The Colorado Avalanche inked aging winger Milan Hejduk on Friday, signing the 36-year-old to a one-year-contract for the 2012-2013 season. The terms of the deal were not disclosed to the media, but the Denver Post reported that Hedjuk will earn $2 million next season. Hedjuk returns for his 14th NHL season, all with Colorado.
The veteran winger talked about returning to Denver for another season. “My family and I are very excited to continue my career here in Denver,” Hejduk said. “I believe in this organization and our young players and look forward to helping the team in any way that I can.”
Hejduk had a subpar year by his standards in 2011-12, showing the wear and tear of playing in the National Hockey League for so many seasons. He registered only 37 points last year, the fewest since his rookie season with the Avalanche. Hejduk was originally drafted in 1994 draft by the Quebec Nordiques in the fourth round. He’s fourth on Colorado’s all-time scoring list with 371 goals and 794 points. Only Joe Sakic has played more games for the Avalanche.
Hejduk proved to be a good mentor for Colorado’s younger players such as Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog. The Avalanche increased their point total by 20 in the 2011-2012 regular season, compared to the previous year.
Colorado Avalanche General Manager, Greg Sherman talked about how Hejduk has contributed to the Avalanche organization throughout his whole career. “Over the years, Milan has been an instrumental part of our organization’s success,” Sherman said. “He has represented this franchise with class and will continue to complement the young nucleus of players we have been building this team around.”
The Avalanche have some young talent and large amount of cap space this upcoming offseason, as they should be looking to sign some free agent talent this summer. With their young core and possible additions, the Avalanche should be setting their sights on making the playoffs next season.
Take a look at a video highlight of Avalanche winger, Milan Hejduk below.