The Edmonton Oilers have agreed to terms with defenceman Joni Pitkanen on a one-year contract, avoiding salary arbitration.
The 6’3”, 214-pound native of Oulu, Finland recorded 43 points (4-39-43) in 77 games with the Philadelphia Flyers last season, establishing career-highs in assists, games played and penalty minutes. Pitkanen led the Flyers in assists and power play assists while his 43 points ranked third on the team. He was also among league leaders (defencemen) in assists (16th) and ice time (20th with 24:32 minutes per-game).
Oilers general manager Kevin Lowe says, "We are very pleased to announce this signing, as Joni is a player who will strengthen our hockey club in many different ways. He's proven himself as one of the league's top defencemen and we'll look for him to continue his solid play this season."
Pitkanen has been ranked among the NHL’s top 25 defencemen in scoring in each of the last two seasons. His 43 points last season ranked him 22nd, while his career-high 49 points (13-33-49) in 2005-06 ranked him 19th.
Pitkanen began his NHL career with the Flyers in 2003-04 and was named to the NHL All-Rookie Team that season after scoring 27 points (8-19-27) in 71 games. He was second among NHL rookies in plus/minus at +15 and was second in scoring among NHL rookie defencemen with his 27 points.
In 206 career NHL games, Pitkanen has tallied 116 points (25-91-116) and 210 penalty minutes.