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Brian Leetch headed to Boston

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins

BOSTON—The Boston Bruins have agreed to terms with defenseman Brian Leetch on a one-year contract, it was announced Wednesday by Bruins General Manager Mike O'Connell. Leetch was an unrestricted free agent, and in keeping with club policy, terms of the contract were not released.

Leetch, 37, was the NY Rangers' first pick, ninth overall, in the 1986 NHL Entry Draft. He played one season of college hockey at Boston College with 9-38=47 totals in 37 games in 1986-87 and earning Hockey East Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year honors in addition to Hockey East First Team All-Star and NCAA First All-American Team berths. He spent the 1987-88 season with the U.S. National and Olympic teams, with 13-61=74 totals in 50 pre-Olympic contests that year and 1-5=6 totals in the 1988 Olympic Games in Calgary. He turned pro with the Rangers at the conclusion of the Olympic Games.

He spent 17 seasons with the Rangers until a March 3, 2004 trade to Toronto in exchange for Maxim Kondratiev, Jarkko Immonen, Toronto's 2004 first round draft pick (Kris Chucko) and 2005 second round draft pick (Michael Sauer). He left New York second on the Rangers' all-time scoring list with 981 points and as the team's all-time leader in assists with 741 and he holds 36 club regular season and playoff records. He had 13-23=36 totals with 24 PIM in 57 Rangers games in 2003-04 and added 2-13=15 totals in 15 Toronto games following the trade. He ranked fifth overall in ice time in the last NHL season, playing an average of 26:17 minutes per game.

The 6'0", 185 lb. blueliner was born in Corpus Christi, Texas but grew up in Connecticut. He is the second-highest active scoring defenseman in the NHL with 996 career points entering this season (Al MacInnis, 1,274 points entering this season). He has won the NHL's Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie (1988-89), twice won the Norris Trophy as the top defenseman (1991-92, 1996-97) and won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff most valuable player in 1993-94 as the Rangers won the Stanley Cup. He has been named an NHL First Team All-Star twice (1991-92, 1996-97), a Second Team All-Star twice (1993-94, 1995-96), and has played in ten NHL All-Star Games. He has scored 20-or-more goals in a season on five occasions and in 1991-92 he finished ninth overall in league scoring with 102 points.

Leetch is the second-highest scoring U.S.-born defenseman in NHL history (Phil Housley, 1,232 points) and has represented the United States in 11 tournaments – three World Junior Championships (1985, 1986, 1987), two World Championships (1987, 1989), the 1991 Canada Cup, two World Cups (1996 and 2004) and three Olympic Games (1988, 1998 and 2002).
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