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Oates signs one-year deal with Ducks

Posted: Monday July 01, 2002 5:11 PM
Updated: Monday July 01, 2002 6:16 PM

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Center Adam Oates signed a $3.5 million one-year deal with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks on Monday, the first big move in the NHL's free-agent signing period.

The 39-year-old Oates was traded from Washington to Philadelphia last season, finishing with 14 goals and a league-high 64 assists.

The Ducks will use Oates with Paul Kariya on their top line. Kariya is a restricted free agent, but is expected to re-sign with Anaheim.

Oates was excited about the prospect of playing with Kariya.

"I think Paul's one of the best players in the league. He's a shooter and I'm a passer. He's capable of scoring 50-60 goals and that's the kind of guy I like to play with," he said Monday during a conference call.

"Paul Kariya is Brett Hull with speed," Oates said.

A five-time NHL All-Star and third in career assists among active players, Oates will be paid a reported $3.5 million for next season, and another $3.5 million for 2003-04 if an option year is exercised.

"Adam Oates' leadership and offensive capabilities will be a great asset for our club," Ducks general manager Bryan Murray said. "As he showed again last season, Adam is one of the premier playmakers in the league.

"We do have some young players, and getting Adam in the lineup will really serve them well. I know we'll be smarter because our leadership will be improved."

Oates, who has played 17 NHL seasons, has 330 goals and 1,027 assists in 1,210 games. His best season was 1992-93 with Boston, when he had 45 goals and a league-leading 97 assists.

The Ducks have needed help in their power play, and Oates hopes he can help out in that department.

"Bryan (Murray) talked about adding an older guy to the lineup, and I think I can rub off a little bit, bring my leadership," he said.

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