NEW YORK (AP) _ Mark Messier is coming back to Broadway.

Messier, who captained the New York Rangers to the 1994 Stanley Cup, only to leave as a free agent three years later, will rejoin the team for next season.

The Rangers scheduled a news conference Thursday morning to announce the deal that will reportedly pay the 39-year-old center between $10 million to $11 million for two years.

In his third season in New York, Messier led the Rangers to their first championship in 54 years. He also won five titles with the Oilers, four with Glen Sather as the coach and one with John Muckler at the helm and Sather as GM.

Sather left the Oilers just last month to become the GM with the Rangers, and Messier's return to New York was almost inevitable.

Just Wednesday, Sather hired former Oilers coach Ron Low to lead the Rangers. Low replaced Muckler, fired along with GM Neil Smith with only four games left in the Rangers' season.

Sather revealed Wednesday that a Messier deal was close and could be completed at any time.

After the Rangers were eliminated in the 1997 Eastern Conference finals, Messier left to sign with the Vancouver Canucks. Neither he nor the Rangers have been in the playoffs since.

The Canucks opted to pay Messier a $2 million buyout for the final two years of his five-year contract instead of being on the hook for $6 million a season, making him an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Vancouver hoped to bring him back at a reduced salary. Messier had 17 goals and 37 assists in his final season with the Canucks.

Messier, the fourth-leading scorer in NHL history, first came to the Rangers just one game into the 1991-92 season in a trade with the Oilers.

Messier's return will bring smiles to the faces of Rangers fans and many players. He should take pressure off current captain Brian Leetch as well as Adam Graves and Mike Richter _ holdovers from New York's championship team.

In 20 NHL seasons, has 627 goals and 1,087 assists. Messier scored 183 goals and set up 335 others in six seasons with the Rangers.