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Joe Nieuwendyk returns to Leafs as special assistant to the GM

TORONTO – Former Toronto Maple Leafs forward Joe Nieuwendyk is returning to the team as a special assistant to the general manager.

“Joe is an extremely intelligent individual, who has experienced success throughout his entire hockey career,” GM Cliff Fletcher said in a statement Tuesday. “We will value his contributions on all hockey decisions and he will be a great asset to our organization.”

Nieuwendyk, a 41-year-old native of Whitby, Ont., played 20 seasons in the NHL from 1986 to 2007 for Calgary, Dallas, New Jersey, Toronto and Florida. He won three Stanley Cups.

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In 1,257 career NHL regular-season games, Nieuwendyk had 564 goals and 562 assists for 1,126 points. In 158 career playoff games, he recorded 116 points (66-50).

Nieuwendyk had 50 points (22-28) in 64 games for Toronto in 2003-04.