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Caps sign Steckel to two-year deal

The Washington Capitals, parent club of the AHL’s Hershey Bears, have signed free agent center Dave Steckel to a two-year contract.

Steckel, 23, was a first-round choice of the Los Angeles Kings in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft (30th overall). He spent most of last season – his first in professional hockey – with the Manchester Monarchs, who finished with the second-best record in the AHL. Steckel posted 10 goals and seven assists (17 points) in 63 games with Manchester, adding a goal and an assist in six playoff games. He also had three goals and six assists (nine points) in nine games with Reading in the ECHL.

The 6-foot-5, 200-pound native of Westbend, Wis., played four years of college hockey at Ohio State. He had 50 goals and 55 assists (105 points) in 146 games for the Buckeyes, earned Central Collegiate Hockey Association All-Rookie Team honors in 2000-01 and helped lead the team to the NCAA tournament as a junior and senior.