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Hurricanes Sign Top Draft Tanabe

October 3, 1999

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) _ David Tanabe, Carolina’s top draft pick, has signed a multi-year contract with the Hurricanes.

Tanabe will join the Hurricanes on Monday in Raleigh for practice, a team spokesman said Saturday. Terms of the contract were not revealed.

In signing with the NHL team, Tanabe reversed his decision to play in the Canadian juniors.

``We are extremely pleased to have reached an agreement with David. He had a very impressive training camp for just a 19-year-old player,″ Carolina general manager Jim Rutherford said in a prepared statement.

The rookie defenseman had played well enough in the exhibition season to earn a spot on Carolina’s 23-man roster. But Tanabe said an impasse in contract negotiations had led him to decide to play instead in Kootenay, British Columbia, for the Western Hockey League team that drafted him.

Tanabe, the 16th overall pick in the June amateur draft from Wisconsin, said he expected an offer comparable to what the 17th pick, defenseman Barret Jackman, got from the St. Louis Blues: a $1 million signing bonus and a three-year deal worth $2.65 million.

Tanabe said the team offered a three-year contract with a signing bonus of $500,000. Tanabe’s agent, Lewis Gross, said the Hurricanes’ offer was ``not even half of what Jackman is getting.″

The Hurricanes have lost $55 million since arriving in North Carolina after the 1996-97 season, team owner Peter Karmanos said.

The Hurricanes also are embroiled in a contract dispute with center Keith Primeau, the team’s captain. Primeau, a restricted free agent, has not yet reported to the Hurricanes.

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