The Winnipeg Jets have added another solid piece to their defensive corps.
Coming aboard is seven-year NHL veteran D-man Randy Jones, who played 61 games last year (1 goal, 12 assists) for the Tampa Bay Lightning. The 29-year-old product of Quispamsis, NB has signed a one-year deal worth $1.15 million.
Also inked today were two familiar faces to Manitoba Moose fans: Rick Rypien, who returns to the organization that first gave him a shot in pro hockey, and defenceman Mark Flood , who had 11 goals and 29 assists in 63 games for the Moose last season. Rypien, signed a one-year deal with the Jets worth a reported $700,000 while details of Flood’s deal are not available.
Jones has appeared in 326 NHL games for the Flyers, Los Angeles Kings and Lightning since turning pro in 2003-04. A stay-at-home type who has 19 career goals, Jones might be best known as the defenceman who hit Boston Bruins star Patrice Bergeron into the end boards in October of 2007, ending Bergeron’s season and earning him a suspension. Jones did issue an apology during the game.
A 27-year-old product of Coleman, AB, Rypien was first signed by then-Moose GM Craig Heisinger in the spring of 2005 after being undrafted while with the Regina Pats. He was then signed by the parent club, the Vancouver Canucks, and made his NHL debut in December of 2005.
He struggled with injuries from 2005 through 2009 – broken fibula, thumb, torn groin, finger, sports hernia – but was re-signed because of the energy he brought to the game every time he stepped on the ice.
Last October, however, Rypien pushed a linesman in a game against the Minnesota Wild at the XCel Energy Center and grabbed a fan heckling him as he walked down the tunnel. He was suspended for six games and fined. In November he was given a personal leave of absence by the Canucks and returned to action this March with the Moose before getting injured in the playoffs.
Since free agency began on Canada Day the Jets have signed six players: Jones, Rypien, Flood on Saturday and Derek Meech, Tanner Glass and Aaron Gagnon on Friday.
Meanwhile, former Moose captain Nolan Baumgartner has re-signed with the Vancouver Canucks and two other ex-Moose have also found new NHL homes: Greg Rallo with the Florida Panthers and Alex Bolduc with the Phoenix Coyotes.
Anthony Stewart, who played last year with the Atlanta Thrashers but was not made a qualifying offer as a restricted free agent by the Jets last week, signed Saturday with the Carolina Hurricanes.