SAN JOSE, Calif. - Claude Lemieux has signed a tryout contract with the San Jose Sharks in hopes of returning to the NHL after a five-year absence.
The 43-year-old Lemieux is expected to report to the Sharks' AHL affiliate in Worcester this week, San Jose spokesman Scott Emmert said Monday.
Lemieux won four Stanley Cup titles during 18 NHL seasons with five clubs while earning a reputation as one of hockey's top agitators. He won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the NHL's playoff MVP in 1995 with the New Jersey Devils, and he also won championships with Montreal (1986) and Colorado (1996) before adding a fourth ring back with New Jersey in 2000.
His 80 career playoff goals are ninth in league history, but Lemieux hasn't played in the NHL since the 2002-03 season, which he spent with Phoenix and Dallas.
Earlier this year, Lemieux played a two-game stint with the China Sharks, San Jose's affiliate in Shanghai, while gauging his ability to make a full comeback.
Lemieux is a longtime friend of Sharks general manager Doug Wilson, who has taken a chance on veteran players before.
Defenceman Sandis Ozolinsh played 38 games with San Jose last season after few clubs were interested in the 35-year-old former all-star.