The Coyotes proved good things do come to those who wait.
Phoenix re-signed 27-year-old unrestricted free agent Lee Stempniak to a two-year contract Monday, ending a two-month impasse. The deal reportedly will pay Stempniak an average of $1.9 million US, a relatively small cap hit for a 28-goal scorer.
"We are very pleased to have signed Lee to a two-year contract," Coyotes general manager Don Maloney said in a statement. "He played a key offensive role with our team down the stretch last season. He is just entering the prime of his career and we look forward to him having continued success with our organization."
Stempniak was acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs at the trade deadline last season and the right winger came through in a big way, scoring 14 times in 18 games. He was named the NHL's first star in March after scoring 13 goals in a 15-game stretch.
"I think going into it my agent and I talked and were sort of prepared for uncertainty," Stempniak said during a conference call. "You don't really know what's going to happen... I think over the course of the summer we tried to be patient and sort of let the process play out and the market get set and ultimately find the right fit.
"For me, as a player and as a person and for my family and where we wanted to be and where we wanted to play, ultimately, going back to Phoenix is really exciting for us."
Stempniak has played 374 games in his six-year NHL career, tallying 96 goals and 113 assists.
RANGERS INK KENNEDY
Tim Kennedy has traded in one New York address for another.
The Rangers signed the ex-Sabres forward, who was an unrestricted free agent after being waived and bought out by Buffalo, to a one-year deal Monday. The one-way contract will pay Kennedy $550,000 US, according to NHL.com.
Kennedy became a free agent after the Sabres walked away from a $1 million arbitration ruling in July. Instead, they paid him two-thirds of that to go away.
The 24-year-old from Buffalo had 10 goals and 16 assists in 78 games as a rookie last season.
BILLY MAC IS BACK
Long-time referee Bill McCreary, considered by many the best in the
business, will postpone retirement plans to work another year in the NHL.
McCreary has backed out of plans to make the 2009-10 season his last,
according to the Guelph Mercury. The NHL's director of officiating, Terry
Gregson, asked the 54-year-old Guelph, Ont. native to stay on one more year.
"It's a great feeling," McCreary told the Mercury. "We had a nice meeting together and he asked me if I'd be interested in coming back on the ice and he gave me quite a few months to give him an answer and I thought that was real good of him. It's a real honour that the league wants me to come back and participate in another season."
McCreary has worked 1,599 regular-season games and 282 playoff games during his NHL career, which started in 1984.
Ottawa Senators enigma Alex Kovalev should be ready to start the regular season after having off-season surgery to repair a torn knee ligament.
Kovalev has resumed skating, according to Sportsnet.ca, and should be up to speed when the Sens open training camp in three weeks. The 37-year-old, who had 18 goals and 49 points for Ottawa last season, had surgery in late April to repair his left knee, which was injured in the second-last game of the regular season.
Apparently the Bruins are still actively trying to deal play-making centre
But the NHL's investigation into Savard's contract is preventing a deal from being made, according to a report on ESPNBoston.com. The seven-year, front-loaded contract Savard signed last December, which has an annual cap hit of just $4 million US, is one of the deals being looked at by the NHL in the wake of the Ilya Kovalchuk situation.
"The investigation by the NHL definitely made teams back off from their interest in Savard, but the team is still open to trading him and trying to," an unidentified source told James Murphy of ESPNBoston.com.