Manny Malhotra is on his way back to the bigs.
Malhotra, who hasn’t played an NHL game since February, has agreed to a one-year, two-way deal with Carolina that will pay $600,000 at the NHL level, $125,000 at the AHL level and will guarantee at least $250,000 for this season.
The deal completes an impressive comeback by the veteran center, who suffered a near career-ending eye injury with Vancouver during the 2010-11 campaign, one that led the Canucks to shut Malhotra down during the lockout-shortened ’13 season.
“Manny brings a level of veteran leadership to the Hurricanes organization and gives the team depth at the center position,” ‘Canes GM Jim Rutherford said in a statement. “He has demonstrated in his career that he can be an extremely good defensive player and faceoff man.”
According to Sportsnet’s John Shannon, Malhotra is expected to be in the Carolina lineup on Friday vs. Tampa Bay.
Carolina has struggled to start this season and was looking for veteran presences to stabilize things after the losses of goalies Cam Ward and Anton Khudobin.
Following Monday’s 3-1 loss to Pittsburgh, ‘Canes head coach Kirk Muller voiced his displeasure with the team’s play and indirectly called out a number of his forwards.
“We kind of got pushed out of the game,” Muller explained, as per Sun Belt Hockey Journal. “We weren’t able to generate anything in the third period. But prior to that, they played a heavier game than we did. They won more battles, they grinded harder.
“Some of our guys have to start contributing. At the end of the day, certain guys are there to produce. But there’s other guys that have to start bringing something to the table.”
Malhotra joins the ‘Canes after playing eight games for their AHL affiliate in Charlotte, scoring no points while racking up 17 PIM. The veteran center’s three best NHL seasons came from 2008-11 when he posted 35 points with Columbus, 33 with San Jose and 30 with the Canucks.