July 21, 2019 7:51 pm

Jets sign Neal Pionk to two-year contract

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WINNIPEG – Defenceman Neal Pionk has signed a two-year, US$6-million contract with the Winnipeg Jets.

The Jets announced the signing of the restricted free agent on Sunday. The deal carries an average annual value of $3 million.

Winnipeg acquired Pionk and the 20th overall pick in the 2019 draft for defenceman Jacob Trouba on June 17.

He will be counted on to fill a void for the Jets after trading Trouba and losing defenceman Tyler Myers in free agency.

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Pionk, six-foot-190 pounds, went undrafted and was signed as a free agent by the Rangers in May 2017 after two seasons at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

The 23-year-old from Omaha, Neb., split the 2017-18 season between the Rangers and the American Hockey League before joining New York full time last season.

He produced six goals and 26 points in 73 games in 2018-19.

Winnipeg used the 20th pick from the trade to select Finnish blue-liner Ville Heinola.

The Jets still need to get new contracts done for star wingers Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor.

The Rangers signed Trouba for seven years and $56 million, with an $8 million salary cap hit for the upcoming season.

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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