Monday, July 03, 2006

Guerin to St. Louis; Witt to the Island; Rucchin to Atlanta; Aaron Ward newest Ranger

ST. LOUIS (Ticker) - The St. Louis Blues are expediting their rebuilding process.
The Blues continued their free-agent frenzy Monday night, signing veteran right wing Bill Guerin.
Terms were not disclosed.
After struggling to a 21-46-15 record last season en route to missing the playoffs for the first time since 1979, the Blues have been busy since the free-agent signing period began Saturday.
Guerin, who had his contract bought out by the Dallas Stars on Thursday, joins defenseman Jay McKee, center Doug Weight and right wing Dan Hinote as players that have signed with the Blues. Captain Dallas Drake also was re-signed and coach Mike Kitchen inked an extension.

UNIONDALE, N.Y. (CP) - Defenceman Brendan Witt has found a new home for at least the next three years.
Witt agreed to a three-year contract with the New York Islanders, the club announced Monday. ''From the beginning, the Islanders were at the top of the list of teams I wanted to sign with,'' Witt said in a statement. ''This is a franchise with an incredible tradition and I'm excited to be part of the new era on Long Island. I appreciate the faith Neil Smith has put in me and I'm looking forward to being coached by Ted Nolan.
''We're going to be a team that Islander fans can be proud of.''
Witt, 31, had a goal and 13 assists in 72 games with Nashville and Washington last season. The six-foot-two, 220-pound rearguard had only played for Washington before a mid-season deal landed him with the Predators.

The Atlanta Thrashers have signed unrestricted free agent centre Steve Rucchin.
The deal is over three years that will see Rucchin paid $1.85 million in the first season, $2.4 million in the second and $4.25 million in the final year of the deal.
"Steve is a proven veteran with a versatile skill-set that will complement any combination of our wingers, said Thrashers general manager Don Waddell. "He possesses solid offensive skills, is strong on face-offs and brings additional character and leadership to our line-up."
Rucchin, 34, has recorded 468 points in 688 NHL games in 11 seasons with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks and New York Rangers. He has recorded 50-or-more points in a season five times and has scored 20-or-more goals on three occasions. In 37 NHL playoff games with the Mighty Ducks and Rangers, he has recorded 17 points.
The 6-3, 215-pound center played in 72 games for the Rangers in 2005-06, his lone season with the team, recording 36 points.
New York, NY -- New York Rangers have agreed to terms on a two-year, $5.5 million contract with free agent defenceman Aaron Ward.
The 6-2, 225-pounder appeared in 71 games with the Stanley Cup Champion Carolina Hurricanes last season, registering a career-high 25 points. Ward also led the team and tied for 13th in the league with 164 blocked shots.
In 25 postseason contests, Ward notched five points, along with 18 penalty minutes, helping the Hurricanes capture the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history.
"Aaron is another proven winner joining our lineup, having won three Stanley Cup Championships", said Rangers general manager Glen Sather. “He brings leadership and experience to our team and adds a competitive edge to our defensive corps.”
A member of three Stanley Cup championship teams, Ward has skated in 552 career NHL games with the Detroit Red Wings and Carolina Hurricanes, registering 99 points and with 501 penalty minutes. He has also appeared in 78 career playoff games.
Ward was originally the Winnipeg Jets' first round choice, 5th overall, in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft.

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