DETROIT (AP) – The Captain is coming back to the Red Wings.

Steve Yzerman signed a one-year deal Tuesday that will ensure a 22nd season with Detroit, the only NHL team for which the 40-year-old forward has played.

“I’m very pleased to have Steve re-sign for another season with the Red Wings,” general manager Ken Holland said. “I’m confident that he has a lot of great hockey left to play.”

Yzerman’s future had been in doubt since he underwent surgery for a scratched cornea and multiple fractures below his left eye following a 2004 playoff game. He had a year off because of the NHL lockout and then became an unrestricted free agent.

“I think Steve has wanted to play, and we’re thrilled to death that Steve’s back,” Red Wings senior vice president Jim Devellano said.

Yzerman led the Red Wings to three Stanley Cup championships and has been their captain since 1986, making him the longest-serving leader in league history. He has a franchise-record 70 playoff goals and 181 points. Under Yzerman’s leadership, Detroit has made 14 consecutive playoff appearances.

Affection for Yzerman in Hockeytown is such that a 170-foot-by-100-foot wall mural of him appeared on the side of a downtown building for two years.

In regular-season games, Yzerman is the NHL’s sixth-leading career scorer. With 1,721 points, he trails only Marcel Dionne, Ron Francis, Gordie Howe, Mark Messier and Wayne Gretzky.

The Red Wings made Yzerman the fourth overall pick in the 1983 NHL draft. The year before, the team dubbed the “Dead Wings” gave away a car at each home game to spur interest and boost the number of season-ticket holders.

Yzerman, a native of Cranbrook, British Columbia, played in the NHL All-Star game as an 18-year-old during his rookie season. He was a runner-up for the Calder Trophy – given to the league’s most outstanding first-year player.

AP-ES-08-02-05 1823EDT


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