Vancouver Canucks Re-Sign Kevin Bieksa

Andrew EideCorrespondent IJune 27, 2011

VANCOUVER, BC - JUNE 15:  Kevin Bieksa #3 of the Vancouver Canucks looks on as a Vancouver Canucks fan holds a sign that reads, 'BELIEVE THIS IS OUR TIME' prior to Game Seven against the Boston Bruins in the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Rogers Arena on June 15, 2011 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

Word started leaking Monday afternoon that the Vancouver Canucks had resigned one of their top free agents in defenseman Kevin Bieksa.

The early reports are that he has signed a five-year $23 million deal that includes a no trade clause.

This move is big for the Canucks as Bieksa, along with partner Dan Hamhuis, was one of the most consistent Canucks during the regular season and playoffs.

Bieksa was likely to have a slew of suitors had the Canucks allowed him to hit the free agency market.  He is a gritty, tough, physical player who has a bit of offensive skill and can move the puck well. 

It appears that he would have been able to garner more than $4.6 million a year and gave the Canucks a discount.

For the Canucks and Bieksa this signals, in many ways, the end to a long up and down journey.

Bieksa had fought a number of freak injuries the previous two season and his play had become inconsistent which landed him on the trade block before last season began.  It was an assurance that the Canucks were going to move him.

When Sami Salo hurt himself in the offseason playing ball hockey the Canucks hesitated and decided to hang on to Bieksa. 

The move paid off as Bieksa turned in his best season as a pro with 22 points and ended the year a plus 32, which was among the league best.  Along with that he and Hamhuis became an unbeatable team as the team's top two defensemen.

This moves allows the Canucks to be assured of bringing back those top two and they can now make clear decisions about free agent Christian Erhoff and Sami Salo.

The Stanley Cup Finals proved to Vancouver that defensive depth is key to winning the cup.  Boston had it and the Canucks did not, at least during the finals.

They still have work to do on that depth but today's move will ensure the top end is as solid as it gets in the league.