NHL Free Agents: Shane Doan, Evander Kane and Other Pre-Lockout Signings
In the two days prior to the start of the NHL lockout, a number of teams made last-minute deals to sign players before the CBA expired.
Most were restricted free agents who were re-signed by their current team. Others, like Shane Doan, were unrestricted free agents who ended months of speculation by signing contracts.
However, there are still a number of players who remain unsigned, such as restricted free agent P.K. Subban and veteran unrestricted free agents Pavel Kubina and Jaroslav Spacek.
Those players may be waiting for months before they have another opportunity to sign an NHL contract.
With that in mind, here are important signings that did take place.
Shane Doan, Phoenix Coyotes
It took more than two months, but one of the best available unrestricted free agents finally re-signed with the only franchise he’s ever known, the Phoenix Coyotes.
Doan was selected seventh overall in the 1995 NHL entry draft by the Winnipeg Jets. Since moving with the team to Phoenix, Doan has become a fan favourite. In 16 seasons with the franchise, Doan has 318 goals and 470 assists for 788 points.
Alexandre Burrows, Vancouver Canucks
Burrows has been a consistent factor offensively for the Canucks, averaging more than 50 points a season since 2009. He also played a significant role in the Canucks' 2011 playoff run, with nine goals and eight assists in 25 games.
With Burrows signed, the Canucks now have a core group of players signed through 2013-14, including the Sedin twins, Ryan Kesler, David Booth, Kevin Bieksa, Dan Hamhuis and Keith Ballard.
Kari Lehtonen, Dallas Stars
The 28-year-old goaltender has played in 344 games with the Atlanta Thrashers and Dallas Stars. He has a 166-133-32 record, 21 shutouts, a .914 save percentage and a 2.71 goals against average.
The Stars added veteran forwards Jaromir Jagr and Ray Whitney this summer to help the team on offense. They, along with Lehtonen, will look to lead the Stars to their first playoff appearance since the 2008 season.
John Carlson, Washington Capitals
The 6'3" defenseman is known for scoring the game-winning goal in overtime for the U.S. to win the 2010 World Junior Hockey Championship. The goal ended Canada’s run of five straight gold medals.
Carlson has been an important part of the Capitals' blue line, appearing in all 82 games in each of the last two seasons.
Carlo Colaiacovo, Detroit Red Wings
Injuries plagued Colaiacovo throughout the early part of his NHL career. However, in the last four seasons with the St. Louis Blues, he’s managed to remain fairly healthy, appearing in more than 60 games each year.
Colaiacovo will help a depleted Red Wings' blue line that has to deal with the departures of Nicklas Lidstrom and Brad Stuart.
Milan Lucic, Boston Bruins
The 6'4", 220-pound power forward has been a key part of the Bruins' success over the past few years. He’s topped the 60-point mark in each of the last two seasons and had five goals and seven assists in the 2011 playoffs to help Boston win the Stanley Cup.
The Vancouver native is only 24 years old and should be expected to continue to improve offensively and physically.
Tyler Ennis, Buffalo Sabres
A first-round pick of the Sabres in 2008, Ennis has 38 goals and 54 assists in 140 career games. He’s also registered eight points in 13 playoff games.
At 5'9", 157 pounds, Ennis is far from the biggest player on the ice. However, he does have the skill to be an impact player in the NHL.
Cam Fowler, Anaheim Ducks
Fowler, a dual citizen, won the Memorial Cup with his hometown Windsor Spitfires in 2010 and also helped the U.S. win World Junior gold in the same year.
Fowler has 15 goals and 54 assists in 158 NHL games. Unfortunately he's also registered a plus/minus of minus-53 in that time.
With significant NHL experience already under his belt at age 20, Fowler should continue to improve.
Evander Kane, Winnipeg Jets
In one of the last signings prior to the lockout, Evander Kane and the Winnipeg Jets agreed to a six-year, $31.5 million contract. The deal ends months of speculation as to whether Kane wanted to remain with the franchise.
The 21-year-old was selected fourth overall in the 2009 NHL entry draft by the Atlanta Thrashers. He was a significant part of the Jets' offense last season, with 30 goals and 27 assists in 74 games. Kane also brings a physical aspect to the game. In fact, he finished with more than 170 hits last season.
Kane will continue to improve with age and should be expected to lead the Jets offensively for many years.
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