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Sakic signs 1-year deal with Avalanche

NHL.com @NHL

DENVER (AP) -Joe Sakic had too good of a season to even consider retiring.

The Colorado Avalanche captain signed a one-year deal Monday to remain in Denver. Sakic had 36 goals and 64 assists this season, giving him 100 points for the first time since 2000-01. He tied for sixth in the NHL in points.

The 37-year-old Sakic could've tested the free agent waters over the summer but preferred to remain in Colorado.

"This is home," said Sakic, originally drafted by the Quebec Nordiques in 1987, a team that later moved to Colorado before the 1995-96 season. "This is where we want to live and where I want to play."

The deal came a day after the team ended the regular season a point shy of making the playoffs. It's the first time since the 1993-94 season that Sakic hasn't been in the playoffs.

"This is the time of year you want to play," Sakic said. "Now I really don't have an interest in it (the playoffs). I won't be watching any games."

In the middle of the season, Sakic said he wanted to take his time and reflect on the season before making a decision on his future.

But he said he made up his mind midway through the season. He liked the direction the club was headed, the way he was playing and the how the younger players were developing. Colorado ended the season on a 15-2-2 run over its final 19 games, earning 32 of a possible 38 points. Sakic accounted for a team-high 25 points in the streak.

"To witness the growing of our young players and see how they performed with some of our other veterans was very encouraging," Sakic said.

Sakic became the second-oldest player in NHL history to reach 100 points, joining Gordie Howe, who had 103 points at age 40 in 1968-69.

Colorado general manager Francois Giguere said it was important to sign Sakic early and not have it draw out over the summer. It only took three or four meetings to complete the deal.

"Joe is truly the heart and soul of this team," Giguere said. "He had a tremendous season."

Sakic will enter the 2007-08 season ranked ninth on the points list (1,589) and tied for 14th with Bobby Hull in goals (610).

The ever-modest Sakic said he surprised himself with the season he had, leading the team in points, goals and assists as he appeared in all 82 games.

"I wasn't expecting it," he said, grinning. "I'm looking forward to next season."

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