Former University of Maine All-American defenseman Eric Weinrich, who became an unrestricted free agent on July 1 after spending last season with the Montreal Canadiens and the Boston Bruins, had his two wishes met by the Philadelphia Flyers Thursday when they signed him to a three-year contract.
“I really wanted to stay in the East. That’s probably the biggest reason why Philadelphia will work out well. [Wife] Tracy and I really want to be close to Maine. And Philadelphia is definitely a team that can go a long way,” said the 34-year-old Weinrich, who would love to have his name etched on a Stanley Cup.
“I’m really excited. Tracy and I are extremely happy with the deal. I was surprised [agent] Steve [Bartlett] could work out a deal for those numbers. Now it’s up to me to prove I’m worth it. I’m ready for the challenge,” said Weinrich, who chose the Flyers over Vancouver, St. Louis, Boston and Florida.
Weinrich and the Flyers wouldn’t disclose the terms of the deal but it is believed to be in excess of $2 million per season.
“Philadelphia really stepped it up at the end and I felt they have made the most moves to improve their team,” said Weinrich referring to their re-signing of All-Star left wing John LeClair and their signings of All-Star center Jeremy Roenick from Phoenix and Czech Republic center Jiri Dopita.
“[President and general manager] Bobby Clarke and [assistant GM] Paul Holmgren have put together pretty strong teams the past couple of years. They are making a commitment. They want to win now. They’re ready to win something,” said Weinrich from his home in Yarmouth.
Clarke said, “We thought that we needed somebody who could play on the power play, who moves the puck, and who has some experience and some size. Weinrich fills all those needs,”
The 6-foot-1, 215-pound Weinrich had seven goals, 24 assists and 44 penalty minutes in 82 games last season for the Bruins and Canadiens.
Weinrich was acquired by Boston from Montreal in exchange for Patrick Traverse on Feb. 21.
After of 11 seasons in the NHL, Weinrich has 59 goals and 249 assists in 841 games. He also has played for New Jersey Devils, Hartford and Chicago.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.