Defensman Pitkanen re-signs with Flyers

Updated: July 14, 2006, 2:14 PM ET
SportsTicker

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Flyers on Friday re-signed defenseman Joni Pitkanen to a one-year contract.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Pitkanen, whom Philadelphia picked fourth overall in the 2002 NHL draft, won the Barry Ashbee Trophy as the Flyers' most outstanding defenseman last season and the Pelle Lindbergh Memorial Trophy as the team's most improved player.

The 22-year-old Finn collected 13 goals, 33 assists and 78 penalty minutes in 58 games with the Flyers last season. Pitkanen established new career highs in goals, assists and points (46) while leading the team in ice time at 23:42.

"Joni Pitkanen is a player who made great strides in his development last season and we feel can one day be one of the top defensemen in the league," Flyers general manager Bob Clarke said. "His importance to the team is along the same lines as Jeff Carter, Mike Richards and R.J. Umberger and it is a priority for us to make sure that our younger players remain in the organization."

In two seasons with Philadelphia, Pitkanen has 21 goals, 52 assists and 122 penalty minutes in 129 games.