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Kings Match Offer and Sign Huddy

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Matching an offer sheet tendered by the Philadelphia Flyers, the Kings signed defenseman Charlie Huddy to a $2.4-million, four-year contract Tuesday.

“That’s a lot more than I expected to pay him,” conceded Rogie Vachon, the Kings’ general manager. Huddy tripled his 1990-91 salary of $200,000.

The Kings obtained the rights to Huddy in June from the Minnesota North Stars along with center Randy Gilhen, right wing Jim Thomson and a fourth-round draft choice for center Todd Elik.

But Huddy exercised his rights as a free agent, signing the offer sheet with Philadelphia. Had the Kings not matched the Flyers’ bid by Friday, they would have lost Huddy without compensation.

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The Kings traded defenseman Steve Duchesne in the Jari Kurri deal, and Jeff Chychrun, the defensemen they received in return, will not be ready for the start of next season because of wrist surgery.

“If we had let Huddy go,” Vachon said, “we would have had to go back into the market and sign a defenseman. We were not in a position to let him go. He’s a hell of a defenseman. I expect him to be one of our top defensemen in the next two to three years.”

Huddy, 32, an 11-year veteran who played on all five of the Edmonton Oilers’ Stanley Cup champion teams before going to Minnesota in the expansion draft, signed for three years plus an option year.

Earlier Tuesday, the Kings did lose a free agent to the Flyers--forward Brad Jones.

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