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Brad E. Schlossman / Forum Communications Co., Published March 09 2010

NHL: Brian Lee signs 2-year deal with Senators

GRAND FORKS – Brian Lee spent the weekend battling the flu.

This week is off to a much better start.

The Moorhead High graduate and former University of North Dakota defenseman signed a two-year contract Monday with the Ottawa Senators, the team he’s been with since turning pro in 2007. Terms of the contract were not immediately disclosed.

Lee, 22, was set to become a restricted free agent on July 1.

“It feels great,” Lee said. “Now I don’t have to worry about anything but having fun, working hard and playing hockey. ... It takes some of the pressure off.”

Lee played at UND for two years, signing a three-year contract with Ottawa in the summer of 2007. That contract was worth $850,000 annually, the maximum for an entry-level deal.

Lee has split time between Ottawa and the team’s American Hockey League affiliate, Binghamton. This season, he has played 18 games in the NHL and 31 in the AHL. He is currently with the big club.

“I think I belong here and I think I belonged here all season,” he said. “It was just tough circumstances. I was kind of the odd man out. But this means I just get to worry about playing hockey. I don’t have to worry about those outside circumstances anymore.”

For his NHL career, Lee has played in 77 games, scoring four goals and adding 13 assists for 17 points.

Brad E. Schlossman is a writer for the Grand Forks Herald, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.