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Carolina’s Brind’Amour hangs ’em up after 21 seasons

Associated Press / July 1, 2010

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Rod Brind’Amour is retiring after 21 NHL seasons to take an unspecified job with the Carolina Hurricanes.

The team’s former captain said yesterday that his decision was made simpler after he talked with general manager Jim Rutherford and they decided the aging veteran wouldn’t fit with the Hurricanes’ rebuilding plan.

Trying to find a roster spot on another team “never, ever felt right,’’ he said, and Rutherford asked him to remain with the organization in some capacity.

The decision wasn’t entirely unexpected. The captain of Carolina’s 2006 Stanley Cup championship team, Brind’Amour turns 40 in August. Nearly three months ago, he wrapped up his worst statistical season in which he yielded his captaincy to Eric Staal and slipped to the team’s fourth line.

The Hurricanes’ leading scorer since the franchise moved from Hartford in 1997, Brind’Amour had just nine goals and 10 assists last season.

He finished his career with 452 goals and 732 assists in 1,484 regular-season games over 21 years with St. Louis, Philadelphia and Carolina. Additionally, he had 51 goals and 60 assists in 159 career playoff games, and scored 12 goals during the Hurricanes’ run to their only Cup.

Flyers re-sign Leighton
The Flyers signed goalie Michael Leighton to a two-year deal, keeping the playoff hero away from free agency. Leighton stepped up during the postseason and helped the Flyers make a surprise run to the Stanley Cup finals. He went 8-3 with a 2.56 goals-against average in 14 playoff games and set a team playoff record with three shutouts as Philadelphia won its first Eastern Conference championship since 1997.

Leighton might have to compete for the No. 1 starting job with the Flyers next season. In 27 appearances in the regular season, Leighton was 16-5-2 with a 2.48 GAA.

The Flyers acquired him on waivers from the Hurricanes in December. Leighton missed the final 13 games of the regular season and the first nine games of the playoffs because of an ankle injury.

Versteeg to Leafs
The Maple Leafs acquired forward Kris Versteeg from the Stanley Cup-champion Blackhawks and the rights to left wing Bill Sweatt in a five-player deal. Versteeg, a former Providence Bruin, had 44 points in 79 regular-season games last season and added 14 points in the postseason. The Maple Leafs gave up forwards Viktor Stalberg (a former standout at Vermont), Chris DiDomenico, and Philippe Paradis in the deal.

Devils continue moves
Right wing David Clarkson has agreed to a three-year, $8 million contract with the Devils. The feisty forward, who could have become a restricted free agent today, was given a qualifying offer that prevented him from becoming an unrestricted free agent.

Clarkson, 26, had 11 goals and 13 assists in only 46 games last season. He missed a large portion of the season because of a broken right leg.

New Jersey also placed 35-year-old Jay Pandolfo, one of its last remaining Stanley Cup winners, and fellow forward Andrew Peters on waivers.

If Pandolfo, who won Cups in 2000 and ’03, is not claimed, the team can buy out the last year of his $2.5 million contract for roughly $1.67 million.

Van Ryn to sit another year
Toronto defenseman Mike Van Ryn has decided that he will sit out another season while recovering from a knee injury. The 31-year-old sat out all of last season to rehabilitate his left knee after undergoing realignment surgery in October. Van Ryn last appeared in a game for the Maple Leafs on March 7, 2009 . . . The Blue Jackets claimed former Oilers left wing Ethan Moreau, 34, off waivers. Moreau, who has a year left on a contract that pays him $1.75 million, had nine goals and nine assists last season. The Oilers could have bought out his contract had Moreau cleared waivers but Columbus will assume his contract.

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