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Maloney signs long-term deal with Coyotes

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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Phoenix Coyotes general manager Don Maloney signed a long-term contract extension Friday with the NHL-owned team. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

Maloney has directed the team for six seasons, leading the franchise to the Western Conference finals last year despite the restrictions of league ownership. The Coyotes missed the playoffs this year, going 21-18-9 in the lockout-shortened season.

"I am grateful to continue working for this franchise," Maloney said in a statement released by the team.

"We have a strong core of talented people, both on and off the ice, who are committed to building a championship team and a first class organization. I would like to thank NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly for their tremendous support these past few years."

The 54-year-old former NHL player joined the Coyotes after 10 seasons in the New York Rangers' front office. He also worked for the New York Islanders, serving as general manager in 1992-95, and was a scout for the San Jose Sharks in 1996-97.

"We are very pleased that Don has agreed to sign a long-term contract extension with the Coyotes," Daly said.

"Since joining the team in 2007, Don has done an outstanding job managing his team and building a competitive roster that has produced on the ice, even given less than ideal circumstances off the ice.

"The NHL remains committed to securing the Coyotes' future in Glendale under new ownership, and we believe Don's long-term agreement evidences that he is equally committed."

The NHL has run the team since former owner Jerry Moyes took the franchise into bankruptcy in 2009.

Coach Dave Tippett remains without a contract for next season.

Preds ink draft pick

NASHVILLE -- The Nashville Predators have signed defenceman Mikko Vainonen to a three-year, entry-level contract.

The Predators announced the deal Friday.

Vainonen, 19, spent last season with the Kingston Frontenacs in the CHL, and the native of Finland was fourth among defencemen with 22 points. He also was the captain of Finland's team at the 2012 U-18 World Championships.

He was the Predators' sixth selection in the 2012 draft at No. 118 overall in the fourth round.

Jackets sign goalie, D-man

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed goaltender Curtis McElhinney and defenceman Ilari Melart to one-year contracts.

McElhinney, who turned 30 on Thursday, has appeared in 69 career NHL games with the Calgary Flames, Anaheim Ducks and Ottawa Senators. He has a 19-26-4 record, with a 3.09 goals-against average and an .899 save percentage. In 2012-13, he went 29-6-3 with nine shutouts in 49 games with Springfield of the American Hockey League.

The 24-year-old Melart, signed to an entry-level contract, spent the past several seasons playing in Europe. Last year, he was with HIFK of the Finnish Elite League.

The club has begun to work on a new deal with top goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, who will be a restricted free agent this summer.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 25, 2013 C3

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