Well, so much for Jannik Hansen becoming the first NHL player to enter salary arbitration during this off-season. Nick Kypreos reports that the Vancouver Canucks reached a three-year agreement with the versatile forward. Update: Chris Johnston reports that the deal is worth $4.05 million overall, with Hansen being paid $1.6 million in 2011-12, $1.35 million in 12-13 and $1.1 million in 13-14. That works out to a $1.35 million cap hit, which is a nice bargain for such a useful player.
With their last pending free agent out of the way, this has been a solid summer for the Canucks. They managed to keep most of the core from their Stanley Cup runner-up together, aside from Christian Ehrhoff signing a pricey long-term deal with the Buffalo Sabres. Canucks fans probably hope to see what is left of their cap space devoted to a top six forward, but it’s possible that the team’s roster might be set. (At least for a little while.)
Hansen is a high-effort forward who was especially useful in defensive situations in 2010-11 (on average, 2:24 of his 14:42 minutes per game came on the penalty kill during the regular season). That being said, he provides at least a bit of pop on the offensive end, having scored a career-high 29 points last season. Hansen had a +13 rating in the regular season and a +7 mark in the playoffs, in which he scored a solid nine points in 25 postseason contests.
He might not be an elite player, but Hansen is one of those guys who plays some of those tougher minutes that opens up better opportunities for the Sedin twins and other scorers to succeed. If the money is reasonable like reports indicate, then this is another happy compromise to avoid arbitration.