Panthers sign Olesz to multi-year deal Staff

6/30/2008 1:42:41 PM

The Florida Panthers have signed forward Rostislav Olesz to a multi-year contract.

Sources says it's a six-year, $18.75 million deal with an annual salary cap hit of $3.125 million.

He was scheduled to be a restricted free agent.

"Rostislav is a very talented young player who we are pleased to have agreed to a long term deal with," Panthers general manager Jacques Martin said in a press release.  "He is a strong skater with a tremendous upside who plays well at both ends of the ice and on special teams.  Since being drafted in 2004, Rostislav has show consistent improvement, while demonstrating a willingness to become a more complete player.

"We look forward to his continued contributions to our club."

Olesz, picked 7th overall in the 2004 draft by the Panthers, was on the verge of a breakout season but was hampered by a hand injury most of the year. He ended up with 14 goals, 12 assists and 26 points in 56 games.

Olesz had surgery after injuring his hand early in the season and missed 14 games. He missed 12 more games due to the hand later in the season , but returned to score 7 goals in his next 15 games before struggling down the stretch.

In 190 NHL games, all with the Panthers, Olesz has 33 goals and 44 assists for 77 points. He also has a +1 rating despite never playing on a playoff team.