VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Daniel and Henrik Sedin have agreed to five-year contract extensions with the Vancouver Canucks less than an hour before the start of free agency.
The Canucks gave the identical twins matching $30.5 million deals, keeping them with the team that drafted them second and third overall in 1999.
"We said from Day One we always wanted to stay and that was our main option, but the longer it took we considered all the possible options," said Henrik, who shared a phone with Daniel during a conference call from their native Sweden. "Vancouver was always No. 1. It came down to the last day but it happened and we're extremely happy."
The Sedins led the Canucks in scoring for the last three seasons, averaging close to a point a game over that time, including 82 points each last season. Just before they could test their market worth, they agreed to remain with Vancouver.
"We said we wanted to stay and that's been our main goal, but the longer it went the more thinking we had to do," Daniel said. "But in the end it was an easy choice and the right one."
The deals were struck after a full year of negotiations, but weren't finished until after Canucks general manager Mike Gillis flew to the Sedins' native Sweden early this week. The team had been reluctant to move off five-year offers worth $5.5 million a season, while the 28-year-old Sedins had proposed a pair of 12-year, $63-million contracts.
"We never said we were guys that wanted to go for the big money," said Henrik, who added that no-movement clauses in the new deals were a key component. "Our families are important to us and we've been there a long time. For us it's important to find a place we were happy. But at the same time we wanted to be treated fairly, and I think we have been."
Playing together for all but a few games with the Canucks, the Sedins have a combined 288 goals in 1,288 NHL games. Like the twins themselves, their statistics are tough to tell apart: Henrik has 460 points in 646 games, and Daniel 462 points in 642 games.
Daniel is the goal scorer of the pair, averaging more than 30 over the past three seasons, while Henrik has been among the league leaders in assists.
Just a few hours into the free-agent shopping season, longtime Canucks defenseman Mattias Ohlund left Vancouver for a seven-year deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning. The 32-year-old Ohlund spent the first 11 years of his career with the Canucks, who selected him with the No. 13 pick in the 1994 draft.
He had 93 goals and 232 assists in 770 games with Vancouver. His departure made the Sedins the longest-tenured Canucks on the current roster.
"Daniel and Henrik Sedin are this club's offensive leaders and players we want to build around," Gillis said in a statement. "Their level of performance in every area of the game is exceptional — both Daniel and Henrik are committed to winning and we want them to succeed."