Aaron Palushaj

Carolina signs Aaron Palushaj to one-year deal


The Carolina Hurricanes have announced the signing of forward Aaron Palushaj to a one-year, two-way deal.

Palushaj is set to earn $600,000 at the NHL level and $175,000 annually in the minors, but he’s guaranteed to make at least $225,000 in 2013-14.

At 23, he was an unrestricted free agent after the Colorado Avalanche declined to present him with a qualifying offer.

“Aaron is still a young player and has some NHL experience under his belt,” said Ron Francis, the Hurricanes vice president of hockey operations. “He has good speed and good hands and we believe he can push for a job in Raleigh come September.”

He’s enjoyed some very strong offensive seasons in the AHL, but has just 14 points in 66 NHL contests so far. The Michigan-native scored two goals and nine points in 25 games with the Colorado Avalanche last season.

Predators’ Clune fined for boarding incident


Nashville Predators winger Rich Clune ran afoul of the National Hockey League rules Monday, and as a result was fined on Wednesday.

Clune, 25, was fined $1,452.70 by the NHL for an incident that happened in the first period of Monday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche. Clune was originally assessed a minor penalty for boarding, for his hit on Avalanche forward Aaron Palushaj.

The fine was the second act of supplemental discipline handed out by the NHL on Wednesday. Canucks winger Jannik Hansen was suspended one game for a hit to the head of Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa.

As per a statement from the NHL, the maximum amount Clune could have been fined was the “lesser of $10,000 or one-half of his daily salary.”

The money from the fine goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

Clune has one goal and 33 penalty minutes in 16 games this season for Nashville.

Depleted Avs pluck Palushaj off waivers from Montreal


Desperate for depth up front, Colorado claimed forward Aaron Palushaj off waivers from Montreal on Tuesday.

Palushaj, 23, has spent all of this season with Montreal’s AHL affiliate in Hamilton, notching 10 points in 21 games before being sidelined by a shoulder injury.

He’s appeared in 41 career contests for the Habs, scoring one goal and four assists.

The Avalanche have been decimated by injuries to their forwards this season, so the pickup makes sense. Steve Downie is out for the year with a torn ACL, Gabriel Landeskog is sidelined indefinitely with a head injury and winger David Jones missed Monday’s contest against Dallas with a knee issue.

Add in the fact that Colorado’s still without center Ryan O’Reilly — last year’s leading scorer is embroiled in a contract dispute — and the team is essentially without four of its top nine forwards from a year ago.

Palushaj was a big-time scorer collegiate level and a point-a-game guy with Hamilton in 2011-12 (35PTS in 35GP), so he could play on one of Colorado’s top three lines and see some occasional powerplay time.

Montreal signs Palushaj to one-year deal

The Montreal Canadiens have agreed to terms with RFA winger Aaron Palushaj on a one-year, two-way deal. Financial terms were not released — his previous contract was a three-year, $2.1 million deal worth $883,333 annually.

Palushaj, 22, was drafted 44th overall by St. Louis in 2007 and acquired by Montreal in exchange for Matt D’Agostini in 2010. Last year was the first time he saw significant action in the NHL — he appeared in 38 games for the Habs, scoring 1G-4A-5PTS.

A skill winger that lacks size (5-foot-11, 187 pounds), Palushaj was a dynamic scorer at the AHL level last season, recording 22G-35A-57PTS in 68 games with the Hamilton Bulldogs.

With the signing, Montreal now has just three RFAs left — forward Blake Geoffrion and defensemen P.K. Subban and Raphael Diaz.

Lightning re-sign defenseman Lee for two years, $2.3 million

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After getting a fresh start in Tampa Bay, defenseman Brian Lee has decided to stick around.

The 25-year-0ld RFA has agreed to a two-year, $2.3 million extension with the Lightning after receiving his qualifying offer on Monday.

Tampa Bay acquired the former top-10 pick (taken ninth overall in 2005) at February’s trade deadline in exchange for Matt Gilroy. Lee never seemed to be a fit in Ottawa — he once said he was “shocked and surprised” at a demotion to AHL Binghamton — but played well in Tampa, registering eight assists in 20 games while averaging over 17 minutes a night.

Last season he recorded career highs in games played (55), assists (15) and points (16), leaving a lasting mark on Montreal forward Aaron Palushaj:

Lee, who goes 6-foot-3, 205 pounds, finished third on the team with 127 hits last year.