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#19 To Play His 19th Season

by Staff Writer / Colorado Avalanche

DENVER - The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club announced today the signing of captain Joe Sakic to a one-year deal for the 2007-08 season, which will be his 19th National Hockey League campaign and 15th straight as the franchise's captain.

"I am privileged today to announce to our fans that Joe will be returning next season. Joe is the heart of this organization and his leadership and value to this team and especially our young players is unquestioned," said Avalanche Executive Vice President and General Manager Francois Giguere. "He played some of his best hockey this past season and was a major part of the late-season success we enjoyed. Joe's contributions both on and off the ice for this organization cannot be understated.

"We have great expectations for next season and Joe's presence will be counted on to continue aiding in the development and growth of our young players," added Giguere.

Sakic, 37, finished his 18th NHL season as the club's leader in points (100), goals (36) and assists (64) while appearing in all 82 games for the second-straight season and sixth time in his career. He joined Gordie Howe as the only players in NHL history to reach the 100-point plateau at the age of 37 or older. Sakic recorded 100 points for the sixth time in his career and first since he earned NHL MVP Honors (Hart Trophy) with 118 points in 2000-01.

Sakic recorded his franchise-record ninth 30-goal season, surpassing Michel Goulet and Peter Stastny who each amassed eight campaigns with 30 goals. Sakic also reached the 50-assist plateau for the 14th time in his career, tying Marcel Dionne and Paul Coffey for the third-most 50-assist seasons in NHL history behind Wayne Gretzky (18) and Ron Francis (16).

"I was really impressed with the way this team came together and am looking forward to next year," said Sakic. "To witness the growth of our young players and see how they performed with some of our other veterans was very encouraging and says a lot about the expectations we'll have for next season."

"As I've said in the past, at this stage in my career, I prefer to do one-year deals as I evaluate my play year-to-year," added Sakic. "But I'm looking forward to next season and we feel very lucky to be a part of such a great hockey market with such amazing fan support."

Sakic led the Avalanche in scoring in each month of the season and led all forwards in ice-time (20:11). During the club's dramatic season-ending run (15-2-2), Sakic accounted for a team-high 25 points (9g/16a) including a pair of game-winning goals. During this stretch, he had a pair of four-point games, including April 3 in Calgary where he compiled three assists to go with his game-winning goal.

Sakic made his 12th NHL All-Star appearance, selected as a starter for the fourth time in hisp?page=PlayerDetail&playerId=8451101&service=page&tab=crs career. His four-assist effort in the All-Star Classic gave him 16 career assists, surpassing Mark Messier's All-Star record of 14. He moved into third-place on the All-Star points list with 22, trailing only Wayne Gretzky (25) and Mario Lemieux (23).

Sakic will enter the 2007-08 season ranked ninth on the NHL all-time points list (1,589), 14th in goals (610, tied with Bobby Hull) and 11th in assists (979). He tallied his 600th career goal on February 15 at Calgary. He will look to add onto a current streak of 208 consecutive games-played dating back to January 6, 2004.

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