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Ducks Sign Sbisa to Four-Year Extension

by Staff Writer / Anaheim Ducks
The Ducks have signed defenseman Luca Sbisa to a four-year contract extension, running through the 2014-15 season. Per club policy, no financial terms of the deal were disclosed.

“We are pleased to be able to reach an agreement with Luca on a long term contract,” said Ducks Executive Vice President/General Manager Bob Murray. “He has a bright future ahead of him and we look forward to watching him continue to develop.”

Sbisa is one of only seven defenseman drafted from 2005 on (post lockout) to play 40+ NHL games immediately following their draft year (in Philadelphia). The others are the Ducks' Cam Fowler, Victor Hedman, Dmitry Kulikov, Drew Doughty, Zach Bogosian and Luke Schenn. Sbisa is the only one of those seven to do that on a team that made the playoffs the year prior.

Sbisa, 21 (1/30/90), has appeared in 99 career NHL contests, earning 2-13=15 points with 79 penalty minutes (PIM). In 52 contests this season, Sbisa has collected 2-6=8 points with 37 PIM while averaging 16:23 time-on-ice (TOI). The 6-2, 207-pound blueliner scored his first career NHL goal with the Ducks on Dec. 28, 2010 at Phoenix as part of a 3-1 Anaheim triumph. Among Anaheim leaders, Sbisa currently ranks second in hits with 131 on the season.

Selected by Philadelphia in the first round (19th overall) of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, Sbisa made his NHL debut with the Flyers in 2008-09, earning 0-7=7 points with 36 PIM in 39 games. At 18 years and 255 days, he was the fourth-youngest Flyer to appear in an NHL game on Oct. 11 vs. the New York Rangers. He collected his first NHL point (assist) on Oct. 22, 2008 vs. San Jose. Sbisa became the second-youngest Flyer to make his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Apr. 17, 2009 versus Pittsburgh. He also appeared in eight games with the Ducks in 2009-10, going scoreless with six PIM before being returned to the Lethbridge Hurricanes of the Western Hockey League (WHL). Sbisa was acquired by Anaheim with Joffrey Lupul, a first-round selection in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft (Kyle Palmieri), a first-round selection in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft (Emerson Etem), and a conditional third-round selection in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft in exchange for Chris Pronger on June 26, 2009.

A native of Ozieri, Italy, Sbisa was raised in Switzerland and had the rare distinction of representing Switzerland at both the 2010 World Junior Championship as captain and at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. He appeared in five games during the Olympics and three in the World Juniors. In addition, Sbisa represented his country as a member of their 2008 World Junior Championship squad. He also played the 2006-07 season with Zug of the Swiss Jr. Elite League prior to his North American debut in 2007-08. In 109 career junior contests with Lethbridge and Portland (WHL) from 2007-10, Sbisa collected 15-52=67 points with 111 PIM and a +15 rating. He won the Carl Trentini Memorial Award in 2008 as the Hurricanes Rookie of the Year, while also leading all WHL defensemen in playoff scoring (3-12=15 points) in 19 games that included a WHL Finals appearance.

Ducks Executive Vice President & General Manager Bob Murray discussed further the Sbisa signing today:

He was up at the end of the year. He’s only 21 years old, he’s one of our good young players and he’s tied up for four years, which I think is wonderful.

With a lot of changes going on, stabilizing things around here and getting some consistency is really important. He’s a young player who is on the edge of becoming a very good player. He’s the type of kid that, once he figures out every night that physical comes first, everything else follows. Luca is starting to get that and understand that.

I think it’s a huge move for the organization.

On Sbisa being sent to Syracuse at the beginning of the season,
He struggled in training camp and a lot of that was self-inflicted. I think he saw Cam come in and play really well in training camp and Luca thought, There is no way I’m gonna play here. They can only have one young guy here. And I think he got down on himself. He went down and I think it was the best thing in the world for him. He was a key down there and he figured out how good he was. He’s been a different guy ever since he’s come back.
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