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San Jose re-signs Vesce, adds four others

vesce-head_200.jpgThe San Jose Sharks, parent club of the AHL’s Worcester Sharks, announced today that they have re-signed unrestricted free agent forward Ryan Vesce to a one-year contract. The Sharks also signed forwards Jed Ortmeyer and Dwight Helminen, along with defensemen Joe Callahan and Danny Groulx.

The announcements were made by San Jose executive vice president and general manager Doug Wilson.

Vesce, 27, played 10 games with San Jose last season, making his National Hockey League debut vs. Pittsburgh on Feb. 11, 2009.

He led Worcester with 71 points (24 goals, 47 assists), ranking 13th in the American Hockey League. Vesce had a 17-game point streak (9-18=27), which lasted from Dec. 29 to Feb. 15, ranking 2nd in the AHL for the 2008-09 season.

“Ryan earned equity with his performance when he came up and played with us last season, but also the leadership he displayed in Worcester,” said Wilson.

The five-foot-eight, 175-pound right wing represented Worcester on the PlanetUSA Team in the 2009 AHL All-Star Game, registering a goal and an assist. He also participated in the 2006 AHL All-Star Classic and shows 189 points (58-131-189) in 227 career AHL games for Springfield, Binghamton, and Worcester.

The Lloyd Harbor, N.Y. native was signed by San Jose as a free agent on Aug. 2, 2008.

Ortmeyer, 30, spent the last two seasons with the Nashville Predators organization. He played in 51 games with Nashville in 2007-08 posting eight points (4-4=8) and 32 penalty minutes before suffering a knee injury.

ortmeyer-head_200.jpgUpon returning, he spent the majority of the 2008-09 season with Milwaukee (AHL) notching 23 points (10-13=23) and 51 penalty minutes in 55 games. He also appeared in two games with Nashville.

“Jed is a skilled, two-way player who adds tremendous depth to our organization,” said Wilson. “He’s the type of player that pushes his teammates and competes with a high level of energy.”

The defensive forward played parts of three seasons (2004-2007) with the New York Rangers. In 230 NHL games with the Rangers and Nashville, he has posted 32 points (13-19=32) and 108 penalty minutes. Ortmeyer has also played 82 AHL games for the Hartford Wolf Pack.

The six-foot, 200-pound native of Omaha, Nebraska was originally signed as a free agent by the Rangers in 2003 following four seasons with the University of Michigan (CCHA), where he was named team captain in his senior season.
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Helminen, 26, split the season between Carolina (NHL) and Albany (AHL) during 2008-09. He made his NHL debut with Carolina appearing in 23 games and posting two points (1-1=2) in the regular season. Helminen made his postseason debut for Carolina as well, appearing in one game.

He posted 30 points (15-15=30) in 54 games with Albany and shows 133 points (64-69-133) in 252 career AHL contests for the River Rats and Hartford Wolf Pack.

“Dwight is a high-energy player that helps build our organizational depth,” said Wilson. “We’ve watched him since his days with the U.S. development team and he fit in well with Carolina last season.”

The five-foot-ten, 190-pound native of Hancock, Michigan was originally selected by Edmonton in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft.
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Callahan, 26, made his NHL debut in 2008-09 appearing in 18 games with the New York Islanders posting two assists (0-2=2) and four penalty minutes.

He was recalled from Bridgeport (AHL) seven times over the course of the season and posted 13 points (4-9=13) in 56 games with the Sound Tigers.

He has appeared in 367 career American Hockey League games for Springfield, Utah, San Antonio, Portland, and Bridgeport, posting 72 points (11-61=72) and 328 penalty minutes.

“Joe is a poised defenseman that is a good puck mover,” said Wilson. “He is an experienced professional that brings a great deal of competitiveness to our organization.”

The six-foot-three, 220-pound native of Brockton, Massachusetts was originally selected by Phoenix in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft (3rd round, 70th overall) following three seasons with Yale University (ECAC).
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Groulx, 28, appeared in all 80 games for Rockford (AHL) last season as he finished 14th in the league in points by a defenseman (6-34=40). He led Rockford in plus/minus (+18) and has never been less than a +1 in his six AHL seasons. During that time, he has played with Grand Rapids, Manitoba, Hamilton and Rockford accumulating 130 points (24-106=130) and 403 penalty minutes in 415 regular season games.

Additionally, he has appeared in the Calder Cup Playoffs in all six of his AHL seasons appearing in 55 games and posting 22 points (9-13=22), including a Calder Cup championship in 2006-07 with Hamilton.

“Danny has been a steady professional with a great deal of experience,” said Wilson. “He’ll add good depth to the organization and has a wealth of postseason experience at the American Hockey League level.”