The Anaheim Ducks took care of some in-house business on Monday morning, avoiding arbitration with one of their promising young centres and agreeing to terms with Isac Lundestrom on a two-year contract extension worth an average annual value of $1.4 million.
The deal, which now ties Lundestrom to Anaheim through the 2023-24 season, comes just two days before the two sides were scheduled to meet in front of an arbitrator, and also ensures that the Ducks retain Lundestrom's restricted free agent rights even after its expiry.
This agreement couldn't have come at a better time, either, as Lundestrom finally began to show glimpses last season of the potential that made him the 23rd overall pick in the draft back in 2018.
The 22-year-old looked far more comfortable in his first full taste of NHL action, racking up a respectable 16 goals and 13 assists for 29 points in 80 games for the Ducks in 2021-22 while logging a little under 16 minutes in ice time per night.
Lundestrom has not burst onto the scene by any means. In fact, his foray into the NHL has been something of a rocky one, with the young center making his debut at a time when the Ducks organization finds themselves teetering on the edge of a rebuild. But Lundestrom faired decently well on a basement-dwelling team last season, somehow flirting with the 20-goal mark despite starting just 34.1 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone.
With the ability to drive play even in heavily defensive-focused minutes, Lundestrom is shaping up to be a solid contributing piece for the Ducks as they navigate their future ahead. And at a price of just $1.4 million for the next two seasons, that is some tidy business on GM Pat Verbeek's part.