Southeast Division Notebook: Week of July 18-25
While it seems following the initial weeks of free agency that things have slowed a bit around the league, several clubs are still working diligently to improve their rosters for the upcoming season. Here’s a look back at the past week and all the happenings within the Southeast Division.
Tampa Bay Lightning…
While things have been quiet on the hockey side throughout the past seven days, off the ice, the Bolts did unveil the team’s official 20th Anniversary site, located at www.20yearsofthunder.com, where fans can cast their vote for their favorite moments in franchise history.
Once logged on, fans will encounter a fully interactive and social media friendly experience in which they will be able to scroll a timeline that will span the Lightning’s franchise history, starting in 1990 with the founding of the team to present day. By clicking on each moment, fans can view details on each moment including video of the event, comments from team personalities and alumni, photos and more. The voting results for the top 20 moments will be used during the upcoming 2012-13 season. They will be featured across all Lightning platforms and celebrated throughout the year, allowing fan voting to dictate what the team recognizes during the season.
As has been the case with the most of the summer, Carolina continues to cement its roster and organizational depth with a number of key offseason transactions.
Last week, the Canes signed former Lightning forward Tim Wallace, who played in 18 games with the Lightning last season, recording three goals and five assists after being claimed off waivers by Tampa Bay on Feb. 23.
Carolina also agreed to terms with Jerome Samson, who has scored at least 20 goals in all five of his AHL seasons. Samson, 24, split the 2011-12 season between the Hurricanes and the team’s top minor-league affiliate, the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers.
Drafted by Carolina in the third round, 72nd overall, in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, Drayson Bowman signed a two-year deal with the Hurricanes on Monday. He split the 2011-12 season between Carolina and the Hurricanes’ AHL affiliate Charlotte Checkers. With the Hurricanes, Bowman established NHL career highs in goals (6), assists (7), points (13) and games played (37), earning the majority of his NHL playing time in the second half of the season.
AHL Charlotte’s leading goal scorer last season, Zach Boychuk, signed a one-year deal earlier in the week as well. Selected by the Hurricanes in the first round, 14th overall, in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, Boychuk has scored seven goals and earned 11 assists in 72 career NHL games. He split last season between Carolina and the team’s AHL affiliate, leading the Checkers with 21 goals.
Lastly, wrapping up the action of the week, Carolina signed defenseman Jay Harrison to a three-year deal. Last season, Harrison established career highs in goals (9), assists (14) and points (23) in 72 games played.UPDATE AS OF JULY 27: In perhaps one of the biggest moves of the offseason thus far, Carolina agreed to terms with high-scoring winger Alex Semin on a one-year deal. Semin, 28, completed his seventh NHL season in 2011-12, ranking second among Washington Capitals skaters in goals (21), assists (33) and points (54), and tied for fourth in plus/minus (+9).
The Krasnoyarsk, Russia, native earned three goals and one assist (4 points) in 14 Stanley Cup playoff games for the Capitals, as Washington topped Boston in the first round before falling to the New York Rangers in seven games. Following the playoffs, he joined Russia at the 2012 IIHF World Championship, tallying five points (2g, 3a) in three games, including two goals and one assist during Russia’s gold-medal game victory.
Selected by Washington in the first round, 13th overall, of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, Semin has totaled 197 goals, 211 assists (408 points) and 450 penalty minutes in 469 career regular-season games with the Capitals. He is one of 18 NHL players to have averaged 30 goals or more per year over the last six seasons, with 187 total goals in that period of time.
Semin netted his 197th career goal on April 5 against Florida, moving into fifth place on Washington’s all-time goal-scoring list. He has a career plus/minus rating of plus-65, and his plus-92 rating over the last four seasons ranks fifth among all NHL players.
Earlier in the week, the Bolts’ in-state rivals down south acquired forward Casey Wellman from the New York Rangers in exchange for Florida’s fifth round selection in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.
Wellman, 24, has played in 41 career NHL contests, all with Minnesota (2009-2012), registering four goals and 13 points. He appeared in 14 games with the Wild last year recording a pair of goals to go along with five assists before being traded to New York on Feb. 3.
The team also signed forward Kris Versteeg to a four-year contract after the winger recorded career bests in goals (23) and points (54) while playing in 71 games for the Panthers last season. He set a Florida franchise record tallying 25 points (11-14-25) in his first 20 games played with the Panthers, including recording his first career hat trick on Nov. 10 at Winnipeg. Versteeg played in all seven of Florida’s post season contests recording three goals with two assists.
Versteeg was acquired from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for a conditional second round draft pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, as well as a third round selection in the 2012 draft.
Following the big news last week regarding the re-signing of defenseman Mike Green, the Capitals made some moves behind the bench that involved two new individuals being named to assistant coaching positions.
Calle Johansson, who holds the record for the most games played as a Washington Capital, was announced as the Caps’ new assistant last week. He appeared in 983 games with Washington and holds franchise records for points (474) and assists (361) by a defenseman and ranks third in goals (113) all-time.
Joining Johansson is another former NHLer, Tim Hunter.
Hunter played 16 seasons from 1981-1997 for Calgary, Quebec, Vancouver and San Jose, and won a Stanley Cup in 1989 when he was a member of the Calgary Flames.
Hunter, 51, has coached 1,041 games in an assistant role during his 13-season NHL coaching career. The former Stanley Cup winner was an assistant coach under Ron Wilson in all 13 previous seasons, including five years behind the Washington bench from 1997-2002. Hunter helped the Capitals reach the Stanley Cup final in 1998.
In a minor move, Washington signed forward Tom Wilson to a three-year, entry-level contract.
Wilson, 18, was drafted in the first round, 16th overall, by the Capitals in the 2012 NHL Draft in Pittsburgh.
Last season he collected nine goals and 27 points to go along with 141 penalty minutes in 49 games with the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) and added 13 points (seven goals, six assists) in 13 OHL playoff games.
In the only action of the week coming out of Winnipeg, the Jets announced they agreed to terms with forward Maxime Macenauer on a new contract.
Macenauer, 23, played in nine games with the St. John’s IceCaps last season where he recorded one assist. He also suited up for 10 Calder Cup Playoff games with the IceCaps where he scored one goal. He began the season with the Syracuse Crunch where he played 13 games for four goals and six points and two penalty minutes.