Saturday, August 06, 2005
Hejduk signs 5 year deal to stay with Avs
DENVER (CP) - The Colorado Avalanche signed all-star winger Milan Hejduk to a five-year deal Saturday.
The five-foot-11, 185-pound Hejduk played for Pardubice HC in the Czech Elite League this past season, recording 25 goals and 26 assists in 48 games.
Hejduk has eclipsed the 30-goal barrier four times in his six-year NHL career, including 50 in 2002-03 to collect the Maurice (Rocket) Richard Trophy as the league's top goal-scorer.
"I wanted to keep playing in Denver for a long time," Hejduk said in a statement. "There's no better place to play hockey than in Colorado, where our fans have been so supportive.
"We always have a chance to win every night. I'm looking forward to the upcoming season and this new NHL era."
In the 2001 Stanley Cup playoffs, Hejduk led all NHL scorers with 16 assists in 23 games, helping the Colorado Avalanche to its second Stanley Cup Championship.
Hejduk will be looked upon to fill the void left by former Avs star Peter Forsberg, who signed as a free agent with Philadelphia.
"Since his rookie season in 1998-99, he has been an instrumental part of the success of this franchise," said Avalanche president and GM Pierre Lacroix. "At 29, he is in the prime of his career and we strongly believe he will be a strong contributor to our club and Milan will thrive in this new NHL landscape."
Hejduk won a gold medal with the Czech Republic at the 1998 Olympics, and also played in the 2002 Olympics and the 2004 World Cup of Hockey.