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Havlat Changes His Mind and Signs With Senators

October 12, 2003|From Associated Press

The Ottawa Senators signed right wing Martin Havlat, a restricted free agent, to a one-year contract Saturday.

Havlat had made arrangements to fly home to the Czech Republic earlier Saturday, before he came to terms two days after turning down a reported offer of $1.35 million.

"We're very happy, and I believe Marty's very happy too, and that's the way it should be," Senator General Manager John Muckler said.

Havlat, 22, had 24 goals and 35 assists for 59 points -- all career highs -- in 67 games last season, his third in the league. He had five goals and six assists in 18 playoff games, scoring two game-winning goals as the Senators fell one win short of the Stanley Cup finals.

"It makes us a much stronger club," Muckler said. "I thought our club was strong without him, but we're much stronger with him, there's no question. And if you're going to compete for the Stanley Cup, you can use a right winger of his caliber and his skill level."

Havlat, who was working out with university and junior teams in Ottawa and Montreal, will take his physical today and join the team for a West Coast trip that begins Wednesday against the Kings.

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The Columbus Blue Jackets activated left wing Geoff Sanderson from injured reserve, and assigned center Sean Pronger to Syracuse of the American Hockey League.

Sanderson, the Blue Jackets' leading goal scorer last season with 34 goals and 67 points in 82 games, injured a shoulder during an intrasquad scrimmage Sept. 15. He sat out all eight exhibition games and Thursday's season opener at Atlanta.

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Pierre Lacroix, president at general manager of the Colorado Avalanche, agreed to a long-term contract extension. The terms of the deal weren't announced, but team owner Stan Kroenke said the extension "allows Pierre to complete his career as our premier Avalanche executive."

Colorado has won division titles every year since Lacroix became the fourth general manager in team history in 1994. The ninth consecutive division title last season set an NHL record.

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