DENVER - The Colorado Avalanche announced Friday that the club has signed defensemen Brett Clark and Karlis Skrastins to multi-year contracts. Both players were unrestricted free agents and could have tested the free agent market beginning tomorrow.
"Brett and Karlis had very strong seasons for this club last year," said Avalanche Executive Vice President and General Manager Francois Giguere. "Their dependability and individual skills were coveted by many teams. The long-term commitment they've made will add stability and depth to our blueline for the coming years."
"Their performance allowed our coaches to play them against the opposition's top lines for most of the season and they responded very well," added Giguere.
Clark, 29, established career highs in games played (80), goals (9), assists (27) and points (36) last season. He was a key contributor to an Avalanche blueline unit that finished tied for the league lead in goals and was third in points. Clark had five multi-point games in 2005-06 after entering the year with just one in his entire career. He finished fifth on the team in average time on ice (19:38), which included logging 20-plus minutes in 34 of his last 43 contests.
Skrastins, who turns 32 on July 9, appeared in all 82 games for the fifth consecutive season in 2005-06. He has now played in 433 straight games, the longest active streak in the NHL and the second longest streak by a defenseman in NHL history. He enters the 2006-07 campaign just 53 games shy of equaling the mark of 486 consecutive games set by Tim Horton with the Maple Leafs from 1961 to 1968.
Skrastins enjoyed the second highest scoring season of his career in 2005-06, collecting 14 points (3g, 11a). He led the team and finished second in the NHL with 207 blocked shots, trailing only Buffalo's Jay McKee (241). Skrastins finished tied for the team lead with two short-handed goals and logged the third most ice time of any Avalanche player (21:49 per game).