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Nate Thompson, Chris Thorburn Among Minor Signings As Free Agency Starts

Forwards Nate Thompson and Josh Jooris were among eight minor signings early Saturday as unrestricted free agency began.

The Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Ottawa Senators, Philadelphia Flyers, and St. Louis Blues have all made minor signings as unrestricted free agency started on Saturday.

Nate Thompson, Josh Jooris Among Minor Signings As Free Agency Starts


The Hurricanes have signed unrestricted free agent Josh Jooris.

The 26-year-old played 42 games with the Arizona Coyotes after being claimed off of waivers from the New York Rangers. In total, Jooris played 54 games in the NHL in 2016-17, recording 12 points. He was a pending restricted free agent but was not qualified by the Coyotes. The native of Burlington, Ontario has played 173 career NHL games, scoring 49 points. His new deal earns him $775,000 for one year.


The Blackhawks have signed goaltender Jean-Francois Berube and defenceman Jordan Oesterle.

Berube was recently selected in the Expansion Draft by the Vegas Golden Knights. As an unrestricted free agent, he elected to not sign in Vegas. In 2016-17, the 25-year-old had a 3.42 goals-against average and a .889 save percentage in 14 games with the Islanders. Berube will battle with recently acquired Anton Forsberg for minutes as Corey Crawford‘s backup.

The Hawks also signed defenceman Jordan Oesterle. The 25-year-old played primarily for the Bakersfield Condors in 2016-17, recording 32 points in 44 games. Oesterle has played 25 games in the NHL for the Edmonton Oilers, scoring six assists. The native of Dearborn Heights, Michigan will likely feature for the Rockford IceHogs next season.


Forward Tyler Pitlick has signed a three-year, $3 million contract with the Stars.

The 25-year-old played 31 games with the Edmonton Oilers in 2016-17. He scored eight goals and 11 points in his limited action. He was set to be a restricted free agent but was not qualified by the Oilers. Pitlick will serve as a solid depth piece for the Stars. Young at just 25, he will be around until 2020.


Defenceman Luke Witkowski has signed with the Detroit Red Wings on a one-year, $750,000.

An unrestricted free agent, Witkowski played 34 games with the injury-riddled Tampa Bay Lightning in 2016-17, recording four assists. He also played 19 games with Syracuse in the AHL, tallying five assists. A right shot, Witkowski is a bruising, depth defenceman who will likely play primarily for the Grand Rapids Griffins in 2017-18.


The Senators have signed veteran centre Nate Thompson to a two-year, $3.3 million contract. He will carry a $1.35 million cap hit.

Nate Thompson played 30 games last year with the Anaheim Ducks, registering two assists. The 32-year-old was a depth piece in their run to the Western Conference Finals, playing all 17 games in the postseason. Nate Thompson scored six points in the playoffs and will head to Ottawa to reunite with his old head coach from Tampa Bay, Guy Boucher.


The Flyers have re-signed restricted free agent Mike Vecchione to a two-year, $1.8 million contract.

Vecchione was a premier college free agent this past year with 63 points in 38 games with Union College. In playing two games with the Flyers upon signing, Vecchione burned his one-year entry level contract. Instead, he has signed a two-year deal as a 24-year-old restricted free agent to stay in Philadelphia until 2019.

St. Louis

The Blues have replaced Ryan Reaves by signing Chris Thorburn to a two-year, $1.8 million contract.

Thorburn was recently selected by the Vegas Golden Knights in the Expansion Draft. As an unrestricted free agent, he did not sign, electing to go to St. Louis instead. Thorburn is one of the few enforcers left in the league, finishing 2016-17 with four points in 64 games with 95 PIM. The 34-year-old will likely be a fourth liner or a 13th forward for the Blues.

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