Lightning sign Salo to two-year, $7.5 million deal


One of the longest serving Canucks is leaving Vancouver.

According to TSN’s Gord Miller, defenseman Sami Salo has signed a two-year, $7.5 million deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning for an annual cap hit of $3.75 million.

The money represents a significant pay raise for the 37-year-old rearguard — after finishing a four-year, $14 million deal with Vancouver in 2011 ($3.5 million annually), Salo re-upped on a one-year, $2 million deal for 2011-12.

The $3.75 million will be the highest average annual salary of Salo’s career.

The move is reminiscent of the contract ex-Canuck Mattias Ohlund signed with Tampa in 2009. Despite his age (32) and durability issues, the Lightning gave Ohlund a seven-year, $25.25 million deal — Ohlund has since missed 101 games to injury in the three seasons.

There will likely be similar concerns with Salo, long known for his injury woes.

Check that, freakish injury woes. He’s ruptured a testicle suffered a testicle-related injury, torn his Achilles tendon playing floorball (a type of floor hockey) and hurt his shoulder after colliding with a teammate during a line change at the 2006 Olympics.

Tampa would be wise to keep him away from open manholes.

As mentioned earlier, Salo was the third longest-tenured Canuck behind Daniel and Henrik Sedin. The hard shooting Finn posted 9G-16A-25PTS last season, not far off his career highs of 14G-23A-37 points (from 2006-07.)

Should be noted that Salo led all Vancouver defensemen in power play goals last year, with seven, and promises to make Tampa’s PP an absolute shooting gallery alongside Steve Stamkos.