For the second straight day, the Carolina Hurricanes re-signed a pending unrestricted free agent, inking forward Chad LaRose to a two-year, $3.4 million deal that is identical to the contract he agreed to during the 2009 offseason. The deal will pay LaRose $1.5 million this coming season and $1.9 million in 2012-13. Yesterday, Carolina held on to defenseman Joni Pitkanenn and forward Patrick Dwyer by signing them to three- and two-year deals, respectively.
LaRose, 29, has become a valuable role player for the Hurricanes since earning a spot on the roster during Carolina's 2006 Stanley Cup-winning run. In 2010-11, he matched his career high of 31 points while playing in all 82 games, but also had a team- and career-worst plus/minus of minus-21.LaRose has long been a part of the Hurricanes family, playing his junior hockey with the Peter Karmanos-owned Plymouth Whalers of the OHL before working his way through the Canes' ECHL and AHL affiliates and earning ice time on Carolina's championship team in 2005-06. He earned a full-time spot the following season, playing 80 games, and has had four-straight seasons with double-digit goals and assists, registering a career-best 19 goals in 2008-09 while inching his way up the Carolina depth chart.
Much like the negotiations in the summer of 2009, LaRose's future with the organization seemed up in the air as the opening of free agency approached. But while LaRose actually hit the market two years ago before re-signing, this time GM Jim Rutherford finalized his new contract before July 1.
LaRose's signing leaves the Hurricanes with three remaining unrestricted free agents: Erik Cole, Jussi Jokinen and Cory Stillman. Both Cole and Stillman seem poised to test the free agent waters Friday, while Stillman is reportedly still undecided on if he wants to play another season. If both Jokinen and Cole depart, Stillman could remain a viable option.
‘CANES AGREE TO TERMS WITH FORWARD CHAD LaROSE
Winger scored 16 goals in his sixth NHL season in 2010-11; agrees to two-year deal
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 right wing Chad LaRose on a two-year contract. The deal will pay LaRose $1.5 million in 2011-12, and $1.9 million in 2012-13.
"Chad has been one of my favorite players right through his entire Compuware career, and it is my hope that he is a lifelong player with the organization," said Rutherford. "His work ethic and locker room presence drive our team, whether it’s a game or a practice, and he excels in his role on the ice for the Hurricanes."
LaRose, 29, ranked sixth among Hurricanes with 16 goals in 2010-11, and matched his career-high for points in a season with 31. The Fraser, MI, native was fourth on the team in hits (196), and skated in a career-high 82 games. LaRose (5’10", 181 lbs.) played his 400th NHL game for the Hurricanes on March 29 at Washington, and has now scored at least 10 goals in each of the last four seasons.
LaRose is a product of the Compuware youth hockey system, and has played for the organization at nearly every level, including youth hockey (Compuware), junior hockey (Plymouth), the ECHL (Florida) and the NHL (Carolina). Signed by the Hurricanes as an undrafted free agent after scoring 61 goals in his final season of junior hockey with Plymouth, LaRose has totaled 64 goals, 80 assists (144 points) and 209 penalty minutes in 406 career NHL games with the Hurricanes. He has also posted four goals and eight assists (12 points) in 39 Stanley Cup playoff games, including 21 of Carolina’s 25 games during the team’s 2006 run to the Stanley Cup championship.