2010 NHL free agency: Hurricanes sign forward Patrick O'Sullivan

patrickosullivan1.jpgThe Carolina Hurricanes have made a late addition to their roster that could help figure out their dearth of talent up the middle. Former Kings and Oilers centerman Patrick O’Sullivan has signed a one-year, two-way contract worth $600,000 with the Hurricanes. Chip Alexander of Canes Now grabs some quotes.

“He can win a spot,” Rutherford said of O’Sullivan. “Last year was not one of his best but he’s still a young guy who has had a 20-goal season in the NHL. He has a very good skill level.”

O’Sullivan played center for the Oilers but Rutherford said he is capable of playing all three forward positions and the Canes believe he may be best on the wing.

In discussing the contract, Rutherford said, “We want to keep it a two-way so as not to close the door on a (roster) spot. It will make camp even more competitive.”

O’Sullivan has some history with Carolina as he was part of the three-way deal between Edmonton, Carolina and Los Angeles that sent Erik Cole back to Carolina, Justin Williams to Los Angeles and O’Sullivan to Edmonton. Some fans of Patrick O’Sullivan, however, are worried that O’Sullivan could have some problems playing in Raleigh although we’d guess that if he’s signing a contract there, any issues that may have existed before have been resolved.

O’Sullivan immediately slots in as one of the better centers on the team. With Eric Staal leading the way, Brandon Sutter was slated to be the #2 center on the team. If O’Sullivan can bounce back after a miserable season in Edmonton, he’ll provide an immediate return to the Hurricanes. If he continues to struggle, they can send him to the AHL after going through waivers first. The Hurricanes could certainly use an experienced boost at the center position, however.

Panarin impresses ‘Hawks with his preseason debut

Artemi Panarin
AP Photo

Will Artem Panarin‘s overwhelming success in the KHL translate to North America? The 23-year-old forward has a lot to prove, but his first big test was a success.

Playing on a line with Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov, Panarin made his preseason debut in Chicago’s finale on Saturday. He registered two assists while giving his teammates reason to be optimistic about him.

“For not being on the ice he looks really relaxed. He’s great with the puck, has nice moves and I think we’ll see a lot of this,” Marian Hossa told CSN Chicago. “He has unbelievable skill. People here in Chicago are going to have a good time watching this guy dangling.”

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was impressed by Panarin as well and liked that line as a whole.

The fact that the trio seemed to hit it off quickly has to come as a relief after an upper-body injury prevented Panarin from getting the most out of this year’s training camp. At the end of the day though, the fact that he was able to at least get in one preseason contest is a big silver lining. How smoothly his adjustment goes from here is still a big X-factor, but at least now he’s going into the regular season with a better idea of what to expect.

Panarin is attempting to establish himself in the NHL after leading the KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg to a championship last year. He was the team’s scoring leader, topping ex-NHL star Ilya Kovalchuk.

Gustavsson secures one-year contract with Bruins

Jonas Gustavsson
AP Photo
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There was stiff competition for the backup goaltending job in Boston, but with a signing this afternoon, it seems likely that the matter has been resolved.

The Boston Bruins announced that Jonas Gustavsson has agreed to a one-year, $700,000 deal. It’s a one-way contract, according to the Boston Globe’s Amalie Benjamin.

That contract is still small enough that the Bruins could bury it in the minors if they so desire, but it does set him apart from his last competitor for the goalie position, Jeremy Smith, who has a two-way deal. The fact that Boston went this route seems to imply that Gustavsson will serve as Tuukka Rask‘s understudy, although both netminders attended Sunday’s practice.

In Smith, the Bruins would be getting a 26-year-old goaltender who was dominant with the AHL’s Providence Bruins last season, but has no NHL experience. By contrast Gustavsson, 30, has played in almost 150 NHL games.

Boston sent Zane McIntyre and Malcolm Subban to the minors last week, but an argument could be made that either one of them is worthy of the backup job. However, both of them have a lot of potential and it’s not surprising that the Bruins felt they were better served by staying in the minors where they can play regularly and focus on honing their game.