Canadiens claim Halpern off waivers from Rangers

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MONTREAL (AP) -- The Montreal Canadiens have claimed center Jeff Halpern off waivers from the New York Rangers.

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

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

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.

Halpern had a career-high 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.