Portland Winterhawk's 19 year old forward Paul Bittner signed a three year Entry Level Contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets today. Columbus drafted the Crookston, Minnesota native in the 2nd round, 38th overall in this June's NHL draft.
Bittner, while playing on Portland's top line most of last season, notched 34 goals and 37 assists for 71 points, all career highs. He then matched his 12 playoff points from the 2013-14 season, in four fewer games played.
Bittner was not drafted in the WHL Bantam Draft, but was listed on Portland's protected list and then signed in April of 2012. He scored 23 points in his 16 year old season and improved to 49 points as a 17 year old, before improving by 22 more points last season.
Signing Bittner, means that the Blue Jackets organization now has four forwards under contract, who have backgrounds with the Winterhawks. These include: Brandon Dubinsky (played for the Winterhawks from 2000-2006), Ryan Johansen (2009-2011) and Oliver Bjorkstrand (2012-2015) and now Bittner (2012-present).
Bittner joins Dominic Turgeon and Jack Dougherty as the Winterhawks who've been signed to NHL deals this summer as Turgeon was signed by the Detroit Red Wings in May and the Nashville Predators signed Dougherty in July.