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Avalanche sign top draft pick Mitchell Heard @NHLdotcom

The Colorado Avalanche announced Tuesday they have signed forward Mitchell Heard, their top pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, to a three-year, entry-level contract.

Heard, a 20-year-old center, was taken in the second round (No. 41). Last season with the Plymouth Whalers in the Ontario Hockey League, he had 57 points (29 goals, 28 assists) in 57 games.

"We are pleased to have Mitchell under contract," Avalanche general manager Greg Sherman said in a statement. "He is coming off a strong season in the OHL and we are excited to see him at training camp."

The 6-foot-1, 190-pound forward is a native of Bowmanville, Ontario.

The Avalanche traded their first-round pick to the Washington Capitals in a 2011 deal for goaltender Semyon Varlamov.

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