Teams rush to sign players ahead of looming lockout
Several teams rushed to sign players to new contracts on Friday with the current collective bargaining agreement set to expire on the weekend and the National Hockey League (NHL) threatening a lockout.
Phoenix Coyotes long-standing captain Shane Doan was the biggest name to ink a deal, the free-agent forward signing a four-year $21.2 million extension to remain in the desert with the financially troubled franchise owned by the NHL.
"I was drafted by this organization and it means a great deal to me to be able to play with the same franchise my entire career," Doan said on the team's website. "I'm very excited about our team, our coaching staff and our management and am confident about our future in Arizona.
"I chose to stay with the Coyotes because I am committed to winning here, not anywhere else and I love living and playing in the Valley."
Doan's deal includes a $2 million signing bonus that will provide the rugged forward with a cushion should the NHL lock out players if a new deal is not in place before the current pact expires at 12:01 a.m. EDT (0401 GMT) on Sunday.
Teams will not be able to make any signings or personnel moves until a new CBA is reached.
Taken with the seventh overall pick by the Winnipeg Jets in the 1995 NHL Draft, Doan has spent his entire career with the franchise, including its relocation to Phoenix in 1996.
In 16 seasons, Doan has scored 318 goals and 788 points. Last season the rugged winger had 22 goals and 26 assists in leading the Coyotes to their first playoff series win and an appearance in the Western Conference finals where they fell to eventual Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings.
Doan had been linked with a move to the Vancouver Canucks as the Coyotes attempted to sort out a messy ownership situation.
With Doan off the market, the Canucks announced they had signed left-winger Alex Burrows to a four-year, $18 million contract extension.
Burrows, who has spent his entire seven-year career in Vancouver, has been a reliable point producer scoring 139 goals and 270 points in 522 games.
The Dallas Stars solidified their netminding by signing Kari Lehtonen to five-year, $29.5 million contract extension making the Finn one of the NHL's highest paid goalkeepers at nearly $6 million a season.
"Kari Lehtonen has worked extremely hard in his time with the Dallas Stars to establish himself as an elite goaltender in the NHL," Stars general manager Joe Nieuwendyk said in a statement.
"We believe that his best days as a goaltender are ahead and that his work ethic and leadership will help guide this team into a perennial Stanley Cup contender."
Taken second overall by Atlanta in the 2002 NHL draft, Lehtonen spent five seasons with the Thrashers before being traded to Dallas in 2010.
In 344 career games, the 28-year-old netminder has a record of 166-133-32 with 21 shutouts and a 2.71 goals against average.
The Washington Capitals re-signed 22-year-old defenseman John Carlson to a six-year $23.8 million deal.
Carlson, taken in the first round of the 2008 draft by Washington, recorded 32 points last season and a career-high nine goals.
Trying to fill a hole on their blueline left by the retirement of All-Star defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom, the Detroit Red Wings signed free agent Carlo Colaiacovo to a two-year deal.
In nine seasons split between the Toronto Maple Leafs and St. Louis Blues, Colaiacovo has 30 goals and 139 points.
Detroit also re-signed forward Justin Abdelkader to a four-year extension.
(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Frank Pingue)