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Avalanche Signs Leopold, Sauer, Finger and Jones

by Staff Writer / Colorado Avalanche

The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club announced today that it has signed defensemen Jordan Leopold, Kurt Sauer and Jeff Finger along with forward prospect David Jones. Leopold and Jones signed two-year deals; Finger and Sauer signed one-year deals.

"We believe in Jordan Leopold's abilities," said Avalanche Executive Vice President and General Manager Francois Giguere. "He's entering the prime years of his career and we're confident he'll regain the form that he displayed in his first few seasons in the league.

"He could've become an unrestricted free agent after the upcoming season but instead decided to commit to our organization for the next two years," added Giguere.

Leopold, 26, is coming off his fourth NHL season in which he was limited to 15 games due to three separate injuries. The 2002 Hobey Baker Award winner began last season on the IR following hernia surgery. He then missed action due to a groin injury and the final 25 games of the season after undergoing surgery for a fractured wrist.

Sauer, 26, finished his fourth NHL season by appearing in 45 of the last 46 games for the Avalanche averaging over 18 minutes of ice-time per game.

"Kurt emerged as a strong piece of our defensive corps in the second-half of the season," said Giguere. "He was put in many key situations and responded very well."

Finger, 27, became a regular contributor on the Avalanche blue line last season after his first career NHL call-up on February 17 from the club's AHL affiliate in Albany. He appeared in 22 games for the Avalanche, recording five points (1g/4a) and finishing second on the team in plus/minus with a +10 rating. Finger, a native of Houghton, Michigan, was selected by Colorado 240th overall in the 1999 Entry Draft.

"Jeff's performance during the final two months demonstrated he could play in the NHL on a regular basis," said Giguere.

Jones, 22, is coming off a strong junior season at Dartmouth where he was named a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award for college hockey's top player. He was also a unanimous selection for Ivy League Player of the Year while earning NCAA First-Team All-American honors. His 44 points (18g/26a) in 33 games was good for sixth among NCAA skaters for points per game (1.33). The 6-2, 220-pound native of Guelph, Ontario was Colorado's eighth selection (288th overall) in the 2003 Entry Draft.

"David is a solid prospect and we look forward to watching him continue to mature," said Giguere.
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