Hockey briefs – July 22

As the Senators paraded new signing Alex Kovalev before fans and the media Tuesday, Ottawa GM manager Bryan Murray offered up an interesting proposition — the idea that disgruntled star Dany Heatley could still return and play alongside the highly skilled Kovalev.

Sens want Kovalev, Heatley on same line

OTTAWA — As the Senators paraded new signing Alex Kovalev before fans and the media Tuesday, Ottawa GM manager Bryan Murray offered up an interesting proposition — the idea that disgruntled star Dany Heatley could still return and play alongside the highly skilled Kovalev.

“We can fit both of those guys on our team very nicely, maybe one on left and one on right wing,” Murray said after presenting Kovalev with the No. 27 shirt during an introductory news conference at Scotiabank Place.

The Senators signed the 36-year-old Russian to a US$10-million two-year deal on July 6.

Accompanied by his wife, Eugenia, Kovalev said he’s looking forward to joining the Sens, a team that needs new blood after a disappointing season in 2008-09.

The Senators are at a standstill with Heatley since the left-winger asked for a trade during the Stanley Cup final, citing his unhappiness with his diminished ice time and role with the team since Cory Clouston took over as coach in February after Craig Hartsburg was fired.

Canadiens retain centre Plekanec

The Montreal Canadiens have avoided salary arbitration with centre Tomas Plekanec, signing him to a one-year US$2.75-million contract.

Plekanec, 26, is coming off his fifth season with the Canadiens, posting his third consecutive 20-goal campaign (20 goals, 19 assists). He was one of only three Habs players not to miss a game through injury last season.

The Czech, a third-round pick in the 2001 draft, has 184 points (78 goals, 106 assists) and a plus-20 rating in 311 regular-season games since 2003-04.

The Pittsburgh Penguins got some goaltender insurance by signing Brent Johnson to a one-year contract.

Johnson, 32, played 21 games with the Washington Capitals last season, finishing with a 12-6-2 record. The veteran goaltender recorded a .908 save percentage and 2.81 goals-against average.

Johnson is the grandson of NHL Hall of Famer Sid Abel and son of former Penguins goaltender Bob Johnson.

In other moves:

• The Toronto Maple Leafs signed forward Andre Deveaux to a one-year contract. The 25-year-old split last between the Maple Leafs and the AHL’s Toronto Marlies. He had one assist and 75 penalty minutes in 21 games with the Leafs. The six-foot-four, 232-pound forward became the first Bahamian native to play in the NHL when he made his debut on Nov. 27.

• The St. Louis Blues re-signed defenceman Steve Wagner, who split last season with the NHL and Peoria of the AHL.

• The Boston Bruins agreed to a $2.9-million, two-year deal with defenceman Matt Hunwick. The 24-year-old scored six goals with 21 assists as a rookie last season.

• The Columbus Blue Jackets signed John Moore to a three-year entry level contract, Moore, 18, was the Jackets first pick, 21st overall, in the 2009 draft.

• The Calgary Flames signed T.J. Brodie, Greg Nemisz and Keith Seabrook. Brodie, who played junior for the Saginaw Spirit, and Nemisz, who won a Memorial Cup with the Windsor Spitfires, have both been invited to attend the Canadian junior camp in Saskatoon later this summer. Seabrook, spent the past two seasons with the Calgary Hitmen.

• The New York Rangers agreed to terms with restricted free agent forward Enver Lisin. The 23-year-old was acquired in a trade with the Phoenix Coyotes on Monday for Lauri Korpikoski.

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