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Mike Richards to Center First Line, Briere Moved to Wing

The Sports Xchange reports the early plan for the Flyers is to start with a top line of Daniel Briere, Simon Gagne and Mike Richards, but if that line doesn't click, Briere will move back to his natural center position and Richards will drop to second-line center. Head coach John Stevens is trying to get the most offense out of his top two lines (Briere, Gagne, Richards, Carter, Knuble, Hartnell) and does not want to drop Jeff Carter to third-line duty.

Richards had a breakout 2007-08 season as he posted a career-high 75 points (28 goals). He also had a plus-14 rating. Richards is a first-line talent, but is too valuable to be moved to the wing. The Flyers hope they can keep Briere on the wing and allow Richards to flourish on the top line.

Knuble on the Trading Block

The Sports Xchange reports Flyers RW Mike Knuble is the player most often targeted in trade talks, mostly because of his $2.8 million salary. He scored 29 goals last season and led the club with 15 power-play goals, but with LW Scott Hartnell able to do the same job of deflecting pucks in front of the net, Knuble could be the bait needed to land a quality defenseman to slide into a top 4 of Timmonen, Coburn and Hatcher.
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2008-09 Philadelphia Flyers Preview

Last season, the Flyers delivered one of the quickest turnarounds in NHL history, going from a league-worst 56 points to 95 points and a playoff berth. With a six seed, the club upended Washington in a seven- game classic, knocked off top-seed Montreal in five before bowing to Pittsburgh in the conference finals.

All this was done despite losing streaks of six games in December and 10 games in February, missing top scorer Simon Gagne for all but 25 contests, and lingering questions about the ability of their head coach.

John Stevens has his work cut out for him, because this year, Philly will sneak up on no one. Sure, the Penguins were hit hard by salary cap issues, the Rangers underwent another roster upheaval and the Islanders look like they will be propping up the rest of the Atlantic Division, but the Devils have always presented a problem while the Capitals and Canadiens surely haven't forgotten their early-round playoff ousters.

Now that the sage advice of Terry Murray is no longer available, replaced by Craig Berube, there will be renewed questions on whether a less-than-seasoned coaching staff can push the club to greater things.

In addition, Mike Richards, who was signed to an unprecedented 12-year contract extension during the regular season, has been named team captain -- a sign that the club has committed to turning its recipe for future success over to the youngsters.

Full Story: http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/scorecard/ho...rticleID=240701

2008-09 New York Islanders Preview

(Sports Network) - The New York Islanders were in the hunt for a playoff spot for a large portion of the 2007-08 season. While that was surprising, it would be downright shocking if this year's edition of the Isles could stay in the race past December.

General manager Garth Snow committed his team to a rebuilding phase late last season and that decision ultimately led to the "differences" that caused head coach Ted Nolan to be fired in the summer.

After a lengthy search, Snow found a coach more in line with the new strategy by hiring Scott Gordon, who will make his debut behind an NHL bench this season after spending the last several years coaching in the AHL.

The problem with the youth movement at this stage is that the Islanders are just beginning the process and have yet to stockpile a large amount of young talent. One exception is Kyle Okposo, the seventh overall pick in the 2006 draft, will try to make his case for New York's future as a 20-year-old rookie this year.

All-Star goaltender Rick DiPietro has kept the Isles' heads above water with his superb play in recent years, but even he will have trouble keeping this ship from sinking.

Full Story: http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/scorecard/ho...rticleID=240631

Penguins Re-Sign Forward Tyler Kennedy

Kennedy, 22, played 55 games for the Penguins last season, registering 19 points (10 goals, nine assists) along with 35 penalty minutes.


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2008-09 New York Rangers Preview

Last season could be considered somewhat of a disappointment for the New York Rangers.

The team made two big grabs in the free-agent market in the summer of 2007, as they signed centers Scott Gomez from New Jersey and Chris Drury from Buffalo while retaining their core group of players from the previous season.

New York struggled early in the season and finished October with a record of 4-6-1 as the club worked through fitting their new acquisitions into the mix. However, the team rebounded in November and at the end of the season saw itself in third place in the Atlantic and fifth overall in the conference.

In the playoffs, the team easily dispatched New Jersey in five games to avenge a four-game sweep by the Devils in 2006. In the second round, though, the Rangers were easily handled by eventual conference champion Pittsburgh in five games.

So General manager Glenn Sather gave the team a makeover in the offseason and brought in several new faces while waving goodbye to several veterans on the team.

Since winning the Stanley Cup for the first in 54 years in 1994, the Big Apple boys have not enjoyed much success as they made the conference finals just once and had a seven-year stretch where they were out of postseason play.

The club will, though, still compete with the big boys in the East and look for the Blueshirts to again be competitive and once again be considered contenders for the Cup.

Full Story: http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/scorecard/ho...rticleID=240633

2008-09 New Jersey Devils Preview

In recent years the New Jersey Devils have gone from perennial Stanley Cup contender to a mere participant in the annual postseason.

The Devils rode goaltender Martin Brodeur to an 11th straight playoff appearance in 2007-08, but were promptly ousted in the opening round by the hated New York Rangers.

Sensing the downturn, Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello decided to bring back a few familiar faces via this summer's free-agent market.

Firstly, Lamoriello signed centerman Brian Rolston to a four-year, $20 million deal, bringing the 35-year-old Michigan native back to the club that selected him in the first round of the 1991 draft. Rolston played parts of five seasons in New Jersey and won a Stanley Cup title with the team in 1995.

The Devils also brought back centerman Bobby Holik on a one-year basis. Holik spent 10 seasons in New Jersey and won two Cups with the Devils before departing for free agency after the 2001-02 campaign.

Detractors will say that those moves show that the Devils are still living in the past, but it's never wise to doubt Lamoriello, after all, he is the man responsible for turning the swamps of Jersey into a frequent home for Lord Stanley.

Full Story: http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/scorecard/ho...rticleID=240630


Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins reached the NHL's biggest stage earlier than expected, but can the team get back to the Stanley Cup finals this year?

One thing that hurts Pittsburgh's chances to repeat as Eastern Conference champions this year is that winger Marian Hossa will not be back for another playoff run with the Pens. Hossa was acquired by Pittsburgh general manager Ray Shero at last year's deadline, but opted to sign a one-year deal in the offseason with Detroit, the club who defeated the Penguins for the Stanley Cup last spring.

Still, with superstar centermen Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in tow as well as franchise goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, the Penguins plan on being Cup contenders for years to come.

Shero may not have had the cash to lure Hossa back to the Igloo, but did land a handful of new wingers in the offseason for Crosby and Malkin to play with, including former 30-goal scorer Miroslav Satan.

Pittsburgh plans on competing for the top seed in the Eastern Conference after finishing second to Montreal a year ago. With the firepower at the Pens' disposal, that seems like a task well within their reach.

Full Story: http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/scorecard/ho...rticleID=240704

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I am a little behind in my duties Admiral. :mellow:


"Two days after signing prized second-year defenseman Tobias Enstrom to a four-year contract, Atlanta Thrashers General Manager Don Waddell reeled in two-time NHL All-Star defenseman Mathieu Schneider Friday afternoon in a trade with the Anaheim Ducks.

Source: http://www.nhl.com/nhl/app/?service=page&a...rticleid=383570

Carolina Hurricanes

Jeff O’Neill was out of hockey last season, but the former 41-goal scorer is hoping to make a comeback with the Carolina Hurricanes. O’Neill made his NHL debut 13 years ago, when the franchise was still in Hartford, and went on to play nine seasons with the Whalers and Hurricanes before landing in Toronto for two seasons after the work stoppage.

"He’s come into camp with a serious approach like he’s trying to make this team,” Hurricanes coach Peter Laviolette said after O’Neill scored in the team’s Red/White game earlier this week. “Tonight was his first opportunity back in a game situation, and to be honest I thought he got better as the game went on. It’s a starting point for him, and now he'll get some exhibition games to showcase it even more.”

O’Neill recorded 20 goals and 42 points in his last NHL season for the Maple Leafs. He took 18 shifts totaling 14:25 of ice team in a 4-1 loss to Washington on Wednesday. If O’Neill can prove he’s still an offensive threat it would add depth to the Hurricanes, who lost forward Justin Williams to an Achilles injury that will cost him much of the upcoming season.

Source: http://www.nhl.com/nhl/app?articleid=38367...mp;service=page

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ATLANTIC DIVISION UPDATE - Complete Injury List as of Sept. 28th

New Jersey Devils

Kevin Weeks G - Day-to-Day (Sept. 27)

Barry Tallackson RW - IR (Sept. 27) Successful Surgery to correct irregular heartbeat

Nicklas Bergfors RW - Day-to-Day (Sept. 27) Groin

New York Islanders

Rick DiPietro G - Day-to-Day (Sept. 27) Hip/Knee

Andy Sutton D - Day-to-Day (Sept. 27) Undisclosed injury in Thursday's game against Philadelphia

Sean Bergenhein LW - Day-to-Day (Sept. 26) Undisclosed injury

Jeff Tambellini LW - Day-to-Day (Sept. 26) Lower body injury

Chris Campoli D - Day-to-Day (Sept. 24) Undisclosed injury

Bill Guerin RW - Day-to-Day (Sept. 24) Shoulder

Mike Comfie C - Day-to-Day (Sept. 17) Hip surgery in May

Mike Sillinger C - Injured Reserve (Sept. 12) Hip, may not be ready for start of regular season

New York Rangers

No significant injuries (Lucky them. Not even a groin pull. :angry: )

Philadelphia Flyers

Derian Hatcher D - Out (Sept. 18) Knee

Antero Niittymaki G - Out (Sept. 16) Minor surgery on left hip, 4 to 6 weeks

Pittsburgh Penguins

Sidney Crosby C - Day-to-Day (Sept. 26)

Sergei Gonchar D - Injured Reserve (Sept. 26) Shoulder

Ryan Whitney D - Injured Reserve (Sept. 17) Off crutches but wearing a boot, no firm date of return

Danny Richmond D - Injured Reserve (July 17)


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Pogge Perfect ... For 57 Minutes


Leafs Bruised heading Into Contest vs Blues


Leaf Cough Up Two Goal Lead



Pogge will never have the confidence to be a starter in the NHL. Another year of pathetic play. We are the laughing stock of the NHL.

With the start of the season fast approaching it doesn't look so good..I know I will no doubt be shot and dumped off at the ER for this post..However it's time to face the facts...will anyone agree with me???

- it's time to face what facts? that we're going to be bad? Welcome to last January.

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Picard to Break with Sens

The Sports Xchange reports Senators D Alexandre Picard has the inside track on a job with the third pairing, even though he has been hampered by a groin injury through camp. Picard is on a one-way contract.

Picard was acquired in the August trade that sent Andrej Meszaros to Tampa Bay. Picard had three goals, three assists and 10 penalty minutes in 24 games with the Philadelphia Flyers and the Lightning last season.

Jesse Winchester a 1st Liner?

The Sports Xchange reports Senators forward Jesse Winchester is a little baffled by the fact he has been skating on the team's top line with Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza during training camp. "I don't exactly understand why I was given the shot that I have," said Winchester, an eight-goal scorer at Colgate last season. "I'm just trying to enjoy it and make the most of it."

Winchester appeared in just one game with Ottawa last season and was an average scorer at Colgate. Daniel Alfredsson usually skates on the top line with Heatley and Spezza, but first-year head coach Craig Hartsburg is shaking things up.

Potential Contract Year for Alfie?

The Sports Xchange reports Senators RW Daniel Alfredsson takes control of the option in his contract if he plays at least 70 games and scores at least 70 points, meaning he could become an unrestricted free agent next summer should he hit the targets. Hence, the Senators are talking to the 35-year-old Alfredsson about a contract extension.

Alfredsson missed 12 regular-season games in 2007-08 because of injury, but he still managed to play in 70. He has managed to play in 70 games for six straight seasons. He also has 70-plus points in that span, so going 70-70 in 2008-09 is very possible for Alfredsson, who if able to accomplish those goals, will most likely opt out and test the lucrative market.
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Wow...a bunch of pro-active scouts in here. THANKS to all for the very useful and insightful information.

A quick reminder to all of us (especially me) about how vigilant we must be in our infant sub-forum to remain within Forum Policies. The main issue with this specific thread (MN Scouting) has been whether it belongs in around the league or in our sub-forum. The moderating team who has been very helpful in creating our sub-forum, has granted us permission to have a scouting thread in our MN sub-forum, as long as it stuck to the topic at hand. The topic at hand is scouting information that will shed insight into the Magic Number dropping or (god forbid) not dropping. On a secondary level, it serves a purpose to help with the predictions game, which is an integral part of the sub-forum. With that said, there is two ideas we should clearly identify.

1) This thread is purely for information from articles, forums, etc... We're pretty relaxed in here in that we don't require links if you want to copy and past information. However we must distinguis opinions from scouting reports. Opinions are necessary for the long term enjoyment of this online venue, however opinions should be posted in the MN-The Count Down thread.

2) From the day the MN first began to today where we've become a sub-forum of the Official Canadians Fan Forum, we have been known for our good humor, engaging discussions, positive yet realistic outlook, and our methodical and structured approach to making this framework of topics co-exist and work with and for one another. This has been accomplished by mutual respect, and well established and accepted roles. I believe this structure is one of the cornerstones of our success, and where possible we should stick to it.

On a personal note, I have six hockey pool sheets to submit and am yet undecided on a few (especially the goalies). Keep the good info coming guys, it's really helpful in filtering and guiding some of my picks :D

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Canadiens Reassign 18


The Canadiens made their first major cuts today, sending P. K. Subban and Olivier Fortier back to their junior teams while assigning 16 others to Hamilton of the American Hockey League.

Heading to Hamilton are goaltenders Cédric Désjardins and Loic Lacasse; defencemen Shawn Belle, Pavel Valentenko and Chad Anderson and forwards Brock Trotter, Ryan White, .J.T. Wyman, Mike Glumac, Olivier Latendresse, Yanick Lehoux, Ryan Flinn, Mathieu Aubin, Ryan Russell, David Desharnais and Thomas Beauregard.

Still with the team: Yannick Weber, Max Pacioretty, Ben Maxwell, Matt D'Agostini, Gregory Stewart, Kyle Chipchura, and Marc Denis.

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New York Islanders

Mike Iggulden C - Day-to-Day (Sept. 29) Foot

Pittsburgh Penguins

Sergei Gonchar D - Injured Reserve (Sept. 29) Shoulder, will miss 4 to 6 months


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Thumbs Down for Gaustad

The Buffalo News reports that Sabres C Paul Gaustad is expected to miss 3-4 weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb.

The third-year player, Buffalo's seventh-round draft pick in 2000, is a versatile forward who usually splits time between the Sabres top three lines. Gaustad produced career highs with 10 goals (including two game-winners), 26 assists and 36 points in 82 games last season

Reality Check for O'Neill

The Raleigh News & Observer reports that the Hurricanes have released RW Jeff O'Neill, who did not play in the NHL last season but was trying to make a comeback with his former team. O'Neill unlikely to play anywhere else, may have had his last shot at making an NHL squad.

Shoulder Problems for Lightning's Malone

The St. Pete Times reports that Lightning LW Ryan Malone, originally scheduled to play against HC Slovan on Tuesday, will sit out the game with a sore shoulder. There is no news on whether or not he will be ready for Saturday's opener.

Defenseman Docked at the Island

Newsday reports that Islanders defensemen Chris Campoli and Andy Sutton are not likely to be ready for the team's season opener. "There's a chance a couple of our defensemen could be out for a good period of time," Islanders GM Garth Snow admitted Monday.

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Tue Sep 30, 2008 : Eastern Conference Pre-Season Games

Rangers SC Bern (Postfinance Arena) 12:00 PM ET

Lightning HC Slovan (Samsung Arena) 1:00 PM ET

Red Wings Canadiens 7:30 PM ET

Preview: http://canadiens.nhl.com/team/app?gameNumb...mp;service=page

Tonight's Montreal Canadiens lines Per RDS:

Max Pacioretty - Robert Lang - Alex Kovalev

Guillaume Latendresse - Tomas Plekanec - Sergei Kostitsyn

Tom Kostopoulos - Maxim Lapierre - Matt D'Agostini

Gregory Stewart - Kyle Chipchura - Mathieu Dandenault

Carey Price in nets.

On defence: Patrice Brisebois, Josh Gorges, Mike Komisarek, Francis Bouillon, Ryan O'Byrn, Yannick Weber.

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To say the Tampa Bay Lighting took their last-place finish in the NHL standings to heart would most certainly be the understatement of the year. In fact, the 71-point showing in 2007-08 provided all the motivation the organization would need to embark on the busiest summer in its 16 seasons in the League.

The transformation began June 20 at the 2008 Entry Draft in Ottawa when the Lightning officially picked Steven Stamkos with the No. 1 selection. Three days later, a new eight-man ownership group, headed by Hollywood producer Oren Koules and former NHL player and current real estate mogul Len Barrie, was announced. On June 24, former Los Angeles Kings coach and longtime ESPN analyst Barry Melrose was named the team's sixth coach.

Then things got real interesting when Pittsburgh forwards Ryan Malone, Gary Roberts and Adam Hall were signed, forward Vaclav Prospal inked a multi-year contract, goalie Olaf Kolzig signed a one-year deal and unrestricted free agent wing Radim Vrbata was given a three-year contract. On July 4, the club dealt defensemen Dan Boyle and Brad Lukowich to San Jose for defenseman Matt Carle, prospect Ty Wishart, a first-round pick in 2009 and a fourth-round choice in 2010. The deal basically assured the Lightning six picks in the first three rounds at next year's Entry Draft in Montreal.

Veteran wing Mark Recchi then signed a one-year contract before Vincent Lecavalier was given an 11-year extension through 2019-20. If that wasn't enough, this season will mark the first time in franchise history that the Lightning will open a season overseas, in Prague on Oct. 4-5 against the New York Rangers.

In Goal

For the first time in his career, Mike Smith will enter a season knowing the starter's role is his to lose. Smith, 26, was acquired from the Dallas Stars at the Feb. 26 trade deadline as part of the Brad Richards deal. Smith appeared in 13 games with the Lightning in 2007-08, posting a 3-10 record, 2.79 goals-against average, .893 save percentage and one shutout. Prior to being acquired by the Lightning, he was 12-9 with a .906 save percentage and 2.46 GAA as the backup to Marty Turco in Dallas.

Tampa also signed the veteran Kolzig, 38, away from Washington. In 54 appearances with the Caps last season, Kolzig went 25-21-6 with a 2.91 GAA and .892 save percentage. In 711 career games, Kolzig has 301 victories, 35 shutouts, a 2.70 GAA and .906 save percentage. Finnish goalie Karri Ramo made 22 appearances last season, finishing 7-11-3 with a 3.03 GAA and .899 save percentage. The 22-year-old Ramo is a likely replacement if Smith or Kolzig suffer an injury.


The Lightning finished dead last in goals allowed last season, yielding 3.24 per game. The defense, which will certainly benefit from a more explosive offense this campaign, returns Shane O'Brien, Paul Ranger, Mike Lundin and Matt Smaby. Ranger finished tied for the team-lead among defensemen with 31 points. Ranger was tops along the blue line with 10 goals and second on the team with 118 blocked shots. O'Brien was second on the team with 128 hits and fourth with 42 takeaways. Lundin (65 blocks), who was named to the NHL YoungStars Game during NHL All-Star Weekend in Atlanta last season, should play an even greater role this winter.

While summer acquisitions Carle and Wishart cannot be looked upon as replacements for departed veterans Boyle or Lukowich, look for Melrose to ease both youngsters into the defensive rotation. I'm hoping to become a top-four defenseman here in Tampa," Carle told NHL.com. "I don't think there are too many guys capable of replacing a Dan Boyle or Brad Lukowich, but collectively the defensive unit must work together to elevate its overall game. There's going to be some good competition in training camp."

Carle suffered the proverbial "sophomore slump" last season in San Jose, scoring just two goals and 15 points in 62 games. He's hoping a change in scenery will help resuscitate his game. "It's tough to place a finger on one reason why I struggled, but there were high expectations and I was hoping to really build off my rookie season (11 goals, 42 points) but it just never happened," he said. "But I'm a guy who looks at the positives and I've learned from last season and am determined to take that next step."


Could the Lightning become this year's Washington Capitals within the Southeast Division? With Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis, Malone, Vrbata, Prospal and Stamkos, it wouldn't come as a surprise. Lecavalier and St. Louis combined for 65 goals and 175 points last season.

The return of Prospal gives Melrose the option of reuniting the MVP Line (Martin St. Louis, Vinny Lecavalier and Prospal). Before his trade to Philadelphia on Feb. 23, Prospal, Lecavalier and St. Louis were the NHL's second-highest scoring trio, accounting for 80 goals and 202 points. The 33-year-old Prospal netted a career-high 33 goals in 80 games with Tampa and the Flyers in 2007-08. Lecavalier, who became the first player in franchise history to record back-to-back 40-goal seasons, led the team with 92 points, the second highest total in his nine NHL seasons, in addition to seven game-winners. St. Louis was second on the team with 25 goals and 83 points. Both Lecavalier and St. Louis recorded a team-leading 10 power-play goals.

Melrose could then roll out prized possession Stamkos as the center for Vrbata and Malone. Malone, who was the last player to leave his stall after the Penguins had been vanquished by the Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Final, played in 77 games with the Pens last season, posting career highs with 27 goals, 51 points, 11 power-play goals and six game-winners. In 20 playoff games, he finished with six goals and 16 points.

Vrbata enjoyed a breakthrough season in Phoenix in 2007-08, setting career highs and finishing as the Coyotes' second-leading scorer with 27 goals and 56 points in 76 games. He also led the club with three shorthanded goals and ranked tied for third with seven power-play goals. He also scored five goals in seven games with the Czech Republic at the 2008 World Championships. The Lightning offensive depth chart doesn't end there either, as Jeff Halpern (20 goals, 42 points), Jussi Jokinen (26 assists, 42 points), Michel Ouellet (17 goals, 36 points), Chris Gratton (21 points) and wily veterans Recchi (48 points) and Roberts (15 points) will also play vital roles.

Source: http://lightning.nhl.com/team/app?articlei...mp;service=page

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Lecavalier Makes First Appearance

NHL.com reprts that Lightning C Vincent Lecavalier (shoulder) was able to play in his first exhibition game Sunday as Tampa Bay played Eisbaren (Germany) in Berlin. Lecavalier looked a bit rusty and didn't have any points, but he did make it through the game without any problems. Lecavalier said he would be able to play on Saturday for the season opener after having arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder and rehabbing the last 5 months.

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Southeast Division Update

Rod Brind'Amour Practices


Panthers Trim Roster to 27


Tampa Bay - Ryan Malone is day to day with a sore shoulder


The Washington Capitals lost for the first time in the preseason to the Philadelphia Flyers.


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Sabres add Depth in Ellis

The Sabres claimed LW Matt Ellis off waivers from the Kings on Wednesday

Ellis, 27, started last season with the Red Wings but was claimed off waivers by the Kings on Feb. 21. He picked up eight points (three goals) in 54 games between the teams.

This move was simply to add depth after the Paul Gaustad injury.

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