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Former Steelheads make future plans

Tuesday, July 10th
Former Steelheads make future plans

It?s been a busy summer for former Idaho Steelheads players currently making a living in the National Hockey League. On Tuesday, BJ Crombeen (pictured right) became the latest former ?Head to see his name added to the transaction wires when the St. Louis Blues traded Crombeen to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for two draft picks. Crombeen, who turned 27 on the day of the trade, is coming off an injury-plagued season that limited the hard-hitting winger to just 40 games. He has 27 goals in 288 NHL games ? including a hat trick during his first full season in the NHL - and now finds himself on the same roster as budding superstar Steven Stamkos and high-scoring forwards Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis. He joins Zenon Konopka and Warren Peters in the change-of-address file. Konopka, a key piece to Idaho?s 2004 Kelly Cup championship puzzle, has signed a free-agent deal with the Minnesota Wild after spending last season in Ottawa. The 31-year-old enforcer has also worn the NHL sweaters of the New York Islanders, Tampa Bay Lightning, Columbus Blue Jackets, and Anaheim Ducks since reaching the highest level of pro hockey during the 2005-06 season. Peters, on the other hand, left the Wild to sign a contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins organization. It?s a one-year, two-way contract that could have the veteran grinder bouncing back and forth between Pittsburgh and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, the organization?s affiliate in the American Hockey League. Peters played parts of two seasons in Idaho, netting 23 goals with the Steelheads during the 2004-05 campaign. Since then, he has gone on to compete at the NHL level for the Wild, Dallas Stars and Calgary Flames, picking up a career-high five points in 58 games for Minnesota last season. Other former Steelheads opted to stay where put this offseason. Goaltender Richard Bachman has filed for salary arbitration after being tendered a qualifying offer by the Dallas Stars. Forward Francis Wathier has re-signed with the Stars organization but is expected to spend the bulk of his season with Idaho?s AHL affiliate, the Texas Stars. Forward Greg Rallo has a new two-way contract with the Florida Panthers organization and forward Jay Beagle has a new contract with the Washington Capitals. Richard Clune has re-signed with the Los Angeles Kings organization. Crombeen, Wathier, Rallo and Beagle each won Kelly Cup championships with Idaho in 2007. Konopka was on Idaho?s 2004 title team. Another member of Idaho?s ?04 championship squad, goaltender Dan Ellis, was not re-signed by the Anaheim Ducks and is still working on his next career move. Bachman was a key piece of Idaho?s 2010 Western Conference championship team, though he missed the Kelly Cup finals after being recalled by Texas for their playoff run in the AHL. Some members of the 2011-12 Steelheads team have made a move for next season, too, as goaltender Jerry Kuhn and defenseman Steven Tarasuk have each signed contracts with teams in Europe. Forward David Fredriksson, who was dealt to Ontario in March in exchange for Tarasuk, has also opted to return to Europe, signing with a professional team in France. Forward Derek LeBlanc, who tied for the team lead with 20 goals last season, has agreed to terms with the Missouri Mavericks of the Central Hockey League. Defenseman Steven Oleksy, who was called up from Idaho in December to the AHL, has signed an AHL-level contract with the Hershey Bears.

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