The Vancouver Canucks traded prospect Hunter Shinkaruk for depth center Markus Granlund midway through their 2015-16 season – and whether he’s what they want him to be yet or not, the forward will be back for at least two more years.
The Canucks confirmed on Tuesday afternoon that Granlund, who finished his season with six goals and 10 points through 47 NHL games in Vancouver and Calgary, has been inked to a two year contract extension with the Pacific Division club. This will carry the 23-year-old center through the end of the 2017-18 season, giving him one more shot at a contract as a restricted free agent with the club at that point before he’ll be eligible to openly explore the market.
Drafted 45th overall by the Calgary Flames in 2011, Granlund has appeared in a collective 102 career NHL games between Calgary and Vancouver over the last three season, recording 16 goals and 31 points in the process. A native of Oulu, Finland, Granlund played for SM-liiga club HIFK Helsinki prior to coming to North America.
With Granlund now locked up for the next two seasons, the Canucks can turn their attentions to the remaining contracts needing to be signed in the offseason; the team is sitting on four pending RFA’s at the NHL level and four UFA’s. Veteran Radim Vrbata doesn’t seem like a likely returnee, but the team’s blue line currently boasts four players (Dan Hamhuis, Matt Bartkowski, Yannick Weber, and Andrey Pedan) who will all need new deals in order to remain with the club. The Canucks may have one player locked up, but they still have plenty of work to do in the offseason.
The Canucks have yet to release the salary figures for the Granlund deal, but he does become the second RFA to be signed by GM Jim Benning to a deal that doesn’t push him into unrestricted free agency.
Update: per General Fanager, Granlund will make $900,000 per season, with an $850,000 salary in the first season and a $950,000 salary in the second year of the deal.