Vancouver signs Nycholat, Baumgartner, Pope

mtb_200.jpgThe Vancouver Canucks, the NHL affiliate of the Manitoba Moose, announced today they have signed defensemen Nolan Baumgartner and Lawrence Nycholat, along with forward Matt Pope to NHL contracts.

Nycholat, 29, appeared in 14 games with the Canucks last season where he earned one assist and six penalty minutes. He finished off the season with the Colorado Avalanche where he appeared in five games after being traded from the Calgary Flames on Mar. 4. He had been claimed off waivers by the Flames on Mar. 3.

The Calgary, Alta., native also played in three games with the Moose last season after being re-assigned to Manitoba for conditioning on Nov. 6. In that span, he collected three assists. Nycholat has now played in 50 career NHL games with Vancouver, Ottawa, Colorado and Washington where he’s scored nine points (2g, 7a). In 489 games in the AHL with Binghamton, Hershey, Hartford and Houston, Nycholat has scored 55 goals and 224 assists for 279 points and 730 penalty minutes. He helped the Bears capture the Calder Cup in 2006 with 14 points in 16 post-season games and was named to the AHL All-Star Classic in both 2005 and 2006.

Baumgartner, 33, appeared in 72 games with the Moose last season. In that time, the Calgary native collected 11 goals and 22 assists for 33 points and 50 penalty minutes. The veteran defenseman appeared in 22 games in Manitoba’s 2009 Calder Cup playoff run where he collected five assists and 22 penalty minutes.

Baumgartner’s return to the Moose during the 2007-08 season was his second stint with the team as he was team captain during the 2004-05 season and scored the first-ever goal at the MTS Centre back on Nov. 17, 2004. In 282 career games as a Moose, Baumgartner has scored 34 goals and 110 assists for 144 points and 294 penalty minutes. He was named the team’s top defenseman in 2003 and 2005.

Overall, he has played in 715 career games in the American Hockey League, where he’s collected 74 goals and 253 assists for 327 points and 726 penalty minutes with Iowa, Philadelphia, Manitoba, Norfolk, and Portland. He has appeared in two AHL All-Star Classics in his career – 2005 with Manitoba and as a starter in 2007 while with Philadelphia. Baumgartner has also played in 131 career NHL games with Dallas, Philadelphia, Vancouver, Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Washington. In that time, he’s scored six goals and 39 assists for 45 points and 67 penalty minutes.

Baumgartner was originally drafted in the first round, 10th overall, by the Washington Capitals in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft.

Pope, 24, appeared in eight games with the Moose in the 2008-09 regular season after being signed to a PTO on Mar. 17. In that span, he collected five points (2-3-5) and six penalty minutes. He also appeared in seven games during the 2009 Calder Cup Playoffs where he earned five points (2-3-5) along with two penalty minutes.

Pope also appeared in four games last season with the Binghamton Senators of the AHL where he scored three points (2-1-3) and four penalty minutes.

Pope spent four seasons with Bemidji State of the NCAA where he appeared in 143 games and accumulated 71 points (33-38-71) and 126 penalty minutes with the Beavers.