According to various rumor blogs and NHL.com, it looks like Kris Beech is back again. The former center piece from the Jagr trade to Washington--which was seven years (!!) ago last week has had a crazy career.
By our account it goes something like this:
``Drafted by the Washington Capitals 7th overall in 1999
``Played 4 games in the NHL in 2000 before being returned to WHL
``Traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Jaromir Jagr in July 2001
``Played the whole 2001-02 season in Pittsburgh (10 goals, 15 assists)
``Played 16 games in Pittsburgh up to the lockout (0 goals, 2 assists), spent the rest of the time in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton either moping around, being injured or showing flashes of brilliance (103 games, 39 goals, 87 points)
``Spent the lockout season in WB/S, impressively scoring 62 points in 68 games.
``Traded to the Nashville Predators September 2005 for a conditional draft pick....We can't find the conditions nor anything that Nashville ever sent Pittsburgh. Beech would play just five games with Nashville (and 48 with their AHL affiliate before
``Traded back to the Caps (with a 1st round pick that ended up being prospect goalie Semen Varlamov) for a playoff rental, Brenden Witt. Beech got five games with Washington before going to Hershey and helping to lead the Bears to a Calder Cup victory (in 21 playoff games he had a team high 14 goals).
``Spent 2006-07 with Washington (64 games, 8 goals, 18 assists)....First season since '01-02 that he didn't play in the minors...Cut loose by the Caps
``Signed by the Columbus Blue Jackets August 2007....Didn't make their NHL team out of camp
``Claimed off of waivers by the Vancouver Canucks January 10th, 2008
``Waived by Vancouver 1/22/08, claimed by Washington
``Claimed by Pittsburgh off of waivers on 1/26/08
Kris Beech is now 27 years old.
The contract he signed is reportedly a two-way contract that will pay him less for time spent in the minors. Surprisingly, even though our feelings about Beech are no secret, we don't have much a problem with this deal. If he can come into camp with a good attitude and make the team over a younger player like Tim Brent or Ryan Stone, he gives the Pens a better NHL option as a 4th liner. If not, the Pens will send him to Wilkes-Barre (unless of course someone else claims him) and the Baby Pens will have a great point producing forward and an injury call-up "just in case".