Mon Jun 27 04:12pm EDT
After the Stanley Cup Finals, defenseman Kevin Bieksa(notes) was quite clear about the financial decisions that were ahead of him as a pending unrestricted free agent — including what it would take to remain with the Vancouver Canucks.
"I think everybody takes less to play here," Bieksa said of the Canucks. "It's such a great organization that you want to be here, so if you want to be here you have to take less, that's just the culture. It's like Detroit. If you want to win, you have to take less to be here. Again, without making my agent's job too tough, I'm optimistic."
About 10 days after that declaration, the deal is done: Bieksa re-signed with Vancouver for five years and $23 million according to TSN, giving Vancouver a $4.6 million cap hit. He made $3.5 million against the cap last season.
This cap hit puts him $100,000 higher than teammate Dan Hamhuis(notes), who is also signed through 2016. Before Hamhuis's injury, they combined to form one of the best shutdown defensive pairings in the playoffs.
Was this a hometown discount? Hard to say. Bieksa's value skyrocketed in the postseason, and he would have been sought by a number of contending teams as a quality veteran piece and by a number of building teams as a foundational defenseman.
But he's a 22-point player who wasn't a contributor on the power play last season; every defenseman making more than $5 million against the cap next season (via NHL Numbers) has much better offensive credentials than Bieksa. That's not to say that he wouldn't have gotten offers for more than $5 million annually against the cap, because it's an open bidding process. But 5 years, $23 million is more than fair compensation for him.
Good on the Canucks and Bieksa for getting this done. We just hope he kicks a little dough The Stanchion's way for the Game 5 effort.