Canucks sign ‘extremely important’ Tanev to five-year extension

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The Vancouver Canucks have locked up one of their key young pieces through 2020-21, signing 25-year-old defenseman Chris Tanev to a five-year contract extension.

“Chris has developed into an excellent NHL defenseman and is an extremely important part of our team,” said GM Jim Benning in a release. “He’s a player you want on the ice in the most critical points of a game and we’re excited about having him with our group as we continue to play to win today, with an eye to the future.”

Tanev’s cap hit is reportedly $4.45 million, just slightly lower than teammates Dan Hamhuis ($4.5 million), Kevin Bieksa ($4.6 million), and Alex Edler ($5 million).

Undrafted, Tanev originally signed with the Canucks in 2010 as a college free agent. He’s since played 216 games in the NHL, scoring 10 goals with 33 assists, while being deployed in a predominantly defensive role.

This season, Tanev has skated with Edler on the Canucks’ top pairing. He also averages a team-high 2:46 on Vancouver’s third-ranked penalty kill.

Video: Hamhuis bloodied during fight with Voracek

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A couple of unusual suspects dropped the gloves in the first period tonight in Vancouver.

Canucks’ defenseman Dan Hamhuis and Flyers’ forward Jakub Voracek fought midway through the opening frame.

Both players were fighting for just the second time this season.

Hamhuis got the worst of things, as he was cut and bleeding all over his visor.

After 10-game absence, Tanev (concussion) back for Canucks

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The Vancouver Canucks will get some much-needed defensive reinforcements tonight against Anaheim, as Chris Tanev will play for the first time since suffering a concussion on Feb. 14.

“It will be fun to get back out there,” Tanev said, per News 1130. “I am just going to go out there, work hard and trying and keep things simple. They are a good team over there so it will be a tough game to jump right back in to.”

Tanev, a pending RFA, was averaging nearly 22 minutes a night for Vancouver prior to getting hurt and is arguably the club’s top defensive defenseman. He leads the team and sits 16th in the NHL in blocked shots, with 131.

Tanev will be paired with Alex Edler and join Dan Hamhuis, Luca Sbisa, Ryan Stanton and Frank Corrado on the Vancouver defense tonight. Corrado is in for Adam Clendening, who’ll sit; fellow defenseman Kevin Bieksa remains sidelined following hand surgery.

Injuries piling up for Canucks — Edler still being ‘evaluated,’ won’t play tonight versus Wild

All of a sudden, injuries are starting to pile up for the Vancouver Canucks.

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That last name, Alex Edler, is a big one. No Canuck has played more this season than the rejuvenated 28-year-old defender, who was forced to leave Saturday’s game in Calgary with an upper-body injury.

“Personally, I think he has been our MVP,” winger Alex Burrows said of Edler, per the Vancouver Sun. “He has logged so many big minutes. There are a lot of guys that have done a really good job, but for me he has been so good. He logs big minutes against the other team’s best players. He’s huge on the penalty kill, he’s huge on our power play. He is so smooth back there and is important for our hockey team.”

Coach Willie Desjardins said this morning that Edler is still being “evaluated.” He wouldn’t estimate how much time Edler could miss, saying only, “I don’t expect him to play today.”

Tonight at home against the red-hot Wild, Vancouver’s defensive pairings are expected to look like this:

Dan Hamhuis – Chris Tanev
Luca Sbisa – Yannick Weber
Ryan Stanton – Adam Clendening

The Canucks announced this morning that they’ve recalled d-man Alex Biega from AHL Utica. They kick off a five-game road trip Thursday in New York versus the Rangers.

Related: Playoff watch — what the bubble teams need to do

Bieksa’s injury presents an opportunity for Canucks’ Corrado

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With Kevin Bieksa on the shelf for six-to-eight weeks following surgery on his hand, a window of opportunity has presented itself for Frank Corrado on the Vancouver Canucks blueline.

Corrado, 21, has been with the Canucks since early January, but appeared in just four games registering a goal and a minus-3 rating while averaging just over 16 minutes in ice time.

He’s also appeared in 21 games with the Utica Comets of the American Hockey League this season scoring four goals and eight points while collecting 17 penalty minutes and a plus-3 rating.

“I’m as ready as I’ll ever be,” said Corrado following Monday’s practice. “I think I put some good work in in the AHL and even up here in times when I didn’t play, I thought I put a lot of good work in. Now I like where my game is at and I like the confidence I play with.”

Corrado was paired with veteran defenseman Dan Hamhuis at practice on Monday.

“He’s great, you guys know the type of player he is, he’s easy to play with,” said Corrado of Hamhuis. “He makes the game easy for you and I just want to reciprocate that and make the game as easy as I can for him and be a good partner.”

Corrado knows he alone won’t be replacing Bieksa.

Bieksa was second among Canucks’ defensemen averaging 21:16 in ice time. The 33-year-old was also third on the team in hits and blocked shots.

“You just have to play your game when you get the chance and show what you can do,” said Corrado. “At the end of the day it’s about the team winning, so if you can contribute to that, you’re doing well.

“The team is obviously going to miss Kev, he’s a big part of the team and does so much in the dressing room and on the ice for us, but it’s up to the whole D-core to fill that void and that rests upon all of us, not just one player.”

The Canucks return to action Tuesday when they play host to the Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks have won two of the three meetings between the two clubs this season, but the Canucks have managed to salvage at least a point in the three games.