Konopka highlights Thursday signings

The Tampa Bay Lightning, parent club of the AHL’s Norfolk Admirals, today announced the signing of free agent center Zenon Konopka to a two-year contract.

Konopka, 6-1, 213-pounds, played in 62 games with the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch last season. He scored a career-high 24 goals and matched his previous AHL high with 55 points. Konopka ranked third on the team in goals and was second in points. He also ranked second on the team with 11 power play goals and tied for fourth among forwards with a plus-9 rating.

Konopka ranked third on the Crunch with 10 points (3-7-10) in 13 Calder Cup Playoff games last spring.

The 27-year-old Konopka also played in three games with the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets in 2007-08, recording four shots on goal and 15 penalty minutes.

Konopka has played in 280 career AHL games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Utah, Cincinnati, Portland, and Syracuse. He has netted 86 career goals and recorded 212 points. He has also played in 44 career Calder Cup Playoff games, recording 17 goals and 45 points.

A native of Niagara on the Lake, Ont., Konopka has suited up for 32 career NHL games with Columbus and the Anaheim Ducks. He recorded a career-best four goals and seven points with two power-play goals in 23 games with the Ducks in 2005-06.

Also Thursday, the St. Louis Blues, parent club of the AHL’s Peoria Rivermen, announced that the club has signed free agent defenseman Mike Weaver.

Weaver, 30, played in 55 games last season with the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks, registering one assist, 33 penalty minutes and a plus-one rating.

The 5-9, 182-pound defenseman has played in 204 career NHL games, recording 25 points (3-22-25) along with 93 penalty minutes.

A native of Bramalea, Ont., Weaver has also registered 58 points (9-49-58) in 255 career AHL contests, and he won the Calder Cup in 2002 as a member of the Chicago Wolves.

The Pittsburgh Penguins, parent club of the AHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, signed defenseman Joey Mormina and re-signed forward Connor James on Thursday.

Mormina, 26, spent last season with the AHL’s Albany River Rats, recording 13 points (4-9-13) and 96 penalty minutes in 77 games. He also made his NHL debut with the Carolina Hurricanes, going scoreless in one contest.

Originally drafted by Philadelphia in 2002, Mormina has combined to record 37 points (6-31-37) in 200 AHL games with the River Rats and Manchester Monarchs.

James, 25, ranked eighth on Wilkes-Barre/Scranton with 37 points (9-28-37) in 64 regular-season games during the 2007-08 campaign. His 28 assists were tied for third on the team.

The Calgary native also recorded 13 points (8-5-13) in 23 playoff games with the Penguins as the team reached the Calder Cup Finals, ranking tied for third in the team in playoff goal scoring and tied for seventh in points.

James also appeared in 13 games with the Pittsburgh Penguins last season and netted his first career NHL goal on Feb. 26 against the New York Islanders.

James has totaled 114 points (40-74-114) in 225 career AHL games for Manchester and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

The Nashville Predators, parent club of the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals, announced the signing of free agent forward Josh Gratton to a one-year, two-way contract on Wednesday evening.

The 6-2, 214-pound left wing posted AHL offensive career highs during the 2007-08 season, amassing 26 points (11-15-26) in addition to 196 penalty minutes in 58 games with the San Antonio Rampage (38 games) and Hartford Wolf Pack (20 games).

The Brantford, Ont., who won a Calder Cup championship in 2005 with the Philadelphia Phantoms, has combined for 55 points (32-33-55) in 192 career AHL regular-season games with Cincinnati, Philadelphia, San Antonio, and Hartford.

Gratton has also played 67 career National Hockey League games with Phoenix and Philadelphia since 2005-06, notching three points (2-1-3) and 237 penalty minutes.