BOSTON -- Brian Leetch is headed back to New England.
The 37-year-old Norris Trophy-winning defenseman who was raised
in Connecticut and played at Boston College, signed a one-year, $4
million contract on Wednesday as the Boston Bruins continued their
The signing of the unrestricted free agent came one day after
the Bruins signed free-agent forwards Glen Murray, Shawn McEachern
and Dave Scatchard.
Leetch played one season at Boston College before he was
selected by the New York Rangers with the No. 9 pick in the 1986
NHL draft. He went on to become the defensive cornerstone of the
Rangers team that won the Stanley Cup in 1994.
He played 17 seasons in New York until he was traded in March
2004 to Toronto. Leetch had two goals and 13 assists in 15
regular-season games with the Maple Leafs, and no goals and eight
assists in the playoffs -- his first postseason appearance since
Leetch is second on the Rangers' career scoring list with 981
points and is No. 1 on New York's assists list with 741. Al
MacInnis, with 1,274 points, is the only active NHL defenseman with
more points than Leetch. And Phil Housley, with 1,232 points, is
the only U.S.-born defenseman in NHL history with more points.
Leetch won the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top rookie in 1988-89
and twice won the Norris Trophy as the league's top defenseman.
Leetch also played on U.S. Olympic teams in 1988, 1998 and 2002.
McEachern, who turned pro in 1992 after playing for Boston
University, got a two-year deal. Murray got a four-year contract
that keeps him with the Bruins. Scatchard, who played last season
with the New York Islanders, also got a four-year deal.
The Bruins prepared for the period after the lockout ended last
month by having few players under contract. That helped them move
swiftly to sign free agents who might not fit under other teams'
Boston's top two forwards, Joe Thornton and Sergei Samsonov, are
unsigned restricted free agents. They can become unrestricted free
agents after next season.