The Ottawa Senators announced Wednesday the club has signed defenseman David Hale and forward Francis Lessard to one-year, two-way contracts.
Hale, 29, skated in 39 games for the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2009-10, recording four assists and 25 penalty minutes. He also appeared in four contests for the Lightning’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Norfolk Admirals, scoring once and adding an assist.
“David Hale has extensive NHL experience,” said Ottawa assistant GM Tim Murray. “He knows by signing a two-way deal he may get sent to the minors, but he’s going to provide depth. We’ll see how he is in camp and the exhibition games and he will decide where he ends up.”
Originally drafted by the New Jersey Devils with their first pick (22nd overall) in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, Hale has played 302 NHL games with New Jersey, the Calgary Flames, Phoenix Coyotes and Tampa Bay, registering 24 points (three goals, 21 assists) while accumulating 236 penalty minutes. He has recorded two points (two assists) in 17 NHL post-season games.
The 6-1, 215-pound native of Colorado Springs, Colo., has played seven professional seasons. In addition to his NHL tenure, he has skated in 66 AHL contests with the Albany River Rats, Lowell Devils and Norfolk, recording five goals, 10 assists and 103 penalty minutes.
Lessard, 31, spent the 2009-10 season with the Phoenix Coyotes’ American Hockey League affiliate, the San Antonio Rampage, recording two goals and two assists while accumulating 289 penalty minutes in 61 games.
“He’s gonna provide toughness depth for us. We think he’s a real heavyweight,” said Murray of Lessard. “Very happy to get a character guy like him and whichever team he’s on (Ottawa or Binghamton), just provide leadership and be a real deterrent to any of our kids getting taken advantage of.”
Originally drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes with their third pick (80th overall) in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft, Lessard was traded by the Hurricanes to the Philadelphia Flyers on May 25, 1999, before being sent to the Atlanta Thrashers on March 15, 2002. The 6-3, 224-pound native of Montreal made his NHL debut with the Thrashers on March 27, 2002, and has played 91 career NHL contests, all with Atlanta, registering one goal, three assists and 268 penalty minutes.
Lessard, who will enter his 11th professional season, has skated in 487 AHL games with the Philadelphia Phantoms, Chicago Wolves, Hartford Wolf Pack and San Antonio, recording 65 points (24 goals, 41 assists) and 2,357 penalty minutes.
Hale’s experience and ability would be a good fit if he ends up in Binghamton and Lessard will likely team with Tim Spencer as the Binghamton enforcers. No doubt, there are big shoes to fill in that department, with the departure of Jeremy Yablonski, but the addition of Lessard was definitely a step in the right direction.
Some information in this article originally appeared in an official Ottawa Senators press release.