Denis, Vyborny get multiyear contracts

Originally Published: September 14, 2004 news services

Columbus Blue Jackets:: The Jackets signed goaltender Marc Denis and right wing David Vyborny to multiyear contracts Tuesday and also picked defenseman Francois Beauchemin off waivers from the Montreal Canadiens.

Denis has been the team's top goaltender for the past 2 seasons, going 21-36-7 last year with a 2.56 goals-against average. Denis, a 27-year-old Montreal native, began his career with the Colorado Avalanche as a backup to Patrick Roy before he was picked up in a trade before the Blue Jackets' inaugural season.

A year ago, his .918 save percentage and five shutouts were the best marks of his 5-year NHL career. He held the league record for minutes played in a season (4,511 in 2002-03) before it was broken last season by New Jersey's Martin Brodeur (4,555).

Vyborny, 29, is coming off the best season of his 4-year NHL career, ranking second on the Blue Jackets in goals (22) and points (53) in 82 games. A native of the Czech Republic, Vyborny made his NHL debut with the Blue Jackets during their first season in 2000-01.

Beauchemin, 24, is entering his fifth pro season after having spent the previous four in the Canadiens' minor league system. A third-round draft choice by the Canadiens in 1998, he has appeared in 264 AHL games with Quebec and Hamilton, and one NHL game with Montreal.

Phoenix Coyotes: Eight players were assigned to the Utah Grizzlies, making a total of 20 assigned to the American Hockey League team in two days.

Defensemen Keith Ballard, Joe Callahan and Dustin Wood and forwards Randall Gelech, Jakub Koreis, Kiel McLeod, Lance Monych and Mike Stutzel were sent down to the Coyotes' new AHL affiliate, which opens its training camp on Sept. 29 in Salt Lake City.

The Coyotes also returned 10 prospects to their junior or university teams.

Buffalo Sabres: Forward Andrew Peters re-signed with the Sabres.

Peters, who was a restricted free agent, is coming off his rookie season in which he had 151 penalty minutes, second highest among first-year players and 17th in the NHL. He also added two goals in 42 games.

Buffalo's second-round pick in the 1998 draft, Peters made $350,000 last season.

The Sabres have yet to re-sign goaltending prospect Ryan Miller, who remains a restricted free agent after rejecting the team's qualifying offer.

Florida Panthers: Christian Berglund signed a one-year deal and 2003 draft pick Kamil Kreps signed on Tuesday.

Berglund had three goals and an assist in 10 games for the Panthers last season after he was acquired from the New Jersey Devils in a three-player trade. He had five goals and four assists in 33 games combined with the Devils and Panthers last season.

Kreps played in 57 games with Brampton of the OHL last season, getting 19 goals and 27 assists. He was Florida's second-round choice, the 38th overall selection, in the 2003 NHL draft.

Minnesota Wild: Defenseman Nick Schultz re-signed to a one-year contract.

Schultz established career highs in games played (79), goals (six), assists (10), points (16), shots (72) and plus-minus rating (+12) last season. He tied for first on the club in plus-minus and was second among defensemen in goals.

Schultz, 22, has played in 206 NHL games, all with the Wild, and has 36 points (13 goals, 23 assists) and 53 penalty minutes. He was drafted 33rd overall in the second round of the 2000 draft.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Schultz made $600,000 each of the past two seasons.

Information from The Associated Press and SportsTicker was used in this report.