Hurricanes sign D Gardiner to 4-year contract

RALEIGH, N.C. -- 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."

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.