Avalanche sign Sauer, Finger, prospect Jones

DENVER -- The Colorado Avalanche have signed four players, including defenseman Jordan Leopold, who is coming off an injury-riddled season with Colorado in which he only played 15 games.

The Avalanche said Wednesday they had also signed defensemen Kurt Sauer and Jeff Finger to one-year contracts and forward prospect David Jones of Dartmouth for two years.

Leopold was hampered by three injuries in his fourth NHL season. The 2002 Hobey Baker Award winner began last season on injured reserve following a hernia operation. He missed time with a groin injury upon his return and was sidelined for the final 25 games after surgery for a broken wrist.

General manager Francois Giguere said Leopold, 26, was "entering the prime years of his career and we're confident he'll regain the form that he displayed in his first few seasons in the league."

Sauer, 26, appeared in 45 of the last 46 games for the Avs last season, emerging as a mainstay on defense. Finger, 27, was a regular contributor on the blue line last season after his call-up on Feb. 17.

Jones, 22, was a Hobey Baker Award finalist for college hockey's top player as a junior last season. He was named Ivy League player of the year and first-team All-America after scoring 44 points in 33 games.