Carolina signs defenseman Jake Gardiner to 4-year deal

The Associated Press
Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner (51) plays against the Vegas Golden Knights during the first period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner (51) plays against the Vegas Golden Knights during the first period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- The Carolina Hurricanes have signed defenseman Jake Gardiner to a four-year contract.

Under terms of the deal announced Friday by Carolina general manager Don Waddell, Gardiner will make an average of $4.05 million each season.

''He's a great player. He's a great skater,'' Carolina defenseman Jaccob Slavin said. ''He's really solid at running the power play. That's a great addition for our team. I think our blue line definitely just got stronger.''

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The 29-year-old Gardiner had three goals and 27 assists while playing 62 regular-season games with Toronto last season, then added two assists in seven playoff games. He has 45 goals and 200 assists during his eight-year NHL career.

''I didn't really expect it to go this long, but in the end I think it worked out really well'' for Gardiner, former Toronto teammate Auston Matthews said. ''He's going to a good organization, a good situation for him. I'm extremely happy for him.''

Waddell says Gardiner is ''a solid veteran blueliner with a proven history of contributing offensively.''

This marks the second straight offseason the Hurricanes gave a four-year deal to a free-agent defenseman. Calvin de Haan signed one a year ago, but was traded to Chicago in June.

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AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno in Washington contributed to this report.

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