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Pearson agrees to three-year, $9.75 million contract with Canucks

Forward could have become unrestricted free agent after season @NHLdotcom

Tanner Pearson agreed to a three-year, $9.75 million contract with the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday. It has an average annual value of $3.25 million.

The 28-year-old forward is in the final season of a four-year contract he signed with the Los Angeles Kings on May 9, 2017, and could have become an unrestricted free agent after this season.

"I think we got him at a good deal," Canucks general manager Jim Benning said Friday. "His AAV is going to be less than it was this year ($3.75 million). When we talked to the agent, we kind of went through the process and decided that if he goes to free agency that this number is probably the number he is going to get in free agency and I'm thankful that he could have went that route. We could have moved him here at the at the [NHL Trade Deadline on April 12] and got some sort of a futures pick or player but we'd miss him if he didn't re-sign with us because he's an important guy in our group and I think as we go forward here we're going to get younger, and he's going to be good for the young players too as a role model and as a player that does things the right way on a day to day basis. So he was an important guy for us to get signed."

Pearson has scored 11 points (six goals, five assists) in 33 games this season. He has not played since March 17 because of a lower-body injury that was expected to sideline him for at least four weeks.

Benning said he's not concerned about signing Pearson during a subpar season statistically.

"This season has not been like other seasons where we're playing every second night," Benning said. "It's been a compressed schedule, playing the same six teams, so I think with him once we get back hopefully in the fall here, once we get back to playing all the teams and a regular season, he's going to be as effective as he's always been. He's a guy that plays the right way. He's strong on the walls, he goes to the front of the net, him and Bo [Horvat] have been really good together ever since you know we acquired him. I know his production is down a little bit this year but next year when are things are back to normal again I expect him to continue to have strong seasons for us for the next few years."

Selected by Los Angeles in the first round (No. 30) of the 2012 NHL Draft, Pearson has scored 226 points (114 goals, 112 assists) in 490 regular-season games with the Canucks, Pittsburgh Penguins and Kings. He has scored 23 points (nine goals, 14 assists) in 51 Stanley Cup Playoff games and won the Cup with the Kings in 2014.

"I think he's important to our group," Benning said. "He's a glue guy in our room. He's an experienced player that's knows what it takes to win. He's a good pro."

The Canucks have not played since March 24, a 5-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets, because of NHL COVID-19 protocols. Pearson is not one of the 21 Canucks players who have tested positive.

The NHL has postponed six Vancouver games, through April 10: at home against the Calgary Flames on March 31, at the Edmonton Oilers on April 3, at Winnipeg on Sunday and Tuesday, and at Calgary on Thursday and Saturday.

Vancouver is scheduled to play Monday and Wednesday at Edmonton.

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