Friday, June 29, 2012

Signings & Offers

Tampa Bay defenseman Brian Lee, who was set to become a restricted free agent, signed a two-year, $2.3 million contract extension yesterday. The Lightning acquired Lee from Ottawa in a deadline deal that gave the former Sioux a fresh start, and he performed well enough in Tampa Bay for Steve Yzerman and company to keep him around for a couple more seasons. Here's a video clip of Lee delivering a big hit against Montreal after coming over from the Senators:

Lee was one of five former Sioux NHLers set to become restricted free agents (RFA) this offseason, and all five of those received qualifying offers from their respective organizations (in short, a qualifying offer is a contract offer that prevents a player from becoming an unrestriced free agent). In addition to Lee, TJ Oshie (STL), Chris VandeVelde (EDM), Chay Genoway (MIN), and Matt Frattin (TOR) have all received qualifying offers, and it would be a surprise if any of them were signed away from their current teams. Media outlets have reported that Genoway has signed a one year, two-way extension with the Wild, but thus far details of such a signing have not been confirmed by the Wild. Here's an updated look at all the former Sioux free agents who played in the NHL last season:

Jason Blake Anaheim UFA
Taylor Chorney Edmonton UFA
Mike Commodore Tampa Bay UFA
Matt Frattin Toronto RFA
Chay Genoway Minnesota RFA
Brian Lee Tampa Bay RFA Tampa Bay 2 Years, $2.3 Million
T.J. Oshie St Louis RFA
Zach Parise New Jersey UFA
Chris Porter St Louis UFA
Chris VandeVelde Edmonton RFA
Matt Watkins Phoenix UFA

Of course the big free agent prize is Zach Parise, who says New Jersey will be given fair opportunity to re-sign their star winger, even though it appears unlikely an extension would be agreed upon before he becomes an UFA on July 1st. After clearing some cap space, the Pittsburgh Penguins have jumped into the ring and are expected to make a strong push to acquire Parise's services

In a non-North American transaction, former Sioux standout Rastislav Spirko has signed with the KHL's Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg. This will be Spirko's second season in the Russian elite league after having spent last year with Lev Poprad, where he poduced 18 points (10G, 8A) in 53 games.

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