The last time Daniel and Henrik Sedin were headed for unrestricted free agency, the Vancouver Canucks took their sweet time in extending the pair, eventually inking the deals just moments before they were available to start speaking to other teams -- while Brian Burke was on a plane to Sweden, no less.
This time around, they weren't willing to take that chance. On Friday, the club inked the Sedin twins to identical (naturally) four-year, $28 million contracts.
Both of them. They got both!
“Daniel and Henrik are exemplary leaders, teammates and humanitarians and we’re very pleased to have them as part of our team for the long-term,” said Mike Gillis in the Canucks' release. “Few players in the history of this club have had more significant roles in contributing to the success of this team and to our community and we look forward to many more years with their positive influence leading the way.”
It's a raise of just under a million on a deal that will expire when the red-headed wizard brothers, already the Canucks' franchise-leaders in scoring, are 37 years old.
There are risks and rewards here. The reward, of course, is that you have all the necessary components of one of hockey's elite first lines locked in through the remainder of the Obama era, and on very friendly deals. Compare them to, say, Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf's eight-year, eight million-plus deals, and compare their production and I think it's safe to say the Sedins could have pushed for more, especially now that John Tortorella has arrived on the scene to play them about half the game.
With these manageable contracts -- especially with the cap reportedly going up over the next few years -- the Canucks will have a lot of flexibility to keep the twins surrounded with a strong core.
The risk, of course, is that these guys are already 33, and that's a lot of money to allocate to two aging stars. It's a gamble, albeit a reasonable one, since the twins' game isn't based on power or speed, the things that tend to dissipate as you near quadragenarian status. They're not particularly fast, and they've never been known to muscle their way to the net. What they do is based mostly in guile.
But between their unique style of play and their legendary fitness levels (they were, along with Mike Santorelli, the only Canucks to run 2 miles in 12 minutes, as John Tortorella demanded in training camp) it's likely that the Canucks will be glad they signed these deals.