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Stars ink free agent RW Bill Guerin

  |   July 4, 2002 at 2:31 AM
DALLAS, July 4 (UPI) -- The Dallas Stars late Wednesday night signed right wing Bill Guerin, one of the NHL's premier unrestricted free agents, to a five-year contract.

Financial terms were not disclosed, but the 31-year-old Guerin reportedly was considering offers worth upwards of $10 million a year.

After missing the playoffs for the first time since 1996, Dallas was expected to be a major player in the free agent market. Guerin's signing comes one day after the Stars agreed to terms with defenseman Philippe Boucher on a four-year, $9.6 million contract, and Dallas reportedly is pursuing former Chicago Blackhawks captain Tony Amonte.

Guerin scored a career-high 41 goals for the Boston Bruins last season, and led the NHL with 355 shots on goal.

"We perceived him as the best fit as an unrestricted free agent for our team," said Stars General Manager Doug Armstrong. "There are

other great players out there who signed, but for the Dallas Stars, our need was on the wing. And in our estimation, he adds the full package of size, speed and scoring. He's a great addition."

Dallas has an abundance of playmaking centers in Mike Modano, Pierre Turgeon and Jason Arnott. But Jere Lehtinen was the Stars' only winger with more than 17 goals last season. Modano and Guerin were teammates on the U.S. team at the Salt Lake City Olympics.

"I've known Mike for 10 years now. We've played a lot together, gone through a lot together and we get along great," Guerin said. "I just hope he's willing to put up with me."

Tom Hicks, the deep-pocketed owner who also runs baseball's Texas Rangers, visited Guerin last week in Massachusetts along with Armstrong, new coach Dave Tippett and Guy Carbonneau, Armstrong's special assistant.

"That was one of the very attractive things," Guerin said. "First of all, to have the people they had fly up to Boston. Mr. Hicks, Doug, Guy Carbonneau and Dave Tippett all coming up to Boston to visit with the guys ... that was a great first impression of the organization and how committed they were."

Guerin joins the fourth team of his 11-year career. He broke into the NHL with New Jersey in 1991 and spent parts of six seasons with the Devils, winning a Stanley Cup in '95. He was traded to Edmonton in 1997 in a deal involving Arnott, and scored 30 goals for the Oilers in 1998-99.

But cash-strapped Edmonton sent him to Boston, and he enjoyed a career season in 2000-01, combining for 40 goals and 45 assists in 85 games for the Oilers and Bruins.

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