The Carolina Hurricanes organization made several personnel moves during the first day of operation before its players took their first strides on the ice to begin training camp at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C. on Sunday.
With the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and the ratification of a new 10-year Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) by both the National Hockey League (NHL) and the National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA) on Saturday, the league and its players were back in business.
The business of the NHL not only takes place on the ice, but off of it as well, and Carolina’s front office had a busy morning.
Boucher, Alt traded for Pither
The team dealt backup goaltender Brian Boucher and defensive prospect Mark Alt to the Philadelphia Flyers for minor-league center Luke Pither.
Pither, 23, has totaled 25 points (11g, 14a) and 18 penalty minutes in 35 games with Trenton and Wheeling of the ECHL this season, and has played two seasons with Adirondack in the AHL, scoring 30 points (11g, 19a) in 106 games.
Originally signed as a free agent with the Flyers on March 4, 2010, Pither had tallied 250 points (104g, 146a) in 307 games played during a five-year Ontario Hockey League (OHL) career with Kingston, Guelph, Belleville and Barrie.
Ellis signs one-year deal
Less than hour before camp was to begin on the ice at 1 p.m., the Hurricanes announced that it had come to terms with goaltender Dan Ellis, who had been playing in Charlotte since late September.
The deal will pay Ellis a prorated $650,000 for the 2012-13 season.
Originally an invitee to camp, the Hurricanes were secure in knowing that the veteran netminder, whose 8-7-2 record (2.46 gaa) and .922 save percentage in 18 games played this season with the Checkers, will fill the spot left open after trading Boucher away.
“Dan is an experienced netminder who has had good years in the NHL, and played well for Charlotte this season,” said Hurricanes President and General Manager Jim Rutherford.
“We feel it is important to have a veteran goalie to partner with Cam (Ward) during the compressed season.”
Ellis’ career numbers (72-57-15, 2.68 gaa) include 12 shutouts earned in 165 career NHL games played with Dallas, Nashville, Tampa Bay and Anaheim.
Originally selected by Dallas in the second round (60th overall) in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, Ellis has also appeared in seven career Stanley Cup playoff games, possessing a 2-5 record with a 2.87 goals-against average and .928 save percentage.
Stewart and picks exchanged for Westgarth
Not quite finished in making more roster changes for the day, just 11 minutes later, the Hurricanes sent out another trade announcement.
Carolina acquired forward Kevin Westgarth from the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings in exchange for forward Anthony Stewart, a 2013 fourth-round draft pick and a sixth-round selection in the 2014 draft.
Entering his seventh season in the NHL, Westgarth played 25 games with Los Angeles last season, scoring one goal, and earning one assist (2 points) while accumulating 39 penalty minutes.
“We were looking for a character, team guy who can play a gritty role for our team,” said Rutherford.
“Kevin is a good addition to fill that spot.”
Providing a substantial size presence on the ice (6’4”, 234 lbs), Westgarth had played 90 career NHL regular-season games with the Kings, earning five points (1g, 4a) while totaling 153 penalty minutes.
Originally signing with Los Angeles as a free agent on March 16, 2007, after four seasons playing at Princeton University, Westgarth appeared in all six of the Kings’ 2011 postseason games, recording two assists, 14 penalty minutes and a plus-2 rating.
In addition to his NHL experience, he has totaled 22 goals, 28 assists (50 points) and 580 penalty minutes in 224 AHL games played with Manchester.
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