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Avalanche agree to 1-year deal with Andre Benoit to shore up defence

Ottawa Senators' Andre Benoit, right, collides with Montreal Canadiens' Gabriel Dumont during first period NHL hockey action in Montreal on March 13, 2013. The Colorado Avalanche signed defenceman Andre Benoit to a one-year deal on Friday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

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Ottawa Senators' Andre Benoit, right, collides with Montreal Canadiens' Gabriel Dumont during first period NHL hockey action in Montreal on March 13, 2013. The Colorado Avalanche signed defenceman Andre Benoit to a one-year deal on Friday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

DENVER - The Colorado Avalanche bolstered their blue line on the opening day of free agency, signing defenceman Andre Benoit to a one-year deal on Friday.

The 29-year-old Benoit played in 33 games for the Ottawa Senators last season, scoring three goals and dishing out seven assists.

"He has good offensive skills and puck-moving ability and will be a good addition to our power play," Avalanche executive vice-president of hockey operations Joe Sakic said of the 5-foot-11, 191-pound Benoit.

Before the start of free agency, newly hired Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said the team wasn't going to be very active since the roster was already full. Colorado recently bought out the contract of defenceman Greg Zanon to open up space.

The team made several more moves later in the day, re-signing forward David Van Der Gulik to a one-year deal. Van Der Gulik spent most of last season with the Lake Erie Monsters of the American Hockey League.

In addition, the Avs signed defenceman Nick Holden to a two-year deal. Defenceman Nate Guenin, along with forwards Guillaume Desbiens and J.T. Wyman agreed to one-year contracts, while forward Colin Smith signed a three-year entry-level deal.

Holden played in two games for Columbus last season. Wyman played in one game for Tampa Bay in 2012-13.

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