Commodore brings act to Columbus with five-year deal

Updated: July 2, 2008, 12:57 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

The man who used to have the best hair in hockey was on the move again and this time the fans in Columbus are the richer for the arrival of defenseman Mike Commodore.

The Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, native was with Calgary when they advanced to the 2004 Stanley Cup final and then won a Cup in Carolina in 2006 so he knows the ins and outs of winning.

At 6-foot-5 the physical defender may help fill some of the void created when captain Adam Foote departed at the trade deadline last February. Commodore should love playing under Ken Hitchcock -- he'd better given that he signed a five-year deal worth $18.75 million.

-- ESPN.com's Scott Burnside

Habs agree with Kostitsyn
The Montreal Canadiens agreed to terms Tuesday with rising star Andrei Kostitsyn on a three-year, $9.75-million deal.

The restricted free-agent forward will receive $3.25 million per season.

Kostitsyn, a 23-year-old winger from Belarus, had 53 points (26-27) in 78 games last season.

He was selected by Montreal with the 10th overall pick in the 2003 draft.

-- The Associated Press

Wild ink pair
The Minnesota Wild acquired defenseman Marek Zidlicky from the Nashville Predators on Tuesday for forward Ryan Jones and a second-round pick in next year's draft.

The Wild also signed veteran left winger Andrew Brunette to a multiyear contract, bringing the hard-nosed forward back from the Colorado Avalanche for another tour in Minnesota. They signed Phoenix right wing Craig Weller as well.

Zidlicky, 31, spent four seasons with Nashville and had 175 points and 299 penalty minutes in 307 games. Last season, he led Predators defensemen in points and assists.

By bringing back Brunette, the Wild are adding a player who is popular among teammates and fans. He played three seasons in Minnesota from 2001-04 and ranks third on the franchise career list in assists, fifth in points and seventh in goals.

"Andrew is a consistent offensive performer and an excellent teammate who helped create the culture of our team," Risebrough said in a statement. "We are better, on the ice and in the dressing room, with him back. Not often do you get the chance to correct a mistake."

The 34-year-old Brunette had 19 goals and 40 assists last season with the Avalanche and has played in 453 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the NHL.

-- The Associated Press

Lalime to Sabres
Journeyman free-agent goaltender Patrick Lalime signed a two-year, $2 million contract with the Buffalo Sabres to become the team's primary backup behind Ryan Miller.

The signing was confirmed by Lalime's agent, Ian Pulver, on Tuesday, the first day of the NHL's free agency period. Lalime is a nine-year NHL veteran, who has spent the past two seasons with Chicago. Lalime had a 16-12-2-1 record with a 2.82 goals-against average in 30 appearances last season.

Pittsburgh's sixth-round pick in the 1993 draft, Lalime is most noted for being a four-year starter with Ottawa earlier this decade. The Sabres were intent on landing a veteran backup in free agency after electing not to re-sign Jocelyn Thibault.

Pulver said his client was eager to return to play in the East and added that Lalime is aware he'll be playing a backup role behind Miller, the Sabres starter for the past three seasons.

"Patrick had an excellent relationship with [Chicago Blackhawks goalie] Nikolai [Khabibulin] last year," Pulver said. "He's a team guy first, who wants the best for Ryan and the best for himself."

-- The Associated Press

Sens sign Auld
The Ottawa Senators signed goalie Alex Auld to a two-year, $2-million contract on Tuesday.

Auld, a 27-year-old native of Thunder Bay, Ontario, saw limited action last season with the Phoenix Coyotes and Boston Bruins, posting a 12-13-5 mark.

In 140 career NHL regular-season games with Phoenix, Boston, Florida and Vancouver, Auld is 58-57-18 with five shutouts, a 2.85 goals-against average and .903 save percentage.

-- The Associated Press

Wings sign Conklin
The Detroit Red Wings announced Tuesday that they have signed goalie Ty Conklin to a one-year deal.

Over the past three seasons, Ty Conklin has gone to the Stanley Cup finals twice as a back-up, with Edmonton in 2006 and this past season with Pittsburgh. Both times, his teams came up short.

Having signed a deal worth a reported $750,000, Conklin will now be looking to be on the right side of the Cup fence next spring. He was terrific in relief of Marc-Andre Fleury, posting a 18-8-5 record while Fleury was out with a high-ankle sprain midway through the season. His .923 save percentage in 33 games was second in the NHL.

Conklin will get a chance to play behind veteran netminder Chris Osgood, who split playing time the last few seasons with the recently retired (for good, one assumes) Dominik Hasek.

-- ESPN.com's Scott Burnside

Coyotes ink Sauer, Fedoruk
The Phoenix Coyotes signed free agents Todd Fedoruk and Kurt Sauer on Tuesday along with first-round draft picks Mikkel Boedker and Viktor Tikhonov.

Fedoruk, a 29-year-old left wing, was signed to a three-year deal while Sauer, a 27-year-old defenseman, got a four-year deal, said Coyotes general manager Don Maloney, who did not divulge financial terms.

Maloney said Boedker and Tikhonov -- both right wingers -- were signed to entry-level contracts.

Fedoruk had a career-high six goals last season when he played for the Dallas Stars and Minnesota Wild. He also had seven assists and 139 penalty minutes in a combined 69 games.

Sauer's signing filled a gap created when the Coyotes sent defensemen Keith Ballard and Nick Boynton to the Florida Panthers last month in a draft-day trade for center Olli Jokinen.

Sauer had one goal and five assists last season for the Colorado Avalanche.

-- The Associated Press

Flyers send D Gauthier to Kings, sign Metropolit
The Los Angeles Kings acquired veteran defenseman Denis Gauthier and a second-round pick in the 2010 draft from the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday for defenseman Patrik Hersley and forward Ned Lukacevic.

The Flyers also signed unrestricted free agent forwards Glen Metropolit and Nate Raduns, and defensemen Ossi Vaananen and Sean Curry.

Gauthier has played 489 NHL games over a nine-year career with the Flyers, Phoenix and Calgary, but he spent all of last season with Philadelphia's AHL affiliate. He had 18 points with the Philadelphia Phantoms.

Gauthier, Calgary's first-round pick in the 1995 draft, has 73 career points in the NHL.

Hersley played last season with the Manchester Monarchs (AHL) and the Reading Royals (ECHL). Lukacevic also played with the Royals.

Metropolit, 34, had 11 goals and 22 assists in 82 games with the Boston Bruins last season. He signed a two-year contract.

Raduns, 24, signed a one-year deal. He had 12 goals and 15 assists in 56 games with the Worcester Sharks of the AHL last year, his first professional season.

Vaananen, 27, who played in Sweden last year but previously played six seasons in the NHL, signed a one-year contract.

Curry, 26, signed for two years. He played for the AHL's Providence Bruins last season, leading the team's defensemen with 13 goals.

-- The Associated Press