Andrighetto signs with Habs

Sven Andrighetto, drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in the third round of the 2013 draft, has signed a three-year entry-level deal that will see him suiting up for the Bulldogs next season.

Andrighetto is coming off two years in the QMJHL with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies where the 20-year-old forward put up 30+ goals in back to back years. In 2011-12, Andrighetto tallied 36 goals and 38 assists in 62 games in the ‘Q’, and followed that up with a 31 goals, 67 assist performance in 53 games the following year.

A member of the Swiss national team at the junior level, Andrighetto played in six games for the red and white and scored five goals, adding three assists.

The contract, which due to entry-level deal standards is a two-way pact, will see Andrighetto out of the ‘Q’ and into a Bulldogs uniform to start the season.


Canes bring back Jordan and Murphy, add Palushaj

The Carolina Hurricanes announced today they have come to terms on deals with defenceman Michal Jordan, goaltender Mike Murphy, and forward Aaron Palushaj.

Drafted in the fourth round of the 2008 draft, Jordan comes back to the ‘Canes for another season after spending the last three years with the organization. In his three seasons, the 22-year-old has played in 197 AHL games and five with the big club.

A native of Czech Republic, Jordan came to the Charlotte Checkers in 2010 and suited up for 67 games that season. In his rookie campaign, the young blueliner had four goals and 18 assists, and had improved on those totals each season. Back with the Checkers in the 2011-12 campaign, Jordan was able to muster another four goals and added 18 assists in 76 games. He didn’t appear in the NHL until last year when, after the lockout came to an end, he appeared in five games with the Hurricanes. Over 54 games in the ‘A’ last year, Jordan set a career high with six goals, and added an assist in the only playoff game he suited up for.

Murphy, 24, is four years removed from winning his second straight OHL Goaltender of the Year award. During his tenure in the with the Belleville Bulls — spanning from 2005-06 to 2008-09 — Murphy dominated. In back-to-back seasons, Murphy lead the league in SV%, GAA, and was named a first-team all-star in 2008-09.

In the AHL, Murphy has backstopped the Checkers for 47 games, including 39 contests in 2010-11 where the keeper posted a regular season GAA  of 2.53 and .919 SV%. In 14 playoff games, Murphy continued his stellar play with a 2.57 GAA and .919 SV%. Those totals, the best of his career, came two years before he left the team for a stint in the KHL with Spartak Moscow. Used sparingly in Moscow, Murphy left the KHL and came back to Charlotte, and has now re-signed with the organization for 2013-14.

Palushaj, who most will recognize from his days with the Hamilton Bulldogs and Montreal Canadiens, played 25 games in the NHL last season with Colorado. Claimed by the Avalanche in February of the 2012-13 season, Palushaj recorded two goals and seven assists with the team before his contract expired this off-season. Not tendered a qualifying offer, Palushaj hit free agency and, in turn, signed on with the Hurricanes.

At 23, Palushaj has been tremendous at the AHL level, putting up 54 goals and 82 assists for 136 points over 190 career games in the league.

All three contracts are one-year, two-way deals.


Gabriel Dumont back in Montreal

Gabriel Dumont’s development looks to be right on track, and the former QMJHL all-star has gotten a reward in the form of a two-year, two-way NHL deal with the Montreal Canadiens.

Dumont, a former alternate captain with the Drummondville Voltigeurs, has spent the last three seasons — save for 13 NHL appearances — in the AHL with the Hamilton Bulldogs, and if his numbers keep climbing, it may only be a matter of time before he finds himself spending more time in Quebec.

The one-time 50 goal man in the QMJHL, Dumont has shown growth offensively over his tenure in the AHL. After an 18 point rookie campaign (11-14), the 5’9″ forward bested it in his sophomore season when he scored 13 goals and added 11 helpers.

During the 2011-12 season, Dumont found his way to the big leagues, playing three games with the Canadiens. Last season, though lockout shortened, saw Dumont get the call in another 10 NHL games, where he would tally his first NHL goal and register two assists. What stands out, however, is how he continues to build his game offensively.

After his 2011-12 seasons saw him rack up 24 points in 59 games, 2012-13 saw Dumont put up 31 points (16-15) in just 55 contests, earning Dumont a spot on the AHL all-star roster.

Dumont, 22 years old and a fifth round pick of the Canadiens in 2009, will be paid $550,000 at the NHL level in 2013-14, and it will rise to $575,000 in 2014-15. The AHL terms are $105,000 in year one, $125,000 in year two.

Bulldogs sign two-time Memorial Cup Champion Macauly

The Hamilton Bulldogs announced today that they have signed free agent forward Stephen Macaulay to a one-year, AHL contract.

Macaulay, who spent last season split between the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs and Halifax Mooseheads, is the former alternate captain of the Sea Dogs, and was part of three consecutive QMJHL Championship teams from 2010-11 to 2012-13.

Drafted in the sixth round of the 2010 draft by the St. Louis Blues, Macaulay never signed on to play in Missouri, and became a free agent.

Over his QMJHL career, Macaulay was never an extremely prolific playmaker or goal scorer, but he will contribute a solid two-way game to the Bulldogs next season. Over his 280-game QMJHL career, the 21-year-old tallied 71 goals and 84 assists, and won the Memorial Cup twice.

This past season, Macaulay — along with 2013 top picks Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin — helped the Halifax Mooseheads win their first Memorial Cup. During the run to their first championship, Macaulay helped out to the tune of eight goals and 12 assists in 16 games, playing primarily in the middle of the lineup.


St. Denis leaves Bulldogs for Falcons

After four seasons in the Montreal Canadiens organization, Frederic St. Denis has signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Unable to crack the Canadiens roster for more than 17 games, St. Denis goes to Columbus where an extended stint in the bigs could be a possibility. At 27 years old, the 5’11” defenceman is entering into his prime, but is coming off of a season in which his point production fell off.

In 63 games with the Hamilton Bulldogs last season, St. Denis only managed 18 points (7-11), a drop in production from his 28 points (3-25) in 58 games the year prior. A veteran of nearly 300 games in the ‘A’, St. Denis brings an effective two-way game to the rink, but he’s not a lock to make the jump into the NHL with the Jackets.

In his career, St. Denis has scored 19 goals and 69 assists, producing at .33 points per game at the AHL level.

The contract in Columbus is a one-year, two-way deal.

Report: Yonkman, Stortini sign with Ducks

According to RDS, Nolan Yonkman and Zack Stortini have signed two-year deals with the Anaheim Ducks.

Yonkman, a 12-year AHL veteran, has spent the last three seasons in the Florida Panthers organization, captaining the San Antonio Rampage for the last two campaigns. At 6’6″, 251 lbs., Yonkman’s a towering force on the blue line and isn’t afraid to drop the gloves.

The 32-year-old vet has played over 600 games in the AHL, but he shouldn’t be expected to show up too often on the score sheet. Through his career, Yonkman has only scored 16 goals and added 63 assists. Seventy-nine points in 601 career regular season games doesn’t make Yonkman an offensive force, but it’s his understanding of the game and the efficient use of his size that will make him an attribute for the Norfolk Admirals.

Stortini, 27, comes to Anaheim from a season spent in the Canadiens organization last year. While with the Bulldogs, Stortini suited up for 73 games, amassing 241 PIM. With all that time spent in the box, it’s no wonder Stortini contributed only two goals and four assists — his hands aren’t necessarily used for scoring.

With Montreal’s signing of Nick Tarnasky, Stortini became expendable, and will help fill a hole on the Admirals roster. While he may be playing third or fourth line minutes in Norfolk, Stortini will still bring a veteran voice to the locker room and help guide Anaheim’s youngsters.

RDS reported that both deals are two-way contracts.

Habs add toughness, star power to AHL ranks

The Montreal Canadiens have signed two players who will hurt you in entirely different ways.

It was announced yesterday that the Canadiens have inked forward Martin St. Pierre, an AHL all-star forward and elite minor league player, and Nick Tarnasky, a feared pugilist.

St. Pierre, who will come to Hamilton by way of Rockford, had, by his standards, a down year last season. The 29-year-old, who is a point per game player in his AHL career, scored 26 goals and had 33 assists in 76 games last season, but one can only think those numbers are due for a bit of a boost. Throughout his AHL career, St. Pierre had never posted less than 60 points, and it would be remiss to think he will see another down season. While St. Pierre is at the tail end of his prime, the Bulldogs will get a player who put up 99 points (27-72) in 65 games in 2006-07 with the Norfolk Admirals.

The Ottawa, Ont. native is a three time all-star, and has won an OHL Championship and Austrian Championship in his career.

Tarnasky, for better or worse, is likely going to spend more than his fair share of time in the penalty box. At 6’2″ and 231 lbs., Tarnasky is always willing to drop the gloves.

In 2012-13, as a member of the Rochester Americans, Tarnasky had 138 PIM in 74 games. While he did contribute on the scoresheet last season — he had 16 goals and 10 assists — it was a career high, and numbers that shouldn’t be expected from the 28-year-old.

Both St. Pierre and Tarnasky signed one-year two-way deals and will start the season with the Hamilton Bulldogs.

Parros trade sends Lefebvre to Rampage

The Montreal Canadiens filled a need for some toughness up front, and sent AHL/ECHL forward Philippe Lefebvre back the other way.

Lefebvre, 22, was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Montreal Canadiens in September 2009, and has since had stints with Montreal affiliates the Hamilton Bulldogs and the ECHL’s Wheeling Nailers.

While with the Bulldogs, Lefebvre was good for 18 points (9-9) over 92 games.

A second overall pick in the 2007 QMJHL entry draft, Lefebvre’s development hasn’t exactly gone the way many would have expected, but the Trois-Rivieres, Que., product looks to be slowly putting together a career. Not the elite scorer that some would have projected him to be, Lefebvre is still early in what could be a very long career. If he continues to develop, he could find himself a spot up front for the Rampage and, possibly, the Panthers a few years down the road.

Along with Lefebvre, Florida also acquired a seventh-round draft pick in 2014.