Vancouver Canucks\' Henrik Sedin, right, and his twin brother, Daniel Sedin, left, both of Sweden, skate during team practice in Vancouver, B.C., on Tuesday April 14, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
A trip to Sweden kept the Sedin twins off the free agent market.
Daniel and Henrik Sedin agreed to matching US$30.5-million, five-year contract extensions with the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday, just prior to becoming unrestricted free agents.
The key moment in negotiations came earlier this week when GM Mike Gillis and assistant GM Laurence Gilman flew to Sweden to meet face-to-face with the twins and extend a last-ditch offer. That overture was enough to keep the Sedins from wanting to field offers from other teams.
"We really like it in Vancouver and that's where we wanted to stay," Henrik said Wednesday on a conference call. "Coming down to the last few days we've been in Stockholm with our agents and our families and we walked through our possible options. ...
"To see Mike and Laurence come over here, it meant a lot to us. It made our decision easier for sure."
Had they waited until the noon ET free agency deadline passed, the Sedins would have been the hottest commodities on the open market.
Contract negotiations between Gillis and agent J.P. Barry started last summer and hit several bumps along the road. The deals the brothers ended up signing both include a no-movement clause.
"It's important for us to know we're going to stay here," said Henrik. "If we keep playing the way we think we can and getting better here for the next couple years, I think it's going to be an exciting time here in Vancouver."
Gillis has also been working on signing goalie Roberto Luongo to a contract extension that would ensure the three players remain the cornerstones of the franchise.
The Sedins have scored 70 points or more the past four years and each had 82 last season. Gillis was thrilled to keep them under contract.
"Daniel and Henrik Sedin are this club's offensive leaders and players we want to build around," he said in a statement. "Their level of performance in every area of the game is exceptional - both Daniel and Henrik are committed to winning and we want them to succeed as Vancouver Canucks."
Daniel and Henrik were drafted second and third overall by the team in 1999.
They've been eerily consistent ever since. Daniel has 462 points (179-283) in 642 career games while Henrik has 460 points (109-351) in 646 games.
Their focus now shifts to helping get the Canucks over the top, something the brothers talked with Gillis about during the fateful meeting in Stockholm.
"He gave the same message as he has from when he took over," said Henrik. "He wants to have a winning team and a winning environment. He thought we were going to be a big part of that. I think the deal has made both parties happy.
"We're happy and it's going to help the Canucks to build a winning team I think."