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KING NOTES

Buchberger Signs With Coyotes

July 08, 2002|Jerry Crowe

The Kings lost another veteran Sunday when unrestricted free agent Kelly Buchberger, an alternate captain last season, signed a two-year contract with the Phoenix Coyotes, including a club option for the second season.

The Kings had offered a one-year deal.

In addition to the better deal, Buchberger jumped at the chance to be reunited with Coyote managing partner Wayne Gretzky, a former teammate on two Stanley Cup championship teams with the Edmonton Oilers.

"Knowing him as well as I do," Buchberger said from his summer home in Edmonton, "I just wanted the opportunity again to be associated with him."

In the last month, the Kings traded forward Cliff Ronning, 36, to the Minnesota Wild and exercised the buyout option on the contract of forward Nelson Emerson, 34.

They were outbid for free agents Philippe Boucher, 29, and Buchberger, a 35-year-old right wing. Boucher, a defenseman, signed last week with the Dallas Stars.

Buchberger, a 16-year NHL veteran and member of three Stanley Cup winners with the Oilers, played in 74 games last season. He had six goals, seven assists and 75 penalty minutes.

For his career, he has 101 goals, 192 assists and 2,079 penalty minutes in 1,032 games with the Kings, Oilers and Atlanta Thrashers.

"Kelly gives us a lot of experience and leadership," Coyote General Manager Michael Barnett said.

"You can never have enough Stanley Cup rings in your dressing room, and Kelly will be a great example to our younger players."

*

Highly touted forwards Jared Aulin and Yanick Lehoux will be among the nearly 40 prospects taking part in the Kings' two-week development camp starting today at the team's HealthSouth training facility in El Segundo.

All scrimmages and on-ice workouts are open to the public at no charge. Three scrimmages are scheduled: Saturday, July 17 and July 20.

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