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Veteran forward Willsie signs two-way deal with Canadiens

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The Canadian Press
7/7/2011 1:57:58 PM
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MONTREAL -- The Montreal Canadiens added depth to their forwards by signing veteran Brian Willsie on Thursday.

They also dealt minor-league centre Ryan Russell to Columbus for forward Michael Blunden. Russell is the twin brother of Blue Jackets defenceman Kris Russell.

Willsie, 33, has appeared in 381 career NHL games but only five over the last two seasons.

The two-way contract means Willsie can be shipped back and forth between the NHL and American Hockey League.

He finished 11th in AHL scoring a year ago with 68 points (30 goals, 38 assists) in 76 games for the Hershey Bears. He had an assist in one game for the Washington Capitals.

Willsie is a former seventh-round pick by Colorado in 1996 and has scored 52 goals and 109 points over his NHL career with Washington, Los Angeles and Colorado.

The six-foot-four Blunden played 51 NHL games over four seasons with Chicago and Columbus, recording two goals and two assists. The 24-year-old had 12 goals and nine assists in 37 games with AHL Springfield last season.

Ryan Russell played the last three seasons with AHL Hamilton and has yet to play in an NHL game. He had 10 goals and 11 assists in 65 games in 2010-11.

Hockey (Photo: Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)

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(Photo: Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)
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