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Monday, July 14, 2003
Veteran defenseman signs one-year deal

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Dallas Stars: Longtime Boston Bruin Don Sweeney signed a one-year deal Monday with the Stars, who were in need of a defenseman after losing captain Derian Hatcher in free agency.

Sweeney had played his entire 15-year NHL career with the Bruins, breaking during the 1988-89 season. He has 52 goals, 210 assists in 1,052 career games. He also has played more than 100 postseason games.

Sweeney will "bring stability and depth to our defensive unit,'' Stars general manager Doug Armstrong said. "He strengthens our hockey club and will provide a veteran presence in our locker room.''

Sweeney, 36, will replace Hatcher in the rotation but won't directly take over his role. Hatcher signed with the Detroit Red Wings.

Last season, Sweeney had three goals and five assists in 67 games. Though he formed the nucleus of the Bruins' defense with Ray Bourque for years, he became a free agent when Boston did not offer him a contract for next season.

Boston Bruins: The team re-signed forward P.J. Axelsson to a two-year contract.

Axelsson has 57 goals and 96 assists in six NHL seasons. Last season was his most productive, with 17 goals and 19 assists -- both career highs -- despite missing 16 games because of injury.

"P.J. has been a very valuable asset to the team over the past few seasons," general manager Mike O'Connell said. "He is a versatile, tenacious forward who is excellent defensively, while his offensive contributions have steadily increased, as well."

Axelsson, drafted by the Bruins in 1995, played four seasons for Frolunda Goteborg of the Swedish Elite League before coming to Boston for the 1997-98 season.

In 29 playoff games, Axelsson has four goals and two assists.

Nashville Predators, Washington Capitals make trade: The Predators acquired forward Mike Farrell from the Capitals for defenseman Alexander Riazantsev.

Farrell appeared in four games with Washington last season. He had 12 goals and 12 assists with 107 penalty minutes in 68 games last year with Portland of the AHL.

Riazantsev appeared in 71 games last season for Hershey and Milwaukee of the AHL, with eight goals and 14 assists. He was acquired in March from Colorado for a seventh-round draft choice in this year's draft.

  • Also Monday, the Predators signed unrestricted free-agent forward Ben Simon. Simon had one assist in 10 games with Atlanta last season, plus 32 points in 69 games for Chicago of the AHL. Simon was a fifth-round selection of the Chicago Blackhawks in 1997.

    Buffalo Sabres: The team signed unrestricted free-agent defenseman Joel Bouchard to a one-year contract Monday.

    Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

    Bouchard has played for seven teams in the last five years. Last season, he split time with the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh, and was part of the trade that sent Penguins forward Alexei Kovalev to the Rangers.

    Bouchard had five goals and seven assists in 27 games with the Rangers. He appeared in seven games for the Penguins, recording one assist.

    "He's an excellent skater, he's got offensive skills and gives us additional depth on the blue line,'' Sabres general manager Darcy Regier said.

    New York Islanders: Defenseman Radek Martinek re-signed with Islanders on Monday.

    Financial terms of the two-year deal were not disclosed.

    Martinek, a restricted free agent, had two goals and 11 assists in 66 games last season.

    With the signing, the Islanders' top seven defensemen from a year ago are returning. The others are Roman Hamrlik, Kenny Jonsson, Adrian Aucoin, Mattias Timander, Eric Cairns and Janne Niinimaa.

    Phoenix Coyotes: The team signed 19-year-old Czech center Jakub Koreis to a multiyear contract. Koreis was Phoenix's top pick, and the 19th selection overall, in the 2002 NHL entry draft.

    Koreis played 23 games for Plzen in the Czech Republic's elite league last season. He had a goal and six assists.

    He also played for the Czech Republic at the 2003 world junior hockey championships in Nova Scotia.

    Terms of the contract were not revealed.

    Vancouver Canucks: Kiril Koltsov, Vancouver's second-round draft pick in 2002, signed the Canucks on Monday.

    Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

    The Russian defenseman had four goals and eight assists in 45 games with Omsk Avangard of the Russia Senior League last season. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Koltsov was Vancouver s first selection in the 2002 Entry Draft, the 49th overall pick.

    Carolina Hurricanes: The team signed defenseman Allan Rourke to a one-year deal on Monday.

    The Hurricanes acquired Rourke from Toronto on May 29 for forward Harold Druken and minor-league center Jeff Daw.

    Rourke had 12 goals and 19 assists in 65 games last season with the St. John's Maple Leafs of the American Hockey League. He has yet to play in the NHL.