The Pittsburgh Penguins have re-signed forward Joe Vitale
to a two-year contract extension, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Ray Shero.
The deal begins with the 2012-13 season and runs through the 2013-14 campaign, and has an average annual value of $550,000.
Vitale, 26, has emerged as one of the Penguins’ most versatile performers during his first full NHL campaign. In 44 games this year, Vitale has three goals, seven assists and 10 points.
Center - PIT
GOALS: 3 | ASST: 7 | PTS: 10
SOG: 46 | +/-: -3
In addition to seeing action on the NHL’s fourth-ranked penalty killing unit, Vitale leads the team with a 55.9-percent success rate on faceoffs and places fourth among forwards with 24 blocked shots.
The 5-foot-11, 205-pound forward made his NHL debut with Pittsburgh last season, tallying two points (1G-1A) in nine games. Vitale’s first NHL game came on Feb. 10, 2011 vs. Los Angeles; and his first goal came at Colorado on Feb. 16. Vitale has appeared in 53 career NHL games with the Penguins, scoring four goals and 12 points.
A native of St. Louis, Mo., Vitale played two-plus seasons with the Penguins’ top minor-league affiliate, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League, from 2009-11 before making the jump to the NHL this October. In 139 regular-season games with WBS, Vitale totaled 17 goals, 49 assists, 66 points and a plus-19 rating. He also had eight points (3G-5A) in 15 postseason contests.
Originally drafted by Pittsburgh in the seventh round (195th overall) of the 2005 NHL Draft, Vitale played four seasons of college hockey with Northeastern of Hockey East from 2005-09. Vitale collected 34 goals and 94 points in 143 career games with the Huskies. He was Northeastern’s team MVP and an All-Hockey East Second-Team selection as a junior in 2007-08.