The Phoenix Coyotes have announced that they have signed forward Lauri Korpikoski to a new 2 year contract. Sportsnet's Nick Kypreos is reporting that the contract has a cap hit of 1.8 million dollars per season. The contract was signed prior to today's scheduled arbitration hearing.
The former New York Ranger's first round draft choice had a breakout season in 2010-11. He produced career highs in almost every statistical category including goals (19) and assists (21). He finished the season tied for second on the team in most goals scored and third in game winning goals with 4. His goals numbers aren't likely to be sustained, as his shooting percentage for the year was an almost impossible to repeat 18.4%. Of course, with greater ice time and the willingness to take more shots, 15 goals at a more reasonable shooting percentage should be attainable for Korpi.
Of course, the Finnish forward's biggest attributes are his speed and defensive play. He finished second on the team and in the top 50 in the league in plus/minus. Unlike his goals statistic, his defensive performance from last season might be able to be duplicated. His speed allows him to cover lots of ground. In addition, his improved goal scoring prowess should force defensemen to be wary of turning over the puck near the blueline for fear of a breakaway attempt. Two of Korpikoski's goals last season were also shorthanded; and he added two shorthanded assists for good measure.
If Korpikoski displays the same confidence he had on the ice last year in the next two seasons, Coyotes fans and management will likely be quite pleased.