VANCOUVER - Alex Burrows could have waited a year and placed himself on the open market.
But with an NHL lockout looming, the veteran winger bypassed unrestricted free agency and re-signed Friday for another four years with the Vancouver Canucks.
"I never really thought about leaving," said Burrows outside Rogers Arena. "All along, I always wanted to stay in Vancouver. As soon as the management showed interest in an extension, for me it was a no-brainer."
Burrows is slated to earn $18-million, or $4.5 million per season, starting in 2013-14. He received a healthy raise from the $2 million he is scheduled to earn this season — if there is one.
"This is a core player who is a huge part of what we do and what we want to do going forward, and we couldn't be happier that he's going to be a Canuck for the next five years," said Canucks assistant general manager Laurence Gilman.
The new deal came a day before the current collective bargaining agreement between the league and NHL Players Association is set to expire. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has stated the league will lock out players if a new pact is not worked out in time.
Both Burrows, sporting an NHLPA cap and dark clothing rather than team colours, and Gilman downplayed the timing of the player signing. Gilman said negotiations were long and protracted, but also indicated the team sought to take advantage of the certainty of the existing CBA.
"We know what the economic environment is today," said Gilman. "We know what the tools are within this agreement. We have an opportunity right now to take advantage of those tools. What happens on the other side of Sept. 15th is something that we don't know and, obviously, don't have any control over. It was an opportunity to solidify one of our players under terms and conditions that we were able to limit and that he was able to live with."
The 31-year-old Burrows had 52 points (28 goals, 24 assists) in 80 games last season. He registered a career-high seven winning goals.
The native of Pincourt, Que., who was never drafted, has spent his entire seven-year NHL career with Vancouver, accumulating 270 points (139-131) in 522 games. The six-foot-one, 195-pound Burrows has also appeared in 58 playoff games, recording 28 points (16-12).
He also holds the club record for most career overtime playoff goals (three) and is tied for most series-winning goals (two).
With Burrows locked up to another long-term deal, the Canucks have their core players signed until at least the summer of 2015, when Daniel and Henrik Sedin's contracts come up for renewal. Burrows said the team's stability influenced his decision to re-sign with the Canucks.
He is also looking forward to continue playing on Vancouver's top line with the Sedin twins.
"I'm really excited to be able to be around them for a number of years now," he said. "Hopefully, they'll get an extension, too, next year, so we'll be able to play on the same team or same line for (another) number of years."
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