 playoff games.
SHARKS BRING BACK ROB BLAKE FOR 2009-2010 SEASON
TSN reports that the San Jose Sharks re-signed defenseman Rob Blake for the 2009-2010 season. He will be paid $3.5 million plus bonus incentives.
Blake scored 10 goals and had 35 assists in 75 regular season games. Spanning 20 NHL seasons, the 39-year-old veteran has accumulated 233 goals over exactly 1200 career contests.
DEVILS ACQUIRE BEN WALTER AND RE-SIGN JOHNNY ODUYA
Hours before completing a trade in which they acquired forward Ben Walter from the New York Islanders for the rights to forward Tony Romano, the New Jersey Devils have re-signed defenseman Johnny Oduya to a multiyear contract.
The Score reports it is a 3-year, $10.5 million deal.
Oduya had a career-high 29 points in playing all 82 regular season games.
"We are delighted to have Johnny Oduya stay with the organization," Devils president, CEO and general manager Lou Lamoriello said. "He has developed into one of the more talented young defensemen in the National Hockey League."
JERE LEHTINEN REMAINS WITH STARS FOR ANOTHER SEASON
Dallas Stars general manager Joe Nieuwendyk retained a former teammate in signing forward Jere Lehtinen for the upcoming 2009-2010 season. Lehtinen agreed to a $1.5 million base salary with up to another $1 million in bonus incentives.
The 36-year-old forward was limited to 48 games due to injury and had just 8 goals and 16 assists for 24 points. Despite those modest numbers, Nieuwendyk believes Lehtinen is still an important part of the team.
"We are extremely pleased to welcome Jere Lehtinen back with our club next season," Nieuwendyk said. "He has been one of the cornerstones of this franchise for many years and we feel he will continue to be a significant contributor going forward. Jere is a consummate professional on and off the ice, and we look forward to his healthy return next season."
Nieuwendyk and Lehtinen together won the Stars' 1999 Stanley Cup championship.
JAY BOUWMEESTER SIGNS MULTIYEAR DEAL WITH FLAMES
Three days after acquiring exclusive negotiation rights that cost the Calgary Flames a roster player in defenseman Jordan Leopold plus the 2009 #67 overall draft pick (Josh Birkholz), they were able to get defenseman Jay Bouwmeester under contract earlier tonight.
The Sports Network (TSN) reports it is a 5-year, $33 million deal.