Oilers sign Garon, Canucks add forwards
The Edmonton Oilers signed free-agent goaltender Mathieu Garon to a two-year contract on Tuesday, while the Vancouver Canucks got deeper up front, signing forwards Byron Ritchie and Brad Isbister.
In Garon, the Oilers get a veteran goaltenderwho can back up Dwayne Roloson.
Garon posted a13-10-6 record with the Los Angeles Kings last season, along witha 2.66 goals-against average and .907 save percentage.
The 29-year-old was hampered by groin and finger injuries but rebounded to finish the season strong, winning five of his last seven starts for a club that missed the playoffs. Hestarted63 games for the Kings the previous season.
The Chandler, Que., native was selected in the second round of the 1999 NHL entry draft by the Montreal Canadiens.
He played in 44 games spread overfour seasons for the Canadiens before heading to California in a trade that saw Cristobal Huet come to Montreal.
Jussi Markkanen, who was Roloson's backup last season, was not re-signed by Edmonton.
The club also announced that winger Raffi Torres had been given a three-year contract extension.
Torres had 15 goals and 19 assists in 82 games last season,the second straight year heplayed in all of the team's games. Torres had a career-best 27 goals in 2005-06.
Canucks get Ritchie, Isbister
Vancouver Canucks added some grit to their roster Tuesday with the additions of unrestricted free-agent forwards Ritchie and Isbister.
Both players were signed to one-year deals. Ritchie will make $675,000, while Isbister will earn$525,000.
Ritchie, a 30-year-old centre, joins the Canucks after playing the past two seasons of his seven-year NHL career with the Calgary Flames.
The five-foot-10, 190-pounder from Burnaby, B.C., scored eight goals and six assists and tallied 68 penalty minutes in 64 games with the Flames last season.
Ritchie, originally drafted 165th overall by the Hartford Whalers in the 1995 NHL entry draft, gives the Canucks a reliable two-way player with a strong work ethic.
Isbister, a veteran of nine NHL seasons, played most of last year with the New York Rangers's AHL affiliate in Hartford. In 19 games with the Rangers, Isbister, a 30-year-old Edmonton native, registered one goal and four assists and 14 penalty minutes.
The six-foot-four, 227-pound winger gives the Canucks a physical edge, especially in the corners. Isbister has represented Canada at the world junior championship, winning a gold medal in 1997, and at two world championships, in 2000 and 2001.
In 486 career NHL games, Isbister has notched 100 goals and 111 assists for 221 points.
Schneider leaves school early
The Canucks alsosigned two goaltenders on Tuesday,prized prospect Cory Schneider and Curtis Sanford, most recently of the St. Louis Blues.
Sanford recorded four shutouts with a 2.79 goals-against average in 73 games with the Blues, spread out over three seasons.The 27-year-oldappeared in 31 games for St. Louis the past season but was hampered by a groin injury.
"I still aspire to play a lot of games in the NHL but at this point in my career, I thought it would be good idea to work under Roberto Luongo," said Sanford. "I still have a lot to learn in the NHL."
Schneider, 21,was drafted by Vancouver in the first round (26th overall) in the 2004 NHL entry draft. Schneider has played the past three seasons with Boston College, where he helped lead the Eagles to the NCAA Frozen Four.
Schneider, six-foot-two and195 pounds, finished first in the NCAA in wins, saves and minutes played.
Vancouver's backup last season was Dany Sabourin, who signed with Pittsburgh earlier this week.
He has also represented the United States at the 2007 world hockey championship and two world junior hockey championships.