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McLaren Gets Extension; "Dimo" In

by Staff Writer / San Jose Sharks
Wednesday it was five players in three days. On Thursday Sharks Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson made it seven in four days. This time is was defenseman Kyle McLaren and winger Niko Dimitrakos who signed on the dotted line.

McLaren, who already had a contract through the 2005-06 campaign, showed how much he liked the situation in San Jose by signing a three year extension. In a deal that was good for both sides, San Jose paid McLaren for three years of unrestricted free agency.

"We are extremely pleased to extend Kyle's contract for three additional seasons," said Wilson. "Kyle is a big, strong, punishing defenseman who is trending up in his career and he will continue to be one of our anchors on the back end."

Back on the blueline, few if any NHL clubs can compare with the Sharks big three of McLaren, Canadian Olympian Scott Hannan and Brad Stuart.

"I'm extremely pleased," said McLaren. "It is not something I needed right now, but something I wanted."

So what made McLaren decide to sign a deal locking him up for the next four seasons?

"I love the organization and the city and I felt like they wanted me too," said McLaren. "It gives my kids a chance to grow up here."

McLaren has played in San Jose for just a year and a half, but it didn't take long to decide this is where he wanted to stay.

"After my first year, it was a no-brainer," said McLaren. "The team welcomed me with both arms open. The organization has the same goal I do to win the Cup and they have proven that to us. From when I first got here until now, the organization has been nothing but top notch."

In 2003-04, McLaren, 28, posted 24 points (two goals, 22 assists) in 64 games with the Sharks. His 22 assists were a career-high and ranked him second on the team among defensemen. In 16 Stanley Cup Playoff games, he notched three assists and averaged more than 24 minutes of ice time per game.

McLaren enters his tenth NHL season and best open ice hitters in the game. Last season, the physical, rugged blueliner ranked fourth on the team in ice-time per game and has averaged more than 21 minutes per game in his past two seasons with San Jose.

The six-foot-four, 225-pound native of Humboldt, Saskatchewan was acquired on January 22, 2003 along with a fourth round selection in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft by San Jose in a three-team trade with Boston and Montreal.

Dimitrakos showed his offensive flare during the 2004-05 regular season and again in the postseason. His highly skilled game should be highlighted by the NHL's new rules entering this season.

In 2004-05, Dimitrakos, 26, briefly played for the SCL Tigers Langnau of the Swiss League. Dimitrakos skated in only three regular season games tallying just one point and played in six playoff games, scoring six points (three goals, three assists).

"Niko is another highly skilled player who has shown he has the tools to flourish under the League's new rules," said Wilson. "He has continued to improve his play each year and we look forward to him taking the next step in his development during the coming season."

In 2003-04, Dimitrakos, posted career-highs in goals (9), assists (15) and points (24) in 68 games with the Sharks. The Boston area native began the season with the Sharks top development AHL affiliate, the Cleveland Barons, where he scored eight points (four goals, four assists) in only seven games before being recalled.

In the Stanley Cup Playoffs, he led all NHL rookie scorers in points (9), was first in assists and power play assists, fourth in plus/minus (plus, +4), and T-first in goals (1), game-winning goals (1) and OT goals (1). In addition, "Dimo" was fourth on the team in scoring (9 points), first in assists (8) and scored the game-winning overtime goal in Game One of WCQF vs. St. Louis. He also tied a franchise playoff record (twice) with three assists in one game (April 24 and 26 vs. Colorado in WCSF).

In 2002-03, Dimitrakos played most of the season with the Cleveland Barons. He was named the Barons "Rookie of the Year" after finishing the season with 44 points (15 goals, 29 assists) in 55 games. However, Dimitrakos was recalled and played in his first career NHL game on Feb. 12 at Columbus.

The five-foot-eleven, 200-pound native of Somerville, Massachusetts was originally drafted by San Jose in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft (5th Round, 155th Overall).

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