(CBS) July 1 marks the opening day of NHL free agency, and the Chicago Blackhawks got off to an active start, signing four players pretty early on.
The team announced the signings of forwards Andrew Brunette, Jamal Mayers and Brett McLean, and defenseman Sean O’Donnell, all to one-year contracts.
Brunette, a Sudbury, Ontario, native, has spent time with the Washington Capitals (1995-98), Nashville Predators (1998-99), Atlanta Thrashers (1999-2001), Colorado Avalanche (2005-08) and Minnesota Wild (2001-04; 2008-11) during his 15-year NHL career.
“At this stage of my career, I just want an opportunity to have a chance to win a Stanley Cup and I felt this is as good as any club out there,” Brunette said. “The city obviously appeals to a lot of the guys in the National Hockey League, myself included. I just thought it would be a good fit.”
The 37-year-old veteran has racked up 256 goals and 450 assists in 1,032 games, he’s also appeared in 43 Stanley Cup Playoff games, recording 16 goals and 18 assists. TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports that Brunette’s contract is worth $2 million.
TSN’s Darren Dreger reports that Mayers’ contract is worth $550,000. Mayers, a forward who played for the San Jose Sharks last season, was a fourth round draft pick by the St. Louis Blues in 1993. He played 10 seasons in St. Louis before moving on to Toronto, Calgary and San Jose.
“I’m just going to try to bring energy and kill penalties and do the things that I’ve done for the most part of my career,” Mayers said. “I’m excited to do that and be reunited with a coaching staff that I’m familiar with.”
McLean played 78 games with the Blackhawks from 2002-2004, recording 11 goals, 20 assists and 54 penalty minutes. He’s also spent time with the Colorado Avalanche and the Florida Panthers. The 32-year-old played 50 games with Bern of the Swiss League last season, recording 10 goals, 17 assists and 22 penalty minutes.
According to Dreger, McLean signed a two-way contract that would pay him $525,000 if he’s in the NHL and $150,000 if he plays for the Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate.
O’Donnell, a 16-year veteran defenseman, played 81 games with the Philadelphia Flyers last season. He’s recorded 1,786 penalty minutes, 31 goals and 191 assists in his career. The Ottawa native, who helped the Anaheim Ducks capture the Stanley Cup in 2007, has appeared in 1,173 career regular-season contests.
“From the top all the way down, I think (the Blackhawks have) a very deep blue line.” O’Donnell said. “I played on a pretty good blue line last year in Philadelphia. I think you can put this one up against any team’s in the league. It’s fun to play on a team like that where the less time you can spend in your own end, the more time you’re down on the other team’s end.”
TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports that O’Donnell’s contract is worth $850,000.