The Carolina Hurricanes added more competition for a role among their bottom six forwards Thursday, signing right Aaron Palushaj to a one-year contract. Palushaj spent last season in the Colorado organization, playing 25 games with the Avalanche and registering career highs in goals (two), assists (seven) and points (nine).
Palushaj, who was a second-round pick by St. Louis in 2007, will earn $600,000 in the NHL and $175,000 in the AHL, with a guaranteed salary of $225,000. He is the second former University of Michigan player signed by the Hurricanes in the past week — Carolina also added veteran defenseman Mike Komisarek on a one-year deal last week. Current Wolverines Phil Di Giuseppe (a 2012 second-round pick by Carolina) and Mike Chiasson (camp invitee) will be at the Hurricanes annual development camp next week.
Palushaj was the Wolverines' leading scorer in his second and final season with the Wolverines in 2008-09, registering 50 points in 39 games and outpacing teammate and current New York Ranger Carl Hagelin. Plaushaj, like Hagelin, is best known for his speed and could contribute in Carolina's bottom six. Here is the release from the Hurricanes.
‘CANES AGREE TO TERMS WITH AARON PALUSHAJ
Winger had nine points in 25 games for Avalanche in 2012-13
RALEIGH, NC – Ron Francis, Vice President of Hockey Operations of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has agreed to terms with right wing Aaron Palushaj (pul-LOO-shigh) on a one-year contract. The deal will pay Palushaj $600,000 on the NHL level or $175,000 on the American Hockey League (AHL) level with a guarantee of at least $225,000.
"Aaron is still a young player and has some NHL experience under his belt," said Francis. "He has good speed and good hands and we believe he can push for a job in Raleigh come September."
Palushaj, 23, scored two goals and added seven assists (9 points) in 25 games for the Colorado Avalanche in 2012-13, averaging 11:18 of ice time per game. The Livonia, MI, native also played 21 games with the Montreal Canadiens’ American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, Hamilton, prior to being acquired by Colorado on waivers on Feb. 5, totaling 10 points (7g, 3a). Palushaj (5’11", 187 lbs.) established a career high in NHL games played with Montreal in 2011-12, when he appeared in 38 contests.
Selected by the Canadiens in the second round (44th overall) of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, Palushaj has earned 14 points (3g, 11a) and totaled 18 penalty minutes in 66 career NHL games with Montreal and Colorado. He has played 190 games on the AHL level with Peoria and Hamilton, notching 54 goals and 82 assists (136 points). Prior to turning professional, Palushaj spent two seasons at the University of Michigan, where he earned All-American recognition as a sophomore after leading the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) and ranking fourth nationally in scoring (44 points) in 2008-09. He has represented the United States at the 2009 World Junior Championship and the 2013 IIHF World Championship.