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Flyers sign Kimmo Timonen to contract extension

by Adam Kimelman

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday signed defenseman Kimmo Timonen to a one-year contract extension. The team did not release financial details, but multiple media outlets are reporting the deal is for $6 million.

Timonen is in the last year of a six-year contract he signed when he joined the team prior to the 2007-08 season.

Kimmo Timonen
Defense - PHI
GOALS: 1 | ASST: 5 | PTS: 6
SOG: 21 | +/-: 2
"Kimmo's presence on the ice for us and in our locker room is invaluable," Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said. "We look forward to him continuing his all-round play for us."

The 37-year-old defenseman said he wanted to test himself this season to see if he had enough skill and desire to sign on for one more season.

"I talked with Paul before the season started and he wanted to know where I'm at with playing one more year, and I said, well, coming off the lockout, coming out from back surgery, give me about 10 games," Timonen said. "I want to see how I feel. I want to still feel like I can play [at a] top level, and a couple days ago I talked to [Holmgren], I said I feel pretty good, and it was pretty easy after."

Timonen added that the 2013-14 season almost certainly will be his final one.

"That's it," he said. "Ninety-nine percent sure that's my last."

The Flyers acquired Timonen's rights, along with those of Scott Hartnell, from the Nashville Predators on June 18, 2007 in exchange for a 2007 first-round draft pick the Flyers previously acquired from Nashville in the Peter Forsberg trade.

In 407 games with the Flyers, Timonen has 211 points and has helped the team reach the Eastern Conference Finals twice and the Stanley Cup Final in 2010.

Back issues limited Timonen last season and into the playoffs and necessitated offseason surgery. One of the benefits of the late start to the season -- Timonen did not go overseas to play during the lockout -- was the extra healing time.

"Probably did help his back heal up a little bit, having more time to rest," Holmgren said.

In 11 games this season, Timonen has a goal and five assists. But more than what he's contributed on the ice, Holmgren said off the ice Timonen has been just as important.

"He's huge," Holmgren said. "We have a lot of young kids here that are watching the older players and how they respond. Winning, losing, one day the coach yells at the team, all different things, what the media says. Kimmo is a good role model in that regard. I couldn't ask for a better guy."

Coach Peter Laviolette agreed, saying, "He's been one of those dependable players. He's there all the time, he brings a lot of experience to our team. Certainly with a young team you lean on guys like that. He plays through a lot of pain and he's reliable, dependable night in and night out. It's a good example for our young guys."

One of them is Luke Schenn, who has been paired with Timonen since the season started.

"It's a good opportunity to get the chance to play with him, a veteran guy with all that experience," Schenn said. "I guess you could say he's almost seen it all. Nothing really rattles him too much at all. I guess being a young defenseman, or any type of defenseman, you're going to make a lot of mistakes, you have a guy that can help you out and vice versa, it's only going to make the game that much easier.

"I don't even think you can value how much he has with the team or appreciate it unless you're around here every day. He is a leader on this team, he's been around the Flyers organization for a long time, he's really well-respected in the locker room. … He's a guy we turn to a little bit for an older presence when things maybe aren't going your way. He's consistent, he brings it every night and every day in practice. All 30 teams would love to have him in the dressing room and on the ice for them."


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