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by Staff Writer / Arizona Coyotes

GLENDALE, ARIZONA --- Phoenix Coyotes General Manager Michael Barnett announced today that Coyotes have signed defenseman Paul Mara to a one-year contract, thus avoiding arbitration.  As per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

In 2003-04, the 6-foot-4, 219-pound Mara played 81 games with Phoenix, recording 6-36-42 and 48 penalty minutes (PIM).  He set career highs in games played, assists, points, shots (140) and average time on ice (23:36).  Mara ranked tied for sixth in the NHL in both assists and power play assists (22) among defensemen.  He also finished tied for 14th in NHL in points among defensemen and tied for 11th in power play assists.

The Ridgewood, New Jersey native led the Coyotes in average ice time and power play assists in 2003-04.  He also led all Coyotes defensemen in points and assists, and ranked 2nd on the team in assists and 4th in points.

In six NHL seasons with Phoenix and Tampa Bay, the 25-year-old Mara has collected 37-94-131 and 311 PIM in 346 career games.  The Coyotes acquired Mara on Mar. 5, 2001 from Tampa Bay along with Mike Johnson, Ruslan Zainullin and a 2nd round draft choice (Matthew Spiller) in exchange for Nikolai Khabibulin and Stan Neckar.  Mara was originally drafted by Tampa Bay in the 1st round (7th overall) of the 1997 Entry Draft.

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