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Published: Wednesday, 7/6/2011

Blue Jackets add depth to blue line

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Blue Jackets defenseman Marc Methot, center, re-signed for four years. He has played in 229 games for Columbus. Blue Jackets defenseman Marc Methot, center, re-signed for four years. He has played in 229 games for Columbus.
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COLUMBUS -- The Columbus Blue Jackets strengthened their defensive corps by re-signing defenseman Marc Methot and adding Aaron Johnson.

Methot inked a new four-year deal Tuesday while Johnson signed a one-year contract.

The 26-year-old Methot has become one of the Blue Jackets' most reliable blue-liners. He has six goals and 38 assists in 229 career NHL games with Columbus.

Last season, he had 15 assists and 58 penalty minutes and was plus-2 in 74 games, setting career highs in assists, penalty minutes, games played and game time on ice average (19:53).

He ranked second on the club with 176 hits and was third with 98 blocked shots.

Columbus' seventh pick, and No. 168 overall, in the 2003 draft, Methot made his NHL debut in 2006-07.

The 28-year-old Johnson, the Blue Jackets' fourth pick in the 2001 draft, was a free agent after playing last season with the AHL's Milwaukee Admirals.

Johnson has 14 goals and 32 assists with a plus-13 rating in 225 career NHL games, including seven goals and 19 assists in 116 games with the Blue Jackets from 2003-07.

He has also played for Calgary and Edmonton.

Hurricanes/Kaberle: Carolina signed free-agent defenseman Tomas Kaberle to a three-year contract.

The Hurricanes announced the signing shortly after they traded defenseman Joe Corvo to Boston for a draft pick.

Kaberle had a combined four goals and 43 assists with the Maple Leafs and Bruins during the regular season, and had 11 assists during the playoffs.

Coyotes/Yandle: Phoenix signed All-Star defenseman Keith Yandle to a five-year deal, locking up one of their top offseason priorities.

Terms of the deal were not released, but a person with knowledge of the contract told the Associated Press that it was worth just over $26 million.

Yandle, 24, has developed into one of the NHL's top defensemen in five seasons with Phoenix, a superb two-way player who was third among all blue-liners with 59 points in 82 games last season. The Boston native had 11 goals, led the Coyotes with 26 power-play points and was the team's lone representative at the All-Star game.

JETS/Ladd: Winnipeg signed captain Andrew Ladd to a five-year contract extension worth $22 million.

The 25-year-old Ladd had a career-high 29 goals and 59 points for the Atlanta Thrashers last season. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion and made $2.35 million last season.

Canadiens/Delmas: Montreal signed goaltender Peter Delmas to a three-year contract.

Delmas, 21, spent most of the season with the Canadiens' ECHL team, going 15-6-2 for the Wheeling Nailers with a 2.03 goals against average and .928 save percentage.

Blues moves: St. Louis signed veteran unrestricted free agent Scott Nichol to a one-year contract. The Blues also signed goaltender Ben Bishop to a one-year, two-way contract.



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