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Dwayne Roloson

Dwayne Roloson

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The biggest fish has jumped ponds once again.As the National Hockey League's free agent period kicked off Wednesday, there were plenty of marquee names available, but as was the case last year at this time, arguably the most impressive of the bunch was Marian Hossa.The 30-year-old Slovak signed with the Chicago Blackhawks, making it his fourth team in the last two-and-a-half years."To add Marian, an elite and world-class player .

.

.

to our exciting young core reinforces our commitment to try to win the Stanley Cup," Blackhawks general manager Dale Tallon said in a news release.Hossa shrugged off numerous long-term offers during last year's free agency period to sign a one-year deal with the Detroit Red Wings.

But after a strong 40-goal regular season, Hossa tailed off in the post-season and was disappointingly invisible against one of his former teams, the Pittsburgh Penguins, in the Stanley Cup final.The deal for Hossa is for 12 years and is worth $5.2 million US per year.

The long-term contract could present problems for the Hawks next season.

Looking at an expected drop in the salary cap, Chicago would need to find enough money to re-sign emerging stars Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith and Patrick Kane.Meantime, just over an hour after jubilation hit Vancouver, disappointment came knocking.The Canucks lost stalwart defenceman Mattias Ohlund to the Tampa Bay Lightning.The 32 year old unrestricted free agent has signed a seven-year contract worth an estimated $3.75 million per season with Tampa."With so many options in front of him, having him elect to play in Tampa demonstrates the faith he has in our team's strategy and vision for success, which should be exciting for our fans," Lightning general manager Brian Lawton said in a news release.

"This signing accomplished two primary goals for us.

First, we have added the top-two defenceman we coveted to lead our blue-line and second, we have found a leader and a mentor for (second overall draft pick) Victor Hedman as he prepares to play in the NHL this fall." Ohlund had played all 770 of his National Hockey League games in a Canucks uniform.

He was a first-round pick (13th overall) in 1994 by Vancouver.Vancouver was riding high prior to the midday opening of free agency when it signed twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin to identical five year deals worth an average of $6.1 million per season.The Edmonton Oilers have lost their No.

1 stopper.

Dwayne Roloson signed a two-year contract worth $5 million with the New York Islanders on Wednesday.With questions surrounding the health of goalie Rick DiPietro, Roloson will tangle for the Islanders starting spot."I've known Rick for awhile, since he was in college and we have a great working relationship and I'm sure it's not going to change or be any different now that we're teammates," Roloson said to TSN.The Toronto Maple Leafs' general manager Brian Burke made good on his promise to add truculence to the roster on Wednesday by signing tough guy Colton Orr.

The unrestricted free agent signed for four years at $1 million per season.

Last season, the Winnipeg native registered 193 penalty minutes with 18 fights (according to hockeyfights.com).

In other signings on free agent Wednesday:• The Florida Panthers have re-signed forward Radek Dvorak to a two-year deal worth a total of $3.4 million.• The Panthers also re-signed forward David Booth.

Booth, who had 31 goals and 60 points last season, was signed for six years and $25.5 million.• Chicago also signed forward Tomas Kopecky, another former Red Wing, to a two-year deal.• The Lightning signed defenceman Matt Walker, ex of Chicago, to a four-year contract worth $6.8 million.• The Colorado Avalanche inked netminder Craig Anderson, who played in Florida last season, to a two-year deal worth $1.8 million per season.• The New Jersey Devils re-signed defenceman Andy Greene.

• Goalie Ty Conklin is on the move again.

He signed with St.

Louis for two years and $2.6 million.

Conklin has played for five teams in the last three-and-a-half years.• The Anaheim Ducks re-signed forward Erik Christenson.



http://www.nationalpost.com/sports/story.html?id=1749366
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