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Thrashers re-sign Salmela to a multi-year contract

Anssi Salmela will be returning to Atlanta in the 2009-10 season. The Atlanta Thrashers re-signed the defenseman to a multi-year contract on Thursday.

Last season Salmela had one goal and five assists in 26 NHL games, playing for the New Jersey Devils and the Atlanta Thrashers. Don Wadell, General Manager of the Thrashers said, “He is a guy we wanted to get, and he showed us exactly what we wanted to see [during his time with the Thrashers]…He’s a high-end skill player, and we wanted to move forward with him.”

Thursday, June 04, 2009
Thrashers re-sign defenseman Salmela
By Chris Vivlamore
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The Thrashers re-signed defenseman Anssi Salmela to a multi-year contract Thursday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Salmela, 24, was acquired by the Thrashers on March 2 in a trade with the New Jersey Devils for Niclas Havelid and Myles Stoesz.

“He is a guy we wanted to get, and he showed us exactly what we wanted to see [during his time with the Thrashers],” general manager Don Waddell said. “He’s a high-end skill player, and we wanted to move forward with him.”

The 6-foot-1, 200-pound defenseman scored his first career NHL goal in his second game with the Thrashers, which came against the Washington Capitals on March 16. In his nine games with the Thrashers he had three points (one goal, two assists). He also played in 17 games for the Devils last season with three assists.

“I see him as being with the team [next season],” Waddell said. “We are going to carry seven defensemen, and we expect him to be one of them. He’s not in the top four yet, but he’s young and has a lot of upside.”

Following the NHL season, Salmela played for his native Finland in the World Championships. He had one goal in seven games as Finland advanced to the quarterfinals.

Salmela was originally signed by the Devils in May 2008 as a free agent after four seasons in the Finish Elite League. He also played in 40 games in the AHL last season with Lowell and Chicago, where he combined for 24 points (eight goals, 16 assists).