Big Ben will toil again for the Winnipeg Jets organization.
Wednesday, the Jets announced they and defenceman Ben Chiarot have agreed on a one-year deal, two-way contract that is worth $600,000 in the NHL. That means all six players who had been regulars on the American Hockey League's St. John's IceCaps last season and who were restricted free agents have new deals with the parent Jets.
Forwards Patrice Cormier, Eric O'Dell, John Albert and Carl Klingberg, along with goalie Michael Hutchinson were the other RFAs. All ended up with deals similar to Chiarot's - one-year, two-way contracts worth around $600,000 at the NHL level - except for Hutchinson, who snagged a two-year pact that becomes a one-way contract in its second year.
The 23-year-old Chiarot has played 144 games with the IceCaps over the last three seasons; among defenceman, only Zach Redmond, with 150 games, has suited up for more contests with St. John's.
Last season, the six-foot-three, 215-pound native of Hamilton, Ont., had the six goals, 14 assists and 96 penalty minutes in 65 regular-season games for the IceCaps. He also led the team with a plus-29 rating. In 21 Calder Cup playoff games, Chiarot had two goals and three assists.
A fourth-round selection by the Atlanta Thrashers in the 2009 National Hockey League Entry Draft, Chiarot made his NHL debut last November in a game against the Chicago Blackhawks.
With his signing, there are 17 players - 10 forwards, five defencemen and two goalies - who were with St. John's last season and who have contracts with the Jets or IceCaps for 2014-15. In addition, there are three players - forwards Scott Kosmachuk and Ryan Olsen and goalie Connor Hellebuyck - who have entry-level NHL deals and are expected to turn pro with St. John's in the fall.