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Beauchemin signs one-year contract with Ducks

Veteran defenseman was unrestricted free agent after being bought out by Avalanche

by Lisa Dillman @reallisa / NHL.com Staff Writer

ANAHEIM -- Proof that things can change quickly came when defenseman Francois Beauchemin received a career-changing call Saturday from Anaheim Ducks general manager Bob Murray.

By Monday, Beauchemin's plans to play for Canada in three pre-Olympic tournaments went by the wayside, and he rejoined Anaheim for what will be his third run with the Ducks. He was a member of their Stanley Cup championship team in 2007.

Beauchemin, 37, signed a one-year contract with the Ducks. RDS reported the contract is worth $1 million with up to $500,000 in performance bonuses. The bonuses are team-based (Stanley Cup Playoff rounds) and individual (games played), Beauchemin confirmed.    

"Team Canada called and I got excited for the opportunity to go play there," Beauchemin said on a conference call. "As soon as [Murray] called on Saturday, I changed my mind pretty quick.

"It could not be any better for me to go back and end my career where everything started and where I won a Stanley Cup."

Video: Ducks sign Francois Beauchemin to one-year deal

NHL players under contract are not eligible to participate in the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics. Beauchemin said he had intended to play one pre-Olympic tournament with Canada in Finland in November, one in Moscow in December, and the post-Christmas tournament, the Spengler Cup in Davos, Switzerland.

Now he will be playing in what he called "probably" his final NHL season. Beauchemin spent the past two seasons with the Colorado Avalanche, and has 271 points (73 goals, 198 assists) in 836 NHL games for the Ducks, Avalanche, Toronto Maple Leafs, Columbus Blue Jackets and Montreal Canadiens.

"When I became a free agent three years ago, I knew I had three good seasons left in me," Beauchemin said. "I'll be 38 next June and I thought, 'I'm still healthy. I don't want to play until I can't play.'

"I feel good and I'm excited to play this season, and after that it's probably going to be time to move back home."

On June 15, the Avalanche bought out the final season of his three-year, $13.5 million contract (average annual value $4.5 million), making him an unrestricted free agent. Beauchemin had 18 points (three goals, 15 assists) in 81 games, averaging 21:30 of ice time per game, and was minus-14 last season.

Video: COL@STL: Beauchemin scores from long range

He said he received overtures from a handful of NHL teams since the buyout but wasn't interested until the Ducks called. His comfort level in Anaheim and the chance to help the Ducks' young defense were attractive selling points.

"They're looking for a veteran [defenseman] to try to help all the young guys," Beauchemin said. "They know me and they know how I play. I know the system. It should be an easy adjustment."

For the Ducks, the move also represents a measure of insurance. Defensemen Hampus Lindholm and Sami Vatanen each is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery and isn't expected to be ready for the start of the regular season.  

"We're pleased to be able to bring back Francois Beauchemin to the team," Murray said in a statement. "He will bring valuable leadership and help our young defensemen build character and be successful NHL players, as Francois has been in his career.

"We feel Francois still has a lot to give, and his passion and drive to win is unquestioned."

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