Thursday, August 25, 2005

Canucks Re-Sign Ohlund to 4-Year Deal

The Vancouver Canucks yesterday re-signed Mattias Ohlund to a four-year/$14 million contract.

Most Canucks fans would agree that Ohlund is the team's most valuable defenseman. He is a big, solid, steady defenseman who plays a lot of minutes (usually upwards of 25 minutes per game), and always against the opposing team's top lines. And while he doesn't put up Gonchar or Niedermayer-like numbers, he is certainly capable of producing some offense. In his career, he has averaged 30+ points per season. Last season, he ranked 27th in defenseman scoring (14-20-34,+14), scoring only 4 points less than Nicklas Lidstrom (10-28-38, +19), and more points than prominent offensive defensemen Roman Hamrlik (7-22-29, +2) and Alexei Zhitnik (4-24-28, -13). Over the same number of games last season, he scored at a similar rate as Ed Jovanovski (0.41 ppg).

The deal itself is is a steal. Ohlund is 28 years old and would have been eligible for unrestricted free agency after this season. With this contract, the Canucks have locked Ohlund for three years - three of his prime years - that he would have been in the open market. To get a sense of what the open market is like, remember that this summer, Adrian Aucoin was signed for $4 million/year, Adam Foote for $4.6 million/year, and Alexei Zhitnik, Roman Hamrlik, Mike Rathje and Derian Hatcher for $3.5 million/year each - and I would personally rank Ohlund higher than any of them.

Ohlund's signing was probably the most important next to Markus Naslund's. He is the anchor of the Canucks' defense, and now he will anchor it for the next four years.
posted by J.J. Guerrero, 5:15 PM


At August 25, 2005 6:29 PM, Blogger Brett Mirtle said...

I"m glad to see that Ohlund is about more than the money. Taking a four year deal that's quite a bit lower than Jovo's salary shows me that he's truly a loyal and unselfish individual.

Good on Nonis to get the deal done. Time for Cooke now.....


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