The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club announced today that the team has signed free-agent defenseman Jan Hejda (YAHN HAY-dah) to a four-year contract.
Hejda, 33, appeared in 77 games for the Columbus Blue Jackets this past season, recording 20 points (5g/15a) while averaging 21:07 of ice time. The 6-foot-4, 237-pound defenseman finished second among Blue Jackets defenders in games played, and was third in both points and ice time.
“Jan is a defensive defenseman with size,” said Avalanche General Manager/Executive Vice President Greg Sherman. “He will fill an important role on our blue line and will help our penalty killing unit.”
A native of Prague, Czech Republic, Hejda has skated in 341 career NHL games, notching 76 points (12g/64a) with a +17 combined plus/minus rating. Selected by Buffalo in the fourth round (106th overall) of the 2003 Entry Draft, Hejda began his NHL career with the Edmonton Oilers in 2006-07. He signed with Columbus as a free agent on July 5, 2007 and spent the last four years with the Blue Jackets. Hejda dressed in 81 games in 2007-08 and all 82 contests in 2008-09.
Hejda represented his country at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, appearing in all five contests for the Czech Republic (0 points, +4). He has also represented his nation at five IIHF World Championships, 2003-06 and 2008.