Bill Guerin bolts Bruins for Stars

Anxious to become the elite of the Western Conference again, the Dallas Stars opened up their wallet and landed someone who is sure to score a few goals for them.

Bill Guerin, 31, agreed to a five-year contract with the Dallas Stars reportedly worth $45 million US late Wednesday.

The native of Wilbraham, Mass., was rumoured to be seeking upwards of $10 million a season.

"Definitely, it's just a good fit for me," Guerin said. "They needed wingers. They have very talented centremen and it's a good fit."

"Bill Guerin provides the organization with size and speed on the wing, which is something we felt we needed," Stars rookie general manager Doug Armstrong said. "We look forward to his contributions on the ice and off the ice in a leadership role over the next five years."

Guerin was considered the most coveted unrestricted free-agent forward available and pursued by no less than six teams, including the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Yet the Stars proved the most determined.

Deep-pocketed owner Tom Hicks, special assistant Guy Carbonneau, head coach Dave Tippett and Armstrong even went so far as to visit Guerin's home on Sunday.

"That was a great first impression on the organization and how committed they were," Guerin said. "One of the things that really attracted me to them was they said they were going to be committed to getting free agents and they were.

"Mr. Hicks wants to win big-time. All you can ask for is a chance to win every year and he's going to provide that."

Guerin scored a career-high 41 goals on an NHL-high 355 shots for the Boston Bruins last season.

He finished with 66 points in 78 games.

Guerin recorded four goals and two assists for six playoff points, but his top-seeded Bruins were bounced by the Montreal Canadiens in a six-game Eastern Conference quarter-final.

"It's very tough to say goodbye to Boston," he said. "I was living a dream there for two years.

"I had hoped it would've gone on longer. But reality sets in and you have to go about your business."

Guerin tallied four goals and six points in six games for the silver medal-winning U.S. Olympic team at the Salt Lake Games in February.

He previously represented Team USA at the 1998 Nagano Games and 1996 World Cup.

Guerin has 256 goals and 248 assists for 504 points with 1,036 penalty minutes in 733 games over 11 NHL seasons with the New Jersey Devils, Edmonton Oilers and Bruins.

He won a Stanley Cup with the Devils in 1994.

Guerin was voted the Most Valuable Player of the 2001 NHL All-Star game with three goals and two assists.