Cam Janssen, Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond

Small moves: Senators re-sign Bobby Butler, Flames trade for goon and Matt Smaby joins Ducks

Want to stay up to date on the smaller moves made around the NHL? Here are a few from July 14, 2011.

  • The Ottawa Senators re-signed Bobby Butler to a two-year deal. It is unclear if the contract is a one-way or two-way deal and the financial terms haven’t been revealed, but either way, it caps a busy day or so for Ottawa. The team also signed their first round pick Mika Zibanejad to an entry-level deal recently.

Butler seems like one of the Senators’ more promising young forwards. He split time between Ottawa and Binghamton last season, scoring 10 goals and 11 assists for 21 points in 36 games at the NHL level. Butler scored 33 points in 47 AHL regular season games and returned to Binghamton for their playoff run, helping them win the Calder Cup by scoring 13 goals and four assists for 17 points in 23 playoff games.

  • The Calgary Flames sent their 2012 fifth round pick to the New Jersey Devils for long-named fighter Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond. Let one thing be for sure: “P3L” doesn’t have much use beyond his ability to punch and be punched. As far as that’s concerned, you can remember him for two fights.

Glass half-empty: He jumped Washington Capitals forward Marcus Johansson in a very ugly scene. He received a one-game suspension by the NHL but was demoted to the AHL and never played another game for the Devils.

Glass half-full: Many will remember him for his epic fight with Cam Janssen. The two fought for three solid minutes and, well, just watch for yourself by clicking on the link above.

That’s an amazing fight, but a fifth round pick seems like a heavy price to pay for a “player” the Devils clearly hand little interest in keeping.

Raffl coverts PTO into one-year, $575K deal with Jets

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There’s another Raffl in the NHL.

On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.

Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.

“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.

With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.

For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.

Flyers to start season with seven d-men; MacDonald sent to AHL

Andrew MacDonald, Matt Calvert
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Seven defensemen will comprise the Philadelphia Flyers’ opening-day roster, which the club finalized today.

Those seven are Radko Gudas, Michael Del Zotto, Luke Schenn, Nick Schultz, Brandon Manning, Mark Streit, and Evgeny Medvedev.

Not on the list? Andrew MacDonald, who has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Lehigh Valley. (That move allowed the Flyers to keep both Manning and youngster Scott Laughton.)

Also not on the list were prospects Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg, Sam Morin, Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim. The first three will start the season in the AHL. The last two have been sent back to junior.

But the opening-day roster is not where this story ends. How the Flyers’ defensive mix changes as the season progresses will be worth watching.

They’d no doubt love to move Schenn, a pending unrestricted free agent with a $3.6 million cap hit. He could also end up in the AHL, a la MacDonald.

Medvedev, the 33-year-old who came over from the KHL and put up five points in five preseason games, is another pending UFA. The club could either look to re-sign or flip him.

Might 37-year-old Streit be a chip worth cashing in at the deadline, especially if the Flyers aren’t in a playoff position on Feb. 29? He’s only got two years left on his contract.

Meanwhile, GM Ron Hextall will be watching pending restricted free agents Manning and Gudas closely. Are they part of the future?

So, lots of decisions to make in Philly as the blue line continues its much-needed transition.