BOSTON (AP) – The Boston Bruins agreed Wednesday to a one-year contract with left wing Sergei Samsonov, one of the team’s top restricted free agents.

The Bruins also reached a one-year deal with left wing P.J. Axelsson, and agreed to terms with defenseman Jonathan Girard and goaltender Jordan Sigalet, two players who have battled serious ailments in recent years.

Terms of the deals were not released.

The Bruins are working to sign their best player, center Joe Thornton, to a long-term contract. He also is a restricted free agent, but Boston would like to sign him to a longer deal to keep him away from unrestricted free agency next summer.

Samsonov ranked fifth on the Bruins in goals with 17 in the 2003-2004 season, but has played just 66 games over the past two NHL seasons due to wrist, knee and rib injuries. During those 66 games, the 26-year-old Russian scored 22 goals and 29 assists.

Samsonov, an NHL all-star in 2001, won the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie in 1997-98 and has scored 20 or more goals in four of his six full seasons.

Axelsson, a 30-year-old native of Sweden, has spent seven seasons with the Bruins. He set season highs of 17 goals and 19 assists for 36 points in 2002-03.

Sigalet was nominated last year for the Hobey Baker Award for the nation’s top college hockey player. He missed only a handful of games during his senior season at Bowling Green despite being diagnosed in March 2004 with multiple sclerosis.

The Bruins picked Sigalet, 24, in the seventh round of the 2001 draft. In four seasons at Bowling Green, he had a 2.98 goals-against average with four shutouts. The Bruins chose his brother, Jonathan, in this year’s draft.

Girard, 25, was Boston’s second-round pick in 1998. He shuttled between the Bruins and their AHL affiliate in Providence, R.I., before playing his first full NHL season in 2002-2003.

He was seriously injured in a car accident in Quebec in the summer of 2003 and missed the next season while he rehabilitated from a broken pelvis, hip and neck. The 2004-05 season was lost to the NHL lockout, so Girard hasn’t played professional hockey in more than two years.

Girard and Sigalet “remain top prospects and have shown tremendous character in overcoming their physical setbacks,” Bruins general manager Mike O’Connell said in a statement. “We look forward to seeing both players at training camp.”

AP-ES-08-10-05 1652EDT


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