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Sticking around

by Daniel Fung / Vancouver Canucks
In the end, there was nowhere else that Jannik Hansen wanted to be.

Just four days shy of what will be the start of his sixth full season in the NHL, the 27-year-old officially came to terms with the only NHL team he has ever known on a four-year extension that will see him remain Canucks colours through the 2017-18 season.

There are those that will suggest it was a safe, but not a shrewd move for the Danish winger.

After all Hansen, who is entering into the prime of his career and has developed a reputation for being one of the most versatile players in the game, would have been set to hit unrestricted free agency next summer and would have undoubtedly garnered tremendous attention around the league.

But in the end, it was the security and the comfort of remaining with the only NHL team he's ever known that trumped the potential for a big payday next off-season.

"It's exactly what I wanted," said Hansen shortly after news of the deal broke.  "I've never hidden that I like it here.

"It's something I was hopeful that they'd be willing to do and, again, getting it done before the season was a big deal too."

That feeling of security is even more critical not only for Hansen the hockey player, but for Hansen the husband and Hansen the young father.

Hansen and wife, Karen, became the proud parents of twin boys – Daniel and Lucas – back in March and being able to stabilize both his hockey career and family life in one city is something that he could not put a price on.

"Obviously being here with the kids and wife and everything, it's familiar and it's comforting knowing where you're going to be," said Hansen.

Just as Hansen has had to take on added responsibility on the home front in recent months, with his new deal in hand he knows he'll have to take on more added responsibility on the ice as well.

Hansen has demonstrated an ability to be to be effective in all roles he's been asked to play but knowing he'll likely see even more ice-time under coach John Tortorella, he knows he'll have to deliver consistently in the points column as well.

"His role hasn't been to score, but he's getting better and he seems to be putting up consistently better numbers each year," said Canucks GM Mike Gillis. "We do feel strongly he could be a 20-goal scorer."

But while management, coaches and fans would love to see Hansen continue to bolster his offensive output, they first and foremost want to see Hansen continue to be that same aggressive, consistent and hard-working player that they've fallen in love with over the past few years.

If he can keep doing what he's been doing, then his new deal will be worth every penny.

"He's a young player who's still getting better," added Gillis. "I think he's going to have a big season."

Of course not everything will be exactly the same for Hansen this year as it has been in years past.

For one thing, whether after a good or bad game, he'll have the benefit of having his new twin boys welcome him home with open arms each night.

"They're going tremendously,' said Hansen of his twins. "It's a treat to come home every day.

"They're starting to sleep very good right now."

Young Daniel and Lucas will have plenty more good sleeps to come in Vancouver papa Jannik sticking around with the Canucks for the long haul.

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