Veteran blueliner returns to the NHL after season in Sweden
RALEIGH, NC—Jim Rutherford, President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, announced today that the team has signed defenseman Josef Melichar (YOH-sehf mehl-ee-KHAHR) to a one-year contract worth $1 million.
“Josef is a big, strong and experienced defensive defenseman who will be a shut-down player for us,” said Rutherford.
Melichar, 29, played in 310 NHL games with the Pittsburgh Penguins from 2000-01 to 2006-07, before spending the majority of 2007-08 with Linkoping of the Swedish Elite League (Elitserien). The Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic, native posted an NHL career-best 15 points (3g, 12a) with Pittsburgh in 2005-06, while playing in 72 of the team’s 82 games. Melichar (6’2”, 220 lbs.) has scored seven goals and earned 33 assists (40 points) in his 310 career NHL regular-season games, while averaging 17:50 of ice time per game. The Penguins selected Melichar in the third round, 71st overall, in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft.
With Linkoping in 2007-08, Melichar earned eight assists and ranked third on the team with 74 penalty minutes while playing in 50 of the team’s 55 regular-season games. He added a goal and an assist (2 points) and led the team with 39 penalty minutes in 16 playoff games as Linkoping fell to HV-71 in the Elitserien finals.