Panthers ink deals with defenseman Fitzpatrick, others

The Florida Panthers, parent club of the AHL’s Rochester Americans, have announced that the club has signed defenseman Rory Fitzpatrick to a two-year contract.

Fitzpatrick, 34, joins the Panthers organization after splitting the 2007-08 season with the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers and AHL’s Philadelphia Phantoms. In 19 games at the NHL level, Fitzpatrick recorded one assist and 11 PIM, and he picked up five points (1-4-5) and 24 PIM in 19 AHL contests for the Phantoms. He added a pair of assists in 12 Calder Cup Playoff games last spring.

Prior to his one-year stint in Philadelphia, Fitzpatrick spent the 2006-07 season on the blue line with the Vancouver Canucks, collecting seven points (1-6-7) and 46 PIM in 58 games. Fitzpatrick finished third in All-Star Game voting for defensemen in the Western Conference with 550,177 votes.

The Rochester native spent parts of three seasons (2001-03, 2004-05) with the Americans, registering 10 goals and 20 assists for 30 points in 121 games.

During the 2001-02 season, Fitzpatrick made history as he became the first Rochester native to score a goal for the Amerks.

The veteran defenseman recorded his best season in Rochester the following year, notching 16 points (5-6-11) in 41 games while also skating in 36 games with Buffalo. After playing the entire 2003-04 season with the Sabres, Fitzpatrick completed his third stint in Rochester in 2004-05, registering two points (1-1-2) in 20 games.

Originally a second-round draft pick (47th overall) by Montreal in 1993, Fitzpatrick has compiled 35 points (10-25-35) in 287 career NHL games with the Canadiens, St. Louis, Nashville, Buffalo, Vancouver and Philadelphia.

Fitzpatrick has totaled 138 points (35-103-138) in 384 career AHL games with Fredericton, Worcester, Hamilton, Rochester and Philadelphia.

The Panthers also announced the signings of forward Steve MacIntyre, defenseman James DeLory and goaltender Chris Beckford-Tseu to two-year contacts.

MacIntyre arrives after a one-year stint with the Providence Bruins, where he tallied five points (2-3-5) and 213 PIM in 62 games.

DeLory turns pro after an illustrious four-year career (2004-08) with the Ontario Hockey League’s Oshawa Generals, recording 84 points (13-71-84) and 539 PIM in 243 games.

A 2006 draft pick by San Jose, the 6-5, 225-pound blueliner completed his final season in Oshawa scoring a pair of goals while adding 20 assists and 154 PIM in 2007-08.

Beckford-Tseu, 24, played in 34 games last season for the AHL’s Peoria Rivermen and went 15-14-2 with a 2.63 GAA and a .889 save percentage. Beckford-Tseu also made his NHL debut as a member of the St. Louis Blues on Feb. 21 at Los Angeles in a relief effort and turned away eight of nine shots in 27 minutes played.

The 6-3, 201-pound goaltender backstopped Alaska (ECHL) to the 2006 Kelly Cup championship. He was originally drafted by the Blues in 2003.