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After being cut by Leafs, Senators throw local defenceman Fraser a lifeline @NHL

OTTAWA - Mark Fraser already spends his summers in Ottawa, and now the NHL defenceman is looking forward to spending his winters there too.

The Senators signed Fraser to a one-year, two-way contract Monday, a day before the Ottawa native turned 29.

Ottawa signed the local rearguard shortly after he was cut by the rival Toronto Maple Leafs.

"This organization has shown they love bringing in local guys and are loyal to them and I would love to be one of those guys as well," said Fraser. "I'm hopeful that things can really work out here and I can be a big part of this community as well."

Fraser has four goals and 18 assists in 219 career NHL games with Toronto, Edmonton and New Jersey. Fraser had been attending the Maple Leafs camp on a professional tryout before being released on the weekend.

While Fraser could end up playing in one of the Senators final two pre-season games, he is likely to end up starting the season with the AHL's Binghamton Senators.

Fraser is realistic when it comes to his chances of playing in the NHL, but he's more than happy to just be part of the Senators organization. Fraser spends his summers in Ottawa and trains with a number of the Senators during the off-season.

"If I can stick around, or whatever happens, get back up, I would be more than happy to greet that challenge," Fraser said. "I would embrace it actually with where I am in my career and with my family support and everything."

The move was an easy one for the Senators with little risk as Fraser will make US$800,000 if he's in the NHL and $125,000 in the AHL.

"We felt there was an opportunity with Mark to bring in a veteran player that is known for his character and leadership and who has also proven he can contribute at the NHL level," said Senators general manager Bryan Murray on Monday. "He is a competitive, professional guy who provides the organization greater depth and flexibility on defence."

Notes: The Senators will travel to Winnipeg Tuesday to play the Jets in pre-season action.

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