Cole, Sullivan agree to 2-year deals

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Carolina Hurricanes are keeping Erik Cole, agreeing Wednesday to a two-year deal with the physical

Cole will make $2.8 million this upcoming season and $3 million
in 2010-11.

The Hurricanes' third-round pick in 1998 took a pay cut to stay
in Raleigh. He made $4 million last season while completing a
three-year deal he signed in 2006.

Carolina dealt Cole to Edmonton last summer, then reacquired the
fan favorite at the trade deadline. His return re-energized the
Hurricanes -- and All-Star Eric Staal, in particular -- down the
stretch, with points in 15 of the final 17 games in the regular
season. He struggled in the playoffs with no goals and five assists
in 18 games.

Cole had 18 goals and 24 assists in 80 regular-season games.

"Erik clearly had an instant impact on our team when he
returned to Carolina," general manager Jim Rutherford said. "He
has been an important piece for our franchise for a long time, and
we are pleased that he has decided to remain at home in Raleigh."

Cole became the second of Carolina's potential free agents to
re-sign this week. Playoff hero Jussi Jokinen previously signed on
for two more years.

Also Wednesday, the Hurricanes signed restricted free agent
forwards Patrick Dwyer and Michael Ryan to two-way contracts.

Dwyer's two-year contract will pay him $500,000 per season at
the NHL level and $105,000 at the AHL level. Ryan's one-year
contract will pay him $500,000 in the NHL level and $100,000 in the
AHL, with $150,000 guaranteed.

Other signings

Sullivan stays with Preds

The comeback player of the year is staying put.

Masterton Trophy winner Steve Sullivan agreed to two-year, $7.5 million contract with the Nashville Predators.

Sullivan finished with 11 goals and 32 points in 41 games last year after missing 142 straight regular season games with a back injury. Sullivan has been with Nashville since 2004 and the Predators are 110-60-21 with the winger in the lineup.

"The family is very comfortable in Nashville, my kids, it's pretty much all they know," Sullivan told ESPN.com Wednesday night from his Northern Ontario home in Timmins. "Not having to pick them up and move them and changing schools and all that the next couple of years will be good."

Sullivan won the Masterton Trophy as "the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey." He was the first Predator to win an NHL award and became just the third player in the post-World War II era to sit out 600 days with an injury and return to action.

It took a lot of back and forth in negotations and Sullivan testing the free-agent market before the Predators got it done.

"We had to find out what the market was. I think it's only fair for both sides," said Sullivan. "A handful of teams were interested but in the end it didn't make sense to leave for what the difference was."

Panthers extend Booth

Florida agreed to a six-year
contract extension with David Booth, shortly after the young forward became a restricted free agent.

In 72 games last season, Booth had 31
goals and 29 assists, both career highs. The 24-year-old Michigan
native also became the sixth player in franchise history to score
at least 30 goals.

The Panthers also announced that right wing Radek
Dvorak agreed to terms on a two-year deal. Dvorak, 32, had 15
goals and 21 assists last season.

Also, defenseman Ville Koistinen agreed to terms on a two-year
deal, and the Panthers added goalie Scott Clemmensen,
who agreed to a three-year contract.

Three years for Pahlsson

Checking-line center Samuel Pahlsson signed a three-year, $7.95 million deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Columbus will be Pahlsson's fourth team in his nine-year NHL career. He has notched 54 goals, 146 points and 260 minutes in 557 career games.

"Center ice has been a position of weakness for us," Jackets GM Scott Howson told ESPN.com Wednesday night. "To have a player of that ability and pedigree … He can play against top players and we needed that. He can play against anybody."

Hawks go Madden

The Chicago Blackhawks lost checking center Samuel Pahlsson to free agency Wednesday but replaced him hours later with veteran forward and former Selke Trophy winner John Madden.

The Hawks signed Madden to a one-year deal worth $2.75 million.

"He's won the Cup, he won the Selke, he's great at faceoffs," Hawks GM Dale Tallon said. "He's another guy that wants to be part of what we're doing here. He took a pay cut to come here and signed only a one-year deal. This finishes it nicely after what we did today with signing Marian Hossa and Tomas Kopecky."

Neil takes less to stay with Sens

The Ottawa Senators were able to keep a key free agent Wednesday, re-signing gritty winger Chris Neil to a four-year, $8-million contract.

Neil garnered interest from other NHL teams on the open market, including the New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs, but decided to stay with the Sens.

"He's very happy and he's very loyal," his agent Todd Reynolds told ESPN.com. "At the end of the day it was the right decision for Chris Neil."

Montador signs with Sabres

Defenseman Steve Montador agreed to a two-year, $3.1 million deal. Montador, a seven-year NHL veteran, finished last season with Boston after being acquired from Anaheim in March. He had four goals and 17 assists in 78 games last season.

Rupp joins Penguins

The Penguins signed 6-5, 230-pound forward Mike Rupp to a two-year, $1.65 million contract. Rupp, 29, played 72 games with the New Jersey Devils last season, collecting nine points (three goals, six assists) along with 136 penalty minutes. He won a Stanley Cup in 2003 with the Devils, and had a goal and two assists in the Game 7 victory against the Anaheim Ducks.

Adding defensive help

The Montreal Canadiens signed Penguins defenseman Hal Gill to a two-year, $4.5 million deal. They also signed defenseman Jaroslav Spacek from the Sabres; his deal is for three years, $11.5 million.

"I loved the city and the organization, but we decided to part ways," Gill told TSN. "The timing was right.

"[Montreal] is a great organization. I've always loved to play in that building. It's a new experience to go to Quebec and play, and my family is excited about that."

Wild get defensive

Chuck Fletcher has dipped his toe in the free-agent pool for the first time as Minnesota Wild GM, signing defenseman Greg Zanon to a three-year deal worth $5.8 million, a source told ESPN.com.

Zanon is an underrated blue-liner who leaves Nashville via unrestricted free agency.

Laperriere goes to East

Ian Laperriere, a scrappy veteran formerly of the Avalanche, has signed a three-year deal worth $3.5 million with the Flyers.

Over parts of 16 seasons in the NHL, Laperriere has recorded 118 goals and 198 assists for 316 points and 1,794 penalty minutes in 1,001 career regular season contests.

"He is a role player that can take a little bit of the burden off some of our other guys in other roles like penalty killing and face-offs," Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said of Laperriere in a statement. "He is a warrior-type player and very durable. He will provide us with lots of energy and is one of those types of character players that everybody is after."

"When Philly called, I got very excited," said Laperriere in a statement. "They show their fans and they show their team that they want to win, and they'll do anything to win. We have a lot of guys on this team that haven't won yet, and they want to prove to the hockey world that they're winners."

Devils keep Greene

New Jersey re-signed defenseman Andy Greene to a two-year deal. He will get $725,000 this season, and $750,000 next.

B's make moves

Byron Bitz has signed a multiyear contract to stay with the Boston Bruins. Bitz had four goals and three assists in 35 games and showed a physical style during his rookie season. Boston also signed center Steve Begin to a one-year contract. The 31-year-old played with Montreal and Dallas last season, recording 12 points in 62 games.

Koci heads to Avs

The Colorado Avalanche have signed free agent forward David Koci to a one-year contract. The financial terms weren't disclosed in Wednesday's announcement. The 28-year-old Koci appeared in 37 combined games with the Tampa Bay Lightning and St. Louis Blues during the 2008-09 season. He had two points and 141 penalty minutes.

Krajicek re-signs with Tampa

Lukas Krajicek re-signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning for one year at $1.475 million. Krajicek, 26 years old, had 17 assists and 19 points in 71 games with Tampa last season.

Fiddler in the desert

The Phoenix Coyotes made their first move of free agency signing center Vernon Fiddler to two-year deal worth $1.1 million annually. Fiddler played 77 games for the Predators last year and had 11 goals, 17 points and 24 penalty minutes.

Information from ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun and The Associated Press was used in this report.