Predators sign Francise Bouillon to two-year contract extension

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Bouillie.jpgThe Nashville Predators announced that they have signed veteran
defenseman Francis Bouillon to a two-year contract extension worth $2.7
million. He has spent most of his career in Montreal, with the exception
of playing four games in Nashville in 2002 before signing with the
Predators in 2009. He appeared in 81 games last season, scoring just
three goals and eight assists on the season.

He’s never been considered an offensive threat, but has always been
one of the bigger hitters in the NHL. It’s a decent contract for the
veteran and gives the Predators some stability on the blue line moving

Here’s the press release:

Nashville, Tenn. (June
18, 2010) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General
Manager David Poile announced today that the club has signed defenseman
Francis Bouillon to a two-year contract worth $2.7 million. The
Montreal, Quebec native will make $1.2 million in 2010-11 and $1.5
million in 2011-12.

Bouillon, 34 (10/17/75), played a
career-high 81 games for the Predators in 2009-10, ranking second on the
team – and among the Top 20 NHL defensemen – in hits (162), while tying
for third on the Predators in penalty minutes (50). He also posted 11
points (3g-8a), while averaging 19:18 per game a season ago, and played
in all six of Nashville’s 2010 Playoff games.

The most
tenured member of Nashville’s defensive corps, the 5-8, 198-pounder has
played in 566 regular-season games with Nashville and Montreal since
1999, amassing 113 points (24g-89a) and 421 penalty minutes.

Raffl coverts PTO into one-year, $575K deal with Jets

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There’s another Raffl in the NHL.

On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.

Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.

“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.

With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.

For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.

Flyers to start season with seven d-men; MacDonald sent to AHL

Andrew MacDonald, Matt Calvert
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Seven defensemen will comprise the Philadelphia Flyers’ opening-day roster, which the club finalized today.

Those seven are Radko Gudas, Michael Del Zotto, Luke Schenn, Nick Schultz, Brandon Manning, Mark Streit, and Evgeny Medvedev.

Not on the list? Andrew MacDonald, who has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Lehigh Valley. (That move allowed the Flyers to keep both Manning and youngster Scott Laughton.)

Also not on the list were prospects Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg, Sam Morin, Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim. The first three will start the season in the AHL. The last two have been sent back to junior.

But the opening-day roster is not where this story ends. How the Flyers’ defensive mix changes as the season progresses will be worth watching.

They’d no doubt love to move Schenn, a pending unrestricted free agent with a $3.6 million cap hit. He could also end up in the AHL, a la MacDonald.

Medvedev, the 33-year-old who came over from the KHL and put up five points in five preseason games, is another pending UFA. The club could either look to re-sign or flip him.

Might 37-year-old Streit be a chip worth cashing in at the deadline, especially if the Flyers aren’t in a playoff position on Feb. 29? He’s only got two years left on his contract.

Meanwhile, GM Ron Hextall will be watching pending restricted free agents Manning and Gudas closely. Are they part of the future?

So, lots of decisions to make in Philly as the blue line continues its much-needed transition.