Islanders sign Jeremy Colliton; Thrashers give Tim Stapleton two-year contract

Here are two minor signings from around the NHL today.

  • The New York Islanders signed Jeremy Colliton (drafted in the second round – 58th overall – in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft) to a one year, two-way contract. The center hasn’t played at the NHL level since the 08-09 season when he appeared in six games, putting up one assist while averaging 11 minutes per contest. Colliton also played in 16 games in 07-08 and 19 games (a career high) all the way back in 05-06.

In his 42 games as an NHL player over four seasons, Colliton scored one goal and two assists for three points with a -5 rating and 16 penalty minutes.

  • Chris Vivlamore reports that the Atlanta Thrashers signed undersized 28-year-old journeyman forward Tim Stapleton to a two year contract that will be a two-way deal this season and a full NHL one in 2011-12. He had been playing with the San Antonio Rampage before the Thrashers signed him to this deal.

He joined the team in Denver today to be part of their roster as they prepare for a 10:00 pm ET game against the Avalanche, but it’s unclear if Stapleton will actually play for Atlanta. Still, he was very excited about the signing.

The contract is a two-way deal this season, worth $525,000 in the NHL and $105,000 in the AHL. Next season’s NHL deal will be worth $525,000.

“I’ve never had that,” Stapleton said of an NHL contract. “It’s something you strive for your whole career. I’ve been playing since I was three years old so I’m really excited about it. It hasn’t really hit me yet. I was in San Antonio 48 hours ago. To be here now, it’s been so surreal.”

Stapleton played six games with the Thrashers last season and scored two goals. He was a free agent following the season and not re-signed. The 5-foot-9, 160-pound Stapleton played 20 games for the Rampage with eight goals and seven assists this season.

Stapleton said he was trying to work out a deal with Phoenix before the Thrashers made him an offer.

Habs claim Byron off waivers from Flames

Paul Byron
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Montreal added some forward depth on Tuesday, acquiring diminutive forward Paul Byron off waivers from Calgary.

Byron, 26, is a veteran of nearly 150 career NHL games, most coming with the Flames. Despite fairly solid production over the last two years — 40 points in 104 games — he was exposed to waivers on Monday, along with fellow forward Mason Raymond.

(Calgary does have a logjam of players at forward, hence parting ways with Byron and Raymond.)

Byron can play both wing and center but, at 5-foot-7, 153 pounds, is one of the most undersized skaters in the league. Thankfully for him, Montreal has an affinity for undersized forwards, with the likes of Brendan Gallagher (5-foot-9, 184 pounds) and David Desharnais (5-foot-7, 174 pounds) already on the active roster.

Byron could also fill Zack Kassian‘s roster spot. Kassian is currently suspended without pay while undergoing Stage 2 of the NHL’s Substance Abuse program.

Isles claim goalie Berube off waivers

Evgeny Kuznetsov, Jaroslav Halak
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The New York Islanders have claimed goalie Jean-Francois Berube off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings, the club announced today.

Berube won the Calder Cup last season with AHL Manchester, but the 24-year-old has yet to appear in an NHL game.

That the Isles claimed Berube could be evidence that Jaroslav Halak will not be ready to start the season after all.

If that’s the case, Berube would back up Thomas Greiss, with Stephon Williams expected to go to the AHL.

The Isles open their regular season Friday at home versus the Blackhawks, then play the next day in Chicago.