2010 NHL Free Agency: Senators make depth signings, add David Hale and Francis Lessard

davidhale.jpgThe Ottawa Senators made two small depth signings today, inking defenseman David Hale and forward Francis Lessard to one-year, two-way contracts according to TSN. Financial details were not disclosed, but with most two-way deals, the money amounts were probably very low.

Hale was once a product of the New Jersey Devils system and though he’s stuck at the NHL level during his career, his results have been unremarkable. Take a look at TSN’s write-up on the marginal defenseman.

Hale spent last season with the Tampa Bay Lightning, collecting four assists in 39 games. Over his six-year NHL career with the Devils, Flames, Coyotes and Bolts, the Colorado Springs native has tallied three times with 24 points in 302 contests.

Lessard might be even less of an impact guy, though. He hasn’t played in the NHL since the 2005-06 season with the Atlanta Thrashers. He played 61 games with the San Antonio Rampage last season, putting up four points and a substantial 289 penalty minutes. Here’s a little more from TSN.

His last appearance in the NHL came with Atlanta in 2005-06, a six-game stint where he did not record a point. The former 1997 draft pick of Carolina played in 91 games from 2001-06 with the Thrashers, picking up a goal and four points with 268 penalty minutes.

So let it be known that Lessard won’t be playing in the NHL for his scoring ability. It’s obvious that he’s a bruiser/enforcer, one of the most replaceable roles in the league even if players such as Derek Boogaard are being paid more than a million and a half dollars per season to play the part.

Both players might not amount to more than drops in the bucket for the Ottawa Senators, although Hale could soak up minutes like an “innings eating” pitcher while the team could turn to Lessard if they need a little muscle.

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    Lightning give Vasilevskiy the (brief) hook after very rare Jurco goal

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    By just about any measure, Monday’s been lousy to Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy.

    He was pulled with a few minutes remaining in the first period after Chicago Blackhawks built a 3-1 lead, scoring those three goals on just eight shots on net.

    You could summarize Vasilevskiy’s awful start by those numbers, or by how rare the 3-1 goal was for the scorer.

    Tomas Jurco failed to score a goal or an assist in 16 games with the Red Wings, then went pointless in nine more games with Chicago before finally scoring his first goal of the season on Monday.

    Now, Jon Cooper didn’t pull Vasilevskiy because Jurco scored that tally. Still, it rubs a little extra salt in his wounds all things considered.

    Here’s the Jurco goal:

    Patrick Kane‘s 2-1 goal might have hurt the most, actually, as it quickly dissolved a tying tally by Ondrej Palat:

    Update: The Lightning decided to put Vasilevskiy back in net to begin the second period. Interesting.

    Coach Q thinks Anisimov will be back by playoffs for Blackhawks

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    The bad news is that Artem Anisimov seems likely to miss all – or at least most – of the regular season for the Chicago Blackhawks with his lower-body injury.

    The good? Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville believes that Anisimov will be ready once the playoffs swing into motion, as the Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Lazerus reports.

    Anisimov was hurt when he got tangled up with Canadiens forward Alex Radulov on March 14:

    The Blackhawks have been filling Anisimov’s typical spot alongside Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin with Ryan Hartman and Nick Schmaltz lately. There have been flashes of brilliance with Schmaltz, but Chicago would probably feel most confident with Anisimov back in his familiar place.

    Chicago’s Central lead is pretty secure over the Minnesota Wild at the moment, which likely reduces motivation to rush Anisimov back before he’s truly ready. The Blackhawks close out their regular season on April 8, so there’s still time for him to heal up.

    Ducks demote Enroth, so Gibson’s close to a return

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    The Anaheim Ducks are flying high – er, waddling with some swagger? – right now thanks to Jonathan Bernier‘s somewhat shocking turnaround, but the pending return of John Gibson is promising.

    (Especially since the Ducks will likely want him to shake off some rust before the playoffs begin.)

    While it’s not clear if he’s exactly 100 percent healthy just yet, the Ducks sending Jhonas Enroth back to the AHL is a strong sign that Gibson is close.

    Enroth actually never got a shot to start for the Ducks, as his last NHL appearance came on Nov. 30, closing off his ill-fated run with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

    Considering that Enroth was once a fairly hot commodity as at least a promising backup, it will be interesting to see how his 2017-18 season pans out. Will he get more or less of a chance than he received this season?

    Bernier, meanwhile, is richly rewarding the Ducks for sticking with him.

    He’s provided them with a Vezina-caliber March: 9-1-1, 1.71 GAA and .943 save percentage with one shutout. You almost wonder if there’s at least some potential for a goalie controversy if Gibson stumbles whenever he gets back into action … but hey, having two good goalies to choose from is better than none.

    (Which was the scenario that must have scared the Ducks when Gibson got hurt in the first place.)

    WATCH LIVE: Chicago Blackhawks at Tampa Bay Lightning

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    The Tampa Bay Lightning almost certainly haven’t faced the Chicago Blackhawks in a game this important since the two teams were vying for a Stanley Cup.

    While the Blackhawks have already punched their ticket to the postseason and are merely trying to pad their lead in the Central Division, the Bolts are fighting for their playoff lives. At the moment, they rank three points behind the Boston Bruins for the final spot in the East. With a game in hand, they can make up a lot of ground tonight.

    With all of that in mind, it should be an entertaining contest. You can check it out on NBCSN, watch online or via the NBC Sports App.

    Click here for the livestream.