2010 NHL free agency: Coyotes re-sign Lee Stempniak for two years

leestempniak2.jpgAs reports tend to go, this one seems to be as close to a sure thing as we’ve seen this summer. It appears that free agent winger Lee Stempniak is going to rre-sign with the Phoenix Coyotes for two years. While no actual details are readily available until the contract is officially announced by the Coyotes later today, it appears the deal will be worth $1.75 million per season.

The Coyotes are hoping that the Lee Stempniak they saw in the regular season after acquiring him from the Toronto Maple Leafs is more like the player they’ll see game in and game out rather than the disappointment he was in the playoffs. During the regular season with Phoenix, Stempniak potted 14 goals in 18 games and finished the regular season with 18 points for the desert dogs. For the full season, Stempniak had 28 goals and 20 assists. Yes, Stempniak had as many goals in 18 games with Phoenix as he had in 62 with the Maple Leafs. Yes, Maple Leafs fans are a bit chapped about this.

In the playoffs, however, Stempniak was virtually invisible adding only two assists in seven games as the Coyotes lost to the Red Wings in the first round. With such a seemingly nice deal for Phoenix, they’re hedging their bets on whether or not Stempniak can be the over-the-top scorer he was for them rather than the inconsistent player he was with Toronto. The cap hit of $1.75 million over the two years is a pay cut for Stempniak as he had a cap hit of $2.5 million the last three years with the deal he signed with Toronto. Whether he can stay consistent or not will help determine if the Coyotes can make up for the loss of Matt Lombardi to free agency.

Official update: Here’s the release from the Coyotes on the re-signing.

Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos tweets the real contract details.

Lee Stempniak new 2 year deal with PHO breaks down like this. 2010-11- $1.5M. 2011-12 – $2.3M. Cap hit of 1.9M

That’s a bit juicier than what was first reported.

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    Sabres place Lehner on IR; Recall Lieuwen

    Connor Brown, Robin Lehner
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    They’re just one game into their regular season, but the Buffalo Sabres have already had to shift things around in their crease.

    The Sabres announced that they have placed starting goaltender Robin Lehner on injured reserve after he was knocked out of Thursday’s game with a lower-body injury.

    In a corresponding move, the club has recalled Nathan Lieuwen from their AHL affiliate in Rochester.

    The 24-year-old didn’t play in the NHL last season, but he did have a 1-4-0 record with a 2.98 goals-against-average and a .906 save percentage in seven games during the 2013-14 season.

    Lieuwen was Buffalo’s sixth round pick, 167th overall, in the 2011 draft.

    The Sabres also announced that they have loaned defenseman Jake McCabe and goaltender Linus Ullmark to the Rochester Americans (AHL).

    McCabe was a healthy scratch in Thursday’s game against Ottawa, while Ullmark is being activated off I.R. after having double hip surgery during the off-season.



    Chara ‘doubtful’ for game against rival Canadiens

    Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara
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    It looks like the Boston Bruins will be without their captain again on Saturday night.

    Head coach Claude Julien told members of the media that Zdeno Chara is considered doubtful for tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.

    Chara suffered an upper-body injury during the preseason and he’s already been forced to miss Boston’s season opening loss to the Jets.

    Per CSN, Chara says he’s improving but he won’t return to the lineup until he’s as close to 100 percent as possible.

    “Every area of the injury is improving,” said Chara. “Hopefully it’s not long before I’m free of any kind of discomfort. That’s what we’re doing right now…we’re being patient. For sure you don’t want to come back, and be half of what you are…and basically hurting yourself and the team. And you’re putting yourself in a position where you could be missing more time. At this time of the season, I think it’s important to be as close as you can be to 100 percent.”

    Based on the number of defensive mistakes they committed on Thursday, the Bruins need Chara back as soon as possible: