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Ference signs four-year deal with Oilers

Pittsburgh Penguins v Boston Bruins

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 20: A “Boston Strong” sticker is seen on the helmet of Andrew Ference #21 of the Boston Bruins during a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the TD Garden on April 20, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)

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Squeezed out of Boston, veteran defenseman Andrew Ference is returning to his native Edmonton.

Ference has signed a four-year, $13 million contract with the Oilers, who will be hoping the 34-year-old will bring defensive responsibility and leadership to a young, talent-laden team that badly needs to step out of rebuilding mode.

Ference won a Stanley Cup with the Bruins in 2011, but with the salary cap falling to $64.3 million and young d-men Dougie Hamilton, Torey Krug and Matt Bartkowski expected to be regulars in the Boston lineup next season, his departure was no surprise.