Hurricanes re-sign Pitkanen to three-year, $13.5M deal Staff

6/28/2011 4:53:48 PM

The Carolina Hurricanes have re-signed defenceman Joni Pitkanen to a three-year, $13.5 million contract.

Pitkanen is entering his eighth season in the NHL, and his fourth with the Hurricanes.

"Joni has been a very important part of our defense as he plays in all situations," said Hurricanes' president and general manager Jim Rutherford in a statement. "He plays a lot of minutes, and is one of the top puck-movers in the league. We are very pleased that he wanted to return to the Hurricanes."

He had five goals and 30 assists in 72 games last season. In 483 career games, he has 51 goals and 205 assists.

Pitkanen ranked 13th in the NHL in minutes played at just over 25 minutes per game.

He was a first round pick (fourth overall) of the Flyers in 2002. After three years in Philadelphia, he played one season in Edmonton before signing with Carolina.

Set to become an unrestricted free agent on Friday, the 27-year-old had just completed a three-year, $12 million pact with the Hurricanes.

The team also announced they had signed forward Patrick Dwyer to a 2-year, $1.25 million deal. Dwyer, 28, made $500,000 last season and set career highs with eight goals and 10 assists in 80 games.