Winnipeg Jets center Rick Rypien was found dead at his Alberta home on Monday, with the police telling local media there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the 27-year-old's death.
Rypien signed a one-year, $700,000 contract with the Jets as a free agent last month after six seasons with the Vancouver Canucks.
The Canadian had not played for the Canucks since last November when he took an indefinite leave of absence from the team for personal reasons.
Rypien's 2010-11 campaign was marred by a six-game NHL suspension for an altercation with a fan in Minnesota in October.
"We would like to express our sincere sympathies to the Rypien family as well as Rick's friends," the Jets said in a statement.
"Rick was a talented player with an extremely bright future. His hunger for the game made him a valued team member both on and off the ice. This loss has impacted us as more than just a hockey team."
The Canucks echoed the Jets' sentiments.
"Rick has been a beloved member of the Canucks family for the past six years," a statement read.
"Rick was a great team mate and friend to our players, coaches and staff. We send our deepest condolences to the Rypien family at this most difficult time."
Rypien began his pro career in Winnipeg with the Moose, the Canucks' AHL affiliate, and the Jets gave him a chance to re-establish his career in his home province when he was signed last month.
Rypien is the second young NHL player to die in the off-season.
New York Rangers enforcer Derek Boogaard was found dead in May with a mixture of alcohol and (pain killer) oxycodone in his system. A U.S. medical examiner ruled the 28-year-old's death accidental.