The Thrashers signed unrestricted free agent center Tim Stapleton from the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage and called him up the NHL Tuesday. He joined the team in Denver for Tuesday’s game against the Avalanche.
Stapleton played six games with the Thrashers last season and scored two goals. He was a free agent following the season and not re-signed. The 5-foot-9, 160 pound Stapleton played 20 games for the Rampage with eight goals and seven assists this season. He was on a 25-game tryout with the rampage.
Stapleton signed a two-year deal with the Thrashers. It will be a two-way contract this season, paying him $525,000 in the NHL and $105,000 in the AHL. However, the second year of the deal is an NHL contract worth $525,000.
“I’ve never had that,” Stapleton said of an NHL contract. “It’s something you strive for your whole career. I’ve been playing since I was three years old so I’m really excited about it. It hasn’t really hit me yet. I was in San Antonio 48 hours ago. To be here now, it’s been so surreal.”
With Fredrik Modin (ribs) out and Alexander Burmistrov sore after he took a boarding penalty Sunday against Boston, the Thrashers added Stapleton as a precaution.
Burmistrov did not practice Monday before the team departed on a three-game road trip. The rookie made the trip with the team and Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay said there was a good chance Burmistrov would be able to play.
Burmistrov took part in the morning skate and will play Tuesday.
“I guess he’s going to be OK,” Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay said. ” He gave me the big grin ‘Hey, I can do it.’ He looks ready to go.”
Stapleton, 28, had 30 goals and 29 assists in 70 games at AHL Chicago last season. In four AHL seasons, with Portland, Toronto, Chicago and San Antonio, Stapleton had 158 points (66 goals, 92 assists). He also had one goal in four games for the NHL’s Maple Leafs.
In other news, Patrice Cormier was officially activated from injured reserve and assigned to AHL Chicago. Cormier has been with the team for more than a week and now officially begins his return from a broken right foot suffered on the eve of Thrashers training camp in September.
Cormier could play Tuesday when the Wolves host Manitoba.