NHL NEWS: LEHTONEN EXTENDS; COLAIACOVO & ABDELKADER SIGN; A.KOSTITSYN POSSIBLY HEADED TO KHL
All news as per TSN.
The Dallas Stars have signed star goalie Kari Lehtonen to a 5 year contract extension, worth $5.9m per season. Lehtonen was a high draft pick (2nd Overall in 2002) by Atlanta, and whilst everybody could see his talent, injuries seemed to take their toll on the Finn, now 28. However, a trade in 2010 to the Dallas Stars has appeared to turn his career around, as he has posted some pretty good numbers the last couple of years. I’m not convinced he’s a $6m goalie exactly, more like $4.5-$5m, in my opinion, but he’s still definitely a number 1 goalie and good on the Stars for deciding to keep him around. He’s still relatively young for a goalie and there’s time for him to get even better.
As has been expected for a while, the Detroit Red Wings have signed free agent defender Carlo Colaiacovo to a 2 year, reportedly $2.5m per season deal. Detroit has needed to shore up their defence ever since career-Red Wing and perennial superstar d-man Nick Lidstrom announced his retirement earlier in the year. Colaiacovo certainly won’t replace him, no-one can, but he is a capable blue-liner and will give the Wings some more depth. Hopefully he can stay healthy enough to contribute. Also, the Wings announced they have re-signed 25 year old Justin Abdelkader, a former 2nd round pick of the Wings in 2005, to a 4 year extension. The terms have not been announced. Abdelkader is a bottom-six forward, but had his best year in terms of scoring this past season, and hopefully will be able to take another step forward this coming year. A capable depth player.
Reports out of Russia suggest that controversial Belarussian forward Andrei Kostitsyn has signed a 1 year deal to play in the KHL for Traktor Chelyabinsk. The former 10th Overall Pick in the 2003 draft was something of a mystery, supremely talented but never really putting it all together either Montreal or Nashville, where he was suspended in the playoffs along with Alex Radulov for apparently missing curfew. He was also known for getting into trouble in Montreal with his brother Sergei, who was moved to Nashville before Andrei was and seems to have found his way a little more than his older brother. Not sure if this is the end for Andrei in the NHL, or if it’s just due to the lockout. We will see.