EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) _ Holdout center Jozef Stumpel signed a three-year contract with the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday believed to be worth over $7.5 million.
Stumpel, a 28-year-old restricted free agent, had 17 goals and a team-leading 41 assists in 57 games for the Kings last season.
``I’m very happy to be joining my teammates and being back in the lineup,″ Stumpel said before leaving for St. Louis, where the Kings face the Blues on Thursday night. ``I’m ready to jump right in and I’m looking forward to contributing right away.″
The Kings are 3-2-2 without Stumpel.
To make room for Stumpel, the Kings placed defenseman Rob Blake on the injured list, retroactive to Monday, because of a lower back injury.
Blake, who has a hairline break in a lumbar vertebra, is eligible to be activated next Monday.
A 6-foot-3, 225-pound native of Nitra, Slovakia, Stumpel came to the Kings from the Boston Bruins along with Sandy Moger and a 1998 fourth-round draft choice for Dmitri Khristich and Byron Dafoe on Aug. 29, 1997.
``We are very pleased to finalize this contract with Jozef and know that he is committed to our organization for the next three years,″ general manager Dave Taylor said. ``We look forward to his addition to our lineup.″
Stumpel had 21 goals to equal a career high along with a career-high 58 assists in 77 games for the Kings in the 1997-98 season, and 13 goals and 21 assists in 64 games in the 1998-99 season. Before that, he played two full seasons and part of four others with the Bruins.