Avalanche sign Nathan Smith, six others

The Colorado Avalanche, parent club of the AHL’s Lake Erie Monsters, have agreed to contract terms with forwards Nathan Smith, Cody McLeod, and Philippe Dupuis, defensemen Darcy Campbell and Aaron MacKenzie, and goaltenders Jason Bacashihua and Tyler Weiman.

Smith, 26, played 13 games with the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins last season after being recalled on Jan. 28. He spent most of the year with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL), where he posted career highs in goals (22), assists (28), and points (50) in 68 games, finishing third on the team in scoring. Smith, the team’s captain, went on to record 18 playoff points (7-11-18) as the Penguins reached the Calder Cup Finals.

Originally selected by Vancouver in the first round (23rd overall) of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, Smith has appeared in 17 career NHL games with Vancouver and Pittsburgh, and he played four Stanley Cup Playoff games with the Canucks in 2007. The Strathcona, Alberta, native shows 143 points (66-77-143) in 361 career AHL games with Manitoba and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

McLeod, 24, made his NHL debut last season, dressing in each of the final 49 regular-season games for the Avalanche after being recalled from the AHL’s Lake Erie Monsters on Dec. 16. The Binscarth, Manitoba, native recorded nine points (4-5-9) and finished second on the Avs with 120 penalty minutes. He became the first rookie in Avalanche history to surpass 100 penalty minutes. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound winger went on to appear in all 10 playoff games for Colorado, tallying a goal and one assist.

McLeod has collected 41 points (21-20-41) and 368 penalty minutes in 133 career AHL games with Lowell, Albany, and Lake Erie.

Weiman, 24, began the 2007-08 season with the Avalanche, appearing in one NHL game before being reassigned to Lake Erie (AHL) on Oct. 8. He spent the rest of the year with the Monsters, compiling a 9-19-1 record with two shutouts in 31 games.

Bacashihua, who was acquired by Colorado from St. Louis on Nov. 8, 2007, appeared in four games for the Peoria Rivermen and 19 with the Lake Erie Monsters. The 25-year old had a combined record of 6-14-2.

Dupuis and Campbell were both acquired from Columbus on Jan. 22, 2008 and spent the rest of the 2007-08 season with the Lake Erie Monsters. Dupuis, 23, recorded 19 points (12-7-19) in 46 combined AHL games between Lake Erie and the Syracuse Crunch. The 24-year-old Campbell notched seven points (2-5-7) in 36 combined games between the Monsters and Syracuse.

MacKenzie has spent the past three years with the Peoria Rivermen (AHL) after signing with St. Louis as a free agent on June 29, 2004. A native of Terrace Bay, Ontario, MacKenzie collected five points (0-5-5) in 55 games for Peoria last season and shows 50 points (10-40-50) in 314 career AHL games for Worcester and Peoria . The 27-year-old played four seasons at the University of Denver from 1999-2003.