After staving off arbitration and agreeing to contract terms with winger Jannik Hansen Thursday, the Vancouver Canucks say their summer's work is almost complete.
Assistant general manager Laurence Gilman allowed that the NHL team has money to spend - roughly $3-million (all currency U.S.) in salary-cap space - and will explore the "secondary market," meaning trades and last-minute free agents, closer to training camp. But with Hansen under wraps for the next three years, at an annual cap hit of $1.35-million, the Canucks have once again convinced a player to take less money for the good of the group.
Hansen, a restricted free agent who had an arbitration hearing scheduled for Friday in Toronto, said a three-year pact was important to him, while the Canucks were prepared to accept a one-year contract in arbitration. After the sides exchanged briefs Wednesday, a deal was struck that bought out Hansen's first year of unrestricted free agency and carries through the 2013-14 season.
"I wasn't expecting a deal up until that point," Hansen said. "I was looking for something more than one year. … It's nice to get the three years and not have to go through this every summer."
The money saved on Hansen, who took below-market freight, can now be directed toward a scoring winger for Ryan Kesler on the second line, or an upgrade on defence, which lost Christian Ehrhoff in free agency.
Hansen, a 25-year-old Dane who went to arbitration last year, secured a regular shift in the NHL last season and solidified Vancouver's third line. He was one of the club's best forwards in a Stanley Cup final loss to the Boston Bruins, and one of four Canucks to play in all 82 regular-season games and all 25 playoff contests.
Gilman said Hansen still has offensive upside, and Hansen said his next step involved scoring more than nine goals, as he has the last two campaigns, and earning a crack at second-line duty. That could be in the offing at training camp, as the Canucks have a gaggle of wingers competing for time up and down the bottom three lines.
"We don't see any reason why that number [nine]can't climb," Gilman said.