Salvador rejoins Devils, Avs re-sign Johnson: NHL signings

The Colorado Avalanche announced Tuesday the signing of 24-year-old defenceman Erik Johnson to a four-year contract. The terms weren't released.

Rangers pick a Pyatt

New Jersey Devils defenceman Bryce Salvador played all 82 regular-season games last year. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Defenceman Bryce Salvador, a key cog in New Jersey's run to the Stanley Cup finals, re-signed with the Devils on Tuesday.

Salvador, 36, who had four goals and 14 points in the post-season after a regular season in which he failed to find the net once, received a three-year deal, worth $9.5 million US.

Teamed up with Marek Zidlicky, a midseason acquisition from Minnesota, Salvador found his groove in the playoffs, as the Devils defeated the Panthers, Flyers and Rangers en route to their first Eastern Conference title since 2003. He finished second behind Los Angeles' Drew Doughty in post-season scoring among defencemen.

New Jersey, a No. 6 seed that went 14-10 in a surprising post-season run, has re-signed several components to the puzzle this week. In net, they brought back Martin Brodeur and Johan Hedberg. They also locked up the entire fourth line — a makeshift group put together at season's end that found spring success and featured Ryan Carter, Steve Bernier and Stephen Gionta — as well as defenceman Peter Harrold, who was in and out of the lineup during the Devils' four playoff series.

Left wing Alexei Ponikarovsky, a midseason acquisition from Carolina who scored an overtime winner vs. Philadelphia in Round 2, signed with Winnipeg, and forward Petr Sykora, in his second term as a Devil, remains unsigned.

Of course, the biggest name — forward Zach Parise — is still out there, as well. The Devils captain has received numerous offers, and is now back home in Minnesota, weighing his options.

Salvador played all 82 regular-season games for the Devils last season, a year after missing the entire season with a rare, inner-ear concussion. He is the very essence of a stay-at-home, defensive, defenceman, who was a plus-18 with nine assists in the regular season, and took a lighthearted approach to his scoring success in the playoffs.

In fact, his first goal of the post-season was an empty-netter which travelled the length of the ice in a 4-1 victory over the Flyers in Philadelphia. When asked about having an offensive touch back in his game for the first time in a long time during the playoffs, he responded in kind.

"You mean since I was 10," Salvador said at the time. "I just think it is everyone buying into the system and good things are happening for everyone."

Armed now with a new deal, they still are.

Erik Johnson remaining with Avs for 4 years

Top-scoring defenceman Erik Johnson is staying with the Colorado Avalanche.

The team announced Tuesday that it signed the 24-year-old restricted free agent to a four-year contract. The terms weren't released.

Johnson led all Avalanche defencemen last season with 26 points in 73 games.

The Bloomington, Minn., native won a silver medal while playing with the U.S. team at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

He was drafted No. 1 overall by St. Louis in the 2006 NHL entry draft. Colorado acquired him from St. Louis in a trade in 2011.

Rangers pick a Pyatt

Taylor Pyatt is heading back to the Eastern Conference, striking a two-year deal worth $3.1 million with the New York Raners.

Pyatt had nine goals and 10 assists for 19 points in 73 games in 2011-12, his third season with Phoenix. He added four goals and two assists in 16 playoff games for the Coyotes.

Drafted by the New York Islanders eighth overall in 1999, the six-foot four forward also has spent time with Buffalo and Vancouver. For his career, the Thunder Bay, Ont., native has scored 130 goals and 134 assists in 755 regular season games, with 404 penalty minutes. 

Pyatt's older brother, Tom, was once drafted by the Rangers.

Capitals add defenceman Jack Hillen

The Washington Capitals have signed free agent defenceman Jack Hillen to a one-year contract worth $650,000 US.

The team announced Tuesday that it is adding Hillen, who had two goals, four assists, 65 blocks and a plus-minus of plus-6 with the Nashville Predators last season.

The 26-year-old defenceman previously played parts of four seasons with the New York Islanders. He has 10 goals, 46 assists and 129 penalty minutes in 230 career NHL games. He also played for the U.S. team at the 2010 world championship.