Leafs sign Dupuis

Colorado Avalanche's Phillippe Dupuis (11) takes the puck around Columbus Blue Jackets' Matt...

Colorado Avalanche's Phillippe Dupuis (11) takes the puck around Columbus Blue Jackets' Matt Calvert during the second period of their NHL hockey game in Columbus, Ohio February 11, 2011. (REUTERS/Matt Sullivan)

LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:39 PM ET

TORONTO - No sooner did general manager Brian Burke say he was done adding to the 2011-12 Maple Leafs, then he came up with a centre who could impact the opening night roster.

Philippe Dupuis was signed late Wednesday to a two-way contract, but comes from a full-time role with the Colorado Avalanche. Theres an opening at fourth line centre right now with free agent Darryl Boyce unsure of returning and the penalty killing role in the middle in limbo with Tim Brent gone. Dupuis will make $650,000 US if he sticks in the NHL.

I think he will make that battle very interesting, said new hockey office consultant Rick Dudley, the former Atlanta Thrashers GM, who was in on the deal. Hes a very versatile guy, he played all three forward positions and the power play, at least at the American League level. His skating has come along to the point where hes a good energy skater. Theres a lot to like about him.

Dupuis had 17 points in 74 games for Colorado, though the clubs lack of depth likely had something to do with his long look in his rookie season.

I saw him play at Cleveland quite a bit in the American League, Dudley added. The thing that separated him from others at that level was that hes a gritty guy, he played with an edge. Thats what made him so effective there. I didnt see him as much at the NHL level, but I know he played quite well and played more as time went on.

The 26-year-old Dupuis was originally picked 104th overall by Columbus in 2003 from the QMJHLs Hull Olympiques.

Burke also announced Thursday he had come to terms with unrestricted free agent defenceman Matt Lashoff on a one-year extension. The financial deals werent immediately known. Lashoff was called up late in the season, with one assist in 11 games.

Tyler Bozak, who re-signed earlier in the week and will likely be slotted as the third line centre with the arrival of Tim Connolly, will be getting $1.5 million for the next two seasons.

lance.hornby@sunedia.ca


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