A few hockey notes on Day 1 of the NHL Entry Draft…
TIM GLEASON…the Hurricanes signed the rugged defenseman to a four-year contract this week. With the team thin at defense and with Glen Wesley retiring and Bret Hedican headed elsewhere, getting Gleason signed was a top priority for Carolina. The restricted free agent, who made $1.175 million the last two seasons, will get $2 million next year and half-million dollar raises each of the following three seasons.
Gleason, 25, completed his fourth NHL season and second with the Hurricanes in 2007-08, earning career highs in games played (80), goals (3), penalty minutes (84) and plus/minus (+5). He was originally acquired by Carolina on Sept. 29, 2006, along with Eric Belanger in exchange for Jack Johnson and Oleg Tverdovsky.
The Hurricanes still have three other restricted free agents to re-sign at the NHL level: forwards Tuomo Ruutu and Chad LaRose and defenseman Dennis Seidenberg. Look for the Hurricanes to perhaps announce a trade this weekend (Erik Cole is the rumored bait) for another defenseman…
DARCY HORDICHUK…with Ruutu not yet resigned, the Hurricanes acquired the rights to left winger Darcy Hordichuk of the Nashville Predators in exchange for a fifth-round pick in next year’s draft. If the Hurricanes do not sign Hordichuk prior to the start of the 2008-09 season, Carolina will receive Nashville’s fifth-round pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
Hordichuk, 27, completed his seventh NHL season in 2007-08, totaling one goal and two assists (3 points) and 60 penalty minutes in 45 games played for the Predators. A native of Saskatchewan, he also played in five of the Predators’ six playoff games, totaling two penalty minutes. He’s not a big scorer but gave Nashville a physical presence. Hordichuk’s best season was in 2005-06 with Nashville, where he had career highs in games played (74), goals (7), assists (6), points (13) and penalty minutes (163) during the 2005-06 season with Nashville, leading the Predators in penalty minutes (163) and hits (150).
OILERS, LIGHTNING SALE APPROVED…the NHL approved the sale this week of the Edmonton Oilers to Edmonton billionaire Daryl Katz and the Tampa Bay Lightning to a group of investors led by Oren Koules and and former NHLer Len Barrie. The approval was granted pending the closing of the transactions by the prospective purchasers.
RULE CHANGES…the NHL’s Board of Governors also endorsed rules changes that had been recommended by the NHL General Managers and approved by the Competition Committee, including:
– A change to Rule 76.2 (“Face-Offs”) will place the first face-off of a power play in the defending zone of the team that committed the foul
– A change to Rule 81.1 (“Icing”) states that “Any contact between opposing players while pursuing the puck on an icing must be for the sole purpose of playing the puck and not for eliminating the opponent from playing the puck. Unnecessary or dangerous contact could result in penalties being assessed to the offending player.”
– A change to Rule 85.5 (“Face-Off Location”) provides that if a puck is shot off the goal frame, goal post or crossbar, the subsequent face-off will remain in the end zone where the puck went out of play.