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Amerks bring back forward Chris Taylor

roc06_200.jpgThe Rochester Americans announced today that the club has signed veteran center Chris Taylor to a two-year American Hockey League contract.

“Chris is well-respected both as a player and as a community-minded individual. His leadership will be a welcomed addition as we continue to strive to recapture our rich tradition,” said Amerks VP of Hockey Operations Ted Nolan.

“We believe that Chris Taylor is an excellent addition to the Amerks line-up and compliments the other veteran the signings that Florida has made to date,” added Amerks President Lewis Staats. “Although I am not as familiar with Chris as many of our Amerks fans are, during our discussions on veteran talent available who would provide leadership and mentoring to the young Florida prospects, Chris Taylor came highly recommended as the type of character we needed in our line-up and in the dressing room. We are happy to have him signed to the Amerks for the next two years and look forward to Chris becoming very visible in the Rochester marketplace proudly wearing the Amerks colors once again.”

Taylor, 37, returns to Rochester after spending the last three seasons (2006-09) with the Frankfurt Lions of the German Elite League (DEL), where he finished first on the team in points each season. Last season with the Lions, the Stratford, Ontario, native scored 15 goals and added 34 assists for 49 points in 52 games. He also went on to notch three assists in five playoff games. In 160 career games with Frankfurt, the 6-foot-0, 190-pound forward collected 161 points (44+117) and 188 PIM to go along with 26 points (6+20) in 25 postseason contests.

“It feels great. It feels like I never left,” said Taylor, who has his summer home in the Rochester suburb of Chili. “It is going to be exciting. The ownership is making a change and I am glad to be part of the change.”

Originally a second-round selection (27th overall) by the New York Islanders in the 1990 National Hockey League Entry Draft, Taylor played parts of seven seasons (1999-2006) with Rochester and sits eighth in scoring among all-time forwards with 369 points (115+254) and 260 PIM in 367 games. His 115 goals are 16th on the all-time list, while his 254 assists are fifth best in franchise history. His 367 games currently tie him for 13th with former teammate Norm Milley. Furthermore, Taylor skated in 30 playoff games for the Amerks, recording 31 points (9+22) and six penalty minutes.

taylor-chris-head_200.jpgA four-time 20-plus goal scorer, Taylor posted his best season in Rochester during the 2004-05 campaign, capturing career highs in all offensive categories in points goals (21), assists (58) and points (79) en route to being named the Amerks scoring champion. He also earned the Fred T. Hunt Memorial Award that same season, given to the player best exemplifying sportsmanship, determination and dedication to the sport of hockey. He also captained the Amerks that season to a team and league best 51-19-6 record (112 points), giving then head coach Randy Cunneyworth the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as the AHL’s most outstanding coach.

A three-time team MVP (2001-03, 2004-05), Taylor is the only player in Amerks history to be named MVP in three different seasons, in addition to taking home the scoring champion title in three of four seasons as well. In 2000-01, Taylor’s 20-goal performance, six of which were game-winning goals, earned him the Exec Club Game-Winning Goals Award. In 2002-03, Taylor was the recipient of the Fairand/O’Neil Sportsmanship Award.

In his last season in Rochester in 2005-06, he received a pair of honors as the team’s most popular player and the Connors and Ferris Comeback Player of the Year after missing half the season with compartment’s syndrome. He also shares the team record for most assists in a single game with six, set back on October 21st that same season. Additionally, Taylor is the only player from this decade to be named to the Amerks’ 50th Anniversary Team.

The 17-year pro made his professional debut in the 1992-93 season with the AHL’s Capital District Islanders and from there his career would take him to teams in the International Hockey League, AHL and NHL. After spending the 1993-94 season with Salt Lake of the IHL, Taylor would skate the next four seasons with Utah Grizzlies (IHL) and New York Islanders. He would split the 1998-99 season between the Boston Bruins, Providence Bruins (AHL) and Las Vegas Thunder (IHL) before making his Rochester debut the following season. He would remain an Amerk until the conclusion of the 2005-06 campaign. Taylor made his debut with the Buffalo Sabres that year, collecting two points in 11 games.

In 149 career NHL contests with the New York Islanders, Boston Bruins and the Buffalo Sabres, Taylor totaled 32 points (11+21) and 48 PIM and appeared in two postseason matchups. At the AHL level, he amassed 448 points (140+308) in 465 career games with Capital District, Providence and Rochester.

Prior to turning pro, Taylor played four seasons (1988-92) of junior hockey in the Ontario Hockey League with London Knights, where he compiled 378 points (150+228) in 259 career games, while racking up 43 points (15+28) in 38 playoff games.