Zach Parise signed a one-year contract with the Colorado Avalanche on Friday. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The 39-year-old forward has not played since last season, when he had 34 points (21 goals, 13 assists) and in 82 games for the New York Islanders. He had said May 1 that he would play for New York this season, his 19th in the NHL, or retire.

"He's a highly dedicated player," Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. "When it comes to his habits, they're elite. A lot like [Andrew] Cogliano in that. An older guy that's been around, great leadership. I think you'd take his reliability -- he's played 82 games the last couple years. It's because he takes care of himself off the ice and has those types of habits that we really like, and he chips in offensively. He does a great job, is a trusted guy on the defensive side.

"So we'll see. We'll get him in here, see what he looks like with our group, and we'll make a decision.”

Selected by the New Jersey Devils in the first round (No. 17) of the 2003 NHL Draft, Parise has 879 points (429 goals, 450 assists) in 1,224 regular-season games with the Devils, Minnesota Wild and Islanders, and 80 points (37 goals, 43 assists) in 111 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

Bednar said forward depth was a need for Colorado with Valeri Nichushkin out indefinitely while he receives care from the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program.

"We don't know [when Nichushkin will be back]," Bednar said. "It just seems like we're always missing a piece or two. So adding some depth up front, I think is important. I think that's been identified early on in the season. The guys that we have are doing everything they can and are playing really well, but to be able to add a versatile guy like Parise will really help sort of our lineup keep slotting into the right spots and put our guys in the best positions to have success."

Bednar said he wouldn't be surprised if Parise joins some Avalanche players skating on their own next Friday or Saturday during the NHL All-Star break but that he should definitely be with the team Sunday when it resumes practice.

Colorado (32-14-3) is first in the Central Division after a 5-1 home win against the Los Angeles Kings on Friday. independent correspondent Ryan Boulding contributed to this report

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