By Peter Koutroumpis
RALEIGH, N.C. – A strong finish at the end of the 2017-2018 season helped forward Phil Di Giuseppe convince the Carolina Hurricanes to keep him playing in the National Hockey League.
On Monday, the team announced that it had re-signed Di Giuseppe to a one-year, $750,000 contract.
It had to come as a relief to the Maple, Ontario native to contribute nine points (3g, 6a) in the final nine games of the season even though the Hurricanes missed the playoffs for the ninth consecutive season.
Having scored only two goals and adding two assists previously, he managed to finish with an even plus-minus rating while playing in a career-high 49 games after starting the season with the team’s American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Charlotte Checkers.
Originally selected by the Hurricanes in the second round (38th overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft, Di Giuseppe has now posted 37 points (13g, 24a) in 126 career NHL games.
“Phil is a versatile player who has shown he can contribute in a number of ways on the NHL level,” president and general manager Don Waddell said of the third-year pro.
During a conversation at training camp last September, Di Giuseppe spoke of what he needed to do to bounce back after a disappointing 2016-2017 campaign.
“I just gotta come and work, like I’ve been doing the last two years here,” he said.
“I think I brought a good work ethic and mindset. Just gotta keep plugging away, getting to the net, and bearing down. Obviously, I had my better year two years ago. I didn’t think I’d play worse but scoring just wasn’t there. But, at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all based off of.”
Playing on a one-year, two-way contract last season, he started in Charlotte and put up impressive numbers, four goals and eight assists in 14 games, and was called up to the Hurricanes in early November.
Despite being a healthy scratch for 17 games with Carolina throughout the season, the 24-year-old persevered and eventually made his case to get another chance to prove that he belongs in the NHL and in a place where he wants to be.
He said as much last April.
“I’ve got a lot of good friends here, I love playing here,” he said.
“I think there’s something special that’s gonna happen here, and I wanna be here when that does.”
Notable: Di Giuseppe scored his third career game-winning goal. vs. Vancouver (2/9)… Played in his 100th NHL/Hurricanes game vs. Colorado (2/10)…Earned a career-high three points (1g, 2a) vs. Arizona (3/22)…Longest goal streak: 2 games (3/22-3/24: 2g, 3a)…Longest assist streak: 2 games (3/22-3/24: 2g, 3a)… Longest point streak: 2 games (3/22-3/24: 2g, 3a; 3/27-3/30: 1g, 1a)… Multi-assist games: 2 (Last: 4/7 vs. Tampa Bay: 2a)… Multi-point games: 3 (Last: 4/7 vs. Tampa Bay: 2a).
Peter Koutroumpis: 401-323-8960, @pksport