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Avalanche extend defenseman Holden, acquire Stuart @NHLdotcom

The Colorado Avalanche have signed defenseman Nick Holden to a three-year contract extension that will begin in 2015-16. Financial terms were not disclosed.

In his first full NHL season, the 27-year-old scored 10 goals and 25 points in 54 games in 2013-14. Each total ranked second among Avalanche defenseman behind Tyson Barrie.

An undrafted free agent after playing with the Chilliwack Bruins of the Western Hockey League, Holden signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2008 and spent much of the next five seasons with their American Hockey League affiliates in Syracuse and Springfield. He was scoreless in seven games with Columbus split between the 2010-11 and 2012-13 seasons.

Holden signed a two-year contract with Colorado last summer and appeared to find his stride with the Avalanche.

"Nick was a big part of our defense last season," Avalanche executive vice president of hockey operations Joe Sakic said. "He provided offense from our blue line and played with a lot of confidence as the season moved on. We are pleased that he will continue to be a part of our team."

Colorado further solidified its blue line by acquiring Brad Stuart form the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft and a sixth-round selection in 2017.

Stuart, 34, scored three goals and 11 points in 61 games with San Jose last season. A first-round pick (No. 3) of the Sharks in the 1998 draft, Stuart has 77 points, 322 points and 549 penalty minutes in 985 career games with the Sharks, Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames, Los Angeles Kings and Detroit Red Wings. He also won the Stanley Cup in 2008 as a member of the Red Wings.

"The acquisition of Brad helps strengthen our blue line," Sakic said. "He is a proven, quality defenseman and his addition will help our team."

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