Van Ryn re-signing with Panthers for four-year deal

Updated: July 28, 2006, 3:23 PM ET

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Florida Panthers were not interested in going through the arbitration process with another defenseman.

The Panthers on Friday avoided a hearing with blueliner Mike Van Ryn, agreeing on a four-year contract.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed for Van Ryn, whose arbitration hearing was scheduled for next Wednesday.

Florida has already come up on the losing end of arbitration, when defenseman Jay Bouwmeester was awarded a substantial pay increase Wednesday with $4.35 million for the next two seasons. The Panthers have until 48 hours after their final hearing -- Ric Jackman on Aug. 4 -- whether to accept the deal.

Van Ryn, 27, appeared in a career-high 80 games last season, recording eight goals and a career-best 29 assists for 37 points.

"Mike is a top tier defenseman who we are extremely pleased to have come to terms with on a long-term deal," Panthers general manager Mike Keenan said. "We look forward to his continued contributions to our team, as well as the South Florida community."

A first-round pick of the New Jersey Devils in 1998, Van Ryn has collected 23 goals, 64 assists and 87 points in 228 career games with Florida and the St. Louis Blues.