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by Staff Writer / Arizona Coyotes

Thursday, August 11, 2005

GLENDALE, ARIZONA --- Phoenix Coyotes General Manager Michael Barnett announced today that Coyotes defenseman Derek Morris has accepted his qualifying offer and signed a one-year contract with the team. As per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"We look forward to Derek being the cornerstone of our blueline for years to come," said Barnett.

In 2003-04, the 6-foot-0, 220-pound Morris played 83 games with Colorado and Phoenix, recording 6-26-32 and 49 penalty minutes. Morris played in 14 games with Phoenix averaging 25:02 of ice time per game. He led the NHL (along with Calgary's Marcus Nilson) in games played with 83, a career high and finished 2nd among Coyotes defensemen in scoring. Morris ranked 5th on the Coyotes in scoring and assists; 3rd in shots (167), and 4th in average time on ice.

Morris' best season came in 2002-03 with Colorado when he set career highs in goals (11), assists (37), points (48), power play goals (9), game-winning goals (7) and plus/minus (+16).

In seven NHL seasons with Calgary, Colorado and Phoenix, the 26-year-old native of Edmonton, Alberta has played in 501 NHL games, registering 51-192-243 and 502 penalty minutes. He has also scored 27 power play goals and 18 game-winning goals.

Morris was acquired from Colorado with Keith Ballard for Chris Gratton, Ossi Vaananen and a 2nd round choice in the 2005 Entry Draft, March 9, 2004. He was originally drafted by the Calgary Flames in the first round (13th overall) of the 1996 Entry Draft.

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