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Tuesday, August 2, 2005
Demitra signs three-year deal with Kings news services

The Los Angeles Kings signed unrestricted free-agent center Pavol Demitra to a three-year deal, the team announced Tuesday.

The 30-year-old unrestricted free agent from Slovakia was with St. Louis for the past eight seasons and led the Blues in scoring in four of the last six seasons.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Rogers Sportsnet and The Associated Press reported that it was worth $13.5 million.

"Pavol Demitra is an established premier forward in the National Hockey League," GM Dave Taylor said. "He is an elite skilled player who competes on a consistent basis. His vast experience should be a real benefit to the younger players in our lineup."

Said Kings coach Andy Murray: "We as a coaching staff are very familiar with Pavol, having coached against him for many years both here in the NHL and in international competition, where he is very accomplished. He will be a great addition to our offense and on our power play in particular."

Demitra, 30, was with the St. Louis Blues the past eight seasons and led the team in scoring in four of the last six campaigns. Ranked fifth on the Blues' all-time scoring list with 493 points, the three-time NHL All-Star from Slovakia has also scored at least 35 goals on three different occasions.

Demitra's NHL career began with the Ottawa Senators in the 1993-94 season. Over 11 years, he has 519 points, 216 goals and 170 penalty minutes in 553 regular-season games with the Blues and Senators. In 66 postseason games with the Blues he had 43 points and 26 penalty minutes.

The Kings also announced they agreed to a two-year deal with free agent goaltender Jason LaBarbera.

The 25-year-old LaBarbera played in 53 games last season with the Hartford Wolf Pack, the New York Rangers' AHL affiliate. He went 31-16-2 with six shutouts, a 1.84 goals-against-average and a .934 save percentage.

"We like his size and feel (he) has a tremendous upside as he has been one of the top young goaltenders in the American Hockey League the last two years and has shown steady improvement as well," Taylor said.

LaBarbera was selected by the Rangers in the third round of the 1998 draft and has played in five NHL games with New York.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.