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Big 3 stick with Avs; Hasek off to Detroit

SHARE Big 3 stick with Avs; Hasek off to Detroit

The Detroit Red Wings are counting on their newest player to take them deep into the NHL playoffs. The Colorado Avalanche are bringing back their Big Three to defend the Stanley Cup.

Shortly before the NHL's free-agent market opened Sunday, the Red Wings acquired star goalie Dominik Hasek from the Buffalo Sabres.

"An opportunity presented itself where we could acquire the best goaltender in the National Hockey League," Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said. "It was a deal that we just could not pass up."

The six-time Vezina Trophy winner was dealt to Detroit for Vyacheslav Kozlov, a first-round pick in next year's draft and future considerations. He agreed to an $8 million contract for next season and two option years at the same salary.

Colorado didn't need to look for help anywhere beyond its own dressing room Sunday.

The Avalanche re-signed captain Joe Sakic, defenseman Rob Blake and goalie Patrick Roy, arguably the three most attractive potential free agents, before they could seek offers from other teams.

"I know this will come as great news to our fans," Colorado GM Pierre Lacroix said. "Joe, Patrick and Rob are three of the premier players at their respective positions in the National Hockey League, and we are thrilled that they will remain integral parts of our team for years to come."

Sakic, a 31-year-old center, was the NHL's most valuable player last season. The 35-year-old Roy was the playoff MVP as the Avalanche won their second Stanley Cup in six years.

"In the end, Joe decided not to go to the free-agent market," his agent, Don Baizley, said. "He was happy in Denver and decided he didn't need to see what other options were available."

Sakic earned $7.9 million last season, Roy earned $7.5 million, and Blake made $5.267 million.

Blake was acquired from Los Angeles in February and liked Denver enough to sign on for more.

"To have athletes like Joe Sakic, Patrick Roy and Rob Blake commit themselves to this organization and market before having a chance to be an unrestricted free agent indicates how special they are and how equally special this city and hockey environment is," Lacroix said.

More money was available to sign the trio since free-agent-to-be Ray Bourque retired after winning his first Stanley Cup. The Avalanche also decided to let free-agent defenseman Jon Klemm go. Klemm, a member of Colorado's championship teams last season and in 1996, signed with the Chicago Blackhawks.

The St. Louis Blues were busy on Sunday, welcoming All-Star Doug Weight, acquired from Edmonton in a five-player deal, and saying goodbye to last season's leading scorer, Pierre Turgeon.

The Blues sent forwards Jochen Hecht and Marty Reasoner and defenseman Jan Horacek to the Oilers for Weight and forward Michel Riesen.

Turgeon, who had 82 points in the regular season, signed a five-year contract with Dallas. The Stars also agreed to terms on a three-year deal with forward Rob DiMaio, who left Carolina.

Edmonton couldn't afford to keep Weight, the team's leading scorer in seven of the last eight seasons, so they sent him to the Blues. St. Louis is one of Colorado's top challengers.

The Blues lost to the Avalanche in last season's Western Conference finals, one year after compiling the NHL's best record.

Weight, 30, has a five-year contract that will pay him $9 million next year, more than double what he made last season.

The Blues also re-signed right wing Scott Mellanby, while the New York Islanders signed goalie Garth Snow. Both were two-year deals.

The New York Rangers signed a pair of defensemen, agreeing to terms with Edmonton's Igor Ulanov and Carolina's Dave Karpa.