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Canadiens claim centre Jeff Halpern off waivers from Rangers

In this file photo, Montreal Canadiens' Jeff Halpern tries to deflect the puck past Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby during first period NHL hockey action Tuesday, March 15, 2011 in Montreal. Montreal claimed Halpern off waivers from the New York Rangers on Saturday.

Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press

The Montreal Canadiens claimed centre Jeff Halpern off waivers from the New York Rangers on Saturday.

Halpern, 36, a checking forward who is strong on faceoffs, had one assist and was minus-5 in 30 games for New York this season.

He is earning a pro-rated US$700,000 this season and can become an unrestricted free agent in the summer.

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This will be his second stint in Montreal. The Washington, D.C., native had 11 goals and 15 assists in 72 games after he signed as a free agent with the Canadiens for the 2010-11 season.

He returned to the Washington Capitals as a free agent the following season, then signed with the Rangers last summer.

The five-foot-11 200-pound Halpern had a career-high 21 goals with Washington in 2000-01 and had a high of 46 points with the Capitals in 2003-04.

He has also played for Dallas, Tampa Bay and Los Angeles in his 13-year NHL career.

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