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Jets prospect Poolman earns prestigious award

WINNIPEG Jets draft pick Tucker Poolman is adding a little hardware to his trophy collection.

The Jets' fifth-round pick in 2013 was honoured today by USA Hockey as its top junior player of the year (Dave Tyler Award) and will receive the award next month at the organization's annual congress in Colorado Springs.

Poolman, a defenceman, helped the Omaha Lancers of the United States Hockey League to a 39-14-7 regular-season record while setting a career high in points with 41 (15 goals, 26 assists).

He was a member of the USHL all-star team and an All-USHL first-team selection.

A product of East Grand Forks, Minn., Poolman is committed to play college hockey at the University of North Dakota next season.

Halak signs $18-M deal

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- The New York Islanders agreed to a four-year contract worth a reported $18 million Thursday with goaltender Jaroslav Halak.

Halak, 28, split his eighth NHL season between St. Louis and Washington, compiling a 29-13-7 record. The native of Slovakia was acquired by New York from Washington for a fourth-round draft pick and could have become a free agent.

Halak won the Jennings Trophy in 2011-12 for helping St. Louis allow the fewest goals in the league. He has a 144-85-29 record with a 2.38 goals-against average, a .918 save percentage and 30 shutouts.

The Islanders also will retain their first-round selection in this year's draft, instead sending their top pick in 2015 to Buffalo to complete a previous trade for Thomas Vanek. The selection, at the Islanders' option, was packaged in the team's deal for Vanek on Oct. 27, 2013.

Vanek played 47 games for New York and now is with Montreal.


Maatta, Bennett sidelined

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins rookie defenceman Olli Maatta and forward Beau Bennett had surgery Thursday and will be sidelined at least four months.

Maatta underwent a shoulder procedure at the Cleveland Clinic and will miss four to six months. The 19-year-old played 78 games for the Penguins this season, finishing with nine goals and 20 assists. He added four assists in Pittsburgh's run to the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Bennett had wrist surgery and will need at least four months to recover. Bennett missed a significant chunk of the season with wrist issues and finished with three goals and four assists in 21 games.

The procedures came a day after defenceman prospect Derrick Pouliot underwent labral repair surgery. Pouliot, Pittsburgh's first-round pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, will miss at least four months.

-- staff / news services

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 23, 2014 C2


Updated on Friday, May 23, 2014 at 10:56 AM CDT: Fix typos, style headlines.

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