The Ducks announced today that they have signed left wing Chris Kunitz to a four-year contract extension (beginning in 2008-2009). Per club policy, financial terms were not disclosed.
“Chris has been a very important multi-dimensional player for us the last two seasons, providing skill, physical play and leadership,” said Ducks Executive Vice President/General Manager Brian Burke. “We are very pleased to have him signed prior to his eligibility as an unrestricted free agent next summer.”
Kunitz, 27, (9/26/79), played in 81 regular season games last season, scoring 25-35=60 points with 81 penalty minutes and a +23 rating. The Regina, Saskatchewan native added 1-5=6 points in 13 playoff games (missed eight games due to injury), helping Anaheim win the Stanley Cup. Over the last two regular seasons, Kunitz has scored 44-57=101 points with 150 penalty minutes and a +42 rating. He and Teemu Selanne were the only two NHL forwards last season with 25 plus goals, 80 plus penalty minutes and a +20-or-better rating.
After playing four seasons at Ferris State University, Kunitz was signed as a free agent on April 1, 2003. He played in 21 games with Anaheim as a rookie in 2003-2004. He played two NHL games with Atlanta in 2005-2006 after being claimed on waivers on Oct. 4, 2005, but was reacquired by Anaheim on waivers on Oct. 19, 2005. Kunitz went on to break then-season rookie club records in goals (19), points (41), shots (149) and plus/minus (+19, still record-holder). The records had all been previously held by Paul Kariya.
Kunitz spoke to reporters via conference call Monday afternoon. CLICK HERE for audio.