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NHL roundup: Training camps open; Canadiens send Gomez home

The SportsXchange

Training camps opened for NHL teams on Sunday, leading to a flurry of activity regarding signings, minor trades and player assignments.

--The Montreal Canadiens intend to buy out the contract of Scott Gomez, and they sent the center home Sunday.

By doing that, the team will remove his $7.36 million salary-cap hit from the payroll.

General manager Marc Bergevin told reporters that Gomez won't be allowed to play in any other league, because if he were to suffer a long-term injury, the team couldn't use one of its two compliance buyouts next summer to remove his cap hit.

--New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello said forward Ilya Kovalchuk will be back in the United States on Tuesday, and he's expected to be on the ice Wednesday.

Kovalchuk is traveling back from Russia, where he played in the KHL All-Star Game on Sunday, and he will not be fined for his absence. Lamoriello said Kovalchuk did not violate the terms of his contract by missing three days of training camp.

--Maligned Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo said he's ready to go if general manager Mike Gillis still wants to part with the 33-year-old.

Gillis said the team isn't rushing into trade discussions but has fielded multiple offers. As of Sunday, Gillis said Luongo would be part of the Canucks unless trade offers improve.

--New York Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto has agreed to a new contract with the team, according to a TSN report.

Del Zotto, 22, would become the first restricted free agent to sign under new collective bargaining agreement, which went into effect Saturday.

--Boston goaltender Tim Thomas still intends to skip this season, but Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli told reporters that Thomas wants to return in 2013-14.

Chiarelli said that the two-time Vezina Trophy winner won't be in training camp or play this season. Thomas, 38, is signed through this season.

--The Philadelphia Flyers signed free agent defenseman Kurtis Forster to a one-year deal and also traded minor-leaguer Luke Pither for Carolina Hurricanes backup goalie Brian Boucher. The Flyers also obtained prospect Mark Alt in the deal.

Boucher will return to the Flyers after two previous stops with the team, the last from 2009 to 2011. Forster, 31, has played in 382 games over 11 seasons, he has 41 goals, 114 assists and 283 penalty minutes.

Also, the Flyers called up Braydon Schenn, Eric Wellwood, Sean Couturier, Tye McGinn and Zac Rinaldo from their AHL team.

--Meanwhile, the Flyers aren't expecting captain Chris Pronger to return in the near future.

Concussion symptoms have sidelined Pronger since November 2011. And though he reported for the first day of training camp on Sunday, Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said Pronger was scheduled to see his doctor.

When does Holmgren expect Pronger to be able to play again?

"Down the road? I guess you could say slight chance," Holmgren said in an NHL.com report. "But I'd probably classify it as highly unlikely. Nothing's changed."

--The New York Islanders signed veteran defenseman Radek Martinek to a one-year deal. Martinek returns to the team that drafted him in 1999. Last season, he played in just seven games because of a concussion and had one point for the Columbus Blue Jackets.

In other moves, the Islanders recalled Casey Cizikas, Travis Hamonic, Jon Landry, Colin McDonald, David Ullstrom and Ty Wishart from Bridgeport of the American Hockey League. They also called up Canadian-based minor-leaguers Griffin Reinhart and Ryan Strome.

--The Hurricanes acquired forward Kevin Westgarth from the Los Angeles Kings in a trade for forward Anthony Stewart and two draft picks.

The Hurricanes gave the Kings a fourth-round pick in 2013 and a sixth-round pick in 2014 as part of the deal.

Westgarth, 28, had a goal, an assist and 39 penalty minutes in 25 games for the Kings last season. Stewart, 28, produced nine goals and 11 assists with 30 penalty minutes for Carolina last season.

--Veteran center Jochen Hecht has reached agreement with the Buffalo Sabre on a one-year contract, the team announced.

Hecht, 35, ranks 20th in Sabres history in games played, goals and points. He has 133 goals and 198 points in 566 regular-season games with Buffalo.

The one-year deal is believed to be worth $1 million.

--Defenseman Cam Barker signed a contract with the Canucks. The team did not disclose financial terms, but reports indicated it was a one-year, $700,000 deal.

Barker, 26, played in 25 games for the Edmonton Oilers last season and had one goal and an assist.

--The New York Rangers signed defenseman Matt Gilroy to a one-year contract, and the New York Post reported the deal is worth $650,000.

He provides depth for the Rangers after getting three goals and 17 assists in 67 games last season, which he split between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Ottawa Senators. Gilroy has been playing this season in the AHL with the Rangers' affiliate in Hartford, Conn.

--Washington Capitals defenseman Tom Poti, who has not played since January 2011 because of a recurring groin injury, has been assigned to the AHL team in Hershey on a conditioning assignment, according to the Washington Times.

In 21 games in 2010-2011, he had two goals and five assists.

--Goalie Dan Ellis, who had been playing in the AHL, has been given a spot on the Hurricanes' camp roster as a backup to Cam Ward. Ellis signed a one-year deal worth $650,000.

--Free agent forward Mathieu Darche will attend camp with the Devils, although he does not have a contract with the team, the Newark Star-Ledger reported. In 61 games with Montreal last season, Darche had five goals with seven assists.
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