The Philadelphia Flyers announced that they have re-signed 6'2", 200-pound center R.J. Umberger to a new two-year contract, according to club General Manager Bob Clarke. Per club policy, financial terms were not disclosed.
"We think that R.J. Umberger proved that he is a good, solid National Hockey League player with tremendous upside and he is only going to get better," said Clarke in making the announcement. "Last year, he was really good for us. He is one of the future building blocks of our organization. There is nothing not to like about the way that R.J. plays the game and experience will make him better. He plays hard. He plays with determination. He has good skills and speed. He is just a good, complete hockey player."
"Right now, I am extremely excited and glad that the contract is signed and over with," said Umberger. "I am just thrilled to be a part of the Flyers for another two years. I love it here in Philadelphia. I love the fans and the city and I am really looking forward to bringing a Stanley Cup here now."
Umberger, 24, recorded 20 goals and 18 assists for 38 points and 18 penalty minutes in 73 regular season games for the Flyers last season, his first season in the NHL. He also posted 10 points (3G,7A) in eight regular season games for the Flyers' American Hockey League affiliate, the Philadelphia Phantoms, during the 2005-06 season. He was scoreless in one game for the U.S. National Team at the 2006 IIHF World Championships.
In two seasons with the Phantoms (2004-05 and 2005-06), Umberger registered 24 goals and 51 assists for 75 points and 44 penalty minutes in 88 regular season games. He added 10 points (3G,7A) in 21 playoff games as the Phantoms won the 2005 Calder Cup Championship. Umberger was named Phantoms' Rookie of the Year for the 2004-05 season after leading the team in points (65) and assists (44). He was first among AHL rookies in assists, third in points and plus/minus (+19) and fifth in goals (21) during the 2004-05 season. He set Phantoms rookie records for goals and points in a season.
A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Umberger was signed as a free agent by the Flyers on June 16, 2004, after not playing in the 2003-04 season. He became an unrestricted free agent after failing to reach an agreement on a contract with the New York Rangers by June 1, 2004. The Rangers acquired his rights, along with defenseman Martin Grenier, from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for Martin Rucinsky on March 9, 2004.
Over his three seasons with Ohio State University (2000-01 through 2002-03), Umberger recorded 58 goals and 71 assists for 129 points and 65 penalty minutes in 112 games. Following the 2002-03 season, Umberger was named to the NCAA West Second All-American Team and to the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) First All-Star Team and was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award, which is given to the top player in Division I collegiate hockey in the United States.
After posting 37 points (14G,23A) in his freshman season of 2000-01, Umberger was named CCHA Rookie of the Year and to the CCHA All-Rookie Team. Umberger was also named to the Academic All-Big Ten Team and an Ohio State Scholar-Athlete following the 2001-02 and 2002-03 seasons. Umberger also competed for the United States in the World Junior Championships in both 2001 and 2002. He led Ohio State in assists and points in each of his three seasons with the Buckeyes and led them in goals in his final two seasons.
Umberger was originally drafted from Ohio State by Vancouver in the first round (16th overall) of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft.