The Carolina Hurricanes lineup for 2010-11 is taking shape. First it was the forwards, now the defense.
Jay Harrison, who played a career-high 38 games with Carolina last season on a two-way contract, signed a one-year, $500,000 contract. His contract mirrors that of forward Jiri Tlusty, who was also signed to a one-way deal earlier Friday. By earning an NHL contract, Harrison is poised to fill one of the vacancies on the Carolina blueline. The question is whether that's as an every day player in the top six or a reserve.
The team currently has four defensemen under contract — Harrison, Joni Pitkanen, Tim Gleason and Jamie McBain — plus restricted free agents Brett Carson and Alexandre Picard in the fold. The possible/probable return of Anton Babchuk, who played in the KHL last season, means Carolina is on the cusp of having seven defenders on the roster for 2010-11. Brian Pothier, who was acquired along with prospect Oskar Osala and a 2011 second-round pick at the trade deadline for Joe Corvo, will be an unrestricted free agent July 1.
The press release on Harrison's new contract is after the jump.
HURRICANES AGREE TO TERMS WITH JAY HARRISON
Defenseman earns one-year contract to remain with Carolina
RALEIGH, NC – Jim Rutherford, President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has agreed to terms with defenseman Jay Harrison on a one-year contract. The deal will pay him $500,000 in 2010-11.
"We really like Jay’s all-around game, and especially the level of toughness he brings to our team," said Rutherford. "He is a character guy, as he proved by playing through an injury most of last season."
Harrison, 27, established NHL career highs in games played (38), goals (1), assists (5), points (6) and penalty minutes (50) for the Hurricanes in 2009-10, and was tied for second on the team in fighting majors (6). The Oshawa, Ont., native also had two goals and 12 assists (14 points) and was plus-8 in 32 American Hockey League (AHL) games with Albany. Harrison (6’4", 211 lbs.) was reassigned to Albany at the conclusion of the Hurricanes’ season, and played in all eight Calder Cup playoff games for the River Rats, earning three assists and leading the team with 23 penalty minutes.
Harrison was originally drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the third round, 82nd overall, of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. He has one goal, seven assists (8 points) and 68 penalty minutes in 58 career NHL games with Carolina and Toronto. Harrison’s career statistics are listed below.