Wednesday July 1st, 2009

A no-movement clause aint worth what it used to be, but for the Sedin twins it was enough to seal the deal that sees them forego free agency to remain with the Vancouver Canucks.

The duo signed off this morning on a contract that will pay each of them an average of $6.1 million per year over the next five years.

"It was important for us," said Henrik Sedin of the NMC during a hastily arranged conference call. "We all know there is a market for players and for us, but we never said we're the guys who want to just go after the big money."

The Sedins said it was their hope all along that theyd be able to remain in Vancouver but it wasnt until general manager Mike Gillis and assistant GM Laurence Gilman flew to Sweden this week with a sweetened offer that they were to close the deal.

"That meant a lot to us," Henrik said of the overseas visit. "They showed us they wanted to have us. It was great for both me and Danny to have them come over, sit down, and have a discussion."

The deal also means a lot to other GMs. The Sedins took significantly less than what they might have earned on the open market. With compensation to the twins' comparables averaging in the neighborhood of $7.5 million, the Canucks got off cheap. Agents may try to play it off as a hometown discount, but its probably more accurate to say this was a deal that reflected the realities of the current economic downturn and recognized the likelihood of a lower cap number in the coming years.

Just as important: the Canucks managed those savings without having to commit to the 8-to-10-year term that has become a staple of recent superstar negotiations. Easy to see how this could emerge as a trendsetter for other deals in the coming days.

The money the Canucks saved can now be put to use bettering the team. Although they now have the Sedins locked up, and should have a deal in place with Roberto Luongo shortly, they are likely to remain active in the market with about $10 million to spend. Their biggest need is a replacement for defenseman Mattias Ohlund, who signed a seven-year, $26.25 million deal with Tampa Bay moments after the free agency period opened today. The club also could use a top-six forward.

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