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Canes Acquire Defenseman Joni Pitkanen

Tuesday, 07.01.2008 / 12:12 PM / News
By Ken Preston
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Canes Acquire Defenseman Joni Pitkanen

Deal sends forward Erik Cole to Edmonton

RALEIGH, NC—Jim Rutherford, President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, announced today that the team has acquired restricted free-agent defenseman Joni Pitkanen (YOH-nee PIHT-ka-nuhn) from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for forward Erik Cole.

“Joni is the type of puck-moving, offensive player we hoped to add to our defensive corps,” said Rutherford. “He is a proven NHL player who will join Joe Corvo in strengthening our power play.”

Pitkanen, 24, scored eight goals and earned 18 assists (26 points) in 63 games in 2007-08 to rank second among Edmonton defensemen in scoring. The Oulu, Finland, native averaged 24:07 in ice time per game last season, ranking him second among Oilers skaters, and 22nd among all NHL defensemen. Pitkanen (6’3”, 210 lbs.) has played in 269 career NHL regular-season games with Philadelphia and Edmonton, scoring 33 goals and earning 109 assists (142 points), with 12 goals and 52 assists (64 points) coming on the power play. The Flyers selected Pitkanen in the first round, fourth overall, in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft.

Pitkanen has represented Finland in numerous international competitions. He helped his country claim the bronze medal in 2002 and 2003 at the International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championships, and won the Directorate Award as the tournament’s best defenseman in 2003. He was a reserve for Team Finland as it claimed the silver medal at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey, and was named to Finland’s Olympic team in 2006, but withdrew due to injury. Pitkanen was also a member of the Philadelphia Phantoms in 2004-05, when the Flyers’ top minor-league affiliate claimed the Calder Cup as the American Hockey League’s champion.

Cole leaves the Hurricanes having skated in 418 career regular-season games in six seasons, ranking him seventh all-time in games played by a Carolina player. He ranks third all-time among Hurricanes skaters in goals (129) and shorthanded goals (7), fourth in penalty minutes (406), and sixth in assists (151), points (280) and power-play goals (32).

“We thank Erik for his years of service to the Hurricanes organization and the Triangle community,” said Rutherford. “We wish Erik, his wife Emily, and their family the best of luck in the future.”

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