BOSTON - That didn't take long, did it?
Oskars Bartulis has only been in the National Hockey League for 23 days but has already earned his first contract extension.
Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren confirmed to the Daily News late last night that the Flyers had signed Bartulis, a 2005 third round pick, to a three-year contract extension worth $1.8 million. He was set to become a restricted free-agent at the end of this season.
Bartulis was originally called up on Nov. 9 as a hedge bet against injuries to Ryan Parent (groin) and Ole-Kristian Tollefsen (concussion). He played his first NHL game on Nov. 12 against Ottawa on a defensive pair with Danny Syvret.
When Parent and Tollefsen returned to full health, Bartulis bumped Syvret out of the lineup and down to the Phantoms.
Since the call-up, Bartulis - an Ogre, Latvia native - has played 10 games and picked up two assists with a minus-1 rating. Holmgren has been impressed with Bartulis' play, saying that he brings a calming influence to the lineup on a nightly basis.
“He’s got a lot of poise,” Holmgren said back on Nov. 20 in San Jose. "He gets to pucks, he moves pucks. I think he is a very good young defender, and he is competitive. It’s encouraging."
Bartulis has averaged 13:28 in ice time but has not played more than 10 minutes in either of his last two games.
Pick up a copy of Wednesday's Daily News for complete coverage of John LeClair's induction into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame here in Boston.
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