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Avs give Duchene five years, $30M

DENVER -- The Colorado Avalanche shored up centre ice by signing Matt Duchene to a five-year, US$30-million contract extension Thursday.

Duchene, 22, has 82 goals and 111 assists in 266 games with the Avalanche.

Colorado selected centre Nathan MacKinnon with the first pick in last month's draft and also has Paul Stastny signed for one more season with a cap hit of $6.6 million.

Ryan O'Reilly is expected to move to wing given the Avalanche's depth down the middle.

That depth could last a while with Duchene signed through 2018-19.

"Matt already is and will be a big part of our team's nucleus for the long term," Avalanche executive vice-president of hockey operations Joe Sakic said in a statement. "We all felt that it was important for us to secure his rights for several seasons. With his great skills, speed and character, he represents the identity we want the Avalanche to be."

 

NHL schedule still on hold

THE NHL schedule is still awaiting the completion of an agreement to send players to the Olympics, deputy commissioner Bill Daly confirmed.

Once a deal is done for NHL representation in Sochi in 2014, the league will be able to release the full schedule for the 2013-14 season. While it's considered a formality that players will be at the Olympics for the fifth straight time, nothing has been finalized.

"Nothing new to report," Daly said in an email. "We hope that changes soon."

Commissioner Gary Bettman was optimistic in late June that an Olympic agreement would be done in short order. The NHL has been negotiating with the Players' Association, International Ice Hockey Federation and International Olympic committee for months.

The NHL schedule is dependent on an Olympic deal being official because an extended break is built in for the month of February. The men's ice hockey tournament is set to take place Feb. 12-23 in Sochi, Russia.

 

Oilers bring Grebeshkov back from KHL

EDMONTON -- The Edmonton Oilers have signed defenceman Denis Grebeshkov to a one-year contract.

Grebeshkov played parts of three seasons with the Oilers from 2007 through 2010 before being traded to the Nashville Predators.

He spent the three previous years in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League.

The 29-year-old is a veteran of 227 NHL games. He was the 18th overall pick of the Los Angeles Kings in 2002 and played for the New York Islanders before going to the Oilers the first time.

During his Oilers tenure, Grebeshkov had 76 points in 190 games. He had eight assists in 44 games split between SKA St. Petersburg and Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk last season in the KHL.

 

Pens ink RFA Jeffrey to one-year deal

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins have signed restricted free agent Dustin Jeffrey to a one-year contract.

The deal, worth $625,000, gives the Penguins added depth after losing veterans Brenden Morrow, Jarome Iginla and Matt Cooke in free agency. The 25-year-old Jeffrey had three goals and three assists for the Penguins during the 2013 season. Jeffrey has played in just 50 NHL games since tearing the ACL in his right knee in March, 2011.

The signing leaves the Penguins with just one restricted free agent on the roster, Robert Bortuzzo. Bortuzzo is eligible for arbitration. He played in 15 games last season, with two goals and two assists.

 

-- from the news services

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 19, 2013 C8

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