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Pitkanen, Dwyer avoid free agency, agree to multi-year deals with Hurricanes

Tuesday, 06.28.2011 / 7:08 PM / News

The Canadian Press

RALEIGH, N.C. - The Carolina Hurricanes re-signed defenceman Joni Pitkanen and forward Patrick Dwyer to multi-year contracts Tuesday.

The Hurricanes announced the deals three days before the players could have become unrestricted free agents.

Pitkanen agreed to a three-year contract that will pay him US$4.5 million per season, the Hurricanes said. Dwyer received a two-year deal and will make $600,000 this season and $650,000 in 2012-13.

Pitkanen, 27, led Carolina defencemen last season with 30 assists. He made $4.5 million last season and remains the team's highest-paid defenceman. The Hurricanes earned points in the standings in 26 of the 30 games in which he had either a goal or an assist.

"Joni has been a very important part of our defence as he plays in all situations," general manager Jim Rutherford said. "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."

Dwyer, 28, made $500,000 last season and had career highs of eight goals, 10 assists and 80 games played.

"Patrick has become a durable and reliable NHL forward," Rutherford said. "He is a very strong penalty killer, and he brings a lot of speed and energy to our group of forwards."

Quote of the Day

He's, believe it or not, actually one of my favorite guys, and I've ended up trading him twice. I appreciate what he's done. He was one year away from being an unrestricted free agent, and I felt with this opportunity, that it was a chance that we were able to get somebody for him in Nick Bonino and Adam Clendening.

— Penguins GM Jim Rutherford on forward Brandon Sutter