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Blue Jackets: Hartnell, Gagner, Quincey find new homes

Philadelphia Flyers' Nick Schultz, right, battles for the puck with Columbus Blue Jackets' Scott Hartnell during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 5, 2016, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The country music has been blasting all day from the Hartnell residence in Kelowna, British Columbia - and for good reason.

Veteran winger Scott Hartnell, whose NHL career began in Nashville in 2000, signed a one-year, $1 million deal with the Predators on Saturday to return to the spot where it all began 17 years ago - and after Columbus bought Hartnell out of the remaining years of his contract earlier in the week, he knew there wasn't anywhere else he'd rather go.

"Nashville was No. 1 on my list to go to," Hartnell said via conference call from his home in Kelowna. "This morning, it was a pretty easy decision when the contract was there."

There's plenty of familiarity in the deal for the 35-year-old with more than 1,100 games of NHL experience, 436 of those with the Preds. Not only has he called Music City home before, but he's skated under Predators Head Coach Peter Laviolette when the two were in Philadelphia and made a run to the 2010 Stanley Cup Final.

According to Hartnell, that run in 2010 was all Laviolette, and he can't wait for the chance to make it back there again.

"I absolutely love the guy - how do you not?" Hartnell said of Laviolette. "I love his intensity. He's so well spoken, he gets the boys going and our Stanley Cup run in Philadelphia was 100 percent because of Laviolette… Everyone loves his personality, loves his attitude and loves his system, and it works. He's done a great job in his coaching career, so I'm just excited to be a part of the fold and respect the guy that's in charge like Lavi and I can't wait to get this season rolling."

"I just love the way [the Predators] play. I love the team and how it's set up, right from Pekka [Rinne] to the defense corps and the young forwards, it's an awesome mix, and two games away from being Stanley Cup Champions."

The Vancouver Canucks have signed forward Sam Gagner and defenseman Michael Del Zotto to three-year contracts, the team announced Saturday.

Gagner's deal carries an average annual value of $3.15 million, while Del Zotto's contract has an AAV of $3 million.

Gagner, 27, signed a one-year "show-me" contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets for $650,000 last offseason, and he sure did show them. His 18 goals and 32 assists made him one of the top bargains in all of hockey.

"Sam is a hardworking, right shot [center] with good speed and skill," Canucks general manager Jim Benning said in a statement. "He brings tremendous experience to our team and will set a good example for our younger players."

Gagner needed last year's bounce-back season. The former first-round pick had gone from making $4.8 million per season for Edmonton to being traded three times in a year, and in 2015-16 even spending some time in the AHL.

That season he scored only eight goals and added eight assists for the Flyers in 53 games. Columbus snatched him up, and he helped the Jackets to a franchise-best 108-point season.

The Wild have signed their first 1-way contract of the day, and it's defenseman Kyle Quincey who played with the Columbus Blue Jackets and the New Jersey Devils during the last season.

Quincey is 31 years old, and will turn 32 in August and had 15 points, including 6 goals, in 73 games last season. Quincey is a left handed shot, which considering the Wild's depth in left-handed defensemen is surprising but Michael Russo reports that the Wild intend to use Quincey in a 3rd pairing role with either Mike Reilly or Gustav Olofsson pairing him. That would mean that the Wild intend to use Ryan Murphy in either an AHL role or as their 7th defenseman.

Quincey is nothing special but he does provide some experience with 568 NHL games on his belt, and isn't terrible even analytics wise with his HERO chart being basically a 3rd pairing defenseman archetype. Historically he isn't a very offensive-defenseman with 13, 18, 11, and 15 points respectively in his last 4 seasons. His career high in points is 38 points in 08-09 when he played on the Los Angeles Kings but he hasn't ever gotten too close to repeating that. His career high in goals though is only 6.

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