NHL News: Blue Jackets waive Mikko Lehtonen; Canucks sign Alex Chiasson; and Penguins ink Brian Boyle

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Oct 7, 2021; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Vancouver Canucks forward Alex Chiasson (39) and Edmonton Oilers forward Zach Hyman (18) chase a loose puck during the third period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

The Columbus Blue Jackets suspended defenseman Mikko Lehtonen over his failure to report to the Cleveland Monsters of the American Hockey League, then placed him on unconditional waivers.

NHL: Blue Jackets waive Lehtonen after he refuses AHL assignment

The team made the announcement Tuesday, a day after assigning Lehtonen, fellow defenseman Gabriel Carlsson and forward Kevin Stenlund to the AHL affiliate.

Lehtonen, 27, signed a one-year contract with the club on July 30. Financial details were not announced.

The Finland native made his NHL debut last season and had six assists as he split time between the Blue Jackets and Toronto Maple Leafs. Columbus acquired him in a trade on March 12 that sent goaltender Veini Vehvilainen to Toronto.

He averaged 15:53 of ice time in 26 games with the two clubs.

The Blue Jackets open the 2021-22 season Thursday night in Columbus against the Arizona Coyotes.

Canucks sign F Alex Chiasson to 1-year deal

The Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday signed free agent forward Alex Chiasson to a one-year deal worth $750,000.

Chiasson, 31, played in four preseason games with the Canucks after signing a professional tryout contract with the team in September.

“Alex is an established veteran who plays a physical game and brings a valuable net-front presence to our team, particularly on the power play,” Canucks general manager Jim Benning said in a statement. “He’s a bigger player that doesn’t shy away from the tough areas of the ice and has fit in well with the rest of our forward group so far.”

Chiasson recorded 16 points (nine goals, seven assists) and 33 penalty minutes in 45 games with the Edmonton Oilers last season.

Overall, Chiasson has collected 202 points (101 goals, 101 assists) in 564 games with the Dallas Stars (2012-14), Ottawa Senators (2014-16), Calgary Flames (2016-17), Washington Capitals (2017-18) and Oilers (2018-21). He was taken in the second round of the 2009 NHL Draft by the Stars.

He won a Stanley Cup title with the Capitals in 2018.

Penguins make Brian Boyle signing official

Brian Boyle Penguins
Sep 27, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Brian Boyle (11) skates with the puck against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the first period at PPG Paints Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Penguins settled their roster Tuesday, hours before their season opener on the road with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The club signed forward Brian Boyle to a one-year contract and recalled forwards Anthony Angello and Drew O’Connor from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the AHL. In addition, forward Evgeni Malkin (knee) was placed on long-term injured reserve, forward Sidney Crosby (wrist) was put on injured non-roster status and forward Zach Aston-Reese was added to the NHL’s COVID protocol list.

Melkin had knee surgery in June and is expected to miss at least the first two months of the season. Crosby has been practicing but is not yet ready to return after having wrist surgery last month.

In their absence, the Penguins signed Boyle to a one-year, $750,000 contract after he took part in training camp and played in four preseason games.

A first-round draft pick by the Los Angeles Kings in 2003, the 36-year-old Boyle has played with the Kings, New York Rangers, Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, New Jersey Devils, Nashville Predators and Florida Panthers since breaking in with the Kings in 2007.

He did not play in the 2020-21 season, but in 805 career games, he has 231 points (130 goals, 101 assists) and 588 penalty minutes. In 39 games with the Panthers in 2019-20, he had 15 points (six goals, nine assists).

Angello, 25, had one assist in three preseason games with the Penguins. In 19 games in Pittsburgh last season, he contributed four points (two goals, two assists).

O’Connor, 23, played in 10 games for the Penguins last season as a rookie, tallying one assist. In five preseason games, he had a team-high three goals.

–Field Level Media