Canucks officially sign free agent forward Demitra Staff

7/10/2008 6:26:53 PM

After the high-profile depatures of Markus Naslund and Brendan Morrison, the Vancouver Canucks have finally added a name to their roster. The Canucks have signed free agent forward Pavol Demitra to a two-year, $8 million contract.

"Throughout his NHL career, Pavol has proven himself to be an offensive contributor where ever he has played," said Canucks GM Mike Gillis. "Pavol is a strong two-way hockey player with excellent quickness and finish. His play making abilities will be an asset on our power-play and make him a great addition to our top six forwards."

This move has been rumoured for weeks, with Demitra even going on a Vancouver radio station last week and declaring the Canucks his number once choice.

"[Current Canucks GM Mike Gillis] used to be my agent for a long time. We are very good friends. I am very interested in playing for [the Canucks]," said Demitra.

Ensuring that the Demitra was signed to an appropriate length contract for the Canucks.

"One of the things that happened on July 1st that I wasn't comfortable with was players that were getting long-term deals at premium numbers," said the rookie GM. "We are plowing a ton of money into player development. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to do that if we have older players on long-term contracts.

"Of all the signings we saw, term was probably the most shocking element of a lot of those contracts."

Demitra, 33, joins the Canucks from the Minnesota Wild, were in 2007-08 he recorded 54 points (15-39-54) and 24 penalty minutes in 68 games. During his 14 year NHL career with the Wild, Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues and Ottawa Senators, Demitra has played 750 regular season games, scoring 281 goals while adding 418 assists for 699 points (281-418-699) and 264 penalty minutes.

"There was a lot of interest throughout the league but Pavol is comfortable with the direction Vancouver is taking on the ice and the vision (Canucks GM) Mike Gillis has for the future," said Demitra's agent Matt Keator to the Canadian Press. "He feels that his family will be happy, that he will enjoy playing for the Canucks and will hopefully be taking a run at the Stanley Cup."

In 77 Stanley Cup Playoff games, he has added 50 points (20-30-50) and 28 penalty minutes.