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Ducks sign Saku Koivu to one-year contract

by Staff /

"Saku Koivu's character and leadership qualities are unquestioned.  He is a skilled playmaker and we are thrilled to add him to our team."
-- Ducks General Manager Bob Murray

The Anaheim Ducks signed Saku Koivu to a one-year deal on Wednesday, immediately bolstering its offense by adding another Finnish legend to go along with Teemu Selanne.

"Saku Koivu's character and leadership qualities are unquestioned," said Bob Murray, the club's executive vice president/general manager. "He is a skilled playmaker and we are thrilled to add him to our team."

Koivu, a native of Turku, Finland, has played his first 13 seasons in a Canadiens uniform before leaving this summer as an unrestricted free agent. Koivu was the Montreal's captain for the past decade, tied with Jean Beliveau for the longest tenure as a captain in franchise history.

Throughout his career, the 34-year old Koivu has played with Selanne on the Finnish national team. Selanne, another unrestricted free agent, agreed to return this summer to Anaheim for one more season.

Both of those players were members of Team Finland in 2004, winning a silver medal at the World Cup. They also paired together on the 2006 Finnish Olympic Team, which lost the gold-medal game to rival Sweden.

Koivu had had three goals and 11 points in the 2006 Olympic Tournament, which earned him a spot on the Olympic Tournament All-Star Team.

"I'm very excited to join the Ducks this coming season," Koivu said. "I'm also looking forward to a full season with Teemu Selanne as a teammate."

Last season, with Montreal, scored Koivu scored 16 goals and had 50 points, marking the sixth-straight season the 5-foot-10, 182-pound center has reached or bettered the 50-point plateau.

For his career, Koivu has 641 point, including 191 goals, in 792 games. He has made it to the Stanley Cup Playoffs eight times, including this past spring, and has 48 points in 54 playoff games.

Off the ice, Koivu has also been a star.

He won the 2002 Bill Masterton Trophy, presented annually to the NHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. The honor followed his battle with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, as he returned to the ice just seven months after he was diagnosed in September 2001. He helped Montreal advance to the Conference Semifinals that season, appearing in all 12 of the Canadiens' postseason contests, registering 10 points.

Koivu has also been honored with the 2007 King Clancy Memorial Trophy for his work with the Saku Koivu Foundation, formed in 2002 to help raise funds for cancer-fighting equipment. The King Clancy Trophy is awarded annually to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution to his community.
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