Michael Del Zotto signed a multiyear contract with the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday.
Terms were not disclosed by the Flyers, but CSNPhilly.com reported it's a two-year, $7.75 million contract.
"I loved Philadelphia, didn't want to be stuck on a one-year deal and run the risk of being [an unrestricted free agent] next year," Del Zotto told CSN Philly's Tim Panaccio.
The 25-year-old defenseman, who became a restricted free agent July 1, was scheduled for salary arbitration July 21 after he rejected the Flyers' qualifying offer.
"It was getting closer and closer, obviously with the date being set for Tuesday morning," Del Zotto said. "Talks all along were going well, and we weren't far off. It was just a matter of getting a number that was fair for both sides."
Flyers general manager Ron Hextall had said he expected the sides would agree to a contract before reaching arbitration.
Del Zotto had 32 points (10 goals) with Philadelphia last season, second among Flyers defensemen and his most since 2011-12 with the New York Rangers. After splitting 2013-14 between the Rangers and Nashville Predators, he signed a one-year contract with the Flyers in August after defenseman Kimmo Timonen was diagnosed with blood clots in his right leg and lungs.
Philadelphia has eight defensemen on an NHL contract for this season, and highly touted defense prospects Ivan Provorov (No. 7 pick, 2015 NHL Draft), Travis Sanheim (No. 17 pick, 2014), Shayne Gostisbehere, Samuel Morin and Robert Hagg.
The Flyers would like to move at least one of the veterans to free up some salary-cap space.
"We're under the cap, albeit slightly when we plug Del Zotto in, and you want some space to call players up too,” Hextall said in early July. “We're close; we'd like to clear a little bit more, but you've got to have a partner there. We'll see as we move along here."