2010 NHL Free Agency: Thrashers sign frequent hitter Freddy Meyer to a two-way contract

freddymeyerhit.jpgThe Atlanta Thrashers signed defenseman Freddy Meyer to a one-year, two-way deal that will pay him $500K if he remains in the NHL and $105K if he stays in the minors, according to Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Here is a little bit of background information on the small-but-feisty defenseman via Ben Wright of the Thrashers’ official team blog Blueland Blog.

The 29-year-old Boston University product signed as a free agent with the Flyers in 2003-04 and spent some time in the AHL before putting up the best numbers of his career in Philly as a rookie in 2005-06 when he scored six goals and added 21 assists. In 266 NHL games Meyer has 19 goals and 71 points, with 11 goals and 39 of those points coming in his 178 games as an Islander.

In 64 games last season Meyer averaged 16:46 of ice time with 1:51 of it being on the penalty kill. At 5’10″ he isn’t huge but he’s a solid 192 lbs and likes to hit. Despite being limited to 64 games last season he led New York in hits with 178. That would put him second on last year’s Thrashers team behind Zach Bogosian and his 196 hits (next up was Schubert with 150).

USA Today’s Kevin Allen says that Meyer will fight for the team’s sixth defenseman spot while Wright points out that Meyer will have to compete for playing time against Boris Valabik, Arturs Kulda, Jaime Sifers and other depth players for the team’s lower defensive ranks.

Wright points out the fact that Meyer has missed a considerable amount of time thanks to abdominal, groin and back injuries; he missed 41 games in the 08-09 season because of groin injuries and played in 64 of 82 games in 09-10.

Meyer might not be a perfect player – his size keeps him from being a menacing presence despite his penchant for hits and he isn’t a world-beater offensively – but it seems like a decent depth move for the Thrashers. The jury’s out on whether or not new GM Rick Dudley’s muscle-oriented methods will work, but the madness is far more entertaining than the middling efforts of GM-turned-team-president Don Waddell.

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    The Buzzer: Kempe, Schwartz record hat tricks; Leafs honor Gord Downie

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    Players of the night: Jaden Schwartz, St. Louis Blues / Adrian Kempe, Los Angeles Kings

    The Blues forward tallied his third career hat trick during a 5-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Schwartz scored the game’s first two goals before completing his hat trick with a late empty-net goal to stave off a Chicago comeback.

    Wednesday’s feat for Schwartz came three years to the day of his first career three-goal game.

    Kempe, meanwhile, tallied his first NHL hat trick and finished with four points during LA’s 5-1 rout of the Montreal Canadiens. Two of his three goals were assisted by Mike Cammalleri, who also finished the night with four points.

    Highlight of the night:

    Eddie Olczyk returned to the NBC broadcast booth as he continues his battle against colon cancer. Olczyk, along with Doc Emrick, called the Blues-Blackhawks game from Scottrade Center Wednesday night.

    MISC:

    Auston Matthews recorded the 20th multi-point game of his career. He now has six goals and 10 points on the season.

    Patrick Marleau became the 18th NHL player to reach the 1,500-game mark.

    Jake Allen kept his shutout bid alive with this great stick save on Patrick Kane late:

    -The Kings are off their best start in franchise history at 5-0-1. They’ve allowed only 10 goals against through six games.

    Jeff Carter left the game in the first period and did not return after tangling with Jeff Petry. Afterward, Kings head coach John Stevens said the forward will miss some time.

    -Finally, The Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie passed away from cancer at age 53 on Wednesday. The Maple Leafs paid tribute before their game against the Red Wings.

    Factoid of the night:

    Scores:

    Maple Leafs 6, Red Wings 3

    Blues 5, Blackhawks 2

    Kings 5, Canadiens 1

    Cammalleri, Kempe power Kings over Canadiens

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    Adrian Kempe recorded his first career NHL hat trick and Mike Cammalleri added two goals as the Los Angeles Kings beat the Montreal Canadiens 5-1.

    After Paul Byron opened the scoring for Montreal midway through the first period, the Kings responded with five unanswered goals to hand the Habs their sixth straight defeat.

    Cammalleri, who inked a one-year deal over the summer to return to the Kings, had a hand in four of LA’s five goals. He started the scoring for the Kings in the first period by celebrating the Dodgers’ playoff run with his own special kind of baseball swing.

    Kempe, who finished with four points as well, scored his three goals over a span of 10:50 in the third period to help the Kings to their best start in franchise history (5-0-1).

    LA remains the only NHL team yet to lose in regulation this season.

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    Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

    Jaden Schwartz’s hat trick leads Blues over Blackhawks

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    Jaden Schwartz‘s third career hat trick helped power the St. Louis Blues over the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2 in a Central Division clash Wednesday night at Scottrade Center.

    Schwartz’s eventful evening began with a goal 4:46 into the first period. It was nearly ended minutes later after a scary crash into the end boards following a scoring chance.

    After missing some time, Schwartz returned in the second period and doubled the Blues’ lead with his fourth of a season, thanks to a great outlet pass from Allen.

    As the Blues built up a 4-0 lead, the Blackhawks spoiled Allen’s shutout bid with a pair of late power play goals 80 seconds apart. The furious rally was stopped, however, and Schwartz capped off his hat trick with an empty netter to put the game out of reach.

    St. Louis dominated the first two periods, outshooting the Blackhawks 26-8 as they built up their 2-0 lead. The Blackhawks’ power play failed them early in the game, missing out on five chances to capitalize with the extra man through 40 minutes.

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    Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

    WATCH LIVE: Canadiens at Kings

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    The Montreal Canadiens play their second game of a three-game west coast trip Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Kings.

    It hasn’t been the best start for the Habs, who sit tied for last in the Eastern Conference with a 1-4-1 record. They’re winless since an opening night win over the Buffalo Sabres. On the other side of things, the Kings are the only NHL team that has yet to lose in regulation. Their 4-0-1 start puts them a point behind the Vegas Golden Knights, and their game in-hand gives them the opportunity to leap into first place in the Pacific Division with a victory.

    You can check out tonight’s game on NBCSN (10:30 p.m. ET) or online via the live stream.

    CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

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    Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

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