VANCOUVER – Time was as important as money for Vancouver Canuck forward Jannik Hansen.
The Canucks avoided salary arbitration with Hansen by signing him to a US$4.05-million, three-year deal on Thursday.
Hansen said he wanted an NHL contract that gave him some long-term security.
“The main thing was to make sure I got a deal that was a little longer,” he told reporters during a telephone conference call. “I was looking for something more than one year. Once we figured that one out, it was more a matter of getting the numbers in.”
Laurence Gilman, Vancouver’s assistant general manager, said Hansen brings “significant attributes” to the team.
“He’s an above average skater and he likes the physical elements of the game,” said Gilman. “He can hit. He thrives on the forecheck and he can kill penalties.”
The 25-year-old from Herlev, Denmark, scored nine goals and added 20 assists in 82 games last year, mostly playing on the third line. His 29 points was a career high.
In 25 playoff games, Hansen had three goals and six assists.
Hansen believes he can improve on those numbers over the next few seasons.
“Right now it’s a matter of taking the next step,” he said. “This season was big for me in the fact I got to play in every game and contribute and was relied upon in crucial times of the games.
“You want to keep building. If you can get chances on the second lines at some point, of course that’s something every player would want.”
Gilman believes Hansen has the ability to score more goals.
“We don’t see any reason why that number can’t climb and he can produce more offensive finish,” Gilman said. “He can be a guy that can score 15 or 20 goals a year.”
As much as he likes scoring goals, Hansen knows playing a strong defensive game is what got him into the lineup.
“If I wanted to play I had to be good in my own end, otherwise I wasn’t being played,” Hansen said. “It was a rude awaking not being used.
“It points me in that direction.”
Hansen went to arbitration last year and was awarded a one-year, $825,000 salary. He likes the security of new deal.
“It’s the security of having three years and knowing the team wants you and they are seeing you as part of the organization for a couple of years,” he said.
Hansen will make $1.6 million next season followed by $1.35 million in 2012-13 and $1.1 million in 2013-14.
He was scheduled to go to salary arbitration Friday.
Hansen is one of several players who filed for arbitration this year but managed to work out a deal with their team.
“The level of sophistication has risen for both players and teams,” Gilman said. “When you get to the point where you are exchanging briefs, you have a really good idea after you have looked at the other side’s case, as to where you think the range of potential awards are.
“Once you are within that range, often times reasonable minds can come together and make a deal.”
The six-foot-one, 192-pound Hansen has 24 goals and 41 assists in 189 NHL games. He was taken 287th in the 2004 draft.
The Canucks won the Presidents’ Trophy last year with the best record in the league. Vancouver advanced to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final before losing to the Boston Bruins.
This far this summer the Canucks have resigned players like Kevin Bieksa, Sami Salo and Chris Higgins. Their biggest free-agent signing was forward Marco Sturm.
“We are still looking at areas to improve the hockey team,” said Gilman.
“There is money to be spent. We are looking at a number of players that may be available on the market through other teams or there are still some players in free agency.”