The contract will pay the 37-year-old US$600,000 in base salary. The deal also includes an additional $350,000 in bonuses for games played. The signing is a relief for Linden.
“For the last week or so, I was, for the lack of a better word, getting a little cranky,” he laughed. “Just with the uncertainty, now it focuses in for me…it just puts some closure to it.”
The six-foot-four, 220 pound centre, who is heading into his 19th NHL season, said he’s now concentrating on attending training camp next month.
He holds a number of Canuck franchise records including 1,081 games played, 721 points and the most playoff games played at 118.
Linden was a presence in all 12 Vancouver playoff games last season, tying for the team lead in scoring with seven points and had the game-winning goal in Game 7 against the Dallas Stars.
Most of his19-year NHL career has been with Vancouver, but he’s also played with Washington, Montreal and the New York Islanders.
Linden said his decision to stay in Vancouver wasn’t about money.
“I did not want to come back and not have the full support of everyone involved,” he said. “This has to be a situation where I’m here on performance.”
Canucks general manager Dave Nonis told reporters Tuesday that Linden has much to offer to the younger players in the locker room, but agreed Linden’s performance was the key factor in signing an agreement.
“There’s no better person that I know of to learn from than him,” said Nonis. “But if it was just the locker room I would make him a coach. But he has to be able to play.”
Linden contributes heavily off-ice as well. In 2003 he was appointed to the Order of British Columbia recognizing his services benefiting people of the province. He’s also received the King Clancy memorial Trophy, given the player who exemplified leadership qualities on and off the ice.
“Long after he retires we’re going to be talking about Trevor and what he brings to this city,” Nonis added. “But from a hockey perspective I’m always going to have to sign players that will help us on the ice.”
Linden admits the fans have been badgering him about his contract situation with the Canucks.
“It was a little difficult because I didn’t have any answers for them. My answer was always ‘yeah, I’ll be back,’ so I’m glad I didn’t make a liar of myself,” chuckled Linden, who refused to say if this might be his last season playing hockey in the NHL.
Linden was president of the NHL Players Association and was actively involved in negotiations with Commissioner Gary Bettman in a new bargaining agreement that ended the NHL lockout in 2005.
Linden is a native of Medicine Hat, Alta., and was first drafted by Vancouver second overall in 1988.