Cowan, 30, played 42 for the Canucks last season after being claimed off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings. He had seven goals, three assists and 93 penalty minutes with Vancouver.
The Toronto native added two more goals during 10 playoff games, including an overtime winner in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinal against the Anaheim Ducks.
In seven NHL seasons, the six-foot-two, 205-pound Cowan has played for Calgary, Atlanta and Los Angeles. In 367 career games he has scored 47 goals, added 33 assists and collected 585 penalty minutes.
Cowan was originally signed as a free agent by the Calgary Flames on Oct. 2, 1995.