- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 1, 2014

DENVER (AP) - Jarome Iginla felt a little more youthful on his 37th birthday even as he became the old man of the Colorado Avalanche.

He’s energized by the challenge of not only trying to keep up with the likes of speedy forward Nathan MacKinnon, who is half Iginla’s age, but also of helping this rising squad take another step in its growth.

“I don’t want to be arrogant, but I still believe I can be very good,” said Iginla, who celebrated his birthday Tuesday by signing a three-year, $16 million deal with Colorado. “And this is a dynamic group. I think they work hard and they’re committed, and they’re just going to keep getting better and better.”

The Avs are coming off a season in which they tied a franchise record with 52 wins in Patrick Roy’s first year behind the bench and returned to the postseason for the first time since 2009-10.

Among their top priorities in the offseason? Adding some grizzled veterans to the squad.

First, the team picked up veteran forward Daniel Briere from Montreal for right wing P.A. Parenteau and a fifth-round pick in next year’s draft.

Then, Colorado acquired defenseman Brad Stuart from the San Jose Sharks for a second-round pick in 2016 and a sixth-rounder in 2017.

On Tuesday afternoon, shortly after losing fan favorite Paul Stastny in free agency - he signed a four-year, $28 million deal with division rival St. Louis - the Avs worked out a deal with Iginla.

It wasn’t a laborious task, especially given the friendship between Iginla and Avalanche Hall of Famer turned executive Joe Sakic. The two have been tight since their days with Team Canada and when Sakic made his pitch, Iginla intently listened.

Then again, one of Iginla’s kids is named Joe at least in part because of Sakic.

“(Sakic) is a winner so it definitely had something to do with this,” Iginla said.

Iginla has played in 1,310 regular season games with Calgary, Pittsburgh and Boston. He had 30 goals in 78 games for the Bruins last season.

“Jarome’s track record speaks for itself,” Sakic said. “He is one of the top goal scorers of all time, as well as a great leader. His addition will bolster our offense.”

As for being the elder statesman of the team, Iginla just laughed.

“I feel good,” said Iginla, who’s earned two Olympic gold medals with Canada. “As far as my game dropping off, I don’t think it will. … I don’t come here expecting to do less.”

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