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Rangers Sign Goaltender Valiquette

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers

· Rangers sign defenseman Rachunek
· Rangers sign defenseman Girardi

New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has signed unrestricted free agent goaltender Stephen Valiquette.

Valiquette, 28, appeared in 45 games for Yaroslavl Lokomotiv of the Russian Hockey League last season, posting a 1.95 goals against average, along with a .922 save percentage and four shutouts. In eight postseason games, he recorded a 3.01 goals against average.

During the 2004-05 season, Valiquette posted a 19-11-1 record, along with a 1.77 goals against average and a .935 save percentage in 35 games with the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League (AHL). He led the AHL in goals against average (1.77), becoming only the second player in Wolf Pack franchise history to accomplish the feat (Milan Hnilicka in 1999-00 was the other), finished second among AHL goaltenders in save percentage (.935) and tied for fourth in the league with seven shutouts. On January 26, 2005, he made 22 saves in a 1-0 win at Norfolk and became the first Wolf Pack goaltender to record three consecutive shutouts.

The 6-6, 217-pounder has appeared in nine career NHL contests with the Islanders, Oilers, and Rangers, posting a 3-1-0 record, along with a 2.57 goals against average. In two games with the Rangers in 2003-04, he recorded a 1-1-0 mark, along with a 3.03 goals against average and a .915 save percentage.

In 167 career AHL games with Lowell, Providence, Springfield, Bridgeport, Toronto and Hartford, Valiquette has notched a 76-64-12 mark, along with a 2.49 goals against average. From 1996-97 to 1999-00, he also skated in the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) with Dayton, Hampton-Roads and Trenton for 46 games.

Prior to joining the professional ranks, Valiquette spent four seasons with Sudbury and Erie of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), posting a record of 57-59-13 along with a 2.76 goals against average in 146 games. In 1996-97, he led the OHL in games played with 61.

The native of Etobicoke, Ontario originally signed as a free agent with the NY Islanders on August 18, 1998. Following the 2002-03 season with Bridgeport (AHL), Valiquette signed as a free agent with Edmonton on July 20, 2003. He was claimed by Florida in a waiver draft from Edmonton on October 3, 2003. Six days later, on October 9, 2003, he was claimed on waivers by Edmonton from Florida. On March 3, 2004, Valiquette was traded to the Rangers, along with Dwight Helminen and a 2004 second round draft choice (Dane Byers), in exchange for Petr Nedved and Jussi Markkanen.
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