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Oilers give Hemsky 6-year deal

Senators also avoid arbitration with Chris Kelly

Posted: Tuesday July 25, 2006 5:48PM; Updated: Tuesday July 25, 2006 5:48PM
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EDMONTON, Alberta (Ticker) -- The Edmonton Oilers and Ales Hemsky were not interested in an arbitration hearing.  The Western Conference champions on Tuesday agreed to terms with the talented right wing on a six-year contract, avoiding salary arbitration.

Financial terms not disclosed for Hemsky, whose arbitration hearing was to be held Friday. But instead of having his fate determined by a ruling, Hemsky locked up his long-term future. He is the third Oiler to come to an agreement with the team before the arbitration process, joining center Shawn Horcoff and Jarret Stoll, who signed earlier this month.

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"Ales is an extremely important member of our hockey club," Oilers assistant general manager Scott Howson said. "He is one of the NHL's emerging offensive players, and coming off of a breakout season that saw him lead the Oilers in scoring, we believe he will continue to get better. We are excited to have him under contract for the next six seasons."

An emerging star, Hemsky led the Oilers in scoring last season, registering 19 goals, 58 assists and 77 points in 81 games. The 22-year-old added six goals and 11 assists in 17 playoff games, helping the Oilers reach the Stanley Cup Finals, where they lost in seven games to Carolina.

The 13th overall pick in 2001, Hemsky has tallied 37 goals, 104 assists and 141 points in 211 career games. He had a combined 64 points in his first two NHL seasons before breaking out in 2006.

Senators sign Kelly

OTTAWA (Ticker) - The Ottawa Senators avoided arbitration with Chris Kelly on Tuesday, re-signing the center to a one-year contract. Financial terms were not disclosed. Kelly was scheduled to have arbitration on Wednesday. The 25-year-old recently completed his first full NHL season, collecting 10 goals, 20 assists and 76 penalty minutes in 82 games. He made his NHL debut with the Senators in 2003-04 but did not record a point in four contests. During the 2005-06 campaign, the 6-foot, 195-pounder tied for first in the NHL with teammate Chris Phillips with six shorthanded assists and was second among all league rookies with a plus-21 rating.

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