Amerks re-sign 4, bolster blue line

The Rochester Americans have announced that Jason Botterill, Geoff Peters, David Cullen and Steve Lingren have all agreed to terms and will return for the 2004-05 season. The Amerks also have bolstered their defense with the addition of veteran defensemen Todd Rohloff and Brandon Smith.

Botterill and Peters return for their third seasons with the Amerks. Botterill, a 2001 Calder Cup champion with Saint John, recorded 16 goals and 17 assists for 33 points in 46 games with Rochester in 2003-04, then set personal playoff highs with five goals, 10 assists and 15 points in 16 postseason contests. Botterill added two goals and an assist in 19 NHL matches with Buffalo. The former first-round draft pick has skated in 88 career NHL games with Buffalo, Calgary, Atlanta and Dallas.

Peters played in 46 games and notched seven goals, four assists and 109 penalty minutes for the Amerks in 2003-04. The center has appeared in 141 career AHL contests with Rochester, Milwaukee, Norfolk and Portland since the 1998-99 season.

Cullen, a member of Houston’s Calder Cup championship team in 2002-03, returns after a solid season on defense for the Amerks. He ended the 2003-04 season tied for fourth in the AHL in points among defensemen with 47 (12g, 35a), and also was third with nine power-play goals. Cullen has picked up 43 goals and 131 assists for 174 points in 347 career AHL games with Rochester, Houston and Springfield over five pro seasons.

Lingren will join Cullen on the Rochester blue line for a second straight season. The veteran defenseman was selected the team’s 2003-04 Rob Zabelny Unsung Hero Award winner, as voted on by the Rochester media. Entering his 11th pro season, Lingren had four goals and 13 assists, along with 127 PIM, in 69 games with Rochester in 2003-04. He won a Calder Cup with Hershey in 1997.

Rochester also further solidified its defense with the acquisition of Rohloff and Smith. Rohloff skated in 59 NHL games with Washington and Columbus in 2003-04, and has totaled eight goals and 32 assists in 211 career AHL contests with Syracuse and Portland.

Smith, another former Calder Cup champion (Providence, 1999), is a veteran of 10 AHL seasons, picking up 77 goals and 256 assists for 333 points in 592 career AHL games with Bridgeport, Cleveland, Providence and Adirondack. He led all defensemen in scoring with 62 points and was a First Team AHL All-Star with the P-Bruins in 1998-99. Last year with the Sound Tigers, Smith recorded five goals and 23 assists in 74 contests.