2010 NHL free agency: Blackhawks sign former first round pick Hugh Jessiman

Thanks to a tidbit of information from SBN’s Oilers blog Copper And Blue, we’ve found out (via CapGeek) that former 2003 first round pick of the New York Rangers, Hugh Jessiman, has landed a one-year, two-way contract with the desperate for depth Chicago Blackhawks. Even more amazing than reading the name “Hugh Jessiman” was reading this factoid from Copper and Blue.

Should Jessiman play a game with the Blackhawks this season, the 2003 first rounders would be the first group since 1983 to all make it to the NHL. The first rounders of 1998 and 1989 are also only one player away, but there aren’t many folks still holding out hope for Michael Henrich and Jason Soules.

Jessiman’s path to infamy is one that is a painful one for Rangers fans. Jessiman was a Hollywood script waiting to be written for the Rangers. He was a local boy born in New York City and grew up a Rangers fan. He played college hockey at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire and he was the Rangers top pick in the 2003 draft. Seemed like a slam dunk at the time that the Big Apple would be his and the Rangers return to glory would form around him. A funny thing happened on the way to Madison Square Garden, however.

After leaving Dartmouth, he joined the Rangers farm team in Hartford and struggled terribly, and was sent to the ECHL and the Charlotte Checkers to work things out there in two consecutive seasons. He did very well in Charlotte both times, but upon returning to Hartford his struggles returned. In 2008 he was traded to the Nashville Predators and stayed in AHL exile. This past season he scored 20 goals and had 28 assists for the Predators farm team in Milwaukee, his best AHL season since 2007-2008 when he also had 42 points.

For now, he’s the dubious answer to a trivia question and while some of the names from the first round of that 2003 draft may be more dubious than others, the fact remains that Jessiman is the only guy from that first round to never play a game in the NHL. Either the Blackhawks will have to end up on really hard financial times for Jessiman or he’ll have to have the training camp of a lifetime to crack the Blackhawks lineup.

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    NHL has no plans to change waiver rules

    Manny Malhotra Ryan Stanton
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    Even with all the young players that have been healthy scratches this season, don’t expect the NHL to change its waiver rules.

    Deputy commissioner Bill Daly told PHT in an email that it’s not something that’s “ever been considered.”

    “For better or worse that’s what waiver rules are there for,” Daly wrote. “They force Clubs to make tough decisions.”

    Today, Montreal defenseman Jarred Tinordi became the latest waiver-eligible youngster to be sent to the AHL on a two-week conditioning loan.

    Tinordi, 23, has yet to play a single game for the Habs this season. If he were still exempt from waivers, he’d have undoubtedly been sent to the AHL long before he had to watch so many NHL games from the press box.

    In light of situations like Tinordi’s, some have suggested the NHL change the rules. Currently, the only risk-free way for waiver-eligible players to get playing time in the AHL is via conditioning stint, and, as mentioned, those are limited to 14 days in length.

    So the Habs will, indeed, need to make a “tough decision” when Tinordi’s conditioning stint is up. Do they put him in the lineup? Do they keep him in the press box and wait for an injury or some other circumstance to create an opportunity for him to play? Do they risk losing him to waivers by attempting to send him to the AHL? Do they trade him?

    Your call, Marc Bergevin.

    Related: Stanislav Galiev is stuck in the NHL

    Ortio clears waivers, assigned to Flames’ AHL team

    Joni Ortio
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    Joni Ortio has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Stockton, the Calgary Flames announced today.

    The 24-year-old goalie was always likely to clear, what with his dreadful numbers this season (0-2-1, .868),

    But we suppose there was always the chance he’d get picked up, so it’s a relief for the Flames all the same. With a little more time to hone his game in the AHL, Ortio could still turn out to be a quality NHL netminder.

    In a related move, veteran goalie Jonas Hiller has been activated from injured reserve. Hiller and Karri Ramo are the only goalies on the Flames’ active roster now.

    Price placed on injured reserve; Yakupov to miss 2-4 weeks with sprained ankle

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    Two injury updates in one post.

    First, the situation with Montreal goalie Carey Price, who was hurt last night versus the Rangers.

    According to Canadiens coach Michel Therrien, Price has been placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury. That means he’ll be out at least a week, though no exact timeline was provided.

    “We don’t know how long Carey will be out, but for us it’s business as usual,” said Therrien.

    Mike Condon will get the start tomorrow in New Jersey.

    As for Oilers forward Nail Yakupov, he’ll be out 2-4 weeks after spraining his ankle last night in Carolina while getting tangled up with a linesman.

    Getzlaf didn’t love the ‘dead’ atmosphere at Coyotes game

    Martin Erat, Ryan Getzlaf

    Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf wasn’t impressed with at least two things last night in Arizona:

    1. His team’s performance in a 4-2 loss to the Coyotes.
    2. The atmosphere inside Gila River Arena, where the announced attendance was just 11,578.

    “It’s hard. When you come into a building … it’s dead,” Getzlaf told the O.C. Register. “Nothing against the fans. It’s hard to fill a big building like this and have the amount of people in it to build your energy. So you have to do it yourself. You have to be ready when you step on the ice. I thought we came out flat.”

    Anaheim’s record fell to 8-11-4 with the defeat.

    The Coyotes’ average attendance also fell, to 13,144 in eight games.