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Blueshirts, Prucha agree to terms on contract

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers

Petr Prucha, a key member of the Rangers for the past two seasons, will be back for more in 2007-08 after signing a new contract on Thursday.

New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has agreed to terms with restricted free agent forward Petr Prucha.

Prucha, 24, appeared in 79 games with the Rangers this past season, registering 22 goals and 18 assists for 40 points, along with 30 penalty minutes. While establishing career-highs in games played (79) and assists (18), Prucha ranked first in goals (22) among all players in the NHL averaging less than 13:00 of total ice-time per game.

He also finished the season tied for third on the Blueshirts with eight power play goals. On Mar. 31 at Philadelphia, Prucha netted his 20th goal of the season, becoming the first Ranger to score 20-plus goals in his first two NHL seasons since Alex Kovalev (1992-93 to 1993-94).

The 6-0, 175-pound forward has skated in 147 career games with the Rangers, recording 87 points (52 goals and 35 assists) and 62 penalty minutes. Over the last two seasons, Prucha has tallied 52 goals, which ranks fourth among the 2005-06 rookies (Ovechkin – 98, Crosby – 75, Vanek – 68). In 2005-06, Prucha set the Rangers rookie record for most power play goals in a single season (16) and also became the seventh rookie in franchise history to reach the 30-goal plateau.

Prior to joining the Rangers, Prucha skated in 164 career games with HC Moeller Pardubice of the Czech Republic Extraleague, registering 26 goals and 33 assists for 59 points, along with 62 penalty minutes. In 2004-05, he appeared in 47 games with HC Moeller Pardubice, collecting seven goals and 10 assists for 17 points, along with 24 penalty minutes. In 16 playoff contests that season, Prucha tallied six goals and seven assists for 13 points to help his club capture the 2005 Extraleague championship. He ranked second on the club with 13 postseason points and tied for second on the club with six goals (Milan Hejduk).

Prucha has also competed in several international tournaments for his country. Most recently, he was a member of the gold medal-winning Czech Republic team at the 2005 World Championships, skating in three games for his country. Prucha also wore his nation's colors at the 2004 World Championships and the 2002 Under-20 World Junior Championships.

He appeared in seven games at the 2004 World Championships, collecting three goals and one assist for four points, along with six penalty minutes. His three goals tied for third on the team. In seven games at the U-20 tournament, he tallied one goal and accumulated two penalty minutes.

A native of Pardubice, Czech Republic, Prucha was originally the Rangers eighth round choice, 240th overall, in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft.
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