Flyers sign Gauthier to three-year extension

PHILADELPHIA -- Denis Gauthier will be in a Philadelphia Flyers uniform for more than just a few months.

The Flyers announced Thursday that they have signed the defenseman to a three-year contract extension.

Philadelphia acquired Gauthier, whose current contract was to expire at the end of this season, from the Phoenix Coyotes on March 9 for left winger Josh Gratton and two 2006 second-round draft picks.

The 6-foot-3, 224-pound Gauthier, 29, has two penalty minutes in seven games with the Flyers after registering two goals and nine assists and 61 penalty minutes in 41 games.

"When we traded for Denis, we obviously liked him and wanted him on our club," Flyers general manager Bob Clarke said. "We knew his contract was up at the end of this year and he was going to be unrestricted so we pursued him and we were able to come to a deal.

"We think he adds a lot to our club," Clarke added. "Besides being a solid NHL efenseman, he brings a physical part to his game that we felt is necessary for our team."

In 436 career games with the Calgary Flames, Coyotes and Flyers, Gauthier has 15 goals, 54 assists and 578 penalty minutes.

"I am very happy and proud to be a part of this organization for three years," Gauthier said. "This certainly is a big step and a big challenge for me. The Flyers are a first-class organization and are always battling for position in the playoffs and always have a chance to win the Stanley Cup year after year. That was certainly appealing to me and that is why I gave up free agency this summer for this."