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Empty Netter Assists - 07-05-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins

-Brian Gibbons (right) signed a one-year two-way contract with the Blue Jackets. Gibbons, 26, appeared in 41 games last season and scored 17 points (five goals, 12 assists).

-EN Says: Gibbons emerged as a pretty useful player last season but was pressed into duties above his abilities last season, especially when he was used on the top line. If his ice time is limited to a bottom-six role and on the penalty kill, Gibbons can be a contributor.

-"I feel we've improved ourselves at all positions." -  Jim Rutherford.

-Associate general manager Jason Botterill will take a different approach to restocking the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins' roster.

-Happy 29th birthday to former Penguins defenseman Alexandre Picard. A free agent signing last summer, Picard appeared in 17 NHL games last season and recorded four assists. After not being re-signed by the Penguins, he joined HC Lev Praha of Russia's KHL. This past season, Picard played for the Graz 99ers of Austria's EBEL.

-Happy 45th birthday to former Penguins forward John LeClair. An all-star with the rival Flyers, LeClair joined the Penguins as a free agent following the 2004-05 lockout. He appeared in 73 games in 2005-06 and recorded a respectable 51 points. After 21 games and seven points in 2006-07, LeClair was released in December. In 94 games with the Penguins, he scored 58 points.

Neapolitan Ice Cream Metropolitan Division

-The Blue Jackets re-signed restricted free agent defenseman David Savard to a two-year contract worth a total of $2.6 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $709,275, Savard's new deal will have a cap hit of $1.3 million. Appearing in 70 games last season, Savard, 23, scored 15 points (five goals, 10 assists).

-EN Says: Savard emerged as a legitimate NHL defenseman last season.  He's a solid puck mover who can quarterback a power play. He has solid size (6-foot-2, 219 pounds) but needs to work on his physical game. This is a fair contract.

-The Hurricanes signed former Flyers forward Ben Holmstrom to a one-year two-way contract.

-The Capitals signed former Coyotes forward Tim Kennedy and former Flyers forward Kris Newbury to one-year two-way contracts.

-The Flyers re-signed unrestricted free agent forward Chris VandeVelde to a one-year two-way contract.

Atlantic Division

-The Senators signed former Red Wings forward David Legwand to a two-year contract worth a total of $6 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $4.5 million Legwand's new deal will have a cap hit of $3 million. Appearing in 83 games last season, Legwand, 33, 51 points (14 goals, 37 assists).

-EN Says: The Senators needed a center to replace Jason Spezza who left via trade. Legwand is no Spezza in terms of offensive production and playmaking but Legwand is proabably a better two-way player. He gives Ottawa a legit top-six center. 

-The Lightning re-signed restricted free agent defenseman Andrej Sustr (right) to a one-year contract worth $874,125. Coming off an entry-level contract with a salary cap hit of $925,000, Sustr, 23, appeared in 43 games last season and scored eight points (one goal, seven assists).

-EN Says: Despite being pretty massive, Sustr (6-foot-8, 225 pounds) isn't a particularly physical player. He more relies on his long reach and good positioning to defend well and is a fairly decent passer. This is a depth signing.

Central Division

-The Predators re-signed unrestricted free agent defenseman Joe Piskula to a one-year two-way contract.

Pacific Division

-The Canucks re-signed restricted free agent defenseman Yannick Weber to a one-year contract worth $850,000. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $650,000, Weber, 25, appeared in 49 games last season and scored 10 points (six goals, four assists).

-EN Says: Weber is an offensive defenseman who has a good shot and can produce a bit on the power play. Beyond that, he doesn't offer much.

(Photos: Al Bello/Getty Images and Mike Carlson/Getty Images)

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