The Hamilton Bulldogs appear to be the focus for the Habs in the second day
of free agency. After inking winger Stefan Fournier earlier in the day,
the club also announced that they have signed AHL veterans Martin St. Pierre and
Nick Tarnasky to one year contracts while goalie Robert Mayer, who received his
qualifying offer earlier in the week, inked a two year contract. All of
the signings are two-way deals.
St. Pierre is the most prominent of the signings. The diminutive centre
(5’9, 187 lbs) has been a consistent scoring threat in the American Hockey
League, averaging better than a point per game in his AHL career (528 points in
516 games). 2012-13 was his lowest point production in any of his seven
minor league seasons but he still scored 26 goals (only one shy of his career
high) while adding 33 assists in 76 games. That point total of 59 is 28
points better than Hamilton’s highest point getter in 2012-13 (Gabriel Dumont).
He comes to the team after being captain of the Rockford IceHogs, affiliate of
the Chicago Blackhawks.
St. Pierre also has a bit of NHL experience, playing in 38 career games with
Chicago, Boston, and Ottawa. In those contests, he combined to tally three
goals and five assists. He will reportedly earn $550,000 at the NHL level
and $225,000 in the minors. His AHL salary presently is in the top-10 for
highest paid minor leaguers although that should change as more prominent
AHL’ers sign new deals.
Tarnasky, a 6’2, 224 lb centre, is a name that should be familiar to some
fans as the 28 year old has nearly 250 games of NHL experience under his belt
(from 2005-06 to 2009-10). In his big league career, he has 13 goals and
17 assists to go along with 297 PIMS. He has been a minor league
journeyman of sorts the past few years as the Bulldogs will be his fourth AHL
team and sixth pro team since 2009-10.
Last season, Tarnasky was a regular for the AHL’s Rochester Americans,
affiliate of the Buffalo Sabres. He posted a career high in goals (16) and
points (26) to go along with 138 PIMS but a subpar -21 rating (no other player
was lower than -10). He also chipped in with a goal in three postseason
contests. He figures to be a 3rd or 4th liner on the Bulldogs this coming
Mayer has spent the past three seasons in the AHL and has yet to record a
winning record. 2012-13 was arguably his best season to-date as he posted
a career low in GAA (2.93) to go along with a .908 SV%. Late last year, he
had agreed to terms with HC Biel of the NLA but the Habs (for some reason)
convinced him to stay in Hamilton where he will battle with Dustin Tokarski and
recently-signed Mike Condon for playing time.
The signings now give the Habs 43 players under contract out of the maximum
of 50. (The team also has three RFA’s to sign but also three that are
expected to return to junior which means they won’t count against the 50.)
St. Pierre’s Stats