The immediate reaction to defenseman Sami Salo's re-signing for 1 year and $2 million with the Vancouver Canucks, prior to becoming an unrestricted free agent at noon ET, is that it's a hometown discount.
But that would do a disservice to his age (37 in September), his declining numbers (0.26 points per game last season, down from 0.41 in 2009-10) and the fact that he's suffered more freak injuries than Wile E. Coyote during his time in Vancouver (seriously, floorball?).
Salo no doubt tested the market, but found it a tough nut to crack.
As first reported by Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet, Salo became the second of the Canucks' three key free agents on the blue line to remain with the Western Conference champs. Kevin Bieksa signed a 5-year, $23 million deal on June 27. After having his rights traded twice, Christian Ehrhoff agreed to a 10-year, $40-million with the Buffalo Sabres that will pay him $37 million in the first seven years. (Signed, bitter Devils fan.)
This is a win for GM Mike Gillis, as Salo's reps were looking to swap salary for an extra year on his contract. From the Vancouver Sun:
Salo made $3.5 million last season and likely will have to accept a significant pay cut -probably something in the neighbourhood of $1.5 to $2 million -to return to play his ninth season with the Canucks. In return for taking a financial haircut, Salo would like an additional year.
From June 17, here's Gillis on Salo:
Welcome back, Sami Salo. Please step inside this bubblewrap for the rest of the summer ...