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by Staff Writer / Arizona Coyotes


GLENDALE, ARIZONA -- Phoenix Coyotes General Manager Michael Barnett announced today that the Coyotes have re-signed defenseman Zbynek Michalek to a four-year contract.  As per club policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Michalek, 23, has registered 9-15-24 and 62 penalty minutes (PIM) while playing all 80 Coyotes games this season.  Michalek leads the Coyotes and ranks 4th among all NHL rookies in ice time this season, averaging 22:48 per game.  He ranks tied for 3rd among rookie defensemen in goals and 11th in points.  The native of Jindrichuv Hradec, Czech Republic leads both the Coyotes and all NHL rookies with 163 blocked shots this season.

"Zybnek took a very big step in his career this season," said Barnett.  "He has earned the minutes he's played, many of which have been in critical situations. As part of our young core of defensemen, we look forward to seeing him continue to grow and benefit from the presence of veterans like Derek Morris."

The Coyotes acquired Michalek from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for Erik Westrum and Dustin Wood prior to training camp this season on Aug. 26.  Michalek played 22 games for Minnesota in 2003-04, recording 1-1-2 and 4 PIM.  He also collected 16-43-59 and 106 PIM in 193 games from 2002-03 to 2004-05 with the Houston Aeros of the American Hockey League (AHL), Minnesota's top minor league affiliate.  Michalek won the AHL Calder Cup Championship with Houston in 2003.

The 6-foot-1, 200-pound defenseman originally signed with Minnesota as a free agent on Sept. 29, 2001.

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