Defense market gets thinner as Kevin Bieksa reportedly re-ups with Canucks
|06.27.11 at 3:49 pm ET|
It looks like Kevin Bieksa feels that 29 other teams are just a bit too pee-wee for his liking.
According to multiple reports, the Canucks defenseman will not test the waters of unrestricted free agency, as he has agreed to a new pact with the Canucks, thus thinning the defensive free agent market.
TSN has the deal as being worth $23 million over five years, meaning the 30-year-old will carry a $4.6 million cap hit. It also reportedly includes a no-trade clause. Bieksa had a $3.75 cap hit in each of the three seasons of his previous deal. The immediate feeling here is that he got a fair deal, and that it isn’t exactly a hometown discount.
While he likely would not have been a target of the B’s in free agency, the fact that Bieksa’s name is now out of the pool means teams in need of help on the blueline will look elsewhere. That “elsewhere” is a group that includes Tomas Kaberle, Montreal’s James Wisniewski and Bieksa’s teammate, Christian Ehrhoff.
Bieksa led the Canucks with a plus-32 rating in the regular season, which put him in a tie for second behind Zdeno Chara (plus-33) for tops in the league. He was among the Canucks who may have put themselves in a bad light during the Stanley Cup finals, as he had the dive of all dives in Game 4 when he grabbed his face to draw a high-sticking call on Mark Recchi, despite Recchi’s stick being a good distance from his face. He also joked about the Bruins’ postgame jacket, likening the tradition to something a pee-wee team would do.
Free agency opens Friday.