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Karlsson signs two-year contract with Blue Jackets

Center could have become restricted free agent July 1 @NHL

Center William Karlsson signed a two-year, $2 million contract Thursday to remain with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Karlsson, 23, could have become a restricted free agent July 1. The contract has an average annual value of $1 million.

"William Karlsson made great strides in his first NHL season and we believe that he is just beginning to come into his own as a player," general manager Jarmo Kekalainen told the Blue Jackets' website. "He is an important part of our young, core group of players and we are pleased that he will continue to grow, develop and contribute to our team as we move forward."

Karlsson scored nine goals and had 11 assists in 81 games in 2015-16, his first full season in the NHL. He was acquired March 2, 2015, with forward Rene Bourque and a second-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft from the Anaheim Ducks for defenseman James Wisniewski and a 2015 third-round pick.

Karlsson was selected by the Ducks in the third round (No. 53) of the 2011 NHL Draft.

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