Jets sign defenceman Neal Pionk to two-year, $US6-million contract

New York Rangers defenseman Neal Pionk (44) passes the puck past Detroit Red Wings defenseman Trevor Daley (83) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, March 7, 2019, in Detroit. Defenceman Neal Pionk has signed a two-year, US$6-million contract with the Winnipeg Jets. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Paul Sancya

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.

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.

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.

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