Team also signs 2004 draft pick David Laliberte to entry-level contract
(May 17) - The Philadelphia Flyers announced today that they have signed 6’1", 190-pound defenseman Lasse Kukkonen (LA-she koo-KOH-nuhn) to a new two-year contract, according General Manager Paul Holmgren. Per club policy, financial terms were not disclosed.
"We felt that Lasse was a nice addition to our team when we acquired him in February,"said Holmgren in making the announcement. "He showed that he can move the puck extremely well and that he is a really steady defender. We look forward to him being part of our defense for the next two seasons."
Kukkonen, 25, recorded five goals and nine assists for 14 points and 38 penalty minutes in 74 games for the Flyers and the Chicago Blackhawks this past season. He led all NHL rookies in blocked shots with 151. He was scoreless in 20 games for the Flyers after being acquired, along with a third round pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, from Chicago in exchange for Kyle Calder on February 26, 2007. In 54 games with the Blackhawks, he registered five goals and nine assists for 14 points and 30 penalty minutes.
Over parts of two NHL seasons with Chicago and the Flyers (2003-04 and 2006-07), Kukkonen has registered five goals and 10 assists for 15 points and 42 penalty minutes in 84 regular season games. During the 2005-06 season, Kukkonen posted 27 points (11G,16A) and 38 penalty minutes in 56 regular season games for Karpat (Finland). His plus +30 rating led the SM-Liiga League (Finland). He added 12 points (5G,7A) in 11 games as Karpat won the SM-Liiga championship. A native of Oulu, Finland, Kukkonen was a member of the Finnish National Team for the 2006 Winter Olympic Games and the 2005, 2006 and 2007 World Championships.
He was drafted by the Blackhawks in the fifth round (151st overall) of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.
The team also announced that it has signed 6’1", 200-pound right wing David Laliberte (la-LIH-buhr-tee) to a three-year entry-level contract.
Laliberte, 21, recorded 50 goals and 48 assists for 98 points and 86 penalty minutes in 68 regular season games for the Prince Edward Island Rocket this past season. His 50 goals and 98 points led the Rocket and placed him fifth in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in goals and tied for 11th in the QMJHL in points. He also led the Rocket in power play goals (24), game-winning goals (7) and shots (298). His 50 goals and 98 points set new team records for most goals in a season and most points in a season.
In five seasons with the Rocket (2002-03 through 2006-07), Laliberte registered 121 goals and 108 assists for 229 points and 224 penalty minutes in 279 regular season games. He was originally drafted by the Flyers in the fourth round (124th overall) of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.