Roberto Luongo will be between the pipes in Vancouver for the foreseeable future.
On Wednesday, the Canucks announced that they have agreed to terms with their star goalie on a 12-year contract extension worth $64 million.
The deal will keep Luongo in Vancouver through the 2021-22 season, and carries an average annual cap hit to the Canucks of $5.33 million.
"I'm very excited," Luongo said during a conference call. "Once the season was over I took a few weeks and it was a clear decision for me and my family. We love Vancouver and I think the organization has handled us really well and this gives us a chance to win, so we're really ecstatic.
"When I signed I wanted to make sure that it was fair for both sides, and that there was some room to bring in some players if we need to add a piece or two down the road to win the Cup," explained Luongo on Wednesday in Saint-Leonard, Quebec. "There were a lot of things involved in this negotiation, and that was definitely something that was really important."
Luongo had originally set a deadline of Sept. 13 to complete the deal, after which time he did not want the mid-season distraction of negotiating a new contract.
The 30-year old Canucks captain is entering the final year of a four-year, $27 million contract. He will make $7.5-million for the 2009-10 season, and now forgoes a chance to explore the free agency market next summer.
"There's always an intriguing part about free agency, but at the same time, if you're happy where you are and you're comfortable there, and you think you have a team to win with, why would you go somewhere else?" said Luongo.
The deal will also keep him in Vancouver until he is 43, and the goalie was asked about his desire to keep playing until such an age.
"Well, (Chris) Chelios (at age 47) is doing it, I don't see why I can't do it, so we'll see what happens," said Luongo. "I take care of myself - not only during the season, but in the off-season I work out hard - I watch what I eat and all that stuff. I'll play as long as I can because I love the sport. As long as my body keeps telling me to play I'll be in the pipes."
"Today is a very exciting day for the Canucks organization," said Canucks president and general manager Mike Gillis. "Roberto Luongo is the leader of our hockey team; he is in the prime of his playing career and has a tremendous desire to make the Canucks a championship team. His leadership, competitiveness and character are what this team will represent for many years to come."
Last season, the all-star goalie went 33-13-7 with nine shutouts and a GAA of 2.34 for the Canucks. He is one of the top candidates to be selected to play for Canada at the upcoming Olympics.
He was drafted by the New York Islanders in the first round (4th overall) of the 1997 draft. He will be entering his 10th NHL season.
With July's re-signing of Daniel and Henrik Sedin, along with last week's acquisitions of defenceman Mathieu Schneider, Christian Ehrhoff, and Brad Lukowich, Luongo thinks that the Canucks can rebound from their loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in the second round of last year's playoffs.
"We've added some more pieces this summer, so I really like our group," said Luongo. "Once you're in the playoffs it's a clean sheet for everybody, and whomever is playing the best at that time can take it. For us it's a matter of getting there, and making sure that once we're there we're playing at our best."