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Pens Officially Sign Beech and Thomas; Ink Stone...

July 15, 2008, 4:16 PM ET [ Comments]

The Penguins continue to fortify the Wilkes Barre-Scranton roster by signing three more players.

They have officially signed Kris Beech, Pittsburgh native Bill Thomas and Ryan Stone. All deals are of the one year, two way variety.

Ryan Stone is getting to the point where the Penguins would like to see him earn an NHL roster spot out of camp and some feel that this could be the year. He plays a physical, agitating style that would combine perfectly with Matt Cooke to offset the loss of Jarkko Ruutu.

Bill Thomas is a Fox Chapel High School graduate who seemed to have a place in the Phoenix Coyotes plans, but that didn't come to pass. He has produced some decent numbers in the AHL and has intriguing offensive upside.

Kris Beech is a serviceable NHL player who can contribute in a 3rd or 4th line role, but I imagine the hope is for him to contribute at the AHL level.

Here are the official releases on each signing...


The Pittsburgh Penguins have signed forward Bill Thomas to a one-year contract, it was announced today by Executive Vice President/General Manager Ray Shero.

Thomas, 25, played seven games with the Phoenix Coyotes during the 2007-08 regular season, including 15:22 of icetime on December 3rd vs. the Pittsburgh Penguins. He played 75 games with the San Antonio Rampage of the American Hockey League (AHL). The Pittsburgh native tallied 52 points (24 goals, 28 assists) along with 40 penalty minutes. Thomas played in seven playoff games with San Antonio, scoring three points (one goal, two assists).

The 6-1, 185-pound forward has 17 points (nine goals, eight assists) and 10 penalty minutes in 40 career games in the NHL with Phoenix. He made his NHL debut during the 2005-06 season. Thomas has played 122 career games in the AHL, registering 85 points (37 goals, 48 assists) and 60 penalty minutes.

The Fox Chapel High School graduate played two seasons for the Tri-City Storm in the USHL before heading to the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He scored 95 points (46 goals, 49 assists) over 80 games in two seasons and helped guide the team to its first-ever NCAA tournament appearance.

Thomas was originally signed by Phoenix as a free agent on March 27, 2006.


The Pittsburgh Penguins have re-signed forward Ryan Stone to a one-year contract, it was announced today by Executive Vice President/General Manager Ray Shero.

Stone, 23, played six games over three stints with the Penguins during the 2007-08 season. He made his NHL debut on January 10th vs. Tampa Bay. Stone registered his first NHL point on March 12th vs. Buffalo when he assisted on Chris Minard’s first NHL goal. The 6-2, 207-pound native of Calgary, Alberta tallied 39 points (11 goals, 28 assists) and 129 penalty minutes in 65 games with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL) during the 2007-08 season. He was sixth on the club in scoring and tied for third in assists.

Stone played all 23 games for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton as the team advanced to the Calder Cup Finals. He scored 17 points (five goals, 12 assists) and led the team with a plus-nine rating in the postseason.

Stone was originally selected by the Penguins in the second round (32nd overall) in the 2003 NHL Draft. He has played three seasons in the AHL for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton recording 108 points (32 goals, 76 assists) and 324 penalty minutes in 181 games. Stone has also played 44 playoff games, registering 33 points (11 goals, 22 assists) and 66 penalty minutes.


The Pittsburgh Penguins have re-signed forward Kris Beech to a one-year contract, it was announced today by Executive Vice President/General Manager Ray Shero.

Beech posted 11 points (six goals, five assists) in 25 NHL games during the 2007-08 season. He began the season with the Syracuse Crunch (AHL), registering 15 points (five goals, 10 assists) and 22 penalty minutes in 16 contests before joining the Columbus Blue Jackets. Beech was claimed off waivers by the Penguins on January 26th before making his season debut with the team on February 7th vs. the New York Islanders. He played five games until suffering a broken wrist on February 14th at Carolina, missing the remainder of the season.

Beech, 27, had appeared in 95 games in three seasons with the Penguins prior to rejoining the club for the 2007-08 season. He tallied 27 points (10 goals, 17 assists) along with 57 penalty minutes from 2001-2004. Beech also posted 150 points (53 goals, 97 assists) and 319 penalty minutes in three stints with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the AHL.

Beech, a native of Salmon Arm, British Columbia has tallied 67 points (25 goals, 42 assists) along with 113 penalty minutes in 198 career games in the NHL. The 6-2, 209-pound forward was originally drafted by the Washington Capitals in the first round (seventh overall) of the 1999 NHL Draft.

Is training camp starting yet? Mid July stinks!! More later...
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