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Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Jets ink Hutchinson to two-year contract

Posted: 07/3/2014 1:00 AM | Comments: 0

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The Winnipeg Jets didn't have to look too far to find a potential replacement for goaltender Al Montoya.

One day after Montoya signed as an unrestricted free agent with the Florida Panthers, the team announced they have agreed to terms with goaltender Michael Hutchinson on a two-year contract worth $1.15 million.

He'll be asked to push incumbent No. 1 starter Ondrej Pavelec next season, although GM Kevin Cheveldayoff hinted Tuesday the club could still be looking at the free-agent goaltender market.

Hutchinson's story last season was especially compelling. After being cut adrift by the Boston Bruins, he signed with the Jets thinking there was opportunity with him within the organization. He played for the teams' ECHL affiliate, the Ontario Reign, starred with the St. John's IceCaps in helping lead them to the Calder Cup Final and, in between, started three games for the Jets, going 2-1 with a 1.64 goals against average and .943 save percentage.

The Jets also have agreed to terms with defenceman Will O'Neill on a one-year, two way contract worth $575,000.

O'Neill, a 26-year-old Salem, Mass product originally drafted by the Atlanta Thrashers in the seventh round, 210th overall, in the 2006 NHL Draft, played in 68 games with the IceCaps last season registering 36 points (9G, 27A). He was particularly effective in the playoffs, adding 16 points (3G, 13A) in 18 post-season.

Meanwhile, centre Olli Jokinen is now a former Jet, having signed a one-year deal with the Nashville Predators worth $2.5 million.

"Olli Jokinen is a proven veteran center who will provide us with size, leadership and offensive ability in the tough Central Division and Western Conference," Predators' GM David Poile said. "He provides our coaching staff with more depth and options at the forward position and coach Laviolette believes he is a good fit for our style of play."

 

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 3, 2014 D3

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