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NHL Free Agency Opens With Pair of Former Players Signing Deals

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By The Calgary Flames and True North Sports & Entertainment Limited

HANOVER, N.H. - Lee Stempniak '05 and Tanner Glass '07 were two former Dartmouth men's hockey players to hear their phones ring this weekend as the National Hockey League (NHL) free agency period kicked off.

A former captain and two-time All-ECAC Hockey First Team selection, Stempniak re-signed with the Calgary Flames on Friday (June 29) before hitting the market as an unrestricted free agent. The terms of Stempniak's were two years with an average salary of $2.5 million and will keep him in a Flames sweater through the 2013-14 season.

Stempniak re-upped with Calgary after his first season with the Flames. It was just last summer that the West Seneca, N.Y., native was dealt by the Phoenix Coyotes to Calgary. Drafted 148th overall in the fifth round by St. Louis in the 2003 NHL Entry draft, Stempniak has played for the Blues, Maple Leafs, Coyotes and Flames in eight seasons since last playing at Dartmouth.

In four seasons with the Big Green, Stempniak compiled 151 career points on 63 goals and 88 assists. That point total ranks fourth all-time in scoring at Dartmouth in more than a century of play, while his 88 assists are third in the program's record books. His 135 games played in a Big Green sweater rank second all-time, just one behind former teammate Mike Ouellette '06.

Glass, another former captain (2006-07) was active on the first day of free agency, signing a two-year contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins worth a total of $2.2 million. He signs on with the Pens after one season with the newly formed Winnipeg Jets in 2011-12.

After making it to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2011 with Vancouver, falling just short to the Boston Bruins in Game 7, Glass signed on with the Jets last summer after the team moved to Winnipeg from Atlanta following the 2010-11 campaign.

The signing has been characterized by several analysts around the league as a move by Pittsburgh to add more grit and toughness to a team that features some of the most talented forwards in the league.

During the inaugural season back in Winnipeg for the second incarnation of the Jets franchise, Glass led the team and ranked 10th in the league in hits with a career-high 246. He ranked second among Winnipeg forwards with 51 blocked shots and played a considerable amount of time on the team's penalty kill, a facet of his game fans in Pittsburgh should expect to see next season.

Also to note in this move is that the signing of Glass reunites two former Big Green players as Ben Lovejoy '07 is entering his fifth season with the Penguins organization. This pairing also marks the third Dartmouth duo to play together at the NHL level (TJ Galiardi and David Jones in Colorado - 2008-12, Lovejoy and Nick Johnson in Pittsburgh - 2009-11).

In their final season as teammates in Hanover in 2006-07, each suited up for the Big Green in 32 games. Glass finished fourth on the team in scoring with 28 points (8g/20a), while Lovejoy was sixth and tops among defensemen with 23 points (7g/16a).

In four seasons at Dartmouth, Glass played in 124 games, which ranks tied for 15th all-time. He is also just one of 44 players in program history to record more than 50 assists in a career, ending with 51. Glass added 31 goals for 82 points, while also wrapping up his career with 198 penalty minutes.

Two weeks ago J.T. Wyman '08 re-signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning as did David Jones '08 with the Colorado Avalanche. Coupled with the two new contracts for Stempniak and Glass, only two former Dartmouth players who appeared in an NHL game last season remain without contracts after the opening day of free agency. Nick Johnson '08 (Minnesota) and TJ Galiardi '10 (Colorado and San Jose) are both unrestricted free agents as of Monday morning.