Vancouver Canucks sign veteran centre Manny Malhotra to three-year contract

VANCOUVER – The Vancouver Canucks signed centre Manny Malhotra to a US$7.5-million, three-year contract Thursday.

He had 33 points (14 goals, 19 assists) and was a plus-17 in 71 games with the San Jose Sharks last season.

“When you look at the roster, there’s an opportunity to win right now,” Malhotra said on a conference call. “As a player, you want to be in a situation where you know the team is a good team, it’s a competitive team and a team that can go far into the playoffs.”

The Canucks finished first in the Northwest Division with 103 points last season. Vancouver lost to Chicago in the Western Conference semifinals.

Malhotra’s contract includes a no-trade clause. Last summer, he signed a one-year deal worth $700,000 in San Jose.

Malhotra, a 30-year-old native of Mississauga, Ont., had one goal in 15 playoff games. He has played in 705 career NHL games, registering 230 points (90-140) with San Jose, Columbus, Dallas and the New York Rangers.

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“We talked to a few teams,” Malhotra said. “This was the best blend of every aspect, and we had the opportunity to jump on it right away so we took it.”The six-foot-two 215-pounder was originally selected seventh overall in the 1998 NHL entry draft by the Rangers.The Canucks also signed centre Joel Perrault to a one-year deal.

He spent most of last season with San Antonio of the American Hockey League, where he recorded 36 points (17-19) and had 38 penalty minutes.

He did not record a point in two games with the Phoenix Coyotes. In 89 career NHL games, the six-foot-one 197-pound Montreal native has recorded 26 points (12-14) with 68 penalty minutes.