December 4, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
VANCOUVER -- Daniel and Henrik Sedin will be staying with the only NHL team they've ever known.
The Vancouver Canucks signed the twin superstars to matching four-year contract extensions worth $28 million on Friday, avoiding what could have been a major in-season distraction.
The Sedins were slated to become unrestricted free agents this summer, but instead decided it was in their best interests to stay in Vancouver.
"We want to win. That's the bottom line," said Daniel Sedin. "You realize as you get older, your chances are getting slimmer and slimmer.
"We want to have a good team around us, and I think we do."
-- Henrik Sedin
Henrik Sedin -- the Canucks captain -- leads the NHL this season with 15 assists and is tied for second with 18 points, entering Friday's games. Daniel Sedin is tied for seventh in scoring, three points back of his brother (six goals, nine assists).
"People that know us, know that money is a small part of the whole negotiation thing," said Henrik Sedin. "We've always loved it here. Our families love it here and that's a major thing. To be part of a great team for the next couple years, that was the most important thing for us.
"If you go to become (an unrestricted free agent), you're going to maybe get more money somewhere else, but that was never part of the discussion."
Daniel Sedin was drafted second overall at the 1999 NHL draft by Vancouver, while Henrik Sedin was taken third.
"These two guys are the pillars of our hockey team (and) incredible people in the community," said Canucks general manager Mike Gillis. "They give back all the time and set an example for all of us."
Gillis said the two sides had been talking for four months, with the Canucks needing time to figure out what the NHL salary cap will look like moving forward. The cap hit for each player on their new deals will be $7 million per season.
"We all knew that we wanted to pay these guys as much as we possibly could while we had an opportunity to continue to build here," said Gillis. "It was a just a matter of getting to the point where we were comfortable with what the numbers were going to look like moving forward.
"It was as smooth as it could have possibly been with two players with this type of profile."
The Canucks have a number of young players in their system and Gillis said having the Sedins as mentors will help ensure the team's success now and in the future.
Gillis added he would have been unable replace the twins if they left via free agency.
"To try and find two players in free agency that understand and appreciate what it means to play here in Vancouver and that would be prepared to work with us to try to maintain a really competitive team would be impossible," he said.
Henrik Sedin holds franchise records for most points (792), assists (610), and consecutive games played (629). He also has a franchise-best plus-200 rating.
Daniel Sedin ranks second in team history with 773 points.
-- The Canadian Press
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 2, 2013 C9